Friday, September 29, 2006

School for Scoundrels

I just got back from watching School For Scoundrels. It was the best movie I have seen in a long time.

Roger an unlucky meter reader who enrolls in a mysterious confidence-building class so he can win the love of the girl of his dreams. The class turns out to be something quite different when it becomes clear that as the the young man excels in the class, his professor challenges him by setting his sights set on the same girl.

I really enjoyed it. There were some really funny scenes. I haven't laughed in a movie so much since I can't remember when.

I will consider buying this movie when it comes out on DVD.

-Gary Milner

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Eight Pumpkin Carving Tips

Here are eight tips to make choosing and caving pumpkins easier this Halloween. Have Fun.

  1. Make sure the pumpkin is not bruised pumpkin.

  2. Bigger is better, but the size doesn't matter that much. Patterns can be enlarged but shrinking a pattern can make detailed work difficult.

  3. Make sure there is no discoloration or soft spots.

  4. Pumpkins with a flat edge don't roll as much and are easier to work with.

  5. Find a pumpkin with a sturdy stem, this is a sign of a healthy pumpkin.

  6. Lifting the pumpkin by the stem can damage the pumpkin and make it age faster.

  7. Check the bottom of the pumpkin to make sure the base is not damaged. If the bottom of the pumpkin is thin it could get punctured. This allows bad things to grow in the pumpkin.

  8. Put pumpkins that feel heavy or sloshy back. Insides can rot and leave a slimey, smelly, liquid goo.

I hope you have all been enjoying the pumpkin carving stencils that I have been making and get to use them this halloween.

Have fun,

-Gary Milner

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Free Cars Pumpkin Carving Template / Stencil

In anticipation of people searching for free pumpkin carving templates, I made this one from the pixar movie cars. This is the main character Lightning McQueen.

I inverted it to give you a better idea of what it will look like carved. I recommend printing the one with the white background, (it uses less ink). Just cut out the black part and peel the skin off the grey part.

You can click on the photos to get larger copies. You can get the full res version from my flickr account.

Here are 10 tips for carving a pumpkin:

1. Experiment with printing the template at different sizes in a photo editing program to best match the size of your pumpkin.

2. Use a pin or tack to make an outline of where you want to cut. Pinholes along the line to be cut make it easier to cut through the skin of the pumpkin and help you achieve a higher level of detail.

3. Don't follow the pattern too closely. Some of the parts you need to cut are a little too fine to be realistically carved. Massaging the pattern will make it more your own and it will turn out better anyway.

4. Don't skimp on the time transferring the pattern, extra work now pays off big time later.

5. In the grey area, peel the skin off and then shave the inside of the pumpkin to make portions brighter. This will allow a higher level of detail while leaving the curve of the pumpkin on the outside.

6. Use a sturdy knife. Wimpy ones always break.

7. Lay down tons of newspaper / garbage bags to catch the pumpkin guts. This will help with the clean up immensely.

8. Always carve with adult supervision. If you're an adult already, make sure there is a least one sober adult supervising.

9. Do not throw pumpkin guts or seeds.

10. Be very careful with the cutting instruments.

-Gary Milner

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pumpkin Carving Templates

Halloween is coming up, and I wanted to remind people about my old pumpkin carving related posts.

Darth Vader Pumpkin Carving Stencil - This is a link to a post where I have a template to carve a pumpkin that looks like Darth Vader.

Pumpkin Carving Links - This a link to an old page of links I made about pumpkin carving and other halloween related things.

There are lots of good resources describing how to carve pumpkins, how to make templates for carving more interesting designs as well as plenty of free places to get stencils for carving pumpkins.

Here is a little hint for making your own template.

In a photo editing program, turn your photo into a greyscale image, and then adjust the contrast alot until the photo loses all it's shades of grey and has only black and white.

Then you can decide if it looks enough like what you want to carve, if it doesn't pick another photo.

You'll have to decide if you want to cut out the black or the white, inverting the picture will help you decide which part to cut out. I've found that it works best if you use an easily recognizable photo.

There are tips about how to transfer the stencil to the pumpkin. I've found that using a needle to poke holes around the outside of the parts you want to cut helps. You can also use a felt tipped pen to shade the areas that you are going to cut.

I'll make a better how to post over the next few days, so that you can make a trogdor carving template or a lion or a George W. Bush jack 'o lantern if you want.

-Gary Milner

Friday, September 22, 2006

My Thing About Space

I don't know if I've written about this before, but I have somewhat of what I call a mild personality disorder. It manifests itself most strongly at the dinner table.

I *REALLY* don't like being crowded at the dinner table. It is like some sort of weird Gary Feng Shui. Things placed near my plate make me very uncomfortable. Short things may be closer than tall things. I don't like tall things to be directly in between me and the other people at the table. There should be valleys between the tall things so that I can see the other people. It affects me more the less crowed the table is because there is obviously space for the stuff to be other than right beside me. When there are more people I put up with it more, simply because there isn't enough space to go around. Often however I have to put something on the counter to get it out of the way.

This quirk of mine extends to many other places as well. For example when I am parking the car, if it is possible I leave at least one space between my car and other cars. It really annoys me when there are a million spaces in the lot and the only other car in the whole place is parked next to mine. Another example is in the men's room. I know most men do this, but some don't. At a line of urinals never, ever use the urinal right next to someone who is already there.
It doesn't matter if you know them or not or how good friends you are. Leave a space. It seems that men in general just know this, but it must be a learned thing.

Today I was doing photos at an elementary school and I was using the facilities. I walked past six urinals and used the second last one. (I wanted some space between me and the wall). I was the only one at a line of eight urinals. A little kid walks in and goes to the very last urinal.

"Can I use this one?"

I thought to myself no, but I didn't want to bully a third grader. It seemed to me that there were plenty of spaces *NOT* right beside me but "Uh... Yeah I guess." Maybe I should have taught him a lesson that all boys need. Give people their privacy at the urinal.

Come to think of it I don't even like to use adjoining stalls if I can help it.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wedding Photos in Canmore

Last Saturday I went to Canmore to photograph a wedding with my sister Jackie. I drove up with my mom who was going to help babysit Ryker. It was the first long car trip I have taken alone with my mom. We had a really good visit and got to do a lot of talking. I really enjoyed the time I had to visit with her.

Jackie invited me to help with her wedding because she was a little nervous about doing it all by herself. She is very talented and I have seen some of the photos online already and they are great.

The wedding was very lovely. I enjoyed it a lot. It was a stroke of luck that I was there because I had shot a wedding there a year and a half ago and I know some really good places to take photos.

I've gone through my photos now and I am mailing a cd of them to Jackie in the morning.

On the way home we stopped in Lethbridge and stayed the night with Jeff and had a fun visit with him there. In the morning we went to lunch and came home to Medicine Hat.

Monday, I went to Bow Island to take school portraits at the elementary school. It went well and we were done by noon. Tuesday I went to St. Fransis Xavier elementary school here in Medicine Hat. I was a little slow, and so we went right to the wire taking pictures of the oldest kids and didn't have time to do the buddy pictures. Then that night we set up the equipment at my old high school. We had four stations shooting there. We were able to get over 1400 kids done in one day. I have to say that the kids at my old school seemed a little bit better behaved than the other three high schools that we had already done.

But the best news of the week happened on Monday when Tracie had a job interview at a nursing home here in Medicine Hat. I'll let her tell more about that though.

-Gary Milner

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Pope makes the Muslims mad

The Pope has made the worlds Muslims mad by saying that their teachings are inhuman and cruel. Now, amid burning churches and threats of further violence he is insulting their intellence by issueing what he thinks they in their ignorance will think is an apology. His apology is this: "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address. In a real apology he would have said "I'm sorry for what I said, and I take back what I said." Don't get me wrong, I'm on his side, but I know b.s. when I hear it.


Duane Chapman, known as "Dog theBounty Hunter" has been arrested for his 2002 capture of a fugitive in Mexico. This capture was the one that catapulted Chapman into national limelight because it was the premere criminal recovery capture in a long time. It was this capture that landed him a position on international television. He's in trouble for ruffeling Mexico's feathers but I have to say that I congratulate him for the capture. But I also say that so far he is just a bush league bounty hunter who hasn't captured anyone really tough yet. I call him a lilly livered coward who dosen't have it in him to capture a real target. Mad Dog, your not a man unless you capture Osama freakin Bin Laudin. When you do that, you wuss, then you can have my respect.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Prosthetic Legs Aplenty

I forgot to mention that while I was doing the portraits at that elementary school the other day, a little girl came limping up to me with her nametag.

I asked her if she had hurt her foot.

She said, "No, I have an artificial leg."


Sure enough, I could see rubber toes through the end of her sandals.

Then today at a highschool a kid came through with an artificial leg. It really surprised me becasue I wouldn't have thought I would have run into so many people with missing limbs.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Last Few Weeks

I've been up to a lot over the last few weeks. Over the labour day weekend, I went to Calgary to attend an minilypse. The night before, I set my alarm and then went to sleep. I forgot to actually turn the alarm on though and slept in for an hour and a half, so instead of being 15 minutes early I was an hour and 15 late. It was ok though because almost everyone else was an hour late too.

I had a reallly good time photographing the models, and talking with the other photographers about lots of different things. We had access to the cjsw radio booths and the ming on 17th ave for two of our shoots over the weekend. Everyone really enjoyed it. Now I have to wade through 600+ photos. It is going to take me a long time to deal with them all.

I've been doing a lot of school portraits. We've finished shooting two of the highschools and one of the elementary schools. Hardly anyone at the second school wanted to smile. They were much more difficult to work with than the first highschool. Friday, we were at the first elementary school of the year. I really enjoyed it a lot. It is much harder work with the elementary kids, but they almost always smile.

We have paper tags with the kids names and a little barcode on them that we scan as we take their photos so that we can keep track of all the photos. As one kid was giving me his tag, he said to me, "My name isn't really Wilson, it's Jim." I thought that he must have gotten someone else's tag by mistake and so I looked at it. It said, "Wilson, Jim". I said to the kid that the tag was obviously wrong if his name was Jim Wilson, because it did say Wilson, Jim and that he shouldn't worry because I would make sure that it was fixed in the comptuer. I really doesn't make sense to put you last name first and your first name last does it?

-Gary Milner

Friday, September 08, 2006

My Cousin Michael

I found out today that my cousin Michael died today. He was a couple of years younger than me, and it came as quite a surprise.

It has only been a few hours, and so there are no plans yet.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin Is Dead

The crocadile hunter was killed in a freak accident in Cairns. It appeared that he was killed by a sting-ray barb that went through his chest. He was swimming off the Low Isles at Port Douglas filming an underwater documentary when it occurred.

That's too bad.