Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My New Love - San Clemente Cycling

I have found a new love. I went over to Cycle Werks on El Camino Real, in San Clemente, and got myself a bike pump to get the sweet bike in my garage into working order. The guy that helped me was from Manchester, UK, and not only being a cool guy, he was a real Brit. I pumped up the tires, and once out, didn't want to stop. From the Reserve I crossed Vista Hermosa on down to Seaside Summit. I crossed the new trail and down to North Beach. I followed the beach trail past T-Street, in somewhat of a race with another cyclist, and ended up at Calafia. I followed the same course back and am ready for me. It is legit!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Thick Skinned but Contrite in Spirit? A Paradox in Demands

Current events in my life have made me ask a question I'm sure many Mormon members ask: "It's clear that the Lord expects me to be tough, but how can I be appropriately thick skinned while having a broken heart and a contrite spirit?" Aren't these two antithetical? I don't have a complete answer here, it's an extraordinarily complex question, but the following passages from prof. Richard Bushman's book, Rough Stone Rolling, provide insights from Joseph Smith's life that have been important for my study in this.

Bushman writes that "[Joseph] lashed back at critics and could be a bulldog when contradicted (177)." In response to one adversary, "he brushed off the jibes of his enemies. 'Their shame shall be made manifest,' he would say of opponents, sure he was in the right (ibid.)." Bushman notes that this "kind of strength may have been a requirement of Joseph's position. He had to be tough. A weaker, gentler soul could scarcely have survived the incessant hammering he endured as head of the Church (ibid.)."

It's a personal matter whether a position or situation requires this toughness spoken of, one that should involve scripture study, prayer, and being ready for the Holy Ghost. What can be applied with less difficulty is what professor Bushman wrote to close this section: "Only by shrugging off criticism and maintaining rock-hard resolve could he keep going," or broadly, can each of us keep going. This becomes a matter of conviction rather than crisis, bearing criticism while promoting faith, and not allowing sickness to the soul.

The main take away I got here is that it's important to have the toughness to stand by convictions regardless of forces acting against that resolve. Maybe Joseph's bulldog tendencies were a weakness, or maybe he acted appropriately. What seems important is the condition of his heart, and the work he had dedicated himself to. He worked to construct, not destroy; save not condemn. Toughness that destroys is not toughness, it's the numbness of soul associated with sin. I would think hiding sin in toughness, devoid of a broken heart and contrite spirit, is one of the biggest perils in having thick skin. This condition of being past feeling is not what I'm referring to at all.

Even with a broken heart and contrite spirit, "strong as he was," Bushman writes, "the burdens of office were sometimes too much (178)." Whether by office held, sickness and affliction, or deprivation, burdens arise that are nearly too much. The Lord sends tender mercies as our skin is appropriately thickened, hearts broken, and spirits made contrite. This paradox I can bear witness of personally.

I dedicate this post to Wynnie, who's the number one reason for me to be tough.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Three of my favorite things: Latin American history, exploring Catholic chapels, and spending time with my mom.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

More Architectural Drawings

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


I've been doing a lot of drawing these days, especially architectural, and wanted to show them off a little :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

San Clemente seaside walk past Califia

I took a nice walk this afternoon with my pops from the Sea Summit Trails down to Upper Trestles. We've been enjoying the seaside pathways from North Beach to Califia, and wanted to go just a bit further to see if we could see President Nixon's house on the point. We got there and decided to continue around the point to past Upper Trestles. What a beautiful route. I saw lots of beach I'd never seen in San Clemente.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Latin American library expansion

I've added a couple of books to my Latin American library. Generalissimo el Busho is not technically a Latin American book, but relating W to an Ibero-American caudillo in this left-slanted satirical book warranted a comical inclusion to my library. I'm getting into the other one, The Aztec Treasure House, in a similar adventurer vein to Amazonian explorer books I've read, and Cradle of Gold, about Hiram Bingham and the discovery of Machu Picchu.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Development in San Clemente - Plaza

Across the bridge from where I live a huge development project is underway. Shopping outlets are going up, a walking path has already been opened with conservation areas and parks, and residential buildings will shortly fill in the development. I've been curious about this development because of its fascinating architectural design. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Diversity of the San Clemente Built Environment

San Clemente has lots of styles of architecture. Throughout this project I want to capture the huge diversity of eras, functionalities, and styles throughout the city. One thing that interests me is the blend of not just styles, but cultures, and socioeconomic groups. These are representative of different histories, lifestyles, and ultimately expectations placed on the building.

Construction of New Affordable Housing in San Clemente

I've been fascinated by many of the things I've seen while living in San Clemente. I've seen several things that I wanted to snap pictures of, and being a minimalist with the model of my phone, never did. Cutting the procrastination, I've decided to start a new project, and see where I can take it. The project is to take pictures and research this oceanside city I live in. The following is my first entry, capturing the new affordable housing on Serra St.

I found from the city's housing services website that:

  • Affordable Housing Program- This program provides funds for non-profit agencies to acquire and rehabilitate older apartment buildings or construct new apartments for long term affordable housing for very low income households (persons earning less than 50% of median income). Proposals from Non-profit developers are accepted year-round pending available funds and priorities are met.
  • Inclusionary Housing Program- This program requires developers building 6 housing units or more to provide 15% of the total number of units for very low income households, on-site, off-site, or pay an in-lieu fee, donation of land or a combination recommended by the Community Development Director. The in-lieu fees are provided as a no interest or low interest loan to non-profit agencies for a minimum of 55 years to acquire or build affordable housing.
Besides the Serra affordable housing, San Clemente has other affordable housing options. The different options vary according to demographics and necessity. There are two senior accommodations, three family, and one single "sober living" house. The waiting list for seniors is longest, 2-3 years, with family accommodations ranging from between 4 months and four years depending on income. The median average home price in San Clemente between roughly $900,000, and $1.5 million, and average rental prices average at around $3,200. This makes affordable housing an important concern for many in the city.

This new facility is going to be beautiful!