PCC career tech


The walls were filled with posters that you’d see in a 1970s record shop. You know what I mean, the one with Jimi Hendrix and his guitar in black and red ink.

But this wasn’t the ’70s and it wasn’t a record shop. It was the inside of the Pasadena City College screen arts and printing lab.

As students worked the silk screening equipment, Professor Kris Pilon, of the engineering and technology division, explained the illusion of four-color art using a two-color screening process.

“(Students) learn exactly how to do it,” she said, adjusting the print of a student-designed poster on the table. Pilon explained that printing is still a vibrant art — and can be a lucrative business as well. And that was the point of the first ever Career and Technical Education Day Tuesday at PCC.

“Students today want to know not only how to do things, but how much money can I make doing it,” said President Paulette J. Perfumo. “They want to know how much bling they’ll make,” she told me and Larry Wilson, our public editor, during a campus visit Tuesday.

Pilon said silk screening can be done on more than just paper and T-shirts. “We can print on any surface, on glass, on textiles, on wood … even those temporary tatoos they give away at Dodger games are screen-printed products.”

About 800 students from high schools in Arcadia, Temple City, El Monte, Pasadena, Alhambra, San Gabriel and San Marino visited the campus to get a first-hand look of PCC’s vocational arts side.
We also visited the industrial arts/auto mechanics shop where students learn to work on cars and trucks for a living.

I left the campus impressed, wondering if they can work on my 2003 Volkswagen Jetta which is hesitating just a bit upon acceleration.

The new industrial arts building is under construction on the west end of campus, which will be its home in Spring ’09.

Daylight Saving and other early birds…

I was driving up Santa Anita Avenue and a church marquee caught my eye. The black plastic lettering spelled out a terse message: “Easter Sunrise Services, March 23, 6:30 a.m.

Now, those early birds in the crowd may be used to doing things in the a.m., but Ive always been a late bloomer. Getting me to a sunrise anything is tough, even though Easter is my favorite time of year.
But now, even Easter itself comes earlier than ever. Easter in March? And it’s not even the last Sunday of the month but the fourth Sunday. Palm Sunday is March 16 — that’s next weekend! I’m just getting over Valentine’s Day, give me a break.

Is it just me, or is everything earlier this year?

At the newspaper, we were excited about California participating in the presidential lottery four months earlier. Instead of June, Californians went to the polls to nominate Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain on Feb. 5. While that was a smart move, it was done because other states pushed up their primaries and caucuses (Iowa and New Hampshire held their earliest contests ever). It was like that schoolyard game where you grab a part of the bat until the one at the top gets to go first.

Michigan and Florida also caught early-bird fever. But after they moved up their primary dates to January against the wishes of the national Democratic Party, the process got sicker and sicker. The Democratic Party said those delegates would not be seated. Now, there’s back-room discussions over a “re-do,” meaning another set of Democratic primary elections in Michigan and Florida. The Republicans also penalized the two states for earlyness but not as severely; they stripped their delegates in half.
Why is everyone in such a hurry?

The press thought Super Tuesday would be the end of the nominating process. Or wished it would. Maybe they had vacation timeshares in Florida or Aruba that were burning holes in their pockets. Or CNN had a long list of has-been celebrities lined up for Larry King to interview.

But end it did not. Hardly. At least not for the Democrats, whose top two candidates are locked in a battle for the nomination that could lead all the way to the Democratic Convention in August.

It’s so rushed that the whole thing reminds me of that Army saying, “hurry up and wait.” We rushed. We got our primary earlier. And now, we wait for the Democratic nominee. We wait for Michigan and Florida, who were so early, they may end up last.

Tomorrow, we go into Daylight Saving Time. Yup, it is early this year. Again, what is the rush? Do we really need that extra hour of daylight in the evening, sooner rather than later? That’s just code for taking away an hour of sleep.

If I was a conspiracy guy, I’d say that the Congress, Howard Dean of the Democratic Party, and the farm lobby got together with the retailers to move everything earlier.

Those retailers are the ones who turned Thanksgiving once a four-day weekend of family time, good meals and well, thankfulness — into one day of “turkey” and three days of shopping. Friday after Thanksgiving is now Black Friday. Its really early Christmas shopping days so people can started “early” on Christmas and get those “early bird” bargains at 4 a.m. What they don’t mention is youre so early for Christmas, you shortchange Thanksgiving.

I used to feel guilty when I heard people had shopped so early they were done with Christmas by Dec. 1. I’m the type who enjoys the holidays (even if the shopping is not done until the last two or three days before Christmas). I don’t get guilty anymore.

The early-birders push us so hard to be early, that we don’t know what to do with the time we save. Usually, that means on the very holiday we so urgently rushed into, we are planning the next one.

On the trail

WHITTIER — Talk about your heartbreak.
The city of Whittier has been trying for 20 years to convert an abandoned Union Pacific tracks right of way into a biking/walking trail. As part of the finishing touches, they hire a contractor to pave it and put in lamposts. A few days later, vandals smash more than 80 of the 100 lamposts, tear out the conduits and steal the copper wiring, too.

I took a walk with former Whittier Daily News editor Bill Bell Tuesday morning to see for myself. Bell, who is Mr. Whittier, was taken a back by the extent of the damage.

A class from a nearby elementary school use the trail (next to a damaged lamp).


Damage to the new lamposts is extensive:


Over at Five Points, the new railroad bridge has been installed (as shown below).


It’s a worthwhile project. One that many cities would love to have. Having it lighted would help residents ride their bicycles or walk it in the evenings or at night. Getting exercise at night is a tough thing to do. Having a little incentive — a trail near your home — could persuade even the most stubborn couch potato to go take a walk.

What do you think? Should the city put in replacement lamps? Should they stop lighting the trail? Is there a better way?