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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Caleb has Four Concerts in One Week

Monday March 26, Caleb had he Sierra High School Choir Feeder Concert.  They invited four K-8 schools to join them.  Caleb's choir concert was today Monday March 26.  They did four numbers, including a joint one with the 4-8 choirs.  The 4-8 choirs did another four concerts.  Two of our neighbors were with the Veritas School choir, Ariel who lives out our front door and Elyse who lives out the back door.
"Sing Allelujah Clap Your Hands"

They did one song with the feeder choirs.  The schools are all K-8 here and the choirs were from 4th to 8th grades.  Veritas (two of our neighbors, Ariel and Elyse,) Stella Brockman, Nile Garden and Brock Elliott. "Let Freedom Sing"

This song is also accapella, an old English love song.  "April is my Mistress' Face"

And finally "Had a Bad Day"

Caleb had feeder band concert on Tuesday where Caleb plays in the jazz band.

Caleb and his friend Lane, also played guitar and sang for the school talent show. "Kids"

Relay for Life Friday, choir and jazz
This is Fiesta Bahia, jazz band.  Caleb has a solo.

Leap Frog

In The Mood

Choir Caleb sang a solo "For the Longest Time"

Music Reviews' Summary

This is a summary of my musical reviews. 

*****Neil Diamond, Greatest Hits 1966-1990
*****Simon and Garfunkle, Geatest Hits
*****Gladys Knight Saints Unified Voices Choir, concert
****^ Seals and Crofts, Summer Breeze
****^The Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber
****Donny Osmond, This is the moment
**** Beach Boys, Greatest Hits
****Air Supply, Greatest Hits
****Coldplay, Austin City Limits
****As December Leaves, Oceana
****America, Horse wit no Name
****Sunset Boulevard
****Jeff Goodrich, Back to Galilee
****The Best of Broadway: The American Musical
****Carpenters Greatest Hits
***^Neil Diamond, Three Chord Opera
***^Highlights from the Phantom of the Opera
***Gladys Knight, Before Me
*** ABBA, Gold
***Sweeney Todd in Concert
***The King's Singers: Concert on BYU t.v.
***Oscar Hammerstein: The Legacy
***More Broadways Greatest Love Songs
**^Neil Diamond, September Morn
**^Gladys Knight, At Last
**^Guys and Dolls 50th Anniversary Recording
**^Entertainment Weekly, The Greatest Hits 1971
**Classic Andrew Lloyd Webber
**Broadway in Love
**Finians's Rainbow
*The Civil War Musical

Music Review: ****Coldplay (tommboe)


I recorded Coldplay on Austin City Limits.  I asked Caleb if I should as I thought I had head of them.  Caleb told me to record it, and then I watched it with he and Alyssa last night.  I had watched most of it as it recorded, and recognized the song Viva la Vida.  Caleb and performed this with a band a couple yeas ago.  As I watched it last night Caleb said their best song was Paradise, which was the last song of he concert.  I must admit it is quite enjoyable. 

I don't think I understand the video; but the song is enjoyable by itself.   Austin City Limits ended with an interview with the band.  They said they weren't the best musicians in the world, but that they really meshed well together.  I think it is good when parts come together to make and enjoyable whole. 

So you see, even and old fuddy duddy can enjoy some of this new music.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Movie Night: ***^The House of D

I was mildly surprised by this movie for the better.  I had heard some bad things about it, but wanted to watch it anyway for some time as this is the movie Zelda Williams is in (my son Mark's date to the senior prom) as well as Robin Williams.  So I wanted to check it out.  The movie came out in 2004.  I must admit there were some things to not like.  It is about a 13 year old young man, whose best friend is the developmentally challenged janitor (Robin Williams) at the school.  On the side the deliver meat together to make money to buy a green bike.  The 13 year old also befriends a woman in the women's detention facility.  He also has a crush on a girl (Zelda Williams) who lives with her mother in a hotel and also has a crush on him.  So with the lady's advice from the detention facility, he goes to the dance, and dances with her, and then leaves with her.  The janitor becomes upset, and steals the bike from the store front, and then also takes their savings, and throws it into the ocean to make a wish.

SO the janitor is about to lose his job.  Rather than let that happen, the 13 year old says he stole it for him.  The janitor keeps his job, but the kid is expelled.  This upsets his mother (Teea Leoni) so much she o.d.'s on pills.  As a result, he takes off, and is able to get to France, by helping himself to the money of one of their customers, who in her alzheimer's state, mistakes him for her son, an gives him the money.

So the movie is his coming to terms with his life, and his having let under unfavorable circumstances.

It was enjoyable, but the down draw was the movie's being fixated on the kid going to the restroom and shooting at his mom's cigarettes left in the toilet.

ACE Train 18

On of the most interesting buildings I see frequently on the train is the Living Hope Fellowship Center.  It is a church with a tall steeple with a cross on top.  I imagine it is actually in Newark.  It is right where the train turns form following the bay to head East and through Fremont and then through the Niles Canyon towards Pleasanton.  Here is a picture so you can see for yourself. 

I was also blessed with a beautiful sky last week, on one of those days when it wanted to rain, but just couldn't quite make up its mind. 

Lastly I have noticed that the grass just isn't quite as green as it was at this time last year.  It is starting to get there, but then it is also taking its time.  I don't know if this is because of lest moisture, or because some places are still recovering from the scorched earth last year.  However, Pleaston Hills (in the picture) are starting to get green.  They are farther along then the Altamont Pass.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Music Review: *****Neil Diamond Greatest Hits (to mmboe)

Neil Diamond Greatest Hits 1966-1990

In this CD I have found an old friend.  I visited the used C.D. store across the street from where I work, Streetlight C.D.  They have a store full of old classics, but in the interest I only purchased three to start off with.  Each of my purchases was an old friend, and none more than Neil Diamond’s hits.   This two-C.D. set offers 37 hit songs.  I must admit that there are a few I don’t care for, but for the most part I scored each song either four or five stars.  There are a couple favorites.
I was a fan of the Jazz Singer movie, and this has three songs from the movie.  My favorite is “Hello.”  This is the classic story of separated lovers.  There is also a song form Jonathon Seagull entitled “Be.”  Another classic.  Then of course there are the songs that I really love, that get to Diamond’s soul.  “I am… I said” which is delivered with lots of energy, and explores the life of being separated by work from the ones you love; your home, while making a home for yourself in new environs.  Similar to Sheri and I heading to California 20 years ago.  A friend of mine pointed out that to say, “I am I said, to no one there, and no one heard, not even the chair,” is sort of a silly lyric, but I love it anyway.  “Sweet Caroline” is another favorite.  Songs such as this just make you tingle inside with pleasure.  “Song Sung Blue” is also fun.  My only complaint is that some of the songs were recorded at a concert, and includes mumble jumble to get the crowd excited.  I like the original version of the songs.  A couple more favorites are “Longfellow Serenade” and “Holy Holy.”  Neil Diamond has a way of putting lots of energy into a few lyrics.  Another treat is a duet with Barbra Streisand, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore.”  This collection mixes older songs with a few newer ones.  This song is wonderful. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A couple of Sacrament Meeting Talks

Sister Amanda talked using a conference address as her text.  Her talk was on prayer.  Something about how she put things, made me realize my prayers were not sufficient.  She talked about praying, as if you were talking directly with God face-to-face.  I found the area she was referring to in the transcript of the original talk.  However, there was something about they way she said it, which left me knowing she had hat kind of relationship with God, and it was a relationship I wanted to strife for.

Today, the talks were in preparation for Easter.  The first was on the resurrection of the Savior, and cited the hundreds of people who bore testimony of this, from Mary Magdalene, the apostles, over 500 disciples, and then the multiple in the New World.  We have witnesses enough of the truth of the resurrection. 

Our neighbor, Brother Peterson, talked about the atonement.  He compared it to the journey of Lehi and his family.  They made it through the dessert, persevering, but then found themselves facing a great water, over which they had no way of traveling to reach the promised land, without divine intervention.  In like manner, we can persevere, and do our best, but we will be faced with a great gulf, keeping us from eternal live.  It is again divine intervention, the grace of God, that helps us over the gulf.  I had never heard that comparison before, and it hit home with me and helped me see more clearly the role of grace, after all that we can do.

Life in Manteca 36: One Year and Counting

Can you belief it has been a year since we moved to Manteca.  It seems time goes by very quickly.  I am still commuting into San Jose every day for work.  However we really enjoy our weekends in Manteca.  This past week Sheri and I, with Tony (we had no sitter) went to Chili's to celebrate one year.  We have always like Chili's, in Cupertino as well as Manteca. 

This week was highlighted by a sake Fiesta Ole, which included delicious Mexican food, as well as entertainment from the Monte Vista Ward.  We had enchiladas.  For my part, I was assigned to bring salad, which I made quickly before going with carrots and cucumbers.  Sheri cut the lettuce smaller, and added tomatoes.  In addition to the enchiladas, there was rice, and runny refried beans to put on the rice.  Delicious.  We met a couple from the Chester Ward who sat beside us.  We compared notes with regards to kids, schools and being from different parts of Utah.  The entertainment started with much Mexican love song singing, which I didn't really care for, because I can't really catch the words.  However when the dancing starting the evening became more exciting and festive. 

We've had plenty of rain, so not much more happening the last couple of weeks.  We did have the Chandlers, neighbors, over for Family Home Evening with the missionaries.  Caleb is really into music lately, and has been practicing for a talent show at school, as well as playing drum with a new band.  Miranda is working steady now with babysitting-nanny.  Charity is also doing the same in Turlock.  However she is going to work at the pool in Cupertino this summer.  She has not gotten a job cutting hair, but cuts ours and that of friends as she has the opportunity. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Movie Night: ****Cinderella Man

I received this movie through Netflix DVD.  It stars Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger and was directed by Ron Howard.  This is a boxing movie, with something the Rockie Movies does not have, and that is it is based on a true story of depression era boxer Jim Braddock.  He is a journeyman boxer, who gets down on his luck and success after braking his hand.  He is discharged from boxing, and has to fend for his family by working on the docks of New Jersey.  His family suffers due to the lack of work, and finally his wife takes them to her parent's.  Braddock goes on welfare to get them back.  Braddock gets an opportunity to fight, because someone is injured.  He makes the most of it, and wins four fights in a row, and then a shot for the title.  The movie makes a point that the champion has killed two people with his punches, knocking their brains loose.  Braddock makes the most of his chances, and wins the title in a decision.

I liked the portrayal of Zellweger as the concerned and loving wife.  She does something with her mouth that is attractive.  Crowe does a great job, and the fight scenes are fun.  Braddock's manager, payed by Paul Giamatti received a nomination for best supporting actor.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunday lessons and some thoughts

As we study the Book of Mormon and the writings of Nephi I have had a couple of thoughts.  I keep thinking about Laman and Lemuel, and that they eventually were "beyond feeling."  The result of insincere repentance, where you repent and then go back to the same sin over and over, is that it becomes more and more difficult to feel the spirit subsequently, until you are beyond feeling.  Along with this there is the scripture of the flaxen cords.  It is talking about how the Devil works. 
  • 22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
If Satan can get you to do little things, leading you with a flaxen cord, then he can get you to do greater sins, and bind you with his strong cord.  Bit by bit he leads people away from the spirit, and repentance and healing.

I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love.
2 nephi 1 15 But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.
These are the words of Lehi.  He has just talked to his sons about being faithful.    Then he provides a terrifi  lecture on the need for oposition in all things.  It would be worthwhile to study these scriptures which are part of the leson.
False Teachings of the World              Lehi’s Teachings
There is no good or evil.                      2 Nephi 2:5.
There is no law.                                    2 Nephi 2:5.
There is no Christ.                               2 Nephi 2:6.
There is no existence after this life.     2 Nephi 2:10.
There is no God.                                  2 Nephi 2:14
Life has no purpose.                            2 Nephi 2:25.
Our actions are determined by
genetics and environment.                   2 Nephi 2:26–27.

Conditions Before Partaking of the Fruit                     Opposition Experienced After Partaking of the Fruit
 (2 Nephi 2:15–16)  (2 Nephi 2:23).                (2 Nephi 2:23)  (2 Nephi 2:21).
 (2 Nephi 2:19; Moses 2:29).                           (2 Nephi 2:19).
 (2 Nephi 2:23).                                                           (2 Nephi 2:23).
 (2 Nephi 2:22).                                                          (2 Nephi 2:22; Moses 6:48).
Nephi quoted Isaiah extensively.  In fact Isaiah is the most quoted of all the Old Testament prophets, with half of its chapters appearing in the Book of Mormon.  There are keys to understanding these scriptures. 

Keys to Understanding Isaiah
Liken all scriptures unto us. 6) 1 Nephi 19:23   7) 2 Nephi 11:2, 8
Know concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews .  8)  2 Nephi 25:1
Know the judgments of God.  9) 2 Nephi 25: 3
Know concerning the regions round about Jerusalem.   10) 2 Nephi 25:6
Be filled with the spirit of prophecy.  11) 2 Nephi 25: 4  12) Revelations 19:10
The Book of Mormon increases our understanding of Isaiah

This move is from the course, and compares Nephi building a boat, to the call to reach out to others, doing fellowshipping or missionary work.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Caleb Long Boarding

Caleb has taken up a new hobby, long boarding on mountain roads.  Actually he has only tried two, Patterson Pass and Regnart Road in Cupertino.  Regnart was better paved.  Patterson gives them a more bumpy ride.  He goes with Lane, and they keep each other safe.



Movie Night, *****Narnia Trilogy

There are some very wonderful trilogies that have presented important works of literature.  Recently we enjoyed the J.R.R. Tolkien Trilogy "Lord of the Rings."  Another of those has to be the Narnia series, which for now stands at three movies, although I understand there are more to be made.  I watched the PBS series as a youth, and enjoyed the show, but was always troubled with the Lucy character.  She was just too chubby, or snotty or something.  I think she may have had a speech impediment which made it even worse.  I am so glad the Narnia movie fixed that problem.  The four young people selected to portray Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy do a fantastic job. The second two movies I watched via Netflix DVD, and the first we have in our home collection.
*****The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is a beautiful introduction, and in so many ways symbolizes the life of Christ it is hard to miss.  We have a deep freeze (apostasy) caused by the wicked witch and her powers.  It has kept a winter of 100 years without Christmas upon Narnia.  However with the coming of the children of Adam and Eve, Aslan is on the move.  Edmund is deceived by the witch, and in being deceived betrays his siblings, as well as others.  He is betrayed by a lust for power, and fulfilling physical needs, warmth and drink and food.  These are tools Satan also uses, physical gratification, pride, power.  Because of this treachery, Edmund becomes subject to the Witch.  He is in need of a savior, and Aslan takes this part, and also resurrects, and provides a resurrection of sorts for those the Witch has frozen.  In the end good triumphs over evil, the Witch is undone.
*****The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.  A year later in their own lives, but 1300 years later, in the world of Narnia, our heroes are called back,  In Narnia a group of humans has somehow gotten into the world, and taken over, and banned the Narnian's to the forests, who are then just a thing of legend and folklore.   Prince Caspian, is the son of the king who has been killed, and the kingdom taken over by Prince Caspian's uncle, who when he has a son, has no more need for Prince Caspian.  Prince Caspian makes an escape from the Uncle's guards, and makes his way to the forest where he meets the Narnians, but also calls back our four young kings with Susan's horn.  Then begins the conflict between the Narnians and the Telmarines.  The Telmarines have greater technology, catapults, as well as greater numbers.  Lucy sees Aslan, but cannot convince his siblings, and such, he does not come to help them until they are desperate, and Lucy has been sent on a mission to find him.  And so the gospel parallel, is that we only find Jesus when we truly seek Him. Some of the special effects were almost corny--particularly the water, and so this movie was not quite as good as the first.
*****The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader  This movie introduces us to a cousin, who through the course of events changes from a twit to a hero during this voyage.  There is a great evil which has gotten loss on the land.  Everyone must face their own selves, and their worse fears become reality.  Peter and Susan are not part of the adventure, as they now live in the United States.  Lucy, would like to have the looks of Susan, and casts a spell, which basically changes herself to Susan, and Lucy disappears.  She quickly repents.  King Caspian, and Edmund bicker over power, and Edmund is still drawn by the Black Witch.  The cousin, Eustace Scrubb, because of his greed, is turned into a dragon.  However the dragon also helps them with his strength and fire.  The cousin finds courage with the help of Reepicheep, a heroic rat.  They face their fears, and in the end fight a sea serpent.  It is the cousin, who meets Aslan and is healed.  Getting a new outlook for himself, he sets in motionthe cure to the evil.  The rat, Reepicheep, who has befriended the Kings, and proven himself in battle, travels to Aslan's Kingdom.  King Caspian stays behind, to lead his people.  He learns to appreciate the things he has, rather than seeking those he has lost (his deceased father.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Music Review: ABBA ***Gold (to mmboe)

Sheri had downloaded this to her itunes.  We must have purchased the C.D. t some point.  As much as I want to like this album more, I just don't.  Maybe this explains why I didn't much care for the movie either.  Some of the tunes have a pleasant beat and can get you into the music, but overall, for me, this album falls flat.  The enjoyable songs, just don't carry the entire album.  And even some of the songs I enjoyed while younger, just don't do it for me now.  I guess, as an older man, I am more concerned with lyrics than I use to be.  They're are all focused on money, or it seems making fun of making a living.  "Money money money, must be funny in the rich man's world."  "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!  Sounds like someone standing in line waiting for their Obama money.  Who cares where Obama gets it from.  I was pleasantly surprised by one song, "Thank You for the Music."  This is a very nice thank you for the God given talent people are given.

Book review: ****What is the Purpose of Life?

What is the Purpose of Life? 
This is another book written by April J. McMurtry.  This is a short concise book and to the point.  It answers in essence that question by answering sub questions.  Where did I come from?  Why am I here?  Where am I going after this life?  Each of these questions gets a chapter.  Other chapters include Jesus Christ, the Great Apostasy and Restoration.  She devotes chapter to our stages in our immortal journey: Premortal Life, Mortality and Life After Death.  She has a chapter entitled Today.  I enjoyed the chapter entitled Postscript: The Rest of the Story for in this chapter Sister McMurtry offers her testimony, but also the challenge for those who are seeking truth, to ask Heavenly Father.  She issues the challenge, but also explains how to receive direction from the Holy Spirit.

The book also includes all of the scriptures written out which she uses in her text.  She also has copied the testimony of the apostles which is entitled “The Living Christ.”  She also includes the references for the sources she uses.  The only complaint I would have is she often just sites the author rather than indicating where you can find the particular reference.
I enjoyed this read.  As I mentioned it is a short read, but it does involve a considerable amount of meditation and

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Music Review: As December Leaves; ****Oceana (to mmboe)

Oceana is the C.D. that the garage band my son was in through high school put together.  It had three members, my son Mark and his friends Chris Chavez and Andrew Loc.  Actually Andrew and Mark formed the group, but they needed a drummer so convinced Chris to join them.  However Chris' first love was guitar.  Andrew played guitar and Mark bass.  All three do vocals.  They called their music Emo-rock.  Chris did the mixing and recording work.  If anyone wants to check it out, since I have it on itunes, I could probably make them a copy on C.D.

myspace link

They start with an introductory instrumental "Prelude" with Andrew on piano and a friend on violin.  I really enjoy it.  It then goes into a piece that is probably too loud for my taste, but Mark has a nice bass riff.  My favorite is "The Seaside Burns Tonight."  I feel this song is as good as anything you hear on the radio.  Mark wrote the lyrics and provides lead vocal:
The Seaside Burns Tonight.
My heart is cold and weary
Your hands are warm so hear me
And teach me how to show you what I feel
There’s a fire burning through me begging to ensue me. 
This time I know, this time it must be real.

If I were made of glass you’d be the fire that made me.   I would shine for only you, and you alone.

If you could read my mind you would find that I’m
Giving up and living all that’s new
I would send you this message
That did not hear to test it
I promise you that I’d never grow tired of you


Mark also wrote the lyrics for "Still Here" abot the conflict with your own demons, and overcoming them.  The cover song is very good "Oceana," "Sinking Stones" is also very fun.  "We are the sinking stone...Don't let me sink alone." This song has along ending with instrumental and recorded war scene, which is a bit confusing.  The final number "Dreams of Drowning" is also very fun.  The vocals are very pleasing with the three all singing vocals.  "The forecast for tonight..."  This song ends with "We're all going out to sea," and then the sound of the ocean.