Monday, December 31, 2012

Planning Ahead for 2013

There will be some changes coming for the blog in the new year, but most will not happen for a good amount of time. One thing that will happen sooner rather than later will be a new second blog that will be a major project in 2013. Work on that will commence this week, in fact. It will take time from this blog, but it shouldn’t be too bad. There will be more reviews, life events, and the occasional essay.

Plans also include finally learning proper HTML and XTML coding to create my own template for this blog. That will be awhile, due to other things I will be trying to learn including how Linux works (going Kabuntu for that), playing guitar (yet another try to remember to try), and hopefully some fiction writing.

Why am I making plans when I think the country and the world economy will probably fail? Because if one knows history, one understands these things happen all the time. Funny thing, humans always survive these periods -- though I sometimes wonder how we survive the periods of plenty given how self destructive so many of us are. So when I have typed about the very bad stuff coming down, I do not believe it is the end of the world. In fact, it is the height of arrogance to believe the downfall of one’s society is the end of the world. It smacks of every ancient culture who thought the sun rose and set because of their pharaoh or king. 

Life goes on and only cowards die a thousand deaths, though given our hyperactive modern lifestyle and inflation, it is probably more like a thousand deaths per day. I don’t live that way because that isn’t living. If I were to give one message to the world outside of a call to come to Christ, it would be to man up.

So those are my big plans and we’ll see if I pull any of them off. There are a billion and one other things going on and always new developments to deal with as well. This keeps life from being boring, but it does mean being mentally nimble on your feet. Attitude dictates the altitude your spirit flies at and nothing will teach you that better than dealing with the unexpected.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nook HD 7" Tablet First Impressions

The big gift I received this year was a white Barnes and Noble Nook HD from my sister and her husband. Dad got a gray one so it has been an opportunity to observe a tablet rookie deal with the device. What follows will be a short series of comments and I'll go more into the Nook HD at a later date.

The first thing that struck me was how light and compact it is. Compared to my iView CyPad 760TPC, it is thinner and a touch lighter. The difference in dimensions worked out so that my modified Kindle Fire case by Poetic can hold it, but I recommend getting a case designed for it.

The next thing I noticed was the quality of the display. At 1440 x 900 it has impressive room to render web pages and equals laptops in resoulution. This is actually better than 720p and HD streamed content is amazing on the screen. Even more impressive is the sensitivity of the touch screen -- it is actually easy to pick out the tiny links on a web page.

Sound is much better than I expected. The stereo speakers on the back have good range and are clear even with case covering them. A variety of anime, movies, and YouTube videos have been thrown at it without too many problems.

App selection is tiny in B&N's store and the Nook HD is locked to it exclusively. One of the prominent bundled apps for Hulu Plus has a serious issue of perpetually looping commercials on the first or second commercial break making it useless. Another app notorious for that is Crackle's, but it runs just fine on the Nook HD. Weird.

While I haven't personally run any games on mine, the step nephew and niece have on theirs with total fluidity.

The builtin ebook reader software is excellent and I like it better than the Kindle due to font handling and the fantastic display. Reading is a joy on the device.

It should be noted that the Nook HD is software tailored to be a dedicated book reader with a secondary purpose of displaying movies. It is not aimed at being a general pupose tablet, though that could be changed in the future if B&N so wished. The hardware is certainly capable of it.

My Nook HD is the 8gb model, but can be expanded out to an additional 64gb via a microSD card. The charger and data cord is proprietary, so taking care of it is a must. It does charge amazingly fast from a wall outlet.

The only browsers for the tablet are the modified Ice Cream Sandwich Android browser and Dolphin. The latter can play YouTube videos without issue, which is good because the app is not available for the Nook.

So far I love how responsive the Nook HD is and the display. I do not like the limitations on apps because you can't even side load them! I'll  play wth some workarounds next week and report on how that all goes.


Bronchitis again. I will wait until it's pneumonia before seeing a doctor. Sleeping has been very difficult , which makes healing hard as well. All this makes me not very much fun to be around right now.

It's a heck of a way to spend a holiday visit. Not recommended.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


The period between Christmas and New Years Day is traditionally a time for me to get sick. The last few years have been blessedly different; alas I find myself ill again this year.

A mild sore throat has ballooned into something more painful and constrictive. A sinus infection is developing too. It could be worse. My father who rarely gets sick, has been very ill to the point of barely keeping anything down.

At least he's getting better while I'm getting worse so that we weren't taken out at the same time!

Waxing nostalgic lately actually paid off when an old therapy for a swollen throat came back to from childood. Crushed ice or sucking on small ice cubes does wonders.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nearly Past Twelve

2012 is almost over and I have mixed feelings about the year that was.The promise of a better start gave way to the realities of life very early on. Woes carried over from 2011, with the most obvious being the impact of not having a functional car for many months.

That supremely curtailed my driving and ability to get around. However, there was a silver lining to the loss of auto motion. Friends were amazing at coming out to the hinterlands where I reside to pick me up and deliver me home. Overnight stays became a regular occurence which is something I wasn't used to -- or expecting from others. It was the first time since childhood that I realized people were willing to go out of their way to help me.

After finally getting the car back, another setback hit in the form of a miniscule deer tick and its nasty payload of bacteria. Lyme disease was the verifired diagnosis that made my late Spring miserable. Though I downplayed it, the illness really did do a lot of damage and took a long time to recover from.

That recovery really didn't happen until October when I look back at the experience. Since then, my health has improved to the point where I am able to see results I'd expected in the first half of 2012. Better late than never.

Politically speaking, the year was an unrecoverable disaster that will be seen as the beginning of the end of the Republic. Conflict and strife are inevitable and unavoidable now. People who are ignorant of history will consider this crazy, of course. I write it dispassionately with a dash of sadness that the classic cycles of history never are overcome. It is selfish for me to want to have lived in only a good cycle and acknowledge how very spoiled I've been.

While spiritual gains are what I desire the most out of life, the bulk of my gains have been material. My movie collection expanded greatly due to the collapse of DVD and Blu-ray prices. Patience netted me long wanted CPU upgrades and a move into tablets.

There has been a great deal more that happened, good and bad. The post would run far too long if I covered it all, so I will wrap up.

The world may be in decay, but I feel strangely settled and prepared here at the end of 2012. Each year, fear becomes less of an emotion and more an abstract concept. Perhaps it is the beginnings of true peace of th soul. All I know is that it isn't a bad place to be.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Another Night Before Christmas

It seems like last Christmas was only a little while ago, but I find myself contemplating the birth of Christ once again. For once I can say not a creature was stirring, but that’s only because the cats are sleeping. Since I am unable to get into the modern “holiday spirit”, I watched a movie rented from Netflix that I’ve been trying to get around to for about five years.

The Nativity Story turned out to be a wonderful film that only took a few liberties in recounting the story of Mary and Joseph leading up to the birth of the Savior. It was a very grounded and realistic account of living in those perilous times (have there ever been any other?) while showing the great faith those two special people had in God. We often speak of Mary, but it is Joseph whom I admire the most.

It was no small thing to accept and protect the pregnant virgin and the pressures must have been immense to deny her. That would have most likely resulted in her being stoned to death along with the unborn Jesus. Even with an angelic visitation to affirm the truthfulness of his wife, such peer pressures were great especially in the society of that time.

Another thing that struck me was how important John the Baptist’s birth was for Mary. The miraculous pregnancy of his mother, Elisabeth, had to have paved the way for the acceptance of what happened to Mary as well. Not only did he prepare the way for Christ with his ministry and teachings as an adult, his very birth may have ensured Mary’s survival.

And thus the greatest gift the world was ever given was safeguarded.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

A merry Christmas to all, for the rain falls on all of us.

Godzilla vs Biollante (1989) Review

A surprising release on Blu-ray shows off the most experimental Godzilla film ever made in all its odd glory.Over the years, the radioactive goliath has fought and conquered other mutants, dinosaurs, giant insects, alien monsters, giant robots, and even King Kong. But nothing can prepare even an unstoppable force of destruction for the dangerous power of a giant rose bush. No, I’m not kidding.

Godzilla vs Biollante Title

Serious kaiju fans and kids of the 1970s will recall a dark period with no Godzilla movies coming out. This was horrifying to those of us who enjoy a good city trampling and so it was a big deal when Godzilla 1985 (or Return of Godzilla outside of North America) arrived in theaters. It did not do remotely as well as expected in the U.S.A., so the next film in the series had some trouble getting released here. It didn’t help it bombed in Japan, but it did truly begin the Heisei era of Godzilla.

That movie was Godzilla vs Biollante and it may be the closest thing to an art house movie in the long cinema career of the monster. Words are insufficient to describe how weird this movie is, even for a kaiju flick. Still, I am going to try my best.

Godzilla vs Biollante MercenariesGodzilla vs Biollante Dr Shiragami and Erika

Right off the bat, the movie crams a dense amount of information before the credits stop rolling. It starts with the oh so 1980s high tech computer text describing different levels of Godzilla alerts which are somewhat along the lines of severe weather bulletins. Next, a montage shows a condensed version of the events of the previous film which ended with Godzilla imprisoned in a volcano. When this and the credits end, we get to see a very blond and Anglo reporter covering the devastation in Tokyo. She’s also speaking in English with very large Japanese subtitles on screen.

Amidst the wreckage, a group of men in military gear and protection suits are looking for Godzilla cells. Why? It will get explained by the copious exposition in the movie. The big surprise is that they are all Americans speaking English and I had to pause playback for a moment to see if I had enabled the correct audio track. Yep, it was the Japanese one and I was still waiting to hear any Japanese.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Survival and Pants

Looking out the window, it appears the world did not end the other day. While I see a fair amount of snow, there is no where near the amount that was forecast for the winter storm two days ago. There have been no sightings of giant wolves or of an immense serpent, so Ragnarok hasn’t happened either.

I have always wondered what people who are terrified and panicked by end of the world theories/rumors do the day after it doesn’t end. All those plans put off, belongings given or sold to others, and bills unpaid have to be a big a slap to the face as the failure of the planet to go up in flames. How about facing friends and neighbors?

So life goes on, the wheel in the sky keeps turning, death and taxes still can’t be avoided, and there still isn’t much on TV worth watching.

We hit –4 F last night and it really feels like winter now. Trudging up the driveway to catch a ride yesterday was a cold endeavor, but I handle it better than I used to. Between the weights and the meditation methods, my body has decided it can circulate the blood after all. Yesterday was fun going out with friends to browse movies and pistols, then playing D&D. I didn’t get to do anything other than a small amount of role play during the session, which was good because I wasn’t feeling too well anyway.

Today is a bit tougher and I’m trying to work myself up to weight training and getting one last movie review written for the year. The collapse in blog traffic still isn’t explained and this is the lowest it has been in years. Google probably demoted me in searches for some arbitrary reason. All of that is automated through algorithms and is highly impersonal. It won’t stop me from posting as I have anymore than the increasing traffic had changed my habits.

Yesterday did have some bad moments, though. Two pairs of pants, one only a couple of months old, tore in the crotch. So there went the money I was saving for a big purchase early next year. I could only afford to replace the jeans and will try to figure out if I can somehow mend the khakis since they are so new.

Pants have been an illustration of why inflation has been bad for some time. The fabric used in pants has gotten thinner and thinner with the stitching actually ripping through it in some cases. Formerly good brands like Wrangler and Levi have become low quality and I don’t know if any good quality jeans are out there these days. It’s hard for me to view pants as disposable when I’m paying $20-25.

So if you are hoarding for disaster, you better buy a lot of jeans in order to survive, since they will fall apart under duress more than they used to. I wonder if I can duct tape the khakis…

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Short Note to 2012 Doomsday Worriers

The world is not going to end. Life will continues, so get on with it.

Oh and please take my late mother’s advice to “dread only one day at a time.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Weather, Last Minute Shopping and Al

Here in the Southeastern tip of Minnesota we got more than the one inch of snow that was supposed to dust the area yesterday. Tramping out to the car it varied from three to four inches deep and made cleaning the Subaru off a bit of a chore. But my father and I had good reason to go out despite the snow. It had suddenly dawned on me that he hadn’t done any of his Christmas gift shopping – not even online. I checked and sure enough that was the case, so something needed to be done about that.

Heading for La Crosse, the situation reminded me of my late friend Al Ulven. Al was the proprietor of a drug store and a variety store in the small town of Spring Grove. Many believed he made a great deal more money than he actually did, so it was always amusing to watch him around Christmas time.

Though thought of as a miser, Al really didn’t have extravagant sums to throw around. His adult children were often in need of help and the profit margins of his businesses were pretty slim. Did all this make him a Scrooge?

No, he was a giving person, if frugal. But it was the nature of his Christmas gifts that made me shake my head in wry amusement. You see, Al would always wait to the last possible minute to get Christmas presents. Usually this was on Christmas Eve and he wasn’t willing to travel to the nearest city of La Crosse to shop.

Instead, he would put out the least amount of effort possible. Once he claimed that he wanted to keep it local to help the community, but I called him on that since he almost always bought the gifts from his own store. The truth was he was too lazy and would put the shopping off until he was backed into a corner.

So some of the oddest presents would be given with little tailoring to the individual. Knick knacks aimed at elderly women were presented to bachelors, office supplies to kids, and so forth. The thing is he would give the gifts with a twinkle in his eye and you couldn’t get offended even if you wanted to.

Another Christmas time memory of Al was triggered by noticing the lights festooned by the City of La Crescent on some of their trees along the highway. He was always involved in the city council in Spring Grove, plus the Ballard House and other town institutions. Sometimes he would shanghai me into assisting in some of the tasks involved and one time it involved replacing light bulbs.

How hard could replacing a few light bulbs be?

Said light bulbs turned out to be on decorative strings meant to festoon the trees in the town’s biggest park. Many long strings of lights that had been subjected to the worst that Minnesota winters could throw at them were stored away waiting for winter to come again. This was before LED bulbs and so many feet of had to be checked for bad bulbs.

Untangling Christmas lights is tough enough for decorating trees in the house, now imagine industrial sized lines determinedly knotting together. It was tempting to use Alexander the Great’s solution to the Gordian knot, but these were expensive items. The size of the them meant it would be difficult to work on them, but fortunately the Fest Building was available to do so if a little chilly.

There Al, his friend Ted, and I worked on untangling and laying out lights, then plugging them in. Searches for broken and burnt out bulbs followed with many a light needing replacing. Al would be in and out running errands during the work which took hours. Eventually all the strings that were fully functional were carefully wound into bundles for others to put up on the trees. That entailed bucket crane work and I’m glad it wasn’t my job.

I miss those misadventures with Al.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Windows 8 First Impressions

Oy, where did everything go? The Start screen is a pain in the rear. Getting to settings for hardware and software takes even more digging than in Vista and Windows 7. This was a particular pain since I had to hack drivers for my audio card to work properly. That little endeavor was painful, but ultimately successful in granting me full optical out.

I don’t like that I was forced into 32 bit Win8 due to the downloadable cheap upgrade locking you into whatever was on the system before. Be warned you will need the much more expensive disc version to move to 64 bit. Me, I’m cheap or I would never have upgraded.

Flash player is being temperamental in Firefox 17, yet works just dandy in Internet Explorer 10.

I do not like how difficult it is to get to programs now. Everything is aimed at the Start page, which is a garish mess. I feel like I’ve been thrown back to Windows 3.1 it is such a step backwards. This interface will not be put on my main PC unless I’m forced to by Microsoft.

If I hadn’t gotten an Android based tablet earlier this year, I’d have no clue where things were hidden. The interface is completely smartphone and tablet centric, which is pretty useless when using a mouse.

At least Win8 is running fast on the old hardware which has an AMD Opteron 180 Dual Core 2.4 ghz processor with 2 gigs of RAM.

A Curious Decline and Other Things

Since last Thursday, the traffic to the blog has dropped to a fraction of what it normally is. I don’t know if it was my tweaking the robots.txt earlier in the month knocking me down in the search rankings or what. That has since been returned to the Blogger default since the tweak served its purpose in getting Bing to actually index the whole blog. Arcane stuff, but interesting to learn.

It’s a good thing I don’t earn any money off of this site!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey In-Theater Review

Having survived the long trek to see the midnight showing, I will attempt to give a brief (and spoiler free) review of Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth. It was the Digital 3D version at 24 FPS, not 48 FPS that I saw, so no comment can be made on the controversy surrounding the new technology. Fears of odd coloring that had been raised after early footage was released can be put to rest for the movie looks and sounds like the previous Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The best way to sum up my feelings about the film is that it was a nostalgic return home, for I felt that peculiar emotion during the scenes that were set in very familiar places from The Fellowship of the Ring. It didn’t hurt that there were familiar faces from that film and that the beginning of this movie dovetails into the beginning of that one. For my final thoughts you can skip to the end of the review, since I’ll be going into technical details about now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pacific Rim Trailer Does Giant Robots Right!

This looks spectacular and should appeal to giant robot fans and kaiju fans equally. It looks like more fun than should legally be allowed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

That Was a Lost Day

Shortly after writing my last post on health, I fell completely apart. It is probably a virus of some kind, but I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon into early evening. So not much got accomplished. By the way, have I ever written how much I hate sneezing? It makes my teeth, back, and elbows hurt. No clue on how the last can be affected by it.

I did watch the second half of The Return of the King Extended Edition in preparation for The Hobbit coming out this week. Something that struck me while watching the Blu-ray versions of the trilogy was how well the CGI effects blended in with the rest of the footage. It may be my imagination, but it seemed like it was more seamless in 1080p than when I watched it on DVD on the old television. Specifically, there was little of the “popping” where outlines of composited effects stood out. Gollum looked particularly good.

Since I don’t feel well and writing was not happening, the work I planned on The Last Starfighter review did not progress. So I took notes while watching The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray instead. It is a fantastic transfer of a brilliant film, but it will be awhile before it is reviewed thanks to all of the extras included.

Meanwhile, I’m downloading some games that I only played as shareware back in the ‘90s. is having a winter sale, check it out for DRM free games from yesteryear. Given how slow my reflexes are now, I’ll be playing them on easy mode.

Well, my thoughts are moving about as fast as cold molasses, so I’ll quit writing while I’m ahead.

Health 12/12/2012

I’ve fallen behind on these, so time to report. The molar extraction went well last Thursday. It was odd to be hooked up to heart monitor and blood pressure cuff the entire time, but at least I had some feedback on using meditation methods. The heart rate didn’t change even when the oral surgeon was wrenching the tooth back and forth. So that was interesting.

He had good technique and I think I embarrassed him when I complimented him on it.

I only took one Ibuprofen to lower swelling and promptly forgot to take any more afterward. The oral surgeon didn’t believe me when I predicted that when refusing a prescription for pain killers. With this experience, I can say that the meditation for pain therapy course was well worth it.

Weight training has continued successfully and now I have an app for my Android based tablet that helps me keep track of all the exercises, reps, and sets. It also has a timer for resting between sets which is very helpful in making me rest the proper time. While most of the benefits of weight training don’t show up quickly, it does put a spring in your step early on.

Yesterday and so far today have been low ebb. Congestion and higher pain levels (especially the lower back) have been the defining symptoms. Video gaming has been an exercise in sheer obstinacy with many deaths due to slower than normal reflexes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Misplaced Priorities Nearly Disarmed US Jet Fighters

One of the problems of allowing edicts from the top go forth based on spurious “science” is that you get unintended consequences. Most of the time it just costs the tax payers money and inconveniences. But when it affects national defense, it becomes apparent things have gotten ridiculous.

For the past several years, a serious problem developed in the radar guided air to air missiles carried by U.S. and foreign ally jet fighters. After racking up hours of high altitude flight, the AIM-120 AMRAAMs and AIM-7 Sparrows rocket motors failed to ignite on launch. Suffice it to say that a missile is useless if it can’t be fired off the rail in the first place and the AIM-120 is the main armament of the F-22A Raptor.

Since defense consolidation has resulted in single source suppliers since the end of the Cold War, the maker of the rocket engines, ATK, insisted it wasn’t their fault. You can get away with that to some degree when you have a monopoly. Well, the problem was finally identified after much hair pulling.

The engines have failed because federal environmental regulations forced a change to the chemical formula of the propellant. It makes me wonder what other wonderful surprises will be uncovered thanks to the asinine meddling of bureaucrats?

The good news is that another company can make replacement motors for the missiles. The bad news it that it is in another country, Norway. There go American jobs due to theoretically well meant intentions.

Stupidity has killed this once great nation and this is a small example of how.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Fractale Episode 8: Secret of the Underground

Much about Phryne is revealed and a rescue mission goes very wrong when Fractale journeys into a deeper level of darkness. Warning: The TV-14 rating is very much earned by this episode due to extremely disturbing content and mild profanity in the English dub. Fractale: Reiterated continues with updated text and HD screen captures.

Fractale TitleFractale 08 Secret of the Underground

Secret of the Underground goes straight to the story instead of opening with the main title credits. We are greeted with the sight of Enri and the remaining Blues Brother returning to the Danon in the scout ship without Clain and Phryne. Subdued and upset, the blond girl reports the events at the end of the last episode to her brother, Sunda. Mainly concerned about Nessa, he is informed they brought her back but she is hiding in the computer systems again.

Fractale 08 Airship OdinFractale 08 Distraught Phryne

We then see the Temple airship, Odin, land in an underground base and Clain is seen struggling to breath. Yes, he somehow survived being shot but he is in very bad shape. He can hear people talking and briefly makes out the sight of Phryne over him trying not to cry. That capture says a lot about what the boy means to her, doesn’t it? Once again, the expressive facial animations of the series impress.

The distraught priestess desperately tries to negotiate with Sir Barrot to be allowed to stay with Clain, but he seems to be enjoying making her suffer over the situation. But it is his calling himself her father that the fading Clain hears just before passing out.

Cue the opening credits and the theme has never sounded sadder. It is a grim introduction to what turns out to be an even grimmer episode.

The Ad Experiment Early Results

I am deeply amused. The results of having ads run from November 19 to now show very little activity. In fact, only one ad was clicked and I suspect it was by accident since it was on a smartphone if the tracking info is accurate.

Finalized money earned for November was…

Drum roll, please…

Okay, I can’t afford a drummer, but here it comes…


Of which, $1.32 was from the one click. Lest you think people with anything but a high traffic sight make any money from running ads, I must point out that AdSense does not pay out until you hit the $100 mark. Which would be 8-10 years with the current hit rate on this blog. BTW, that one click is the only one after 5,000 ads shown, which makes it a fraction of a percent.

This explains why you see some web pages that seem to be all ads with the content wedged into a small area in the center. People do this to increase the rate of ad “impressions” and mistaken clicks.

Between that and the usage of ad blocking plugins for some browsers, it is questionable to me how effective web based ads are. Advertising has always been a traditionally low response medium for getting product and brand awareness out there, but on the web it seems worse.

I’ll keep the mad scientist experiment going for some months just to see if a more complete picture is formed.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Sockets to Stay?

Intel has finally reacted to the brouhaha that began when some OEMs spoke off the record about plans to move to soldered on motherboards. The official word is that they plan to keep offering socketed CPUs, but they don’t exactly deny there is a change coming.

Amidst all this I hadn’t seen that AMD had taken advantage of the rumors for a little PR, which isn’t a surprise. They need something to help them get out of the hole they are in.

Is it my imagination or are things in the PC sector getting as unstable as everything else in the world right now?

Spirited Away (2001) Review

aka Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Drawing on the best elements from his previous movies, director Hayao Miyazaki created a beautiful animated tale of a sullen ten year old girl thrust into a world of magic and spirits. Filled with scares that every kid can relate too, it also has a warmth that cannot be denied while teaching lessons on responsibility, hard work, and love.

Spirited Away Title

There are great films and then there are truly great films that last the test of time. Spirited Away is destined to be the latter and I would go as far as to call it Japan’s equivalent to The Wizard of Oz. Both feature a girl as a protagonist dealing with a very strange parallel world while being helped by locals. There are also feuding witches and a search for something special involved, but in the end I consider this movie to be far more emotionally moving than the American classic.

Spirited Away Chihiro Sulks in CarSpirited Away Wrong Turn

All movies introduce their main character early on, but I can’t remember seeing a heroine start out by sulking in the back seat of the family car. At the ripe old age of ten, Chihiro thinks she has very good reason to be miserable. The family is moving to a new town and the first bouquet of flowers she has ever received was from her classmates as a farewell present. And those flowers are already dying. Life is being so unfair.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Dave Brubeck Passed Away Today

First, the single he is most famous for – if you don’t recognize his name, you’ll recognize the tune:

Take Five–The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Brubeck lived a long life and died at the ripe old age of 91. He missed 92 by a day, but will be remembered as long as good jazz music still gets played. I really need to add more of his music to my personal library.

Check it out, this is what musical brilliance sounds like.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Like Pulling a Tooth

It has been that way trying to get the Spirited Away review written and I hope to get it up soon. It has been a case of interruptitus from many sources this week should be better – after this afternoon. “After this afternoon” sounds redundant doesn’t it? Yet it isn’t. So there is my weird thought for the day.

This afternoon involves a tooth extraction, so I’ll be able to directly compare the experiences. That’s one way to find out if a statement is hyperbole, but I don’t recommend following in my footsteps.

At least weight training is working out. While I’m still at pathetically low weights, it is nice to be able to consistently do it again. In fact, I need to go do it right now, so time to wrap this up!

Updated in the early evening:

Well, I forgot this was the consultation phase of things – it has been a stereotypical Monday. So it will be Thursday bright and early before the tooth pulling actually happens.

Only dread one day at a time…

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Godly Sorrow and Repentance

Several Sundays ago, I found myself pondering how to describe one of the major prerequisites to repenting. It is something that Paul mentioned in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 7, verses 7-10:

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

It was while teaching that this came up and I described it as being a sincere desire to change and stop a sinful behavior versus the classic teenager’s line of “I’m sorry, okay?” There is a world of difference between the two attitudes, but I still felt my description to be lacking. So I went looking for more eloquent descriptions from others.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke about it in 2001 during a seminar:

Lehi taught this principle when He said the Savior’s atoning sacrifice was for “all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Nephi 2:7). The truly repentant sinner who comes to Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit has been through a process of personal pain and suffering for sin. He or she understands the meaning of Alma’s statement that none but the truly penitent are saved. Alma the Younger certainly understood this. Read his accounts in Mosiah 27 and in Alma 36.

President Kimball said, “Very frequently people think they have repented and are worthy of forgiveness when all they have done is to express sorrow or regret at the unfortunate happening.” 3

There is a big difference between the godly sorrow that worketh repentance (see 2 Corinthians 7:10), which involves personal suffering, and the easy and relatively painless sorrow for being caught, or the misplaced sorrow Mormon described as “the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin” (Mormon 2:13).

That’s great stuff, but Claudi V. Zimic’s 2007 General Conference talk All That We Can Do really jumped out for me personally and got to the core of what godly sorrow is about:

It is difficult to bear the sufferings that are inflicted upon us, but the real torment in life is to suffer the consequences of our own shortcomings and sins which we inflict upon ourselves.

There is only one way to rid ourselves of this suffering. It is by means of sincere repentance. I learned that if I could present unto the Lord a broken heart and a contrite spirit, feeling a godly sorrow for my sins, humbling myself, being repentant of my faults, He, through His miraculous atoning sacrifice, could erase those sins and remember them no more.

The Argentine poet José Hernández, in his famous book Martín Fierro, wrote:

A man loses a lot of things

and sometimes finds them again,

but it’s my duty to inform you,

and you’ll do well to remember it,

if once your sense of shame gets lost

it will never again be found.

If we don’t experience the godly sorrow that results from our sins or unrighteous actions, it will be impossible for us to remain on the way of outstanding people.

He brought up a word rarely used these days that has become so old fashioned and quaint a notion that it has lost much of its meaning. Of course I am writing about the word “shame.”

Over at, the noun “shame” is defined as:

  1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
  2. susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
  3. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.
  4. a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn't come with us.

It is the first definition that applies in this case.

Godly sorrow is shame, in my opinion. That pain felt that you have done wrong and know you have no valid excuse for it can feel like your soul is on fire and not in a good way. So if you feel that flame that is named shame, it is a warning that you need to change what you are doing. Spiritually speaking, that begins with repentance. It is a vital first step toward coming to Christ that must be made.

So that concludes my thoughts on godly sorrow on this Sabbath day, which I hope was a good one for you.