Dance/Drill Team – Don’t leave home without them!

Don’t leave home without them!
I’ve been on my toes recently with various camps and auditions and such. I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned through the years about going away to camps and staying in dormitories. There are certain things I recommend you bring so your camp experience is a pleasant one… items that don’t always make it onto the packing list. Trust me on these. I’ve been there, done that. :)

Shower shoes: Chances are you’ll be in a community shower… or at least one that other people have used over the years. Either way, it’s good to have a pair of flip-flops for standing in the shower. Even during this year, when I was a freshman at college, I only shared the shower with three people, but I still wore my shower shoes. It makes you feel “cleaner.”

Bug spray: You never know what you’re going to run into in the dorm. It’s good to be prepared. Speaking of bugs, bug repellent is another good idea, since you may end up practicing outside.

Plastic bags of various sizes: These come in handy for trash, dirty clothes and even umbrellas. I’m serious about the umbrellas. My high school drill team got caught in the rain once during camp, and since no one had thought to bring and umbrella, we went to morning practice with Wal-Mart bags over our heads.

Umbrella: See previous reason.

Muscle rub and other medications: Making sure you take care of yourself is important. Stretch often and let your muscles relax at night.

Pencil/pen and paper: You never know when you’re going to need to take notes, make a list or feel the need to doodle (on the bus maybe, since you probably won’t have time during camp).

A small tape player with earphones: If you’ll be performing a solo, or if you just want to listen to camp music so you can think about the memory, an inexpensive walkman or tape recorder is a good thing to bring. And it’s good for the bus ride to camp, too.

Blank tape: For recording camp music so you can go over dances if you feel the need.

Any lists and information your director gives you or camp sponsor sends: Not knowing what’s going on is a sure way to stress yourself out at camp.

Water bottle: You’ll need to stay hydrated, so have one you can fill whenever you get the opportunity.

Snacks for energy: My very first camp, I was a new member, so I was at the very end of the meal line for my team. This meant that no sooner did I sit down with my tray and take three bites, the officers were ready to leave and we had to get going to our next dance session. Having energy bars and other quick snacks with you is good for times when you have to eat while you’re going to your next class.

If you have any others you’d like to add, I invite you to post a message in the discussion area for this article. And best wishes to anyone who has camps this week.

Asian History – Wat?

The name Angkor Wat can bring to mind mysterious pictures of thick, steamy jungles, stone ruins covered with vegetation and adventures of the Indiana Jones sort. In 1860, a Frenchman named Henri Mouhot had such an adventure when he stumbled upon the forgotten ruins of a once glorious temple complex in Cambodia, deep in the heart of the jungle. Restoration projects, begun after his discovery, had to be abandoned in 1972 when warfare broke out, but in recent years much has been done to restore the splendor of Angkor Wat.

What exactly is a Wat, you ask? Good question. A Wat is a Buddhist temple compound. They can be found all over Southeast Asia, though this article will focus on the Wats of Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, where they are the most prevalent. The composition of Wats, the uses, and of course the names of the structures that make up a Wat vary among cultures and with each Buddhist sect. Let’s begin in Cambodia with the most well known of these structures.


The Khmer Empire, which gained power in 802, ruled over an area now made up by Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Khmer civilization was at its height during the 11th and 12th centuries, and many of the finest examples of their architecture date from this time period. The Khmers had been introduced to Mahayana Buddhism by Indians who had settled in the area prior to the birth of the empire. Later, Theravada Buddhism, practiced by the Thais, became popular. The Khmers also worshipped Hindu gods and this mixture of beliefs helped shape Angkor Wat.

Temple compounds such as Angkor Wat were built to model the Hindu universe. Mount Meru, at the center of the universe was represented by the temple. Seven chains of mountains surrounded Mount Meru, represented by walls, and a moat represented the sea encircling the mountains. Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II as the crown of the capital of Angkor, where many temples and impressive buildings were to be found spread over an enormous site. Enemies overran Angkor Wat in 1177 and a new capital was established at the splendid site of Angkor Thom, which encompassed temples, plazas, libraries, public baths and a royal palace among other edifices. The glory of these sites did not last long due to warfare. In 1432, Angkor Thom was abandoned to the jungle after the Thais attacked the city, and eventually faded from the memory of the Cambodians until rediscovered nearly 400 years later.

Where are they now? – Jami Gertz

You may not know her name, but you would certainly recognize her face. She’s one of the famed “brat pack,” star of such 80s classics as “The Lost Boys” and “Less Than Zero.” But sometime around 1989 her appearances on the silver screen began to dwindle.

A Glenview, Illinois native, Jami won a talent search held by Norman Lear in the early eighties. After small roles in the films “On the Right Track” and “Endless Love,” she won the role of prissy Muffy Tupperman in the short-lived TV series “Square Pegs.” While the series only lasted one season, Jami created a lasting impression and things began to pick up for her.

Between 1983 and 1984, Jami appeared on the hit TV shows “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Family Ties,” and in the first season of “The Facts of Life.” When the show was retooled in the second season with many of the show’s actors dropped, Jami immediately found film work.

In the 1984 cult favorite “Sixteen Candles,” Jami played a member of the school’s popular crowd. Following that were roles in “Mischief,” “Solarbabies,” “Quicksilver,” and “Crossroads.” Still today, Jami is perhaps best known for her work in Joel Schumacher’s 1987 film, “The Lost Boys.” Jami played Star, the only female member of the vampires gang. She followed that film with “Less Than Zero.” Unfortunately, that film was a box office disappointment and turned out to be the beginning of a downslide.

After a couple of appearances in not-so-memorable films in the early 90s, she seemed to disappear from site. Almost.

In 1996, Jami re-emerged as the entertaining Dr. Melissa Reeves in the hit film “Twister.” That role led to a six-episode stint on the hit show “E.R.” as Dr. Nina Pomerantz during the 1996-97 TV season. 1998 was quiet for the actress, but she recently wrapped her first film since “Twister,” “Seven Girlfriends,” costarring “Wings’” Timothy Daly and Olivia d’Abo of “The Wonder Years.”

Jami currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband of twelve years, stock investor Tony Ressler. She has two children: Oliver, seven, and Nicholas, four. UPDATE!!!

Extraterrestrials in Biblical Prophecy

Since the public uproar of the late 1940′s over the innumerable AAP sightings and possible governmental conspiracies to cover-up the truth; which has persisted for over fifty years; religious significance has been attributed to these “visitors’. Their celestial origins becomes a significant associative factor between their deliverance of extraterrestrial messages, and those historical harbingers of God’s word, the angels.

Theologians of the Middle Ages; a time when the exact count of angels peaked at 301,655,722; originated a systematic ordering of God’s minions into three hierarchies, each composed of three choirs. Those closest to God belonged to the first order, and encompassed the Seraphim, the Cherubim, and the Thrones. The second order was composed of the priest-princes of the court of Heaven; the Dominions, the Virtues, and the Powers. The third order was constituted by the ministering angels; the Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels.

Today, incredible accounts by alien abductees describe visible hierarchies within the extraterrestrials’ activities and duties. Like a hive network, each has a specific job to uphold for the smooth operation of the aliens’ agenda, whatever that may be. And so it was for the hierarchy of angels.

The Seraphim, or the “fiery spirits”, regulate Heaven under Uriel’s leadership. Though Uriel; who’s name means “Fire of God”; is said to be the guardian who stands at the Gate of Eden with a fiery sword, watching over thunder and terror, ‘he’ has also been identified as:

1) the angel who disclosed the mysteries of the heavenly arcana to Ezra,

2) the deliverer of the divine discipline of alchemy unto Earth,

3) the deliverer of the Cabala unto Man, and

4) the messenger sent by God to warn Noah of the impending Deluge.

The Cherubim are said to be “all-knowing”, depicted metaphorically with multi-eyed peacock’s feathers. Similarly, the Thrones, or the “many eyed ones”, are represented as wheels of fire. While the Dominions carry scepter and sword to symbolize the divine power over all creation, and the Virtues, or the “brilliant, shining ones”, are associated with heroic acts, it is the Powers, led by Raphael, who keep the universe in balance by preventing the fallen angels from taking over the world.

Raphael, who’s name means “God Has Healed” or “the shining one who heals”, is one of the few angels mentioned by name in biblical texts. ‘He’ is one of the Watchers of the Earth, the principal angel of healing and medicine, and an angel of science and knowledge. Guardian of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, Raphael is often associated with the image of the serpent, just as our doctors today utilize two coiled serpents upon a staff as their associative emblem.

Twitter Is NOT a Social Network After All

Look up “Twitter” at Wikipedia and you will discover immediately that it is an “online social network”. Head over to Twitter itself and you see that the company agrees, stating that Twitter allows you to “start a conversation”. And if you read the advice on various social networking blogs you’ll also discover that all the experts agree – Twitter is social.

Except it isn’t.


New research confirms what some of us have suspected for a bit – Twitter is mostly one-way. It is basically a “broadcast” medium, a soapbox which gives users a platform to shout out to the world.


The research comes from the highly respected Pew Research Internet Project. They found several different categories of Twitter networks and looked at the interconnectivity within each of them. Of the six different clusters of users on Twitter, only one of these has any real degree of social interconnectivity. The rest is not truly social at all.


For instance, many people use Twitter to comment on or give out political views of all kinds. Yet within this number of users there is almost no interaction among them. They comment and then ignore any later attempts at conversation.


Similarly, in the support networks of Twitter – such as brands with customer service channels – there isn’t any interconnection as such and also the conversations as such are short-lived. Again, this is not really social – it is akin to phoning a company, getting an answer and then putting the telephone down.


The most social use of Twitter, according to this research, is the “tight crowd” – such as people tangled up in a particular hobby or those with a desire for a subject. This tends to produce interactivity and connection – while you would expect in a social network.


However the other types of clusters of people that exist on Twitter do not appear to be very social, when you look at this research.


Yet, at the same time, usage of Twitter is steadily increasing. It is a significant part of this web with one in five people using it regularly. So it is not something that can be ignored, even when it is not very social.


It means we need to change our attitude and thinking about Twitter. Far from seeing it as a social network, we ought to think about it as a broadcast medium. And given that a lot of people make use of it so much without interaction and connectivity that must also mean that users like receiving those “broadcasts”.


Perhaps the reason why many businesses have not taken to the Twitter airwaves is because they cannot cope with having to monitor and focus on all those “conversations”. Knowing now that this does not appear to matter to your majority of Twitter users, companies are now free to use Twitter simply to have another voice. Interaction is nice; yet not compulsory it seems. What exactly is required is having something interesting to say which other Twitter users want to have a look at.




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