Dream Journal: “Remnant”

The inspiration for this dream journal came from a dream I had this past weekend. I woke up in a South Carolina hotel, our stop for the night as my family and I drove from Pennsylvania to Florida for the Christmas holiday. It was one of those dreams that made me sit up in bed and think to myself, “Was that just a dream?” This dream could not be forgotten and had to be written down – just like all the other dreams from now on.

Nearly the entire dream was a commercial for a new ABC drama, “Remnant” – except that the show doesn’t exist… yet.

English: Photography by Andrew Eccles Deutsch:...
Tom Wopat - the main character of "Remnant"?

The commercial opened on a Tom Wopat-type Caucasian male in his mid-40s. The setting was a dusty, possibly war-torn, modern America – so dusty the commercial was almost in sepia tones. He was standing by a river or possibly on the loading dock of a shipping/warehouse facility surrounded by floodwaters. He was there with his adopted son, an African teenage boy in a wheelchair. The father presented his son with two feet, which had possibly been the son’s before they were amputated – hence the wheelchair. “I believe you have been healed,” the father said. “Now go swim.” The son stood up from his wheelchair and dove into the floodwaters.

As the son dove into the water, the commercial cut from the sepia America to a near black-and-white parallel world. In this world, “Tom Wopat” is a wilderness man with a wife and 10- or 11-year-old daughter. They lived in either the “Oregon Trail” or “Little House on the Prairie” era. Wrapped in wolf fur, Tom swam through a frozen river, pulling his wife and daughter on a sled behind him.

The “commercial” then cut back and forth between wilderness Tom and the African son swimming through their rivers, though the African son seemed to be drowning. Sepia Tom dove into the river to save his son. As these various scenes flashed, a big red title, “REMNANT,” appeared on screen as the voiceover told us when the show would be airing on ABC.

The dream then turned to my dad and me watching this commercial for “Remnant.” Just as I said, “What’s with all of these parallel world TV shows lately?” my dad said, “I really enjoy these parallel world TV shows!”

Glee Episode #3: Acafellas

Words of the day: Guts and confidence. Some people lack one or the other, and the lucky ones are blessed with both. At times, a boost in confidence gives you the guts to do what you never thought you could. At other times, it takes guts to show just how confident you can be.

“Being a man is all about one thing: guts.” – Will’s dad
Perhaps guts really is what separates the boys from the men. When I say “guts”, I don’t mean jumping off a bridge, even if you might break some bones (or worse). A boy will do whatever people say without fear of consequences, but that is not “guts.” That’s idiocy. “Guts,” according to the dictionary, is having courage when it really matters. A man will act in spite of what others may say or the personal consequences he faces, because he wants to follow his heart or do something that matters. Of course, “guts” is not gender exclusive; for girls, though, I’d venture to say the bridge is probably more metaphorical.

“They say it takes more certainty than talent to be a star. I mean, look at John Stamos.” – Emma
Don’t knock John Stamos (Uncle Jesse forever!), but Emma has a point. Talentless celebrities like Paris Hilton or Heidi Montag (or any other reality TV star transitioning into acting or music) demonstrate how it doesn’t take talent these days to be famous. But if they’re certain in themselves enough to get out there, I guess there’s no stopping them. Talent will get them further than the limited success that these “stars” experience.

“He knows who he is, and that’s great. And there really is nothing sexier in a man than confidence.” – Emma
It’s true. Guys who are comfortable in their own skin seem more attractive, even if they are not the most physically appealing. It’s like how a salesperson is more effective if they are confident in their product – why would anyone else want to buy it if the salesperson doesn’t even believe in it?

“Two weeks ago, I would have agreed that four grown men rehearsing a capella hip-hop in my living room was embarrassing. But busting out some white hot new jack swing – I’ll tell you, I’ve never felt more confident.” – Will

“Seeing me feel so good about myself made my wife more attracted to me in every way.” – Will

“Of course he doesn’t want anything to do with us after you kicked him in the nads… He just doesn’t have the confidence to coach us anymore. Guys are really sensitive when it comes to this kind of stuff.” – Finn
I tend to forget that guys can be sensitive. Being sensitive isn’t a stereotypically “manly” quality, but I suppose if there’s anything for a guy to be sensitive about, it would be his manliness. Many guys try to put up a facade of strength, and any suggestion of weakness would be enough to strip away their confidence.

“Is this one of those chick things where you’re pissed about one thing but you’re just pretending like you’re pissed about something else?” – Finn
While this has nothing to do with confidence, I just wanted to point out the insight Finn has, despite his dumb jock image. Not everyone realizes that girls do this, but maybe he has seen Quinn or his mom do this enough that he has caught on to our ways.

“I have enough confidence to say out loud that what happened between us in the auditorium was real. You have feelings for me and you just don’t have the guts to admit it.” – Rachel
The bullying that Rachel faces at school would be enough to kill the confidence of any high school student, but this girl is so sure of herself (sometimes bordering on unknowingly arrogant) that she can maintain her confidence in the face of social hierarchy. Finn is not comfortable enough in his own skin to defy high school social conventions by facing the truth. I have yet to be as confident as Rachel. Only within the past couple years have I been able to talk to and make friends with the “popular” kids – and it’s usually because they are so confident in themselves they don’t realize the social divide when they start talking to me.

“Am I hurting your feelings? Did I say something wrong? Because I thought you wanted somebody who respected you enough to tell you the truth. But maybe you don’t have the confidence to hear it. Maybe you need somebody who’s going to lie to you and tell you things like, ‘You’ve got what it takes.'” – Dakota Stanley, champion choreographer
In a way, Dakota is right. I would rather have someone respect me enough to tell me the truth instead of feeding me lies. And it does take a bit of confidence in yourself not to take remarks too personally. When someone critiques my art work, I have to remember that they are not necessarily criticizing me. The lines become blurry with the art form of dance, where the artist is the art. However, there’s a difference between constructive criticism and insult. If I only heard insults, which are damaging to the individual, I would never develop enough confidence to handle the criticism.

“It’s never too late to grow a pair and go after your dreams.” – Will’s dad
What dreams do you want to go after? Mine may have something to do with the pair of pointe shoes sitting underneath my bed.

Mercedes: You shouldn’t be ashamed of who you are, Kurt… The whole point of the club is about expressing what’s really inside you, remember?
Kurt: I can’t. I’m just not that confident, I guess.
Expressing what’s inside of you takes a lot of guts, because you risk the rejection of your true self. It’s just fascinating (and not uncommon) how someone like Kurt, who seems so confident on the outside, can be so insecure on the inside.

“When you really believe in yourself, you don’t have to bring other people down.” – Quinn
Whether or not she would like to admit it, Sue Sylvester doubts her ability to outdo the glee club and tries to take them down in order to secure her superiority. It’s like what we’ve always learned – bullies are just insecure and need to put everyone down in order to feel better about themselves. Those who believe in themselves see no need for comparison, no need to be superior. Kurt, held captive by social hierarchy, copes with his insecurity by telling himself he is superior to everyone else, when in reality (according to Finn) everyone is a loser.

*Last week’s post was rather lengthy, so from here on out I plan on only including meaningful quotes or ones that relate to the episode theme (word of the day).

NINE

So yesterday was 9/9/09 – a supposedly lucky day because of the triple 9’s. And it was the 252nd day of the year, and 2 + 5 + 2 = 9. It was a pretty good day, I must say. In honor of the special occasion, here are 9 good things that happened during the day.

1. I got my hair cut. I’ve been contemplating bangs for about a week now, and finally did it! AND I didn’t hate it. I have to start wearing my contacts more often, because my glasses look silly with bangs now.
2. I discovered MyLifeIsAverage.com and have spent many happy hours since then. It’s kind of like FML, but positive. And it makes me laugh, which makes me feel good. There are a lot of nods to ninjas, Batman, and Harry Potter. Now I want a vintage Batman t-shirt. Here are some good MLIAs:

  • Today, I drank Kool-Aid. A giant pitcher of juice did not break into my home. MLIA.
  • Today, I filled a Windex bottle with blue Gatorade. I then sprayed it into my mouth infront of my mother. She began to panic and scream and get hysterical. I thought it was funny. She didn’t. MLIA
  • Today, I was thinking about the expression ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’. Then I considered that ‘revenge is sweet’. I’ve come to the conclusion that revenge is ice cream. MLIA
  • Today I had rice. I’m Asian. MLIA

3. I had macaroni and cheese for dinner. I’ve been craving it for a while and finally went to the store and bought two boxes.
4. Outside of the grocery store, two guys from a karate school offered me a free week of cardio kick-boxing. I turned them down, but secretly wished they had offered me karate lessons or had mentioned ninjas.
5. I got a call from my alma mater, where I applied to be a receptionist at College Press. They wanted to set up a phone interview, which I had today. I found out that the job goes from Mid-August to May, and pays over $10 an hour, which sounds perfect for me.
6. I got to watch the premiere of So You Think You Can Dance – Season 6! The season is off to a great start, and I’m glad they are showing more spectacular dancers than duds. Ryan Kasprzak auditioned last season with his brother Evan, but was cut from the Top 20 while Evan made the Top 4. Hopefully after his audition last night, it’ll be his turn to be one of America’s favorite dancers.
http://www.youtube.com/v/qVD9_XH3jJ0&hl=en&fs=1&
7. GLEE. I have been waiting for this day all summer long, since they first aired the Pilot episode. I enjoy swooning over singing boys too much. Thankfully Cory Monteith is not really in high school, but rather a 27-year-old, so it’s okay to swoon. “This dance ain’t for errbody. Only the sexy people.”
8. I found a voice mail on my cell phone after Glee was over, from my friend/old boss. She had just finished watching Glee and was trying to tell me in between laughing spurts the lines she thought was funniest. I saved it to my phone, because it was that great.
9. I slept in a bed. Each week in church, we share things we are grateful for, and when no one has anything to share, my pastor reminds us we have a bed. We can be thankful for that.

Glee Episode #2: Showmance

Word of the day: Compromise. This episode, everyone wants it. Others don’t really understand what it means.

Finn: Let me help you with that.
Rachel: Thanks Finn. You’re so chivalrous.
Finn: Thanks! That’s a good thing, right?
Yes, Finn is rather chivalrous. I was really impressed that he would help Rachel in public, because that could definitely damage his reputation. I guess he is starting to settle into his own without fear of what others think, but it is still a challenge for him.

“One day, you will all work for me.” – Kurt Hummel
It looks like Kurt is beginning to stand up for himself, and maybe one day he won’t end up inside the dumpster.

Quinn: Let’s compromise. If you quit the club, I’ll let you touch my breast.
Finn: Under the shirt?
Quinn: Over the bra.
Finn: No, no. I can’t. I want to do Glee. I’m really happy when I perform.
Congrats to Finn for choosing Glee over some booty. Also, it wasn’t until now that I realized the couple is “Finn & Quinn” – and it just sounds ridiculous. Couple’s names shouldn’t rhyme.

“You try to bust my face again, and I will cut you.” – Mercedes
I can only think of Bon Qui Qui when I hear that phrase. And that automatically makes it awesome.

“You are not giving up your craft room, Terri. A mother needs her respite. That craft room is the only thing that is going to keep you from going all Susan Smith on that little angel. Post partum runs in our family.” – Kendra
I can’t decide who is worse – Terri or Kendra? It looks like being plain crazy runs in their family too.

Kendra: Where are you going?
Kendra’s Husband: Bathroom? All that bran.
Kendra: No, you can’t. Kyle needs his inhaler.
Whipped. Let’s hope that Will is better at growing a backbone. At least Will’s character has a name and the guts to expose his wife’s Christmas Closet.

“This banister was made by Ecuadorian children.” – Real Estate Agent
Is that the big selling point these days? Nothing says luxury like child labor.

“My very own Sophie’s Choice. Fine, I’m going to give up the sun nook for the grand foyer. But I really need the polished door handles.” – Terri
Great analogy, Terri. Having to choose which pointless luxury to give up is just like making a life or death decision in a Nazi concentration camp. At least she is getting a taste of compromise – a house with no sun nook, but a grand foyer.

“Communication is the foundation of any successful music group. If we’re going to succeed, we need to communicate.” – Will
Communication is key to any relationship, musical or not. Will’s marriage could use some honest communication.

Emma: Rachel, did you just throw up?
Rachel: No.
Emma: You missed the toilet.
Rachel: The girl who was throwing up before me left that. I tried, but I guess I just don’t have a gag reflex.
Emma: One day when you’re older that will turn out to be a gift. Let’s have a little chat, okay?
I didn’t get this until the second time I watched it. Oh my, Emma.

“Have you ever liked somebody so much you just want to lock yourself in your room, turn on sad music and cry?” – Rachel
I prefer my car, and listening to Marie Digby’s “Better Off Alone”.

“You need to remember, Rachel, to protect your heart. I don’t care who he is, if he doesn’t like you for the way you are, if he’s married with a baby on the way. That’s not worth the heartache. You don’t want to compromise yourself for that… um…” – Emma
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

“Santana Lopez bent over in hers one day, and I swear I could see her ovaries.” – Puck
Does Puck know what ovaries are, or did he have to look them up?

“This dance ain’t for errbody. Only the sexy people.” – Artie, during the performance of “Push It”
I laughed out loud when he said this. Maybe it’s something about a nerdy white guy with glasses saying “errbody”.

“That was the most offensive thing I’ve seen in 20 years of teaching. And that includes an elementary school production of Hair.” – Sue
How an elementary school was able to do a musical about the sexual revolution, I do not know. My elementary school was only able to do the first act of “Into the Woods” because Act II was a bit off limits.

“My first thought was that your students should be put into foster care.” – Sue

“I’m a good man, Emma. I’ll treat you right, put up with your crazy. They can’t fire me because I’m a minority, so I’ll always be able to provide for you. You can’t do much worse.” – Ken Tanaka
Ken Tanaka is growing on me. He’s not the skeezeball he was in the first episode, and I think he really likes Emma. I hope she has a good time at Tulipalooza.

Finn: I looked under the bed to make sure you weren’t hanging out under there. But then I heard you sing. I don’t know how to say this, but it touched something in me. Right here.
Rachel: Your heart is on the other side of your chest.
Finn: It’s beating really hard.
So. Cute. Cue the swooning of women everywhere.

“It’s not all about you, or, I realized, about me.” – Will
I just hope Will realizes it can be about him sometimes, and doesn’t let Terri have her way all the time.

From the Top

It’s tough to choose, but I think the premiere I anticipate the most this fall is Glee. Especially after FOX aired the Director’s cut of the pilot episode on Wednesday, I am excited to see what else Ryan Murphy and the other creative geniuses behind the show have in store for us. The music is fantastic, and the characters are entertaining. The script is so funny and witty that I couldn’t help but online battle with my friend while watching the show – who would be the first to IM the upcoming line? Recently I posted a quote from the Pilot as my facebook status and generated response from other Glee fans who readily recognized the quote. This has given me some inspiration for a weekly blog feature where I will post some of my favorite quotes from the episode along with some commentary. This will most likely appear each Thursday, though I can’t make any promises!

Here’s post #1: “Pilot”

“You think this is hard?
– Try being waterboarded. That’s hard. (The very first line of the entire series!)
– I’m living with hepatitis.
That’s hard.
Sue Sylvester, coach of the Cheerios cheerleading squad, sure knows how to motivate her “performers.” I’m pretty sure this will be a recurring element of the series, and I’m definitely okay with that. I can’t wait to see what unconventional bits of inspiration Sue will share next. I’m thinking positive reinforcement is not really her style.

Kurt: [As the football team prepares to throw him into the dumpster] Wait, this is Marc Jacobs’ new collection.
Finn: Wait. [Kurt takes off his Marc Jacobs jacket and hands it to Finn] Okay. [Kurt meets the inside of the dumpster as Finn drops his gaze, a bit ashamed]
Oh, the first glimpse of Finn’s struggling high school persona. Will he be the good guy who defends the underdog? Or will he go along with the bullying antics of his fellow football players because that’s what everyone expects of him? I suppose both – or neither – depending on how you classify the middle ground of compromise.

“By its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself up to joy” – Lillian Adler, former director of the Glee Club at William McKinley High School
Glee, the show, is also about opening yourself up to joy, I think. There is something very heartwarming about watching the underdog find victory, and that seems to be the very essence of the show. It’s not so much about the music as it is about this group of social outcasts trying to find their place. I also like this quote, because glee or joy doesn’t just happen. We cannot experience even the most inherent happiness without allowing ourselves to be receptive to it.

“Your resentment… is delicious. Well, I have a phoner in a couple minutes. It’s an interview – on the telephone with a major media outlet. I’ll probably do it on my iPhone.” – Sue Sylvester
This quote just embodies Sue’s superiority complex. Not only does she think the Cheerios are better than any other group on campus because of their success and high standings in teenage social hierarchy, she also finds herself personally superior to her colleagues. I think we all know at least one person like that who is a chronic “one up”-er.

“My gold stars are a metaphor for me – being a star.” – Rachel Berry
Rachel is quite the focused young woman, with definite goals and dreams, and the talent to achieve what she wants. But such focus comes at a price, leaving her painfully naive and socially inept – and apparently unable to construct a strong metaphor.

“But Will, I’m on my feet four hours a day, three times a week here.” – Terri Schuester
Terri, the wife you just love to hate. This scene at Sheets and Things only begins to show us the kind of selfishness Will has to put up with/ignore in his marriage to Terri. It’s the kind of selfishness that makes me wonder if Terri is really pregnant, or if it’s one gigantic lie to keep Will on a short leash.

Sue: High school is a caste system. Kids fall into certain slots. Your jocks, your popular kids – up in the penthouse. The invisibles and the kids playing live-action druids and trolls out in the forest, bottom floor.
Will: And where do the Glee kids lie?
Sue: Sub-basement.
High school is definitely a caste system. There is, without a doubt, a social ladder to climb. I’ve always been the kind of person who hung out in the middle, not particularly finding favor with the popular kids but not facing their cruelty either. I probably thought I was fortunate to be above “sub-basement”, but never treated them poorly because I was only a floor away from playing live-action druids.

“I have trouble with things like that. The messy things.” – Emma
She’s a germophobe who struggles with “the messy things.” Yet what can be messier than unrequited love for a married co-worker who is about to become a father?

“Dr. Phil said that people can change. You know, it’s not a bad thing to want a real life, Will. And to have a glue gun that works!” – Terri
Of course Dr. Phil wasn’t speaking to her… Her materialism is almost painful.

“I like somebody else, alright? Nothing I can do about it because they’re unavailable, so I have to deal with that…” – Emma
Who hasn’t been there? Hopefully “dealing with it” means getting over him and not becoming a home-wrecker.

“Wait. Let’s pray.” – Quinn Fabray, girlfriend of Finn and president of the celibacy club, taking a break from making out with Finn
Whenever there’s a Christian character on TV, I’m not sure how to feel about it. Sometimes they’re super naive like Grace Bowman from Secret Life of the American Teenager. If not, they’re a hypocrite like Quinn, who hosts “Christ Crusader” meetings at her house one minute and makes life miserable for Rachel the next. I haven’t decided which stereotype is more frustrating, but I know characters like Quinn make it necessary for Christians to live lives of love and compassion.

“Being an adult is about having to make difficult choices.” – Will
I think I will be feeling more like an adult soon…

“I’ll miss you.” – Will, to Emma
The completely wrong thing for a man to say to the single woman who is desperately in love with him…

“We’re all losers… I’m not afraid of being called a loser, because I can accept that’s what I am. But I am afraid of turning my back on something that actually made me happy for the first time in my sorry life.” – Finn
I wish high school was full of people like Finn. It would make the world a better place. He’s the guy you love to love, and the guy you don’t mind being popular, because he’s not only nice to look at but he’s beautiful on the inside too.

“But provide what exactly? The understanding that money is the most important thing – or the idea that the only life worth living is one that you’re really passionate about, Will?” – Emma
Wow. One of the best lines of the episode, in my opinion. It really got me thinking about the job options I have, and what my choice says about me. What would I find in a life I’m really passionate about?

“You might think that all the boys at school would totally want to tap this, but my Myspace schedule keeps me way too busy to date.” – Rachel
“There is nothing ironic about show choir.” – Rachel
“I want the agony out of your eyes!” – Sue

“Chicks don’t have prostates. I looked it up.” – Puck
These are just classic.

Check out my blog on Thursday for quotes from episode 2, “Showmance”.