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, November 28, 2012

Movie Night: Musicals, ****Oliver; **^White Christmas

Oliver!:  I have always enjoyed Oliver.  It is available through Netflix Instant.  This movie won for the Oscar for best film as well as best direction.  When I was young I read the book.  The songs I especially like are: "Boy For Sale," "Who Will Buy," and "As long as He Needs Me," I think I Better Think it Out Again," "Where is Love and "Oom-Pah-Pah."
This is a tragic tell which is a lesson about partner abuse.  Abuse is progressive, with the final progression one of murder and death; just as this movie portrays.  Nancy (Shani Wallis) says she will stay with him as long as he needs her.  She stays too long.  The other theme is that if you stay in the criminal environment too long, it too will eventually take you in.  Fagin is well done, singing, character, acting.  Ron Moody was nominated for an Oscar for this performance.  Jack Wild, who played the Artful Dodger, was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar.  It also received a special Oscar for best choreography.  I imagine this is based partly on the dance of the boys to "Come Back Soon" as well as the large street numbers, "Consider Yourself a Friend" and "Who Will Buy."
This is a story of great tragedy.  How else could such a story end.
I would have scored this movie higher, but in reviewing the case, I discovered that Oliver (Mark Lester) did not sing his own songs but the daughter of the musical director Kathe Green.
**^ White Christmas (1954) seems to be a cookie cutter movie of male duet act meets girl duet act and so begins a romance.  What this movie has is the song White Christmas written by Irving Berlin.  It also has Danny Kay and Bing Crosby.  You really have to love Bing Crosby's voice.  These two always do some great dances.  The theme of this movie is that it is best not to over hear conversations, because this can lead to misunderstandings. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Movie Summaries (to mmboe)

***** It's a Wonderful Life (Jimmy Stewart)
***** Krueger's Christmas (Jimmy Stewart) (in two parts)

***** Home Alone
****^ Home Alone II: Lost in New York
** Home Alone III

****^Celtic Women: A Christmas Celebration

****^ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated)
****^ Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause

**** A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
**** I Want a Dog for Christmas Charlie Brown (2003)
*** It's Christmas Time Again Charlie Brown
*** Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales (2000)

**** Christmas for a Dollar (Seagull Book)
**** A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart, 1999)
**** A Christmas Carol: Scrooge (1951. Alistair Sim)
***^ A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott, 1984) 
*** Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey, 2009, Disney)
** A Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001) 
** Scrooge, (1970 Albert Finney, Alec Guiness)
*^ A Christmas Carol, (animated, 2008)
* Scrooged (1988, Bill Murray)

**** Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
***^ Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
**** A Christmas Memory (Truman Capote)
***^ One Christmas (Tuman Capote)

**** The Coat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp3IH8ZNviQ
***^ Christmas Angel (2009)
***^ Christmas Story (Finnish movie)
 ***^ The Christmas Story (tongue on the pole)

***^ Santa Clause I (Tim Allen)
*** Santa Clause III
**^ Santa Clause II

*** Shrek the Halls
*** Naught or Nice
*** Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (animated)
*** White Christmas
*** Elf (Will Farrell)
**^ White Christmas
**^ Dreamworks: Holiday Classics
** Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas
** The Family Stone
** Santa's Surprise
*^ The Bear Who Slept Christmas
(no stars) A Christmas Too Many

Life in Manteca 58: Stake Christmas Choirs

We have started our second Christmas season in Manteca. This past Sunday we started our season with a musical presentation at the Stake Center.  Most wards had their ward choirs sing.  I thing our choir was the largest, and I was pleased with our effort.  We sang "Oh thou the tellest good tidings" from the "Messiah".  We also did a thanksgiving song we had sung the week before.

The evening went very well.  Caleb not only sang in our ward choir, but also a youth chorus.  I think they were the highlight.  They had men's choir, women's choir and then a song together.  Joshua Cook, from Caleb's garage band, played a piano solo.  But the real show stopper was when a young man from the Yosemite Ward read Luke chapter 2.  He had a clear voice, and an amazing story to tell of the birth of our Savior.

Christmas performances are taking place at temple through the rest of this month and next.  I am getting excited.  Charity got our tickets to the ballet in a couple weeks.  Check it out

Christmas Movie Night:

On ABC tonight: ****^ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated)  This presentation of the Whos and The Grinch is classic.  I especially like the dog, and the big horn he has to wear, and then the sleigh he pulls.  I couldn't watch this enough.
Your a mean one Mr. Grinch

You're a mean one, Mister Grinch
You really are a heel,
You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel, Mister Grinch,

You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel!

You're a monster, Mister Grinch,
Your heart's an empty hole,
Your brain is full of spiders, you've got garlic in your soul, Mister Grinch,

I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You're a vile one, Mister Grinch,
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mister Grinch,

Given a choice between the two of you I'd take the ... seasick crocodile!

You nauseate me, Mister Grinch,
With a nauseous super "naus",
You're a crooked dirty jockey and you drive a crooked hoss, Mister Grinch,

You're a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce!

You're a foul one, Mister Grinch,
You're a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mister Grinch,

The three words that describe you are as follows, and I quote, "Stink, Stank, Stunk!"

You're a rotter, Mister Grinch,
You're the king of sinful sots,
Your heart's a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mister Grinch,

Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots!

***Shrek The Halls This carries on the theme of the Donkey interfering with Shreks home life.  In this movie the Shreks have had triplets, and Shrek wants his first Christmas to be perfect, based on a book he has.  Donkey and friends destroy this peace.  However in the end Shrek finds his own Christmas story.   Not as good as The Grinch.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Movie Night: ****The Thanksgiving Promise

This is a made for TV (for Wonderful World of Disney) which was first shown 23 Nov. 1986.  It is based on the novel "Chester, I Love You" written by Mormon authors Blaine and Brenton Yorganson.  The movie was made by the Bridges family, and many of the family star in the movie with Lloyd Bridges as the neighbor, Beau Bridges as director and father, and his son Jordan Bridges as Travis Tilby.  Travis is the younger brother who doesn't quite add up to his older two brothers.  His neighbor find a wounded gosling, and hires Travis to raise it so as they can have it for Thanksgiving dinner.  Travis bonds with the goose.  He does get into trouble, but he also warns the family of a fire, and they are able to save their neighbor who has had a poor relationship with Chester as he likes to eat her flowers.
There is also a side story with some bullies in the community, who pick on Travis and injure Chester.  However Chester ends up being OK and headed for the chopping block.
Travis tries to teaching Chester to fly, as a way to save his life, hoping he will fly South.  He does fly, but comes back.  Travis takes the hatchet to the chopping block to say goodbye after expressing his love.
This is a good uplifting movie.  I have also read the book, which I liked a bit better as it gave us Travis' thoughts, which were lacking.  It made his fight against the rope climb more meaningful.

TV Review: *** Doctor Who: The Aztecs

This four part episode stars William Hartnell as The Doctor.  This Doctor Who series is different, as they do not face aliens or any type of monster.  However in this case it is dealing with different customs, as they visit the ancient Aztec civilization, which is built upon superstition, and human sacrifice to appease the sun god.  The Doctor is traveling with his granddaughter and two friends.  One of the friends is mistaken as the reincarnation of an former prophet/god.  She tries to change the custom, and gets the group in trouble with the current priests.
The group is trapped away from the TARDIS which is in the tomb, with a one-way door.  They have to devise a way to get out, while keeping out of trouble dealing with the new laws and customs.  At the same time the priest of sacrifice is pushing for more power, and suspects the reincarnation is a false god.  None of the science fiction stuff, other than traveling through time, but an enjoyable story.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Life in Manteca: 57 Say it Aint So Again

Tony throwing dirt clods

A few trees left over from the orchard next door

One thing I've learned about Manteca, it seems to always be changing.  This last week, the almond orchard closest to our house has been knocked down.  Tony and I took a walk through the orchard to make sure it was knocked down all the way, and not just along the road.
A video of the mulching of the orchard trees.
The other activity today is cleaning beginning the Christmas decorations.  We decided to wait a while on the tree, but have started make room for nativity scenes.

At the Movies: *****Breaking Dawn Part 2

Miranda, Sheri and I went to see this movie last weekend, and I forgot to write a review.  This move is fantastic, the best of the series.  We left Tony home, which I was happy of because I think he may have had nightmares with regards to the many heads being pulled off.  The action is intense. 
Bur this is more than an action movie.  It is a love story for a little girl, half vampire and half human.  A mother's love, a father's love, a family's love, a wolf's love.  They must protect her from the Voltari, who are afraid of anything new.
It also includes resolving things with her father, just letting him know that she is alive, but not more than he needs to know.  Bella also comes to know he special powers, of protection from the powers of others, which she learns to project to others.
This show is will presented, and includes a tribute to all the actors for all four movies.  It has a way of looking back. 

Musical summaries (based on the movies)

***** The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (25 Year)
****^ Love Never Dies
***** Enchanted (Amy Adams)
****^ Les Miserables (2012)
****^ Rigoletto (Feature Films)
****^ Celtic Women: A Christmas Celebration
****^ Tangled (Disney)
**** Walk The Line (Johnny Cash and June Carter)
**** Oliver! (1968 Best Picture)
****  Saturday's Warrior
**** Star Child
**** Oklahoma (1955)
**** Man of La Mancha
**** Grease
**** Into the Woods
***^ Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat (Donny Osmond)
***^ Funny Face
***^ Pocahantas (Disney)
*** Huckleberry Finn
*** Sweeney Todd in Concert
*** Sunday in the Park with George (Mandy Patinkin)
*** Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey, Disney)
*** Aristocats (Disney)
**^ The Marvelous Land of Oz (You Tube)
**^ White Christmas (1954)
**^ Chicago
** A Little Night Music
*^ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
* The Civil War
* Robin Hood (Disney)
^ Saturday Night Fever (R version)

Musical Night: ****Man of La Mancha, *****The Phantom of the Opera (2011)

Man of La Mancha (1972) is the movie version of the musical.  It is available on instant Netflix.  It is based on the book by Miguel de Cervantes.  It stars Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren with Coco as Sancho.   I studied this book in college, and I like the way the musical and movie takes concepts from the book and reworks them.  For example in the book there are often side stories.  Int the book the characters will find a manuscript and sit down to read it.  In the musical, the prisoners retell the story, taking part as characters.  Cervantes takes time to make fun of the Catholic Church during the inquisition.  He dressed a donkey as a priest.  In the movie, it starts with making fun of the Church in a drama.  Cervantes walked a thin line.  Another aspect of Cervantes is the distortion of reality.  Such as the helmet of Mambrino.  If a barber's basin is worn on the head, is it in fact a helmet?  In the book an artifact is used as a door knob.  It then had become a door knob.
As for the movie, it is based more on actors portraying characters, rather than great singing.  The characters come through, and carry their part.  On of my favorite scenes is when Don Quijote finds Dulcinea by the side of the road after being raped.  The emotion really comes through.

The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall also available on instant Netflix is the 25 year anniversary of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic.  It is a filmed musical version of the musical, not a movie based on the musical.  It includes the entire show, with a bit extra at the end.  The love triangle of the Phantom (Ramin Karimloo), Christine (Sierra Boggess) and Raoul (Hadley Fraser) is classic.  In this presentation Christine is as close to perfection as you can get.  The Phantom and Raoul are a bit less than perfect.  I thought the Phantom had a tendency to go sharp, and this presentation is based on the music.  The most gruesome part is the tenor hanging from the rafters.  The falling chandelier was not very well done.  Just pyrotechnics and no falling.

Movie Night: ****Lincoln (2012)

This movie is in theaters now.  It is directed by Stephen Spielberg and stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field as the president and his wife.  This movie is a historical presentation of the thirteenth amendment and the difficulty with getting it passed, and President Lincoln's desire to get it passed during the lame-duck congress, after the Democrats had been defeated in the house.  He did not want to wait for the new congress to be seated, for if the war should conclude he might lose the people's motivation to pass the amendment; that in passing it might quicken the end of the war. 
The movie does not present the early parts of the war, in fact Lee and Grant are already facing each other at Petersburg, and Lincoln has won reelection, in the same election that swept many Democrats out of congress.
The passing of the thirteenth amendment was not easy as the movie portrays, and the movie shows the political moves, and promises Lincoln pulled out to official abolish slavery in the United States.  Political victory would require 20 votes from across the aisle, while not losing any votes from the Republican Party. 
The witticisms of Abraham Lincoln made for an enjoyable part of the movie, and I remember thinking during the movie, I wish I had written that down.  Also his humorous stories kept the movie light, because the movie was heavy. 
This movie was not a biography of Lincoln, nor was it a history of the civil war.  It had very little of the actual action, other than some Africa Americans telling their story, and showing the result of battle.  The Gettysburg Address is recited at the beginning of the move, and towards the end we see works from Lincoln's second inaugaration. 
The movie also does a very good job of portraying the son's of Mary and Abraham Lincoln.  Robert, his oldest who wants to be in uniform rather than at school.  He finally gets his wish, being placed on Grant's staff.  Tad, his youngest is dealing with the death of the middle brother, Willie.  He views lithographs of slaves, and is very much interested in the freedom of the slaves.
The other actors do a very good job.  You would think a movie spending much of its time showing congress would be boring.  In this case it was not, because the story took place in congress, and the manipulations, name calling, and in some cases restraining of one's opinions to get the ammendment passed, were fascinating. Tommy Lee Jones as Representative Stephens from Ohio was terrific.
A very enjoyable movie.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Our Turkey Day started early with turkey bowl touch football.  We had a small group, us and the Wynns.  Charity and Anthony joined us so we had four on four.  Miranda made her very first in her lifetime turkey bowl appearance.  Tony went with us  but kept to the playground.  We made it a quick game, and each team made a score.  I had my annual slide in the wet grass incident so I was good.

A new Thanksgiving activity this year was to the Petersons for pie for breakfast. Levi loves chocolate pie, I  enjoyed apple pie, Sheri got the pumpkin she has been craving, and Tony got his chocolate pie.  We watched the Macy's Parade while we were there.

We had Thanksgiving dinner with the Normans.  They had quite the spread.  Sheri supplied rainbow jell-o and pies.  I took raspberries for the cheese cake.  Mark and Dianna had all their kids there, Joshua home from Logan.  Gary and Angie were also there with their younger kids.  We also had our three youngest.  I had forgotten how much I like turkey with gravy, and Stove Top stuffing.

cousins washing and drying

Tony on the tramp

Football watching was mediocre at best, but coversation was good.  We took a ride to one of their rentals with newly laid tile in the floor. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November Anniversaries: Jeremy's Mission


Airport Coming Home

Jeremey entered the MTC just before Thanksgiving and Natalia's wedding, and returned home for Thanksgiving and Charity's wedding.  He helped a lot with Charities wedding making a backdrop for the cake and doing the music.

Natalia's Wedding Reception 11/22/2008

Bride, Daddy dance

Miranda, Mark, Charity

bouquet toss

The ring man
Natalia was married the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  We had four foster children with us.  It was an interesting day with them.  The reception and wedding lunch were at our church in Cupertino.  Sophia blew out her diaper going to the church from the temple.  Fortunately she was in a different vehicle, and was mostly cleaned up by the time we got to the reception, where we also had wedding lunch.  My sister Dianna and Charity helped clean her up.  At some point Joe Joe got away from us and someone had to bring him back into the church.  Tony was the ring man.  Jeremy missed the wedding, but went through the temple with Natalia in Rexburg.  He had entered the MTC for his mission a week before

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Natalia Wardle and Ty Moore, Wedding 11/22/2008

Tony and Mark
I didn't blog Natalia's wedding as it was preblog for me.  I wanted to share a few pictures.  She was married four years ago.

Natalia's folks

Ty's family

Ty's folks

Natalia's family

Movie Night: ****Super 8

I found this movie on Netflix Instant and an enjoyable time watching it.  It stars Joel Courtney in his first roll and Elle Fanning who are forming a love interest relationship as Joe Lamb and Alice Dainard.  The show starts with the death of Joe's mother in an industrial accident, and Alice's father blaming himself.  Joe's best friend, Charles Kaznyck has a crush and Alice, and invites her to participate in the movie he is making.  Instead of leading to his forming a relationship, it sparks Joe and Alice, against the wishes of their fathers, to form a relationship.  Charles becomes angry as he realizes Alice likes Joe back.
 However this show is more than relationships, but an "ET" on steroids.  It was produced by Steven Spielberg.  It starts with a horrendous train crash which Joe and his friends witness, which turns out to be an attempt to help the ET escape.  However this ET is not cute, and he terrorizes the town.  What he doesn't get the Air Force does. 
I really like Elle Channing's acting, the rivalry between their fathers, and the alien is gruesome.

Monday, November 19, 2012

TV Review: Doctor Who: ***The Ark in Space (to mmboe)

This series is available through Netflix instant.  This is a 1975 episode of Doctor Who with Tom Baker as the Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.  It pits The Doctor on an ark 4000 years into the future.  The humans on the ask have frozen themselves in sleep as a way of saving the human race, projecting themselves into the future as the Earth is no longer sustainable.  This idea worked well, except that a space fly has gotten into the works.  The queen fly accidentally electrocutes herself, but not before giving birth to her larvae, which are set to inhabit the human bodies.  The timing mechanism for the humans to reemerge has been triggered, and several come back to life.  The commander however touches a larvae, and turns into a fly.  The new commander (ex commanders mate) takes over, and they determine to try to electrocute the rest of the flies, except the lead fly who was the commander, has turned off the power.  This episode only has a happy ending because of the sacrifice of some of the crew, including the commander who has just enough humanity left to safe his mate.
Special effects aren't near as good as current series, and The Doctor and the commander both seem rather stiff and unemotional, while Sarah Jane Smith is too emotional.  But it is Doctor Who.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Movie Review: ****Matilda, *The Master of Disguise

I watched two movies on Instant Netflix.  Matilda (1996) we have in our personal collection, and it is a favorite.  The other, "Master of Disguise" was a waste of time for thirty minutes and then I couldn't watch anymore.  Matilda stars Danny Devito and Rhea Pearlman as the parents of Matilda, played by Mara Wilson, child actress also known for "Miracle on 45th Street."  I liked the younger Matilda going to the library, and the actress changes as she grows older.  Mara also innocence but also revengeful energy to the role.  Matilda befriends her teacher, Miss Honey, played by Embeth Davidtz.  They form a formidable team to overcome the evil school principal, Trunchbull, a former shot put, javelin and hammer thrower who now terrorizes children.  Her long throws come back to haunt her as she launches children, but Matilda uses her powers to turn them around.  Matilda's birth parents are and humorous after thought in the move, as they don't care about Matilda, and her father is a crook. 
"The Master of Disguise" was written by Dana Carvey, who also stars.  Dana is of Saturday Night Live and Wayne's World fame, which are both better than this.  When the villain farted (Brent Spiner of Startrek as Data) for a laugh I had enough.  I kept thinking it would get better.  It didn't while I was watching.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: The Tales of Beedle Bard (to mmboe)

This is a series of short stories written by J.K. Rowling and would be consistent with the Hogwarts world Grimm Fairy Tales.  Their are five stories included, with commentary form Albus Dumbledore.  She credits Hermione Granger with translating the stories.  It is published in 2008 by Mixed Sources.
I really enjoyed the first story, "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot."  This is about the son of a wizard, who is stingy with his services to his non magical neighbors, unlike his father who tried to help everyone.  The pot forces the son to be empathetic, and teaches him a good lesson.
"The Fountain of Fair Fortune" presents three witches and a knight who seek the fountain.  In the end the all leave their troubles behind in the struggle to get to the fountain.  It seems perhaps the fountain was not magical at all.
Bother of these two stories are interesting at Dumbledore points out, in that the have interaction between magical and nonmagical people.
I did not care for "The Warlock's Hairy Heart."  Too bloody for my taste.  Dumbledore points out that it is difficult to manipulate love, and in this case the warlock had hidden his heart away to avoid love.
"Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump" is entertaining.   It is very similar to "The Emperor's New Clothes."  The king is determined to learn magic, and forbids and hunts down all other magical beings.  He is taken in by a con artist, and doesn't learn any magic.  The Babbity Rabbit, an animagus escapes the emperor and the conman by transforming into a rabbit.  Albus points out this story teaches that death cannot be conquered with magic.
The last story, "The Three Brothers" we already know from the last Harry Potter.  The three brothers defeat death, and are given a wand, a magic stone to defeat death, and an invisibility of cloak.  The first two brothers are captured by death all the same.  A wizard kills the first brother in his sleep to steal the wand.  The second brother brings his love back to life, but finds she is not really among the living, but only a half life.  He suicides to really join her.  The youngest brother, uses the cloak to hide from death, and then when he is of good age gives the cloak to his son, and meets death willingly.
Of course to story in the last Harry Potter is if this legend is true, ad these items actually exist, so as to defeat death.  I enjoyed this book and it was a fast read.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: Tortilla Flat. (to mmboe)

This is a classic John Seinbeck, and one of his earlier works.  It follows a group of paisanos who live near Monterrey.  They are held together by Danny, who has inherited two houses.  Danny is a character who is use to be homeless, but now has two houses when he returns from the war.  It follows this group after they return from World War I.  They get the most pleasure from a jug of wine, and are always looking for a dollar so they can buy wine.  They also avoid work, unless it is really necessary.

Pilon rents one of the homes, but never intends nor has money to pay.  Eventually he and a couple others staying with him burn the home down.  They then move in with Danny, and the pressure of paying rent is taken away.  Eventually the group includes six, who live in the house, Danny, Pilon, Pablo, Big Joe Portagee, The Pirate and his five dogs and Jesus Maria.  Jesus Maria is the more sensitive member, and leads the group on altruistic ventures, including supporting a woman with nine children the years the beans failed, and she was not able to glean from the fields.  The Pirate has made a vow to give a candlestick to Saint Francis, who cured one of his dogs.  Every day he chops a wagon load of wood, and takes it to the city to sell.  He gets a quarter every day, which he saves for a 1000 day candle.  He hides the money, and the group want to find it to altruistically help the Pirate better take care of himself.  However they also see much wine in the task.  However, in the end, the Pirate gives the money to his friends to watch for him.  Big Joe steals the money, ut i the recovery they realize the Pirate has met his goal.  The candle is given, and the Pirate is dressed well enough to attend church, by borrowing clothes from the others.  The dogs also break into the service in which the priest talks about the love of Saint Francis for animals.

There are numerous short stories woven into the telling of this book.  I enjoyed it.  John Stienbeck's goal of helping us understand them is achieved.

The book ends with a sad tone, after a couple years of being landlord, Danny longs for his carefree former life.  He goes into a funk, and his friends decide to have a big party with lots of wine to bring him out of it.  His friends actually work to get money for wine.  The party ends up being a community wide party.  When Danny gets drunk he likes to fight.  He challenges everyone with a tale leg to fight him.  He has no takes, and goes outside to find someone.  He falls of a ravine to his death.  The story ends with his friends allowing the house to burn, and they all go their separate ways, as Danny was the glue that held them together.  I enjoy Steinbeck books, and would recommend this book to others wanting to read a good story.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: John Steinbeck, The Short Novels of (to mmboe)

This book was published in 1953 by Viking Press.  It has six short novels, which I will review when I read them.  It also has an introduction by Joseph Henry Jackson which is the subject of this review.

The introductionist points out that critics have said many different things about John Steinbeck.  Is he a symbolist, realist, etc?  However he concludes his conversation quoting John Steinbeck, "My whole work drive has been aimed at making people understand each other."  This is a broad statement, and a worthy goal.  When he writes, he paints people, and leaves them open, so we can empathize with them.  I have been a reader of John Steinbeck since my youth.  I wonder how well John Steinbeck accomplished this goal with me.  Have I been more interested in others and their plight in life as a result of what I have read?  Did John Steinbeck stimulate my career choice of Social Work?  I enjoy reading Steinbeck, and I think this is because of the characters.  He also describes scenery, but it is his characters that makes his books.
I am going to enjoy rereading these books.

To the Movies/Movie Night: ****Wreck-it Ralph, ***Last of the Mohicans

Tony and I went to "Wreck-it Ralph" today as part of our Veterans Day.  It is produced by Disney, and is at local theaters.  Tony asked to go, and he was very fascinated with the movie.  Tony says the best part of the movie was the fighting.  John C Reilly portrays Wreck-it Ralph who is not happy with his status in life--the bad guy in the video game Fix-it Felix.  He has been at it for thirty years.  He crashes the party for the thirty year anniversary.  He was not invited.  He is told, if he can win a medal, then he can hang with the other game characters in the pent house.  And so he goes on a trek to shooting game against viral bugs.  He wins his medal, but in getting out a viral bug attaches to his vehicle, and he ends up crashing in candy land.  Alan Tudyk plays the bad guy--king of candy land, and sounds and looks just like Ed Wynn (Uncle Albert from Mary Poppins).   Albert befriends Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) who supposedly is a glitch.  This friendship has several nuances which make it evtertaining as Vanellope attempts to get into the race and win.  Having a friend cures Albert of his doldrums, and gives meaning to his life.  His relation also improves with others of his own game.  This is not a traditional Disney with singing, but it does have relationships and a very good bad guy.
"Last of the Mohicans" (1992) was on IFC.  This is based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper.  The action takes place during the French and Indian War.  Magua (Wes Studi) (Huron Tribe fighting with the French) has a bitter grudge against Colonol Edmund Munro and his two daughters.   He attacks a column that is taking the girls to their father.  They are rescued by Hawkeye (adopted Mohican) and his Mohican brother and father.  This draws him into the war on the side of the British.  He becomes enamored with one of the daughter's, and there are several scenes when they are longing each other.  Hawkeye takes them to the fort, which is under siege, where the girl's father is in command.  The British and French reach agreement where the British are allowed to leave.  However Magua and the Huron warriors pursue them, leading to a great battle.  The Colonel is killed, and Hawkeye again escapes with he girls.  However they are about to be captured, and Hawkeye leaves them with a promise to return and effect a rescue.
This movie has lots of good action; there are at least three battle scenes.  The last of the Mohicans is always coming to the rescue, but will he arrive in time.

Life in Manteca 56: Garage is Clean

Sheri has gone to Utah for a few days to meet Baby Skylar, and to visit other grandchildren.  I took a few days off, so Tony could stay in school.  He loves school.  I turned my energies to garage.  For the first time since we moved to Manteca, the garage is clean and organized.  This means all the boxes have been gone through and unloaded.  It has been over a year and a half since we moved and finally we have gotten moved in and organized.  My tools are organized; instead of thrown and piled on my able.  Caleb was motivated to help with band practice scheduled.  The only problem is now I have baskets of things to put away in the house, and the living room is a mess.  However I have another day off with Veterans Day before Sheri will be home.
With the garage cleaned, Mark's band has a more comfortable place to practice.

Tony enjoyed dancing to the music

Family Life: Happy Birthdays

With all those candles I thought she would burn the house down

During the past month, we have had three birthdays.  This started with Natalia October 17.  This is what I call our day of perfection.  It is the day our birth children are all two years apart. This year that was 27, 25, 23, 21, 19 and 17.   Of course Tony brings up the year at five--two plus ten.  Jeremy's birthday is the next day, October 18.  Charity quickly followed on November 1.  We were only able to celebrate with Charity as she lives close.  Jeremy is in Logan and Natalia in Washington.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Movie Night: ***^ Under the Greenwood Tree

This is a made-for-tv movie available through instant Netflix.  It is a 2005 film presented on PBS Masterpiece Theater in 2006.  It is  based on the novel by Thomas Hardy.  There was a previous British Film 1918vby the same name, based on the same novel.
I found this film to be enjoyable.  It is based on the idea of three men pursuing the same woman.  Fancy Day (Keeley Hawes) has returned to the community after being away to school, with the prospects of capturing and man of substance.  One of her pursuers is wealthy, Mr Shiner.  Another is the local parson, Parson Maybold, who is pursuing Miss Day to play the new harmonicam and replace the choir.  The last is a member of the choir, Mr. Dick Dewey (James Murray) who works for his father's delivery business.  They also make apple cider.
This movie has some clever parts.  The choir (which includes instruments) does not want to be replaced.  The harmonicam is an organ.  There are several times when the choir confronts the parson.  Mr Shiner proposes marriage and he is the wealthiest man in the community.  Fancy is given time to think about the proposal before responding.  Fancy's father is favorable of this union, and makes Fancy promise not to pursue Mr. Dewey who is "below her station" as her dead mother's wish that her daughter marry well.  A bit of humor is presented when Miss Day is entertaining Mr. Shiner and Parson Maybold to tea and Mr Dewey shows up at the door wet and muddy.  She refuses him entrance and he goes away offended.  It appears she is going to marry for money, or for travel which is what the parson offers, or for love, she can't have all three.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ace Train 29: Stadium Updates

Even though the Earthquakes have had their groundbreaking ceremony, there is little there but overturned dirt yet.  The club website reported, "The club broke ground on its new stadium on Oct. 21, 2012 and set a Guinness World Record in the process. The 6,256 who dug for 2 minutes at the event were the most ever to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony."

 On the other hand, the outer framework of the 49er Stadium seems to be just about done.  The stadium just keeps getting higher and higher.

I think the highest level you can see to the right of this picture is going to go all the way around.