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.