What's In This Blog

I created this blog for my journal. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this blog I keep many of the things I come across as a member of the church. I also share my experiences on the ACE Train and getting to work, my experiences in Manteca where we have lived for three years, and other things I think are noticeable.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life in Manteca 35: Blossoms, restaurant review and lots of music

Sheri and I decided to check out a restaurant after the movie a week ago.  We were looking forward to it, but in the end were disappointed.  The restaurant is **Las Casuelas, which is close to Sierra High School on Yosemite.  To start with the what we found positive.  The decor was very nice with decorations of things with a Spanish connection.  Sheri commented on getting several ideas for the house.  The service was satisfactory.  They provided bean dip and salsa for your chips.  The bean dip was satisfying.  But the most important part, the food, was very much lacking.  Sheri ordered a couple tacos of carne asada.  The were topped which lots of extra stuff she did not enjoy.  She didn't even get through one taco.  I ordered the steak milanesa.  It was so over done it could have been any cut of meet.  In fact it tasted like over fried and dried out chicken.  Not anything like the milanesa I use to enjoy in Argentina.  I took it home and ate it as ketchup meet the next day for lunch.

Caleb had volleyball tournament last week.  It was a combined coed young men's/women's tournament.  The Northland team did not lose any games, and were declared the champions.  Natalia and Heather were there as well. 

The blossoms are blooming all over the valley.  I did not attend the Almond Blossom Days in Ripon, but have enjoyed the blossoms all the same.  There are miles and miles of them.

There has been lots of music, with Caleb being in two groups, the past couple weeks.  There is more music to come.  We attended the High School dessert and pop concert.  There were a few group numbers, but mostly solos.  Caleb presented "Your Song" accompanying himself on the piano.  It was an enjoyable evening.  Sunday we attended a sacred and classical concert presented by the stake.  Caleb sang, "I Have Not Seen, Yet I Believe" with Miranda playing piano.  This is a Sally DeFord song.  It was very nice.  For me it was the highlight of the night.
after Sunday night concert

I did something I normally wouldn't.  Caleb wanted to go to a flute concert with classical and jazz music in Turlock at the university.  It presented a flutist visiting from Arizona State who first did classical, and then jazz.  I part I enjoyed the most was the Bach.  However there were also some nice jazz pieces.  After this we had dinner with Charity and Anthony.  They had the missionaries over.  We met the MTC companion of our missionary in our ward now.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Music Reviews: Donny Osmond ****"This is the Moment," ****^"The Best of Andrew Lloyd Weber"

These CDs we have in our personal library as they are downloaded to Itunes.  The first, for the most part, This is an album of Donny Osmond singing songs from musicals.  Because he is putting them in the context of pop music rather than in the musical setting, they at times lack the emotion that goes with the song.  A couple cases in point would be "This is the Moment" the title song.  It just doesn't have the same flavor as when Dr Jekyll is considering consuming his own substance he has created to test it.  Also his version of "Anythng's Possible" lacks the dancing fish the version of Caleb on You Tube from when he was in Suessicalhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da1l8CSeEAA
However his other song from Seussical, "Solla Sollew" is very well done.  Listening to Donny Osmond and Vanessa Williams sing, "Not While I'm Around" is just beautiful.  He ventures out of the musical realm and sings "You've Got  Friend in Me" From Toy Story.  He also provides some musical theater history singing George M. Cohan's "Give my Regards to Broadway."

The Donny Osmond song I like the best however, is from the other album, "Best of Andrew Lloyd Weber" "Close Every Door."  Donny singing with the children's choir is just perfection.  This album also offers excerpts from "Phantom of the Opera."  I has Sarah Brightman singing "Piu Jesu." A couple other highlights are Michael Ball singing "Love Changes Everything" and Mandy Patikin and Patty Lupone singing "High Flying Adored."  Mandy Patikin is exquisite in this rendition.  I am also partial to this as this is the cast I saw in New York.  Another perfect song is Glen Close singing "With one Look."  There are a couple songs that I don't enjoy.  One is "Jesus Christ Superstar"  Combining Christ and rock music doesn't work for me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Caleb's Music

Schedule for the next few weeks
Sunday 2/26/2012, Stake Musical Fireside; Northland building 7 p.m.
Caleb is singing with Miranda accompanying

Tuesday 2/28/12, Sierra High School advanced choir concert 7 p.m.
Green Room, Sierra High School, Caleb has a solo

Caleb's solo from You Tube

Mar 3 YM/YW Camp Fundraiser.  5:30    Northland Building; pulled pork dinner, $8 per person, $25.00 family donation.
Silent auction for items of worth (If you care to donate contact Caleb at 209-665-4439 or 404-379-9085.)  Sierra High School Jazz band to play

Mar 16 6:30 p.m. stake activity, Northland Building, Ole! Fiesta.  Music, Mexican food and games.

Caleb is going to be really busy over the next week.  Of these four events, Caleb will be singing or playing in three of them, and sometimes both.   Miranda is also accompanying on piano this Sunday.

Music Review: *****Simon and Garfunkle, ****Air Supply

This is some of the music I have been listening to today that I am home sick.  Also since I down loaded Itunes to my computer, and then Miranda taught me how to download songs from Sheri's computer.  I didn't download them all as there is lots of Mark's old emo-rock music which is not pleasing to me.  However I did get over three days worth of music, meaning I am not going to listen to it all in the next day or so. 
One of the albums I brought over was Ultimate Air Supply.  The have a soft mellow tone, and often the lead singer, although a guy sounds more like an alto voice.  It really confuses me.  However Air Supply sings some classic songs.  My favorites are "All out of Love," "Sweet Dreams," "Making Love out of Nothing at All," "The Power of Love" and "Without You."  I love the lyrics of the chorus in Sweet Dreams.  "Close your eyes
I want to ride the skies in my sweet dreams
Close your eyes
I want to see you tonight in my sweet dreams"

Love, that is not working out, or is ending is a common theme for Air Supply.  For example from "All out of Love"
I want you to come back and carry me home
Away from this long lonely nights
I'm reaching for you, are you feeling it too
Does the feeling seem oh so right...
I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you
I know you were right believing for so long
I'm all out of love, what am I without you
I can't be too late to say that I was so wrong

We also had some of the Simon and Garfunkle: Greatest Hits on Itunes, but I bought the CD at Walmart so we now have the complete album.   Bridge over Troubled Water and Sounds of Silence have long been a couple of my favorite songs.  I sang Bridge to Sheri at our wedding reception:  When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Art Garfunkle does such a good job with this song written by Paul Simon.  It is a classic.  In fact it was the song of the decade 1970s even though it came out in 1970.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Miranda's Talk


I usually like to post talks.  However Miranda posted this on her own blog.  She gave it in the singles ward.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Movie Night: **Return with Honor

Although this movie would be considered a "Mormon" movie, it did everything possible to be irreverent, and then say it is our duty to love and not judge.  The theme is that of a returning missionary, who coming home from the airport is struck by a car int he taxi, which gives him a near death experience in which he is given 60 days to baptize his mother.  Mother however is currently working in a bar.  She is living with a controlling guy, who when she starts listening to the missionaries, physically abuses her.  Her son helps her move out, and in with him.  However it is when  she accepts her and is willing to love her the way she is that she decides to be baptized.  She also had to come clean about a few skeletons in her closet, especially with regards to her son's father.  There is a twist at the end.

Music Review: ****America: Horse with no Name

I am sitting her enjoying the mellow tones of America.  This is one of the bands I grew up with and Sheri found this C.D. crossing Nevada in  bin in a gas station.  I love their tones, and often the lyrics of their songs.  I think the one I identify with most is "Lonely People."  I was 26 before I was married, and had plenty of lonely nights during the days this song was playing on the radio.  It seemed like a song for me at the time.   "Don't give up, until you drink from the silver cup."  Beautiful.  Of course this album has other classics, including the title song, "Tin Man," "I Need You," and "Sister Golden Hair."

The other thing I have discovered for my own computer is ITunes.  I am sharing all of the songs that have been on Sheri's ITunes.  Technology is great.  I am not bringing them all over, but now I have Mark's songs, and several different albums on my computer, something for every mood.  I have noticed I am not much into emo rock like Mark.  I like more mellow music, and songs from musicals. 

To the Movies: ****^Sherlock Holmes, ****Mission Impossible

The last couple weekends Sheri and I have made it to the movies  Marketplace Theater $3 theater.  Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  2011 starring Robert Downing Jr. Jude Law, Rachel McAdams.
This movie appealed to me.  It had historical aspect, traveling around Europe, intellectual battle between Moriarty and Holmes, but then the side characters of Dr. Watson, and Dr. Watson's new wife.   Downing plays Sherlock in such a cavalier way at times, leading Dr. Watson into danger.  It is really fun.  The plat revolves arms.  The show starts with a tragedy, the murder of Holme's girlfriend at the hands of Moriarty.  However it ends with a sudden twist.  I think it will be enjoyable to about most adults.

More recently we have seen Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with Tom Cruise.  This show is like the typical Mission Impossible, action from start to finish, with bombs exploding and a number of chases.  They have a chase in an Arabian dust storm which adds to the trouble.  They also have the outside climbing of that tallest building in the world in Dubai.  Plenty of close calls keep you guessing in this show.  Tom Cruise thrives in the action genre.  This movie also explores the sacrifices a spy must make in terms of family and love life.  If you are into action, this show is also for you, and you will throughly enjoy it.  I think Sheri preferred this to Sherlock Holmes.  She likes the handsome man more than the intellectual.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nephi's Psalm


"I Love the Lord" John S. Tanner
I love the Lord. In him my soul delights.
Upon his word, I ponder day and night.
He's heard my cry, brought visions to my sleep,
And kept me safe o'er deserts and the deep.
He's filled my heart with his consuming love,
And borne me high on wings of his great dove.

Yet oft I groan,"O wretched man am I!"
My flesh is weak and I'm encompassed by
A world of sin, which holds me in its thrall,
If I give in and to temptations fall.
Then strength grows slack, I waste in sorrow's vale.
My peace destroyed, my enemies prevail.

Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin.
Rejoice, my heart! And let me praise again
The Lord my God, who is my rock and stay
To keep me strict upon his straight, plain way.
O let me shake at the first sight of sin
And thus escape my foes without and in.

 I love the Lord. In him my soul delights.

Three links dealing with Nephi's Psalm.   The first is a song sung by BYU Men's Choir, the second a reading of the psalm, and the third is linked to a verbal essay on the psalm.  Nephi's Psalm is found in 2 Nephi 4 15-35.  In this psalm, Nephi bares his soul.  It is so interesting to ovserve that Nephi was aware of his own failings and his own sins.  17) " O wretched man that I am."  But he responds with such faith.  19) "I know in whom I have put my trust."  And then Nephi takes five verses to list his blessings from the Lord:  (20-25) 
 20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh. 
 22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
 23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
 24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
 25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

His admonition to himself, is also a call to us.  "Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."  Awake and rejoice, this is a call to all of us.  Nephi finishes his psalm with a prayer, in which he commits to continue putting his trust in God and not the arms of men.  

It is my prayer that I can away, and do better, and rejoice in the redemption of God's grace.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sheri's Wood Projects: Table

This is our old table, we bought many years ago at a yard sale.  It was too large for the space available in our Living Room, so we traded with Charity.  Sheri redid it first.  She started on Martin Luther King Day.  She sanded it all down and repainted.  We were short a couple chairs.  Miranda has one. Charity added cushions.  She also added her cedar chest with a cushion she made for a bench  in the back.  Actually everyone helped some with painting or sanding.

Ace Train 17: Bus and Train etiquette

I must admit, riders of the Ace Train are very polite and generally well groomed.  The only exception is the rider who tries to take several seats with their bags, rather than putting them under the seat.  However, the train added a car to the second train going and coming, so there seems to be plenty of room on the train lately.   It is the connecting modes of public transportation that have me think of etiquette.
I had the strangest experience on the bus this week. I was sitting in a bench seat facing the middle, and next to me was a seat facing us. On that seat was a lady with her cleavage exposed. She had a word or phrase tattooed across her chest including the top of her boobs. I was so curious to see what the word said, but my eyes don't work like they use to. I tried to glance over but no luck. There was no way I was going to turn and stare at her chest to figure it out. I thought about asking her, but didn't. Now I'm dying to know what her cleavage said.  But in the end, there is too way much cleavage on the bus.  Of course on the male side, there are a few with their pants in the low-rider style.  It must take a considerable amount of work to keep them on when they are so low.
Yesterday I was at the light rail station Meridian Station, and someone lit up their medicinal marijuana again.  Granted it is the light rail stop closest to Valley Medical Center, still there should be some decorum.  There are families with children who do not want to have the pleasure of inhaling medicinal marijuana with you.  There is a rule against smoking on the platform.  People should take their puff off the platform.
I have noticed people offering seats more than I use to.  However there still are occasions where people with babies are left standing.  This happens on both the bus and the light rail.  If I can, I always make a space available for them.  However, often I am already standing. Thee rule should always be, give a seat to older people, and to parents with children in tow, whether by hand or in the belly (pregnant).  That is just part of good manners.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Life in Manteca 34: Kelley Brothers is Closing, I'm sad

A new friend has gone the way of the dust wit the passing of the Kelley Brothers Restaurant in Manteca.  This was truly a good place to eat.  Sheri and I only went there once, but always thought about going back again.  The smalls on Yosemite were always nice going past this area.  They will be missed greatly.

This is the review I wrote when we went there:

Sheri and I left Tony in the care of Caleb and Alyssa (and the Larsens) and went out to eat. We went the the ****^ Kelly Brothers Brewing Company or Brickyard Oven Restaurant. They have a Chinese oven (I guess something like the oven in he "Seven Brothers" book.) In this oven meat is slowly roasted. We had the sampler for two. It included two slices of about five different kinds of meat-- pork, turkey, ribs, chicken, and tri-tip--with three types of barbecue sauce. We had the side of vegetables and potatoes. Vegetables were very yummy, orange and yellow carrots, snow peas and broccoli (Sheri ate the broccoli.) A very fun lunch. The restaurant is in the old El Rey Theater which burned in 1977 after the final showing of "Towering Inferno." It has been renovated nicely. It also housed items with regards to the history of Manteca.

Movie Night: **^Failure to Launch, **A Little Night Music, ***Avengers Next

Failure to Launch:  Miranda ordered this movie through Netflix DVD and I decided to give it a watch.  It is Paramount Pictures, 2006.  It is about a bachelor, Tripp, who lives at home, and would consider himself a lady’s man.  He would take his girlfriends home, to be discovered by his parents, and in that way he chases his girlfriends away when they are too close.  This is the classic romantic comedy with a few twists.  It stars Mathew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Terry Bradshaw, Kathy Bates, and Zooey Deschanel (Bones’ sister.)  The plot goes that a marriage interventionist, Paula, whose job it is to have the main character fall in love with her, and thereby get him out of the house, and then she moves on.  Of course this movie ends how we expect, everything goes awry, and then comes back together.  In the meantime Tripp’s best friends, and Paula’s best friend, find themselves together.  This movie is entertaining and good for a romantic date, but not all that earth shattering.

A Little Night Music:  this is a 1977 movie version of the Stephen Sondheim Musical, which I got through DVD Netflix.  I got this to listen to some Sondheim music, and to hear the song “Send in the Clowns.”  Turns out those were the only things to recommend this movie.  It was a story of bad, irresponsible love, which in the end it says at least we get to fix our mistakes.  I don’t think “fixing your mistakes” really fixed the broken hearts and the pain the characters endured, because of illegitimate relations.  Elizabeth Taylor, singing “Send in the Clowns” could not save this show.

Avengers Next:  This is a movie Tony got for his birthday.  It is about the children of the Avengers, because the original Avengers were killed by robots.  The robots were built by Tony aka Ironman.  They then turned on the Avengers in an effort to make a perfect world.  Unfortunately Tony has also built robot replacements for the Avengers, and these are also taken over and turned to the robotic side of the equation.  The robots break into Tony’s base, and the young Avengers who Tony has been raising barely escape.  Instead of fleeing, they decide to attack the robot city and free Tony who has been captures.  They find a few other Avengers, who also help, including the strongest of them all.  (You’ll have to watch the movie to see who that is.)  I have watched this movie two or three times since my Tony’s birthday.  It is really pretty fun, and Tony loves the superhero animated movies.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday to Tony

Tony's 5th birthday started on Wednesday with cake )cupcake tower Miranda made) and presents.  He got a Captain America shooting shield, an Avengers movie, lots of clothes, a story book and a Real Steel wrestling rink and robot.

He also took his friends bowling.  He wanted to show off the form he learned from watching George.  Tony had the high score, even better than the adults who bowled.
Bowling crew, Tony, Joshua, Jeremiah and Marin

And then again today, cake and ice cream to share with Charity and Anthony, Alyssa and Jesse.  Charity made the cake.  Tony wanted it to say, I love you Mommy.  It was a brown heart.  Tony loves it when we sing to him, and we did it today and Wednesday.

Jesse came for cake

Tony even got a birthday greeting from his birthmother
happy birthday anthony i love you

    • Billy Wardle ‎"Thank you for saying happy birthday. I love you." Tony
      Yesterday at 3:23pm

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sheri's Wood Project, New Bed

Sheri was tired of always waiting for a four-poster bed we could never afford.  So she had an inspiration to make it herself.  She purchased the poss at Home Depot, and she and Caleb put it together.  Sheri was the inspiration, Caleb the cutting, Sheri the painting and Miranda and I the holding of boards.

Movie Night: Sally Lockhart ***Ruby in the Smoke, ***The Shadow in he North

These two movies have the same characters.  They are based on a series of novels by Phillip Pullman about a female detective/ financial consultant in England during the Victorian Era.  I ordered these two movies from Netflix DVD as Sally is portrayed by Billie Piper, Rose in Doctor Who.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of her friends is played by Matt Smith, the current Doctor Who.  I actually watched them in reverse order.  In the Ruby in the Smoke, Sally is left an orphan after her father dies in a ship accident.  She later discovers he was murdered over a ruby of great worth.  She is in the target of a murderess, who has murdered several people, and has surrounded herself with many thugs, in an effort to get the ruby.  The plot also includes the heroin trade and addiction.  Sally uses heroin in small amounts to help her remember her past.  The plot takes several twists, with a young girl kidnapped.  Sally and her friends, because of their persistence, are finally able to prevail. 

The second movie has a much more sinister and complicated plot.  Sally gets involved as someone she advised about investments, loses her money as a company goes bankrupt, and then reemerges as another company.  The plot takes even more twists, as the sinister man turns out to have purchased the rights to a super weapon which he is developing.  This weapon will quell all uprisings, at it uses a train and a Gatling gun, to fir a tremendous amount of bullets.  The evil man's men, burn down the home where Sally and her cohorts are staying, killing her love and father of her baby as she is now pregnant.  However she gets even in the end as she is able to destroy the weapon, but not until after she has turned it on our villain.

Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart
The stories were entertaining, but a bit hard to follow; mostly because of the thick cockney accents of the characters.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Really Bad Adoption Story, ****The Disappeared (to history blog)

The Disappeared is the story about a baby, whose parents were killed when he was five months old.  It is about Argentina's Dirty War, and about "The Disappeared."  It is directed by Peter Sanders.  I watched it through Netflix DVD.  It was in Spanish with subtitles.  It is suspected as many as 400 babies were taken, and adopted by other families.  Of these 77 have been discovered.
Horacio with his mother as a baby
Horacio, did not know who he was until he was 25.  He had been adopted as a baby.  However he had inklings he did not fit in.  His physical appearance was different from that of his birth family.  He did not really feel loved. As a result, as a teenager he was depressed.  He contemplated suicide, he had thoughts of throwing himself off an upper story apartment.  It wasn't until when he was 25 that his girlfriend encouraged him to seek out his past, and to resolve his doubts.

Horacio went to a program called "Las Abuelas" (The Grandmothers.)  Through this program they were able to perform DNA testing, and prove that he was in fact the birth child of a couple from "The Disappeared."  Before receiving the results of the DNA testing he confronted his adoptive parents (or kidnapper parents depending on where your sympathies lie) and asked them, "Am I your son?"  The answer was, "In our hearts yes, but biologically no."

With the DNA results Horacio was able to piece together his history.  His parents had been married, put were also at odds with the government.  His parents were heavily involved in social causes, and perhaps they also were part of the Monteneros (radical Peronista group) or perhaps just caught in the government sweep of radicals which was going on at the time.  Horacio's father, Adriano, was killed in Cordoba.  His mother, in Buenos Aires, went into hiding.  When the baby was five months old, there was a military action against the apartment where she and others were hid.  The military placed a bomb in the stairwell and destroyed most of the apartment.  They also shot at them from across the street.  Lina,  Horacio's mother, put him in a cupboard and covered him with blankets and pillows and mattress.  This saved his life.  She was killed received eight wounds.  Her baby was uninjured.  He was taken by Lt Col Hernan Tefzlaff.  His brother-in-law wanted to adopt a baby.  However in the end his wife did not want the child.  The maid of Colonel Tefzlaff stepped forward and asked if she could take the baby.  There was the chance he would have been disposed of otherwise.  This took place, however, in an air of secrecy and fear.  

This secrecy was broken after 25 years.  Horacio was able to re-embrace his birth family, cousins and uncles.  His greatest regret, is that all of his grandparents had passed away, the last five years earlier.  One of his grandmothers had committed suicide, perhaps partially from the  trauma of these events.  He has uncles and aunts and cousins, who have a similar appearance.  He has been able to discover the remains of his parents, and removed then from unmarked graves or coffins, and give them proper funerals.  He now works with Las Abuelas, reaching out to others who may be "stolen" orphans.  

As for his adoptive parents, the results have not been so pleasant.  His adoptive mother has a broken heart over the son she raised as her own, with her daughter, who now does not want any thing to do with her.  Also she and her husband both spent time in jail, as they hid the truth, and falsified documents so as to be able to adopt Horacio (Cesar is his adoptive name.)  Living with a secret, even if there is an air of danger because of the military situation, is not healthy for anyone.

In applying this story to our adoption story, Tony has turned five this week.  His physical characteristics are nothing like ours.  Tony is tall and skinny, while both Sheri and I are short and plump (polite word.)  Tony's hair is curly, and the only curly hair in our family is through in-laws and cousins (Charity's Anthony and Dianna's Mark.)  However we love Tony every day, and let him know to us he is a miracle and a blessing.  We love him, and try to tell him these in word and action.  He knows he is adopted, and because of this he is special.  We have shared pictures of his birth parents with him from "Facebook."  We also share notes and messages they pass along.  However we also feel we are walking a type rope.  How do you introduce physical contact?  How do you make sure you baby is same emotionally and physically?  These are questions we are still answering as we live this life.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Life in Manteca 33: concert review, two movie reviews restaurant review.

This is a review of the past couple weeks.  Sheri and I went on a Saturday dinner date to ***Denny's.   This is not the Denny's we would frequent when the kids were young.  They had the $1.99 grand breakfast which was more than a feast.  Now I think the same meal is $9.99.  It was one of the few restaurants we could afford to take the family back in those days--at least the only sit-down restaurant.  The kids thought they were in hog heaven.  As for the Denny's of today, which is on Main street and 120 in Manteca.  It has grown up somewhat, but still has some of the old traits.  Sheri had steak and shrimp   I insisted she get he shrimp so I could eat it.  It was the shrimp cocktail kind, grilled on a stick.  Sheri;s steak was excellent, I finished it off the next day for lunch.  I had a patty melt, which I feel is one of my favorite sandwiches.  It didn't pass the calorie test from their enclosed calorie brochure.  I only ate half, so as to save a few calories.  Caleb ate the other half for dinner.  Denny's is an old favorite, and we will probably frequent there again.

Last Friday we had the privilege of attending the *****Gladys Knight Saints Unified Voices Choir.  All I can say, if you ever have a chance of attending this concert, it is a must see.  The music is Gospel rather than traditional Mormon music, but is and enjoyable evening all the same.  We attended with our neighbors.  "Jesus Loves Me" was a favorite.  Also the solo by a choir member "Via Dolorosa."  which reminds us that Jesus went all the way down the road to Calvary.  Gladys Knight with the choir sang "Blessed Assurance."  They also sang a song about not putting off until tomorrow what we should be doing today, as tomorrow may be too late. I last time I saw them Gladys Knight sang "I am a Child of God."  I missed that song in this program.  The highlight of the program was the testimonies.  A brother told the history of the restoration of the Church.  Gladys Knight told her story, starting by letting the audience know we are all brothers and sister. 

***Puss In Boots  We went a date knight to the movies.  Miranda and Tony went to see "Chipwrecked", and I went to Puss In Boots. Tony wanted Miranda for a date, and I didn't look forward to the high note singing, so was good with seeing a different movie.  Both movies were at the $3 Marketplace Theater.  So as for "Puss In Boots"--this movie had betrayal, love and villains.  The cat dancing was the thing that most made it unique.  However over all I found it just above so-so.  The mother goose and baby goose were fun.  The city Puss was defending, and his loss honor, which was restored in the sight of the people, but not in the sight of the law.  The movie also added the usual twists on common nursery rhymes. 

****Chipwrecked  As I mentioned above I did not see this movie.  My four star rating is based on Tony's reaction.  He came out of the movie talking about the stories and having really enjoyed himself.  He talked about the chipmunks all fighting over the food on the island. He also liked the slide on the boat.  He liked the songs.  "Firework" is one of his favorite.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Music Review: ***Sweeney Todd in Concert (to mmboe)

Sweeney Todd 2001,  This is a concert version which I got through Netflix DVD.  It stars George Hearn and Pati Lupone.  I was thinking that a concert version would take some of the brutality away.  I had previously watched the Johnnie Depp version, but it was just too drastic and bloody.  Still, even the music, with the vague references to violence and red lighting to portray the murders, left me with that same irritated feeling.  It is not to say this version didn’t have wonderful music.  Johanna is a beautiful song, but better in the reprise duet as the barber gets to sing of his lost daughter.  Patti Lupone and Neil Patrick Harris sing the song “Not While I'm Around.”  It is a beautiful song.  I also like the judge, the villain in this show, who comes to get his hair cut.  In the movie this is played by Alan Rickman  who also portrays Snape.  The bum bata bum song he sings while the barber is whistling is beautiful, and from there, they sing “Pretty Women.”
This concert has a lot to recommend it, but the violence of the story turned me away from really enjoying it.