Friday, December 25, 2009

Colin Powell's Principles Applied to Daily Life

This was posted as a link on my Facebook page by a friend of a friend.  It was someone I had worked with to someone I had worked with.  The poster was a supervisor like myself and she posted it to her supervisor.  They were manufacturing and I was maintenance, however, you can get something out of this no matter which ever side of the tracks you work. 

I had a discussion with someone I truly admire a few years back.  The discussion was by phone and we were taking about Colin Powell's speach to the U.N.  The Twin Towers had been hit and we (the US) were trying to show justice in needing sanctions against Irag and or purpose to go into Iraq.  General Powell had shown some slides of what appeared to be trucks which were covered.  He told the U.N. what was in the trucks.  WMD's.  My conversation was that I didn't have X-ray vision so I didn't know what was in these trucks.  I was against going into Iraq.  Since then we have learned that there was nothing in these trucks.

General Powell lives by his rules and I am glad but this is one time that he should have reconsidered.  Rules 3, 4 and 5 are possibly the most important rules one can follow today.  I believe any presidential leader today or in the near future would or will have a harder time in selling going to war with the logic that was presented back then.  People are questioning things more, but are they questioning things enough? 

If you read these rules or principles that General Powell expresses and apply them to the business you are in, or work for, you can see how they would or could apply.  I worked for the bankrupt company Delphi, well they have come out now with the help of the taxpayer and the federal governments strong arm men of the Treasury Dept.  I heard Obama's speaches about how "everyone" was going to have to suffer some in this economical climate.  And how he was going to protect the retiree.  What I didn't do was to follow rules 3,4 and 5.  I heard what I wanted to hear, the same way those that stood up in favor of invading Iraq because of WMD's did.  I forgot to question how few the number is in the word some.  The way I see it, out of a number close to maybe 200,000 GM/Delphi salaried and UAW/IUE-CWA retirees only about 20,000 or less have been put under the buss.  GM salaried and UAW retirees have lost nothing.  IUE-CWA members are now equal to the first two groups.  The Delphi salaried retirees lost promised health care, the lack of funding to their pensions and the pursuit of a comfortable life in retirement.

I'm not sure what I could have done to have changed the outcome of the situation.  Afterall, in both cases, both men made statements that they told untruths about.  Maybe they believed it in their hearts.  I know, circumstances beyond their control, that's always a good one.  Or better yet, they are products of their environments.  Yep, that's it.  They are politicians or are controlled by politicians thus they know not what they speak. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gold and Maze vs Scarlet and Gray (Go Buckeyes)

Something interesting at the Taj Ma Garaj museum was the mural which can be seen in the previous post.  There are many characters depicted in the windows and on the streets.  Two that caught my attention are posted here.  I will have to admit that one has been doctored by removing a sign he was holding.  It is Mr. Magoo.  By taking the sign out the rest tells the story of the what the Wolverines need at Michigan, the team from the north.

The other picture needs no comment.  He is legend and there aren't many in his ranks in college football.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Taj Ma Garaj Visit

I took over 116 photos at the museum.  Nice thing about digital, I lowered the number kept significantly.  These are some of the ones that I either really like or show what Porsche means to me.

It can be the design of the wheel hub on the Carrrera GT which is the same as the ring around the exhaust port except for color to the fact that Porsche has kept the style and shape since the 356.

My added feature, take a listen.

The thing about this place is its casualness.  John Dixon, the owner, uses the Porsche colors as themes and yet does whimsical things like the murals or the dropping of a VW through the roof.  By the way, blow the pictures of the murals up and look at who is in them.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A trip to a museum

This will be short.  Only two more days and I will be going to the Taj Ma Garaj Banquet and Museum.  I have wanted to go here for quite sometime.  Every year around the end of May John Dixon, the owner of this and a foreign car garage on So. Dixie, holds a Taj Kruze Fest.  There are Porsche (and other cars) car exibits held at the Fraze, autocrosses held in conjunction with the local SCCA, a 100 mile driving tour, the new mini grand prix as well as dinner dances.  All for local charity, The Childrens Hospital.

The Porsche is on my top One list of cars.  The Corvette is on my top Two list.  Do I own either, no, can't afford to.  On a side bar in this blog is a picture of my Porsche Wannabe, my '02 Miata SE.  I also have a Vibe.  Not sure but it may become a collector car one day.  :):):):):):);{)  Not in my life time.

I did own a Porche at one time.  It was a 1956 356A coupe that I bought from some kid in Centerville, OH.  In order to get it home I had to put a 2x4 under the drivers seat and balance on this board as I drove home, there was no floorboard, rusted out....gone.  Breaking and clutching weren't great while doing the rocking balancing act.  This didn't last long, looking down between my legs and seeing the asphalt go by so closely, because I couldn't keep the car running that well.  It died about 2 miles homeward bound.  Fortunately I took a friend along that was driving my truck and we towed it another 13 miles or so, right through Dayton.  No license on it, passing the local police in Kettering, Oakwood, Dayton and Englewood.  There's pictures of it in the blog too.  Not too good, taken with an Instamatic 126 or something like that.  Did get the car running absolutely flawlessly but not all the electric.  Sold it.

Now, retired and fending off the Delphi bankruptcy, a Porsche or Vette for that matter or pretty much out of the question.  But, I have my camera and I will travel to events where Porsches can be seen.  I'm hoping to do the P2O (Porsches 2 Oxford) in Oxford Ohio next summer.  You can google P2O and see some great shots of cars lining the streets of this little college town, home of the Miami University.

Not to be ignored, along with getting in with a donation to the Epilesy foundation, I will get a ticket to the local Packard Museum.  Another place few people know about.  Dayton has a very strong history in the auto industry.  This part of the mid-west has a tremendous history in the manufacturing of the automobile.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone

The setting of the two tables for the group of 10 that will share thanks for the past year and forward.

A very organized individual, my wife, has her way of keeping tabs of what has to happen all the way to the end, the serving of the meal.  She's a great lady.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bluebird House in a Mist

Today I played around with a few pictures that I took a couple of days ago.  We had a light fog as you can see in the background.  I have been working with the GIMP program and learning how to use layers.  In this one I also did a boarder thing. 

I like GIMP, but there are a lot of features to learn.  In time I am sure they will be more natural.  First thing was to learn how to get rid of what you had done that you didn't like and how to save what you felt was a good choice.

This is a Bluebird house on a fence line that a farm has put up many years ago.  It is cropped from a larger image that would include the woods and grass around a pond in the foreground.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Halos and the sun

Just some halo effects of the sun as it came from behind a cloud.  This was taken in RGB Standard color.  ISO was 100 with camera in full manual.  Partial metering witht the f-stop at F20 and shutter at 1/200.  The image became a b/w or sepia looking due to the intensity of the sun.  I believe it was taking at approx. 9:30 AM.  Using the program GIMP, I unmasked the picture, then sharpened it and then played around with lots of effects until I came upon the lens menu.  The bright spot on the lower left corner started in the upper left.  There is a couple of cross hairs that you move infinitely until you get what you want.  I had an earlier posting of the sun coming up with a bright white spot in the clouds, that one was not touched up. I still believe that it was a reflection of some sort as the sun had not crested the horizon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Morning Pictures and the Help of a Magazine.

Around 7:30 AM yesterday I saw the buzzard soaring for its breakfast.  I looked peaceful as it glided through the calm morning air.

My camera info for the shot is as follows:
Canon EOS Rebel Xti
Lense is a Tamaron 18-270 mm Di II set at 1/100 shutter speed, 6.3 aperture, Metering Mode is Evaluative Metering and an ISO of 100.  The focal length was 270, White Balance was set to Auto and AF Mode was A1 Focus.

The second picture is a little trickery I suppose.  From my angle and what was truly on the horizon there appears to be a body of water on the otherside of the tall tree in the foreground.  At first I thought I had picked up a fog hanging over I-675 which is below that line between the tree and the what appears to be a land line in the distance.  I actuality that is sky and the land line is a line of clouds.
Camera settings for this shot are as follows;
Same camera and lense.  1/50 shutter speed, 5.6 aperture, Metering Mode is Partial and Exposure Compensation is -1.  Focal Length is 184, ISO is 100 and the White Balance is set to Daylight and AF Mode was again in A1 Focus.

I picked up a great magazine on digital photography.  At least that is the section I got it from at the book store.  In reality it is more of a book.  Very few adds.  It's called the "The Ultimate Guide To Digital Photography" Fully Udated 3rd Edition.  It's actually a British magazine and I t hink it is great.  Easy to read and very informative, especially for a novice.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Signs Of The Season

     A farmers grain truck and wagon loaded with soy beans is ready to be driven away to market.
       The obvious weed line is the fence line to the Zink farm just east of our plat. 

       To me, farming is one if not the best careers a person can have.  It is also the toughest job you can have.

Sharing a rock

Couldn't pass this shot up.  A pair of ducks sharing the warm sun and a rock along with a snooze.  How does on balance on one leg and sleep at the same time?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What a Range For a Lense

I just love my new Tamaron lense.  The flexibility of range is great and the ease of use for the amature is great also. 

It has been written that you see shadows and blur at corners in certain conditions with the lense set at different focal lengths.  Again, for the amature, to me, this is not going to be an issue.  I don't set my subjects up with special lighting, at least not yet.  From what I have read, being mounted on a Canon EOS XTi is the best thing for this lense. 

I have here, two sets of pictures that have not been doctored except for the rock shot and that one was trimmed to get some of the water out of the picture.  All pictures were taken from inside the house, around noon and in some various modes, ie shutter or aperature priority.  The water tower is at least a mile and a half away as the crow flies.  The ducks are about 450 to 500 feet or a football field and a half away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Five Minutes of Recognition

This Thursday a congressional committee will get to hear from a former Delphi engineer about the plight of the salaried retirees from GM/Delphi.  I am one and this article really sums it up better than any other I have read or that I have tried to relay myself. 

Obama said that it was going to be tough, that there would have to be sacrifices made by all.  He was referring to the restructuring of the auto industry.

Well, I will totally disagree with him on that in part.  Yes there has been some sacrifiing but not on all fronts.  His hinchmen, as well as Bush's, have really stepped up to the plate.  You start with Paulson and George's give away of money without rules and you end with Barrack's favorite son Geithner writing new rules and defying the law.

Tell the lady in this article that she is going to make sacrifices that are equal to all that worked for these companies.  If you can do that and sleep at night then you don't have American blood running through your veins.

Equality, the UAW and IUE/CWA members got their top-up pension funds.  They got a reduced healthcare program.  I didn't say eliminated, I said reduced.  Some call it catistrophic, I call it healthcare.  They pay more upfront but their monthly premiums reflect it.  They went from about $25 a month for a premium to $125 approximately.  Yes, their out of pocket is double mine but if I didn't qualify for HCTC I would be paying $1600 premiums monthly.  I just started paying $320.  Sometime after Jan. 1 I get to find out what my pension will go to.  I'm currently get less than a third what the lady in the article gets and with fewer years of service.  My only advantage is I have 12 years on her.  It's a jump ball situation. 

GM was put into backruptcy by the government.  Delphi was in bankruptcy all by themselves way ahead of the economic melt down.  Both are out of bankruptcy now and Delphi is no long an American company in my books.  They have a ticker symbol on Wall Street but manufacture nothing here.  GM, they closed some plants, shut down dealerships and, are buying more tires from China thus shutting down an American tire supplier.  Obama said this would be a taxable offense if companies took or sent work outside the US.  Well, let's see, did GM get taxed for this procedure, hell no.  Obama is taxing China 35% import duties, wow!  He made them mad and we actually have people in congress saying that was too much.  He had the opportunity to go higher.

I understand that these issues are somewhat touchy but.....These same stone throwers argued that GM should have stood up to the unions years ago and took the strikes they were threatened with.  Why didn't they yell foul, tax 'em more instead of be careful, don't make them mad.  What are they going to do, sell our bonds, guit buying our currency, send us more toys polluted with chemicals?

I voted for Obama and the jury is still out as to whether that was a wise choice.  It wasn't his opponent that I voted against, it was the party.  Way too radical.  Heck, Cheney doesn't know he's out of office yet.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Sure signs of fall

I am really liking the new Tamaron lense.  It's got great zoom capabilities but it's the macro function that I really like.  I like the claraity, the crispness of the color.  I took these photos on a very cloudy day.  

I have here, a Maple tree in close, the flower of the Butterfly Bush, a Mum plant,  and a shrub that the name is in the drawer and I'm too lazy to get out.  I will tell you that the berries are green all summer and then turn purple in September.  They spiral around each branch or should I say they appear to because of the way they grow.  They are a favorite of the birds and when spring comes, they turn dark brown or black.  That indicates time to wack the plant.  March to April time frame. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Everyone should read this

This isn't a long disertation about Wall Street or the Insurance companies.  It is something that everyone should read.  There is no test to be taken but an understanding of the plight of America and the fighting that has been going on this year concerning our health care system should be understood.  Why did we, as the rest of the world did too, get in such a financial mess last year.  No, it didn't happen this year, it happened last year and before but the hard realities of the effects took place this year.

So, as Americans, we need to read.  We need to communicate with our government officials about our disgust in how THEY are doing their jobs.

A hint of what you will learn in this short article, Alabama has but one (1) insurance company in the state representing or covering the residents.  Now, in my book, that is a monopoly.  Do you think there are price controls going on?  Do you think the people of Alabama are getting the best deal for their buck?  What's going on in your state, do you know?  Do you care?  How much are you paying for insurance above and beyond the fair and equitable price for them, the insurer, to make a fair and equitable profit. 

Capitalism is about making all you can.  It isn't about being allowed to rip someone off to do so.

Read this, get involved, ask questions, ask your congressinal represtentatives.  Are they in bed with the insurance heads or the bankers on Wall Street?

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I guess I'm just cheap.  For the past two days or so, seems like 24 hrs. a day, I have been trying to figure out how to convert a VHS tape to DVD.  I have a VCR to play the tape, a DVD recorder to record something with and a Digital 8 Handycam from Sony.  I have tried to put the VHS straight thru to the DVD, no luck.  I have tried to record from the VCR to the Sony Camcorder with the same luck.  A neighbor gave me a little black box with cable ports in one end and a USB + the disc to load and the computer sees the "new hardware but then it doesn't recognize the command to copy.  That should bring up another window to let me specify the camera.  Seems like all I do is go round and round.  I don't want to buy any thing because all I have is one tape to record.  It was made by Click Camera of about 20 8mm reels of film.  You know the ones, anyone want to look at family movies?

I'm going to give it a try some more and then break down and take it in to Click if I can't get it.  Very frustrating.  My office looks like some sort of electronic geeks place.  Two computers going, monitors, printers VCR and DVD players and recorders as well as still and video cameras sitting around.  Cables hanging everywhere.  Driving me nuts.

Hello, Click?

Friday, October 9, 2009

What I Like About My New Tamaron Lens

These two pictures were taken from the same spot with my new Tamaron lense. Picture info is as follows; Shutter Speed = 1/60, Aperture = 4.0 for the upper one and 6.3 for the lower one. ISO is 400 for both as well as the White Balance is set to Auto. The Focal Length for the upper one is 18mm and 270 for the lower picture.
I like the clarity of both as well as the color in both. I really like this lense and can hardly wait until I can go to some car shows next year and use it.

Digital Cameras and Digital Photos

When it comes to photography, especially digital, I am no expert. The only part that I am an expert in is how dumb I am or can be.

I started my picture taking with some sort of Instamatic with the rotating cube for a flash. I may have even used a Brownie at one time or another but it didn't belong to my family. The Instamatics were like a 35mm film camera except you put your film cartridge in as a unit. You could see the progression of frames in a little window in the back lid that opened for the loading. These cameras progressed to built in flashes so the cubes went to wayside.

My dad went to England on a TDY mission (Temporary Duty Yonder) for those that aren't military, and brought back with him two Petri 7 English 35mm cameras. One for himself and one for my brother who was showing interest in photography. My brother actually got pretty good. He set up his camera for night shots and took the cars going by our house at night. He even got into taking pictures, not with this camera, in one of those small hobby rocket kits. It launched and when out of fuel it would start to fall to earth where a parachute would deploy and the jerk would pull a lever and a camera in the nose would work. He also sent a mouse up once. It lived but if my memory serves me correctly, it got away. I've never seen a mouse run that fast.

Well, somehow I ended up with one of the Petri's. I believe it was my brothers. He ended up in the middle east after college so I just kind of took it over. The first time I used it I took it to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car track west of Lexington, OH. I had never been there and had never taken pictures of moving cars. A school buddy of mine owned a Fiat 124 Spyder invited me to go. SCCA races the old Camel GT and Can Am series were running there.

There weren't' any attachments, at least that we had, at the time for the camera. Mid-Ohio is over 2.25 miles plus long and you can see most of the track from the infield. There was a decreasing radius turn that was difficult to get to but there was plenty more track to see. The problem would be the distance for the lens. Still, I got some pretty good if not amazing shots for such a rookie. For economics, most of my pictures were on slides. You only paid for the processing of the film, not putting the picture on paper. You could really get low numbers in your ISO film. I think mine was 64 and yet you could still get good action photos. It's been 38 years since the first ones were taken. Long forgotten and poor storage left the 38 year old pictures rendered useless. The film deteriorated to where they turned black. I had pictures of Jackie Stewart, George Fullmer and Mark Donahue (deceased).
His son David just won the Le Mans this past summer. I had some, what I would call, really good pictures of the Porsche 917 in action. Possibly the fastest track car ever. Totally unlimited of restrictions like today.

I moved up from the Petri 7 to a Canon AE-1 that my brother brought home with him in 1980. He got it in Egypt of some other middle eastern country while stationed there.

I used this camera until my daughter went to college. I had gotten a telephoto lens and a multiplier lens for it as well as a bounce flash. In her second year of college she needed a camera for class. She was a graphic design major. I gave her my camera and for that I got a total surprise, my wife bought me a Canon Rebel Xti. I couldn't believe the weight difference. I added a telephoto macro lens and a flash to this one also. My daughter got me a filter, which I knew nothing about, but she was a good student and helped me. She still has the AE-1 but I do not have the Rebel or any other part of it.

About a year and a half ago I went to a local camera shop and bought the digital version of my Rebel. 10 mega pixels, I waited for this camera to come out. The reason, I was able to use my film lenses on this camera so I kept my costs down. Everything transferred that I needed. This camera however has a built in flash. That is convenient but I like the bounce better. More control. Yea, this camera also has a hot shoe so either one can be used.

This past summer I went to Mid-Ohio again. This time with the digital and all the gear. Lug, lug. Camera bag, two lenses, mono pod, umbrella (it rained off and on), food and drink because the car can be a long ways off. Great time but I'm an amateur, not a track photographer with the vest and three cameras banging together to take shots.

A couple of weeks ago one of the local camera shops had a three day sale, with vendors on site. I had just read about an all in one lens that covered my two lenses plus some. I took my camera and lenses to do the comparo thing. Yea for me. I thought about the Canon lens but wound up getting the new Tamaron 18.0- 270mm In film it equates to an 18mm /410mm. It is a macro so I can take pictures as close as 19" from the center of the camera body to the object. It even has a anti shake for the semi long hand held exposures. You can turn this on or off, heck, mine is always on. I'm older, I have to do the breath and hold, or in my case let it out, to steady myself more today that in days past. I really love this lens. I am just getting use to it and it has made me do more reading and experimenting with my camera than ever before. I now want to learn my camera. I have been looking for places to actually take some courses in photography. I may even join a photo club.

I will post some shots on this site starting today. What is real interesting with digital is that you can edit what you took if it didnt' come out the way you wanted it to or you want to make some changes. You can enhance to picture to the way you thought you saw it. Here, I need to acknowledge my son-in-law. He's an industrial designer and graphic designer with a world of talent. He sat down with me while visiting one day and showed me shortcuts and how to's in 30 minutes that have been so much help. I'll bend his ear again and show him some stuff and let him advance me some more.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Delphi, GM, Out of Bankruptcy

I guess it's official, Delphi, my former employer, is out of bankruptcy. Four years.

They really went into their final approach this past February when they asked the courts to let them cancel the health care and life insurance of their salaried workers. We, I'm one of them, received a Fed-Ex package almost to the day of their IPO status of 2/5/99. We were given 30 days to make life changing decisions, to find alternate plans and policies for our health care, life insurance and extended care coverage. Those of us that had pre-existing conditions had no choice. Pay the full bill, which there are many who already pay these high fees but we weren't use to this. Some would never have life insurance again, pre-existing conditions make this financially impossible to have. We were never asked to pay more if needed, the bill just went up. But to go up almost 1500% in your budget, in one month, was very hard to handle. We were promised, in a handshake agreement, that we would have these benefits until we reached 65 when medicare kicks in.

We were told we would have supplemental pension monies until we turned 62 and then you would file for social security. On July 31 Delphi and the PBGC decided that the pension should be in the hands of the PBGC which means those not old enough to draw SS were going to loose even more, maybe as much as 50% of their income. Someone that was anywhere from 55 to 62 was going to have a problem. Most of those that were in the youngest group were not ready to retire. They were forced out and hadn't found work yet. This is the economy from hell. They could possibly have kids in college, mortgages, trying to find healthcare, etc.

Well, those that were in charge fared very well with their special retirement packages. They were charged with crimes but got off with slaps on the wrist. They have large homes which are in their wives names. They have even had the nerve to ask the courts to have Delphi pay for their legal fees. They requested approximately 10 million dollars in aid.

Now Delphi is out of bankruptcy, most likely with the help of taxpayer monies through GM. Now, we have an American company with no manufacturing plants in the United States. They will be supplying GM with parts for the cars that are made stateside and off shore. Unfortunately, more and more of the GM brands are being made off shore. Unfortunately GM has even helped some of our tire companies close or have lay-offs this year because they have chosen to buy foreign (Chinese) tires to put on their automobiles. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer.

If you want to know who or what Delphi is, google Delco Products. Home of the first shock absorber. Founded in Dayton, OH. This was their name before being split off from GM. They were also Harrison Radiator, the maker of the automobile air conditioner. Inland, two locations in the Dayton area, made the interiors and safety devices for GM. Delco Moraine supplied the brakes. Fractional electric motors as well as electromotive motors for the railroad trains were made in Kettering, OH, another Dayton suburb. Other suspension parts came from Michigan and the list goes on and on. Delco was a big part of GM.

Must appologize

Wow, I didn't remember to update the posting of the project. I'm not going to put the picture up because, well no one has posted a question as to what it is. Just in case someone does read this and wants to know, it was a tote designed as a tool box. The board with the hole in it is the top board and the hole is nothing more than a finger hole for pulling it out to get to the items in the bottom part. The pieces that look like the end of a house are the ends of the box. Two pieces look similar are the sides and then the odd large piece is the bottom. I cut a hole in the ends and put a 3/4" dowel rod in for a handle.

If I still have a picture or get in the mood I will put a posting of the finished product up.

Also, just for info, two people got close in guessing and one actually called it a tool box.

Purpose, to be able to put a few tools and helpful parts in it for working around the house. I have tools in the basement and in the garage but I hate to have to walk to get the most common thing that I should have with me but my hands were too full to carry everything.

No excuses now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Newest hint

One of the look alike parts that doesn't really match and the hole is not the problem. I have had CD/DVD holder a bird house and an rc flight box mentioned. The closest thing is the word hobby but it isn't a hobby in particular.

The flight box was mentioned twice, once by my daughter and once by super pilot Gene. If he was in a NASCAR race he would have done just fine, turn left. Maybe I should have given him a new nick name......Turn Left or TL for short. I gave my son-in-law a nick name once....sparky. That's another story. He's a good kid so we will leave it there.

New guesses needed.

Responses to the project

Well, I have had only two responses to the question of "what is it" on my project. My daughter and my friend Gene's wife. The first was a bird house and the second was an addition to my above ground square foot gardening project. The answer to both is, no.

I gave hints on FaceBook but probably only the daughter will have any luck with them. The first is; I had two of these. The second is one of them was useful in my hobby of radio control flying.

Gene had a plane, never got it off the ground, but the point is he would have needed one if he really got into the flying thing. He flew my plane one time. When you fly at a designated field you are suppose to stay out in front of the pit area over the field. Gene likes to use all the air space he can so instead of flying left to right and back or up and down in elevation changes, he used the 360 degree method. You stand still and turn and turn and turn and turn until the plane is again back over the field. He did real good for his first time.

Well, getting back to the project I will say this as another hint. There are 6 larger pieces in the photo. Of these, two are very similar. Of the remaining four, they are similar but only two are exact which leaves two that there is some sort of difference. Of these two I made an alteration yesterday when I was sanding and assembling it. Also, one of these pieces, the one altered, incorporates the four real small look alike pieces. One last thing, I still need to purchase one very critical part.

Maybe a picture will show up tomorrow as another hint.

Only two guesses tells me I'm really watched, lol.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Project

I have a new project in the works and I am going to show it here but I can't reveal what it is. I have a neighbor that slipped into my garage and when he spotted it he knew exactly what it is. I have posted this picture on Facebook with the same question, what is it. I will put some more pictures up as I go but to me I can't put too many up because it isn't that complicated. I can give hints but not at the present time. Tomorrow I will start the coloring process, then the gluing and anchoring of the parts will come into play.

A joke about healthcare and the insurance companies

This isn't about me but about the fallacy in what health care pays.

Last February I was informed by my former employer that my former promised coverage of health care would be dropped and I would have to find new coverage or pay for the same coverage through them with full payment. Well, having pre-existing conditions took out the option of finding my own so I had to elect to do the "self-pay" plan. This would make my costs go from $143 a month to $1495 a month in just thirty days. I had no choice and was somewhat nervous because things had to fall into place or I could be out on a limb and the saw would be cutting behind me. I have a pacemaker and I knew I was due a new one because the battery were running down. No plug in hybrid here. No recharge.

In March, about one week before the insurance needed to transfer to solely me, I got the pacemaker. This, as you can imagine, set me up in the 'you met your quota or you're payed out' for the year situation.

Now we will get to what this is all about. Had I had to change insurance companies I would have been turned down by all. Too many pre-existing conditions, heart, cancer et, al. Under the law of Ohio I do believe I could get insurance but the insurance company is totally protected in that they can charge you somewhere north of $3000 or $4000 a month. Another fluke to insurance companies is that if I did not have these conditions and I developed some sort of condition afterwards, there is a clause that lets them drop you like a hot potato(e), your choice on spelling. If they don't drop you and you contract something like cancer, it is up to them as to what drug you can take or not have access to. All this is a cost savings effort on their part to make the insurance cost effective. Or you can say it is a way to not payout funds that would cut into the profits. After all, they are in the business of gambling on your health and they have the guns to roll the dice as needed.

Well, they just showed me that all they say about watching the costs and the fighting with hospitals is really a big fat hoax. I just received a EBO showing what has been paid and there was an entry for $72. At first I ignored it because I didn't owe anything. I had been to see a doctor at Kettering Medical Center recently but I had never seen this before. Curiosity always gets the cat. The better half of this couple called to get an answer from the doctor and ended up calling the hospital. Come to find out the insurance company is willing to pay for my use of the doctors office because it helps the hospital. I have seen this doctor maybe four or five times before this and this bill has never been there. At the end of this visit he asks us if we would like to see him at a satellite office. We said yes because it is about 2 miles vs. 10 miles and much easier to get into. We think he knew about the bill but didn't say anything.

We were never informed of this potential bill by the hospital or the doctor. In talking to a neighbor we find that this is a standard practice that has been going on. I can't say whether I would pay to protect my credit or that I would tell them to find the turnip and get the blood from it. This hospital is building a new wing (huge) and since it is named after an individual I would assume that the costs are covered somehow. Maybe the office charge is for the increased parking areas required but to charge me fees to walk into a facility, sit in a waiting room and then leave fifteen minutes later is not acceptable. If I have to see a doctor in a medical facility in the future I will be asking if there is a charge to me for this 'privilege'. I am now wondering what the doctor has to pay for this office space.

Next time you go to the doctor in a hospital, ask the question, is there a seperate charge for the use of this office to me. Always get an itemized statement from a hospital if you need to use one and look it over. Question everything that you don't understand. It takes time but you can possibly save money you owe this way. They will cut deals if needed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just fooling around with Adobe software.

This is several shots taken at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH on Aug. 8th. Some were taken during the rain in practice and others were taken during the race when it dried out. I believe there are 6 pictures here. I have downloaded the Adobe Illustrator 7.0 trial version to see if I like it. So far, for the money, it isn't all that bad. I have another program that I really like but it doesn't work with Vista 64 yet. Anyway, I was just playing around and did this. I like it. Don't ask me to point out the individual pics.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Love Digital and Old Posts Missed

I found this in my drafts. I had forgotten that I had started it and hadn't paid attention to the blog that it didn't show up. Of course this was started before my most recent posting about my lens addition.

I also found a draft on my project that I just appologized about as well as another one I had started. All gone now.

This is what happens when you retire, too many projects get started and yet this isn't like me.

I have started playing around with the digital power of my Canon Rebel XTi. It started a little over a month ago when my son-in-law helped me with some photos I had taken. Since then I have improved my clarity and hopefully my compisition. I just decided to take some shots of my car in the garage in the dark. Well, mostly dark. I had a small flourescent desk lamp on behind me. I originally took 120 shots. I used a tripod sense a lot of the times would be impossible for me to hold still long enough. The car is a 2002 Miata MX 5 SE. It is titanium in color with a saddle interior. I have pretty much the standard headlamps of the time and the instrument lighting is red. There is a silver metal flake in the paint.

This is my desktop for now.

I see black light effect.

No, I don't have racing lights but the effect I did is neat.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Get in Trouble and Get Away With It

I just have to write something about the girls crossing a countries sovereign borders on a personal mission (sponsored by a former VP of the US) and then the news media covering their release like they are somebody. They were in the wrong and the media is in the wrong for making a big issue of their return. Cameras over the Clinton private jet sitting at the gate. Luggage being unloaded. Many people going in and out, carrying lots of bags. Then the family going in to see the ladies.

Did I watch this, no, I got a little help from the wife or I could hear it and I did see a little while passing from the coffee pot to the computer. If this warrants coverage and a lot of money for it then why is there hunger in the world. How many people could be fed if these dollars were spent more wisely.

If they, the media, want to cover this then do an in depth on how they got there and why. Remember, Lisa Lings sister is one of them and she admitted to Lisa that they didn't cross unknowingly of where the border was. More importantly, why were they there and who sent them? Who is paying for their release? Did Clinton pay the cost of the flight to North Korea? How about all the staff that went along. Yea, I would get Clinton on board like Gore did, especially if I had anything to do with them being there.

Why are these two individuals anymore important than the hikers that were caught in Iran? Who in the hell takes a hiking trip over there anyways. Vacation my ass. How about those that are in Mexican jails for whatever reason. Guilty or not, looks like it doesn't matter since these girls have admitted guilt. Is it really who you know that gets you help when you need it?

I guess we could get Bill to start traveling the world getting people out of trouble. Give him a mission in life.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The GM/Delphi Saga will never end.

Just watched a story about a man that was asked to leave and sever all ties with GM as a buyout offer. In doing so he was to get a severance payment of $140,000 before taxes. He was to collect NO unemployment, sub pay or anything else. Since then, 10 MONTHS ago he has received nothing and GM filed for bankruptcy. Because he was in the IUE-CWA union vs. the UAW he is now part of the "Bad GM". He has absolutely nothing. Watch this.

This is because GM did their usual and did not own up to their responsibility. This is because a judge did not look beyond the three piece suits in front of his court. This is because OUR banking system, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros. et al decided profit was more important than honesty. This is because OUR government looked the other way.

So sad.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Changing colors with digital effect power

These are basically the same photos. There are some differences but the main difference is in the color that was picked up by the camera. In the first picture the data is as follows; f-5.6, exposure time is 1/15, ISO is 100 and the focal length is 80mm. The biggest change will be the white balance, here it is set for the shade mode. I used this to try to emulate the fact that the sun was going down and everything was in almost at dusk point in time. It was 8:14 PM and the sun actually set about 9 now. With the clouds the timing is closer to the 9 o'clock look with a clear sky.
The second picture has the f-stop at 3.5, exposure time at 1/125, ISO is 100 again and the focal length is 28mm. Here, the white balance is set at tungsten mode. It is suppose to be sensing the presence of artificial lighting from a regular light bulb. I used this setting because the sky looked more like it was being artificially lite. The result was the more blue effect than the redness in the first picture.
Can I explain all this, heck no, I'm just learning but I am trying different things just like Tony did when he started with his pocket camera.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More photos with some time exposure effects

The lense used for these pictures is a Canon 28-80mm EF zoom lense that was on my Rebel 35mm camera. It has a 1:3.5 -5.6 f-stop. It has a UV Promaster filter attached also.

Starting at the top, I have three pictures taken within three minutes of each other. The first one is 8:16 PM and the other two are at 8:19 PM. The significance here is that you can change the appearance of the time of day with your camera.

Data for the first picture is f/3.5 with the exposure time of 1/125, an ISO of 100 and the focal length of 28mm. You can see the dots of the headlights of a car coming down the street when you make the image larger. For the second picture the data has changed a bit. F-stop is now 29 and the exposure time is 4 seconds with the ISO staying the same but the focal length went to 53mm. Time was 3 minutes after the first photo but you can see there is more lighting in the picture. You can easily see the concrete trough for rain run-off from the curb to the pond that is out back. The cars headlights are now showing the motion of the vehicle. Obviously, this is another vehicle because of the time lapse. Notice too that they sky has lost its distinction, the clouds are washing out due to the fact that there is too much light in this area.

In the last picture there are some changes in the camera settings on two fronts. The f-stop is now 32 while the exposure time has jumped to 20 seconds. All else is the same as the last picture. The first thing to notice is that there appears to be no sky, just light above the trees. The headlights are from the same vehicle as the last image since the time is the same, quick rotation of the dial to change the exposure time. Also, you can now see the area leading into the pond. You can see the deck on the back of the house in the distance as well as a street sign and fire hydrant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Learning about digital photography

I have had a digital camera for about eight years, however, I have only had one that my old Canon film camera could do for about two years. Now, I am trying to really discover all the ins and outs of the digital world.

I have a niece whose husband played around with a really small digital camera until he got to where he felt comfortable enough to start entering photo contests. Tony took soooooo many pictures of their cats and closeups of flowers that it got almost boring. You could see though that he was learning and improving. I would email him and ask questions and the bottom line, even though he never said it was, practice. There's no cost because there is no film. Take, delete and take again. Tony did this and he won some contests. The big one is that it got him a job on their local newspaper. He was retired from the Air Force and wanted to do something that he liked. This was right up his alley. I go to their website every now and then and look at his work.

Well, now I am going to start practicing. On this adventure I am just going to point out how you can capture time and movement with still imaging. These two pictures were take two minutes apart with different shutter 8 sec and 2 sec times and f-stops f-16 and f-7.1 respectively. Focal lengths are the same, 80mm and the ISO setting is the same, 100. You can see the rain in the distance is moving to the right, in this case it would be to the east. The rain is to the left of the tall tree.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New project

I have more in the paint then the item painted. We have two 15" square tables for the deck and for some reason they started to rust. I figured I could sand them and paint them with Rust-o-leum to make them last longer and to freshen them up at the same time.

Wasn't too hard. Took the feet off, had to use a wood chisel to get them started and then a pair of channel-locks to rock them back and forth but they came out. Next was to take the glass tops out. The tops are held in with no less then 8 rubberized keepers. I discovered that they were somewhat ply able so that if I put a screw driver in between the keepers and the inside of the sides I could lightly pry and they would bend and pop out. I only had one that broke the tabs off that held it in place on the glass end. Remember, there were 8 keepers. One in each corner and one on each side and thus they are less then 8" apart. Over kill. Bottom line with this work, no masking.
I sanded with rough grit, about 160 and then migrated to about 200 grit. I washed the loose dirt and grit off and used a wire brush on my dermal tool to get to bare metal in only two places. Rust-o-leum advertises that it can be painted over rust but I have never truly had real luck with this procedure. Better safe than sorry.

We bought the new paint that has been advertised that you can spray in any direction. I had many directions to paint and I knew from experience, once you start with a fresh can you are good for a bit upside down but not for long. Instead of using a button to push on it also has a trigger and there is no sore finger for the length of time used and much easier to control the bursts needed to get it right.

I set the tables up on four pieces of scrap wood in the yard and painted away. Grass is a little discolored but that will go away on the next mowing.

Popped the feet back in the next day and reinstalled the glass. Look new and are now curing on the deck in the sun.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Draw your own opinion but.......

Draw your own opinion on this video but really think about it before you make a harsh decision that the guy is a looney tune. It is nothing more than what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cold day in hell for the auto industry

This isn't all about GM going down and thousands of individuals and other smaller companies loosing out. If so, the courts, the Obama administration, et. al. would be looking at the thousands of individuals, union or non-union that are going to suffer from within the company. I don't have the ability to have the exact number but these political heads could give you one, real or fictional, if they wanted to.

Before GM spun off Delco Products to become Delphi, a company just about as old as GM and made up of some of GM's founding fathers, they (GM) had retirees that retired under the GM umbrella. They retired as Delco Products employees, a Division of GM. They were from that other union, the IUE, the one that everyone forgot but is the one that gave up more concessions than any other union in GM's history. Now GM is saying that they don't have an agreement with the IUE/CWA because they don't have any active working members. Well, just how stupid do they think people are. I didn't work there but it was in my community, the GM truck plant in Moraine, OH. Closed in December of 2008 and was the last active IUE covered plant. Note here, the CWA part merged in with the IUE after the IPO of Delphi.. The truck plant received award after award and GM even spent huge sums of money putting in the latest and greatest paint facility. GM closed it for a UAW facility. One that did not have all the credentials, just THE union of choice backing it. You see, there has always been a war of unions in the GM family and the prevailing God Father is the UAW. The ironic thing here is that the hourly members of Delphi, the IUE/CWA union members were taken BACK into GM. I'm sure that the membership as a whole had no idea as to what their next fate was. GM and the UAW reached a VEBA agreement and the IUE/CWA was left out in the cold. GM accomplished what appears to have been the plan in the beginning, to divest itself of the unions. UAW healthcare is now covered by a VEBA plan and the IUE/CWA doesn't exist in their minds. The only thing left is the IUE/CWA pensions being left underfunded and then not funded and then voluntary move to the PBGC like the salaried retirees are getting from Delphi.

If there is truly five year business plans in corporations then one only needs to be in touch with what happened at Delphi starting in 1999. To know and understand how the equipment was being brought in for the next generation of automobile. Seven or eight pieces of equipment would make approximately 1,800 parts in a shift, replacing on piece of equipment that would make up to 5,000 pieces in a shift. Difference besides the obvious, you could pick the seven or eight pieces up and put each one in the back of a heavy duty pickup truck and send them across the boarder. The shock equipment that was in the Woodman Dr., Kettering, OH plant is in Mexico today. The equipment that made struts is still there in plant 14 but is now owned by Tenneco. GM, on all fronts, looks as if it was divesting itself of Delco by forming Delphi but yet they held on to them with buying leverage and other means to the point that they got what they wanted or will get what they want if the courts have their way. GM will be union free so to speak, divested of a company that they only wanted part of and the biggest "legacy" costs to human beings. These aren't stock holder being screwed, they are the real equipment of these corporations. They have blood and sweat running in and out of them instead of electricity and hydraulic fluid. They aren't made of steel but of flesh. They don't breakdown and get repaired with the twist of a wrench or a screw driver, no they get cancer from working around the chemicals that they aren't told about until OSHA or some other form of government warns them. They suffered when the temperatures reach levels over 100 degrees plus day after day in the summer and sometimes year round. They have lost fingers, hands, eyesight and hearing because safety wasn't number one for so many years. And yet, they are looked upon with envy one minute and thrown out as disposable assets the next. No obligation. You got paid. We're keeping our perks. Sorry about your losses.

The non-union parts of Delphi and GM are the salaried individuals. The union parts are of course the IUE/CWA members. GM, the courts, the government all say sorry for your luck or I am here to help protect your rights. The courts say sorry for your luck, the company had a contractual agreement with the union, YOU are nothing more than a "moral obligation". The courts can't make GM or Delphi have morals. There was a time when a handshake was a contract, that's what the salaried people had, a handshake. They would be given dream sheets annually that would show what they received in salary compensation, vacation time, holiday time, their healthcare package and a scenario of what their pension would look like if they continued to put into their 401k along with their GM/Delphi sponsored pension amounts. Now, with the help of the courts, the salaried scum do not have their healthcare and in some cases of this very large entity, GM/Delphi, may loose part of their pension to the PBGC. Let me say here that not all are in this boat. There is language, very similar to the masses of salaried individuals, that gives upper executives everything for life. After making millions a year, they loose nothing. Some of the execs that lead Delphi down the path of failure but really promoted the IPO and the quality of the company as a whole, are even asking the courts to have Delphi pay nearly $10,000,000 for THEIR legal fees. The way it looks is that GM will pay it with the taxpayer help. I was salaried and I had to sign permits for parts of the plant or a piece of equipment was tested for safeness to enter. IF, for some reason the meter was reading wrong and something happened and one of the employees had an accident I was told that I could be sued by him or his family and that I was on my own. I lost many sleepless nights over this worrying. that I could loose everything I worked for.

I agree with this paragraph from the article A Step Closer To Exiting Bankruptcy "That arrogance was a big factor in GMs long slide into bankruptcy. It's also a problem the executives have been working to break down for years. CEO Fritz Henderson knows the change has to continue. GM must become more nimble, responsive to customers, and its leaders must be willing to admit they don't have all the answers." As a former GM-Delco-Delphi salaried employee I have heard these same words time and time again. It is only the last thirteen words that are new. Bringing the Springhill, TN Saturn plant on was a big thing at that time. The union had fought for the right to stop the line to fix a problem in the assembly process. That is why the Saturn was such a dependable vehicle and they could show commercials of taking care of a customer in Alaska where there was no dealership. It gave you the idea that you would be treated like a Rolls-Royce customer.There is the story that a customer tried to think RR for fixing a problem during the night and RR responded that they had never had a problem. He must have been mistaken. I'm not sure what Mr. Henderson means by nimble, do we go back to Iacocca's days and bring a platform to market in months instead of years? Responsive to customers, well they still have the Buick of the older generation and I must say that I am glad they don't have a Cube in their arsenal. The question about the word responsive is, who wanted the SUV's, the public or the manufacturers. VERY profitable on the one side and American big on the other. I remember the noise when they did away with rear wheel drive. After all, rear wheel drive, big motors and huge tanks is as American as you can get.

Bottom line, I can't feel for GM, or any of the other corporations that treat their employees like they were never there unless they made the big bucks. I put 22 years in, all but 2 were with GM, until my heart gave out. Too many hours, twelve plus a day on the floor in the heat and noise? In one year alone the only days I got off were my vacation days and those worked averaged over ten a day. I had a couple of twenty-four hour days to get particular pieces of equipment back up and running. The thanks I got was a letter on Feb. 5th of this year stating that Delphi was filing to dump my healthcare. I was never asked if I would pay more of the monthly fee. I went from $143 a month to $1495 a month and the loss of life insurance as well in the blink of an eye or thirty days, which ever comes first. I also do not trust any politician after this year. There is NO protecting of our pensions going on. The good 'ol boys network will get what they want. After being treated like we, the former GM/Delphi retirees have been treated one tends to start getting involved, or at least should, and discovering things they wish they hadn't. Start with names like Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin, John Thain, Robert Steele, Joshua Bolten, Mark Patteson, Ed Liddy, Jim Cramer, Harry B. Wilson and see what they have in common. I'll give you a hint, Goldman Sachs. The last one is the governments lead counsel in the GM bankruptcy case. There will be an IPO for the NEW GM, will Goldman Sachs get to sell it? Will all those unfortunate retirees get anything for their years of service? Someone is going to make money and it won't be the little forgotten true heroes of the corporate world. It will again be the brotherhood of the corporate world.

Matt Taibii's article in Mad Magazine or you can find it on the net in pdf form should be read by all.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Car not sold and projects done.

Well, it's been two months and I haven't sold or even put the Miata up on the market. Partly because I don't want to and partly because I don't need to. I haven't forced myself to take any pictures thus I wouldn't have a reason to post them on some car list. I'm not sure I want to try in this market, I would hate to have to field phone calls of nosey potential buyers that don't really have any intentions of buying it. The car is super clean and after talking with my son-in-law, there may be a point in time that I might paint the intake manifold on it. There is a way to polish it that I found on a forum and it looks real good but it is very time consuming to get it right. Greg's way is much more simple and will look just as good. Before the newer engine designs painted valve covers were the thing to have with the manufacturers name proudly in place. Today the name is there in many cases but it is on a piece of plastic covering the engine. Looks good but.....

I haven't been totally lazy during this time. I get a magazine called The Family Handyman. In it you will find a section called Helpful Hints. They invite you to turn in your ideas along with pictures. If they use the idea you will get $100 and if they include or just use the picture there is another $100 in it for you. You go through life and do things that help take time out of a task. You never think about it, you just do it. I have been having trouble with my paper towel holder in the garage. Large full rolls just don't want to start easily in the beginning or the holder breaks from trying to force it to work. Lets face it, you don't put a lot of money in a towel holder for the garage but you do want it to work. Well, I got really tired of it so I took a few minutes and thought about my delima. I decided I would build my own. Three sides fixed together with a dowel rod through the two opposing sides for the roll. As I started the project I was contemplating the size of the rod, do I need an inch or an inch and a quarter diameter hole in the sides. I needed to make it the size of holesaw I already had, you rarely use holesaws so I didn't want to have to buy one. Next I started thinking as to how I was going to keep the rod from working its was out from either end. I don't have a lathe to turn the rod down to some deminsion to keep it from working it's way out of the sides so I decided the rod wasn't such a good idea. Next was to just do a drop in bar that would be notched like a lincoln log. I would give it enough clearance so that when changing rolls it wouldn't be cumbersum. You just want to pick the bar up swap the empty for a full roll and drop it back on without even having to look. Simple is good. A lazy man is said to be the best at finding the simplest way to do things. I'm somewhat lazy by nature. I have included my quickly taken pictures and the sketch that anyone can use. Thirty minutes without the painting.

Well, after building it and painting it, I took some pictures as well as made a drawing in Windows Paint and sent them into The Family Handyman. I don't really expect to get anything but it was fun doing it. I have made another one since then, somewhat as a joke. I showed a neighbor what I had done, we do some projects together, his basement, his yard sprinkler system and some of his house wiring when it was being built. I told him I could make him one, I had plenty of scrap wood and he said, only if you paint it Bemmer Blue and then he pointed to the blue on my garage wall on the side of a Porsche. Somewhere in this blog you will find the airbrushing I did in my garage and you will see the Porsche he is talking about. Anyways, I just so happen to have that paint still so I took 30 minutes out of my very busy day (lol) and made him a blue towel holder. I gave it to his wife and told her to just set it in his garage and not say anything. He has a ton of STUFF in his garage and only he knows where everything is. Believe me, he does know where everything is but the question is, will he notice something new? If I asked him where is new towel holder was could he find it? If he didn't put it there, wherever there is, he probably couldn't find it. I know that so far he hasn't seen it. It has been in the garage for about 7 hours and he and his wife left for whatever about two hours ago. We were on the deck and he honked and waved. Had he seen it, he would have called. I even included a first roll for him. All he has to do is mount it to the wall.

Enjoy, Chris.