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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Life in Manteca 52: Sierra Football

Life in Manteca

This week was the start of football.  Caleb goes to Sierra High School so I went with him to the game.  They were playing Tracy High School.  Natalie, my niece who attends there, did not come to the game.  There are three freshmen from our church congregation in the band, Annie, Hayley and Jeff.  The band director, Mr. Hammerstrom is also part of our congregation.  The game was very entertaining, and very close.  Tracy had the upper hand the first half with running blasts up the middle.  Sierra were able to stop that for the most part the second half, making them go to second or third options, which sometimes worked, but they slowed them down enough to win the game 32-26.
We spent Saturday evening at barbecue at the Normans.  Mark did carne asada.  We took the Spanish rice and cheese.  Mark’s sister, Becky, was visiting from Hawaii with her five girls.

Sunday church was our ward conference.  It seemed to be especially good.  Choir sang “Master the Tempest is Raging.”  The Stake President and Bishop both talked.  We also had Standards Night.  It was on dating, going over the new “Strength in Youth” pamphlet.  They said that youth should not pair off as a couple until they are out of high school, or home from a mission.  That way they can date more girls.  The Young Men’s President made a simile comparing going out with girls to different types of candy.  You don’t know which you will like if you only have on type. 
On goal from this meeting to the get the newly published “Strength of Youth” Pamphlet and go over it, maybe even use it for family home evening.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Movie Night: ****Hunger Games

This is written by someone who has not read the books.

The thought of children killing children is eerie, and I was hesitant to watch this movie as a result.  I think the bloodshed was done as tastefully as it could be, but still it leaves you with a bad feeling. This movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen who is good with a bow and arrow, and volunteers for the Hunger Ganes to save her sister.
I keep mulling in my head, what is the theme of this movie?  What is it trying to say?  Is it saying something about governments and power?  Is it saying something about relationships when there is an over bearing government?  When there is the chance that your child will be picked for a game that will most likely leave you child dead, how do you react?  They try to glorify the contestants, giving them fancy clothes to wear and good food to eat, but there is the ominous presence of death in the room.  The society is not without this presence.
The story goes that they have been playing the “Hunger Games” for the past 74 years—ever since 12 of the provinces rebelled against the government.  The war was won by the government, and the game helps keep this in everyone’s mind, that the provinces were defeated and the central government is supreme.  This is a punishment for the rebellion, but also they say good will from the government as they take only two children from each province each year, rather than the greater bloodshed which would be caused by war. 
The two children from district 12 survive the games, having to show everyone they are a couple so as to avoid the wrath of the government.  However there is another boy who loves the heroine. 
I have not read the books, and so I think I will have to wait to see all the movies before I draw a conclusion as to the theme.  I only know that the President, portrayed by Donald Sutherland, is in a position to be very evil in the next movie, at least so it appeared at the end of the movie.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tony and the Sedation Dentist

Tony was born with very soft teeth, and they eventually got the best of him.  He was having tooth aches from time to time, and the dentist said he needed major work.  It took us over three months to get all the consents from insurances, and his dental day was this Tuesday.  Sheri went with him.  She says they gave him and shot, and he went to sleep with his eyes open.  When she put him in the wheel chair, his arms were still stiff as if he was holding her.  He had five teeth removed, four capped, three fillings and spacers put in.  Some pretty major work.  I had stayed home, and as Sheri held him most of the afternoon it was a good thing.  I went to the store and bought Jell-o and pain pills for him.  He was home by eleven, and slept most of the rest of the morning and the afternoon.  When he got home he complained that he couldn't walk.  I guess he was s till pretty dizzy.  He was nauseous, but never threw up.  He had problems with spitting, as he didn't want to swallow his blood.

He expressed some concern about having silver teeth.  By about five in the afternoon he was his old self.  Maryn came over to say hi, and he went outside for a few minutes.  He is now his old happy self, but doesn't like people to talk about his teeth, because it scares him.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Les Miserables: San Francisco

Les Miserables 
Charity took me to see Les Miserables last week.  She had been able to get tickets through the Butler family, who had purchased at the group rate, and had some extras. First off, I must say it is an incredible show.  The colors and the scenes, costumes and set pieces going back and forth, make it truly a work of art and a visual delight.  The music adds the auditory delight.  I love the song, “Bring Him Home.”  And it was performed beautifully.  “I dreamed a Dream” is also a favorite, and it was well performed.  My only regret is that they jumped into it so fast, I missed the first part of the song.  The Timpani covered over some of the vocals which was frustrating, and Javert was hard to understand when he sang “Stars.”
The play clarified some points.  The song “Who am I” has a part sung before the court, where Valjean reveals himself.  Eponine and Cosette were play mates at the inn.  That was something I hadn’t realized.  One song really stood out in terms of the blocking, this being “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”  They had a light representing the friends who had passed away at the barricade.  The friends come out and take their light.  At the end they were all dimmed, with the exception of the light Marius held.  It was very effective. 
Another moving part is the death of Gavroche.  The students were much affected by this.  Eponine did a very good job of singing “On My Own.”  That she gave her life, so her love could have someone else is very moving. 
Another place where they really did a great job with set, and making things move when they really weren’t was in the sewers, including Javert’s suicide.
Even with all the grandeur,  I had a feeling something was not quite right.  I think it had to do with the morality.  On our way home Charity expressed that she enjoyed it all except a couple of side things. She noticed that there were a couple of times in the side business, that people were pretending to be engaged sexual relations.  I had missed this, but had the feeling everything was not right.  I do not think such beautiful things should be used as a forum to promote irreverent and immoral behavior.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Doctor Who ****^Season Two

Doctor Who Season Two:
I am still going through the Doctor Who Series on Netflix. David Tennant stars as The Doctor and Billie Pyper as Rose Tyler.  I have recently finished season Two.  The episodes are varied, but I think the “Girl in the fireplace” is classic.  This presents The Doctor forming a relationship with Madame Pompadour from France.  She was a real life character who was actually mistress to the King of France.   The Doctor, however, only sees her sporadically in her life, as they are on different time lines.  It is sad, but the Doctor will say, “I’ll be right back,” and it turns to be years in her time line.  However the Doctor is willing to sacrifice all to save her, but it turns out well, relatively so, in the end.  In one of those I’ll be right back, she passes away, and the Doctor arrives to see her driven away in the funeral carriage.  The king presents him a letter, and uses this remark he is said to have said in real life. “The marquise won't have good weather for her journey.”  It was a stormy day, and the roads were mud.  They carriage was taking her to her traditional home for burial.
Another interesting item in this season is the parallel universe, in which Rose’s father is alive.  However, in that world, her mother (the parallel mother not her real mother) is turned into a Cyberman.  In another story the Cybermen gain entrance into our world, and begin to raise havoc, taking over the world.  The Daleks (the four remaining) also show up and are fighting the Cybermen.  However the Doctor sends them all back into “the void.”   However in doing so, Rose and her family end up in the parallel world with no way back.
There are fourteen episodes in all.  This was a very fun ride.  My least favorite were “The Idiot’s Lantern” and the two-part about a Satanic being being freed.  They wove several events into the show including the 2012 Olympics and the coronation of the queen.

Life in Manteca 51: Caswell State Park

After over a year in Manteca, we finally took our first trip to Caswell State Park, which is one of the few places which show our valley like it was over 100 years ago.  There were oaks, wild berries and wild grapes.  We had a picnic, and then a short walk, and then a drive and were close to the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Rivers where we saw a group of Alpacas.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Movie Night: ***^Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Dog Days, ***^ Moneyball

Tony and I saw the third installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  We have seen them all together.  This movie is called "Dog Days" and deals with summer vacation.  These movies all deal with relationships and growing in these relationships.  This movie deals with the main character and his father.  How it is possible to disappoint at times, but still be loved.  Roderick, the oldest brother provides the most comic relief.  He and his band and trying to impress girls.   When he and the girl he is trying to impress end up on the ground covered in chocolate, it is just funny, and even funnier when he has the presence of mind to ask for a date.

There is another part where Greg, the main character, loses his swimsuit and endh dive, as up in the pool naked.  His suit is stuck on the high dive, and then thrown outside the pool by a girl.  He is stuck in the pool all day naked, until he is able to get a small pink suit and make it to the restroom.  I had nightmares of ending in a similar situation as a child.  I would recommend this movie, however the lead actor has out grown the part.  He is suppose to be in seventh grade, but looks like a high schooler.

Moneyball, this movie I watched through Netflix DVD.  It is very fun, and would have been more fun with less "f" words.  It follows the Oakland As and their 20-game winning streak.  This was with a nothing budget, compared to some of the other teams.  Baseball has long has a problem that way, with some teams, in big markets, buying the best players.  I would recommend this movie for a mature audience.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our View of the Musicfest San Jose.

Caleb and I visited the Musicfest, which use to by the Jazzfest, in San Jose.  We saw eight acts on four different venues. With three days, something like fourteen stages and 100 acts, our view was limited.

Amanda Shaw the the Cute Guys
This was on the main stage.  Amanda Shaw plays violin and is very talented.   However we did not like the vocals, and Caleb said it was two "twangy" for his taste.  I like the Southern Blues, but we decided to check out the up and coming artist venue in the Tech Museum.
Youth in Jazz: Mr. Clifford Music School
We first saw a very young group.  They were very talented, but again their voices were young, and you could tell by the sound.  
Monte Vista High School Ensemble
Caleb wanted to see if he might know a director of this Jazz ensemble.  He didn't.  Caleb was confused why they had two lead guitars.  They had saxaphone and trombone in their brass section.  The had piano players who took turns.  They were very talented.  Caleb most enjoyed the song Red Clay.

Tech Museum
Because the concert was inside the museum, we were given museum tickets as part of the fest entry.  We played some as we listened to the concert.  Lots of exhibits on energy.  We also played with a butterfly exhibit.  They had a strange hand dryer in the bathroom.

Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
This group was back on the Main Stage.  They had a good groove, and jazz organ.  However, from their name I thought they might play on trash cans, or something.  They didn't.

Tony Monaco Group
Tony Monaco plays Jazz Organ.  His group also had guitar and drum.  He didn't need bass as he played the pedals on the organ.  How anyone can go two ways at the same time is incredible to me.  He performed in the San Jose Repertory Theater.

This is a song he sang.  This is someone else's recording.
The Yesberger Group
We were pleasantly surprised with Yesberger Group. They are an up and coming band with crisp vocals and catchy tunes.  Caleb cam home with there experimental CD.  There drummer is very talented, and used many different drumsticks, and even his hands for different tones.  They have added trumpet and are now a quartet.
This is one of their songs, not my recording.

Jazz Crusaders
Our last group was Jazz Crusaders on Main Stage.  It was crowded with everyone having their lawn chair.  However they played some old classics with a bent trombone and saxophone.  They called each other "Cats."

Book Review: ****The Willows in Winter William Horwood. (t0 mmoboe)

Rarely does a sequel written by a different author, capture the charm of the original book.  However in this case, pleasantly the author does capture the tone of Kenneth Graham.  We are again introduced to Mole, River Rat, Toad and Badger.  Mole is lost when he breaks through the ice, trying to get to his friends, who he incorrectly thinks are in danger.  Thus we are off on a new adventure.  Badger is recruited, who in turn recruits the weasels and sloats, and a great search is begun.  It proves fruitless.  However, Toad is now enthralled by flying machines rather than by cars.  His services are recruited.  His enthusiasm gets him into more trouble than he had ever been in before, and this after betraying his friends.  River Rat is dumped, in a parachute thankfully.  However Toad ends up in to town where the police and judges are out to get him.

Mole ends up rescuing himself.  This book is about relationships, and coming to terms with an eccentric friend, who gets into trouble, but makes life interesting.  The book also leaves a starting place for more adventures, as Rat and Mole have seen the Beyond.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Life in Manteca 50: Neighborhood Party, restaurant review

Tony and I went over to the neighborhood party at our local park.  It was only a work day, so I took Tony over after I got home from work, so we were really late.  There was pony ride and police officer with his dog, but we missed this.  We did get there for the bouncy house.  Tony also enjoyed the park. 

Hot Spud, the band Caleb is a part of, played at the shopping center by our house.  Caleb plays drums and does vocals.  I will add a couple clips when I get them ready.

Sheri and I went  to ****^Black Bear Diner for our anniversary.  There is a new on in Manteca.  We both had prime rib.  I had a strawberry shake, and ended up taking most of the prime rib home.  However we both gave them a thumbs up for decor and food.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tony's First Day of School

Tony started school last Thursday. He has quickly decided he likes school.  He really wants to learn to read.  His teacher is Mrs. Ballard. 

Mrs. Ballard

Evan, our neighbor, is in Tony's class
Tony came home the first day with a story of going on a search for the Ginger Bread Man.  The playground has two monkey bars and a swinging bar.  He is having a good time at school.