Saturday, March 30, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Cast Announced!

The Doctor and his new companion, Clara.
Doctor Who is coming back tonight and I couldn't be more excited. All week when people were wishing me a "Happy Holiday", I was sure they were talking about today - which I have called "Doctor Who Day" - not the high holy day of my religion, Easter Sunday! (I'm pretty sure God will forgive me in the long run.) Whatever my eternal fate turns out to be, I have been rewarded for my Doctor Who fandom this morning with breaking news from BBC America: the all star cast of this year's fiftieth anniversary episode has been announced!

What Is Doctor Who Anyway?

All the regenerations of the Doctor.
For those uninitiated, Doctor Who is a British science fiction television show that first aired on November 23, 1963. While it started out as edutainment, with aspirations of showing children all types of historical cultures and events with a time traveling guide called "the Doctor", after one season, the show found its true stride in a fun and fantastical adventure across time and space battling all types of monsters and evils along the way. The character known as "the Doctor" has lasted so long thanks to an alien ability unique to his race of Time Lords known as regeneration. Regeneration enables the Doctor to "repair" himself after death with one side effect: a brand new body and face - this is just about the most convenient story line for any television wanting a long life that out lives its lead actors (or lead actor's desire to remain in the role!).

In addition to the Doctors, fans also become especially become close to those characters closest to themselves, the Doctor's companions. The companions are usually humans picked up from Earth to travel through time and space with the Doctor in his spaceship called the TARDIS. The T.A.R.D.I.S., which stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space, looks like an ordinary old fashioned British Police Box on the outside, but is impossibly bigger on the inside (think of the Weasley's tent when they went to the Quidditch World Cup) containing the controls to the ship plus other amenities (I can think of discussion of a pool, multiple bedrooms and a wardrobe off the top of my head).

My Doctors
The 10th Doctor and his companion Rose.
While I was always familiar with various Doctor Who references in my life (British guy in a long scarf and something with a blue phonebox-looking thing), I didn't become a true Whovian (term given to the avid fans of the show) until 2007 when I decided to dive into the Whoverse thanks to illness-induced insomnia paired with my best friend at the time: Netflix. I was hooked from the first episode of the "New Who" run of the series that began in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor. Since then I have watched the Doctor regenerate into David Tennant (the tenth Doctor) and now Matt Smith (the eleventh and current Doctor). I have loved all of my doctors and have been secretly wishing that all of them would find their way into the fiftieth anniversary episode scheduled for this November.

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Cast

So, this morning, the BBC America website has finally revealed the cast of the episode which is set to begin filming this week. Here's what they had to say:
Ahead of tonight’s premiere, “Doctor Who” revealed some of the all-star cast that will mark the 50th anniversary. David Tennant and Billie Piper will join current Doctor and companion, Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, while John Hurt (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Alien,” “Harry Potter”) will also co-star.
They're back!!!
I couldn't be more excited. David Tennant was the longest running Doctor, and, therefore, we Whovians have an extreme attachment to him. While I am slightly disappointed that Christopher Eccleston's name is not on this list, this is not too much of a surprise, since the Doctor and Rose (Billie Piper) are the most "realistic" (yes, I said realistic in reference to a crazy wildly out of control scifi show) options for an appearance. I am busy buzzing around different story options in my head, but, needless to say I am excited to see what happens this Novemeber!

Are You A Whovian?

What are your thoughts about this? Are you a Whovian? When did you get hooked? Are there other characters you are hoping to see come back at some point this season, even if not in the fiftieth anniversary special?  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Road Rage

I felt pure rage. I had been sitting on a razor's edge ever since my mother passed away and now I discovered what he had been doing when I wasn't home. I broke inside and burned within. I grabbed my laptop, got in my car and drove. It was my last resort.

I had to work that morning, even though it was a Saturday. It was easy money tutoring the groups of groggy students that came to Curtis High School for Regents review, and, on that particular morning, it was the escape I needed from a home that felt like it was crumbling around me. With my seatbelt on and radio blaring I peeled away from the front of my house hoping that the screeching tires would wake the one who rested within not knowing that I had discovered his indiscretions. I was grateful for the empty highway as my fiery tears filled my eyes, but not nearly as grateful as I was to the deejay who selected the next song: Papa Roach's Last Resort. I cranked the volume until I felt my speakers shake and pressed my foot even further into the gas pedal.


I screamed as I reached one hand up to open my sunroof.



Next, I opened all of the windows with their automatic buttons as I pulled off the highway, feeling vindicated, feeling heard. I was letting the world know how hurt I was. The lyrics repeated, and so did I, not caring about all of the quiet homes I passed on the beautiful street where I once found such peace during my college years - in another life, another time, when she was alive and the world still made sense. 

The song talks of suicide and I think, Will it get that bad? and vehemently deny this possibility. I deserve better than this. Life will get better, but right now I'm

 ...losing my sight
Losing my mind
Wish somebody would tell me I'm fine
Losing my sight
Losing my mind
Wish somebody would tell me I'm fine
Even though the truth was, I only wanted one person to tell me I was fine. The one who couldn't tell me. Not then, not ever, because she was gone.

I never realized I was spread too thin
Till it was too late
And I was empty within 

My mind wandered as I raced through the streets, paying little attention to stop signs, lights, or any of the niceties of driving etiquette. I sang along in a daze of rage, angry with him, angry with God, angry with myself, wondering how I got here, when, suddenly, I sang a line I never truly heard until that moment:

It all started when I lost my mother...

It did all start when I lost my mother. I wouldn't be left alone in that home we shared if I hadn't lost her, if he hadn't lost her, if we hadn't lost her. I wouldn't be left with awkward silences or situations that only I could clean up. At the very least, he wouldn't have done what he did if she were alive, she wouldn't have let him.

I wound through the ancient streets lining the neighborhood of the high school, still blaring the music, pushing a bunch of buttons to close all windows as I pulled in next to the building.

Nothing's alright
Nothing is fine
I'm running and I'm crying
I'm crying
I'm cryi--

I slammed my fist into the radio's power and swept out of my car all in one motion. 

I needed to get inside. 

I needed to get to where the world still made sense.

I needed my classroom.

It's wasn't until hours later, after I had washed away my rage with sanity of adolescent nonsense that I arrived back at my car finding the window open, the keys in the ignition and the car still running. I stood there, overwhelmed with emotional exhaustion, and began to cry.

Finally. Tears. That's all I needed. No more suffocation. I'm breathing.  

It was time to face the music. I drove back home and faced him.
The Scintilla Project

 This post was written in response to a prompt provided by The Scintilla Project. The prompt I chose to use today was:

Talk about a time when you were driving and you sang in the car, all alone. Why do you remember this song and that stretch of road?

I really love this song.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How To Nearly Go Blind At The Age of 32

While you will need a little more than your own efforts to put your vision at risk, you can follow these following steps to increase your chances of going blind if you are diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.

Step 1: Ignore all signs that you are going blind right before your eyes. 
A week before I was admitted to the hospital for passing out in my shower, I started experiencing some very strange visual disturbances. One morning while at work I noticed that everyone's head looked "dented". Of course, all of my coworkers told me this was very scary, but I was operating under the premise that if I kept acting like nothing was there, then it wasn't. Add to this that my visual acuity had decreased dramatically in the weeks before, and it is nothing short of a miracle that I can see this screen in front of me. Honestly. Miraculous.

Step 2: Make sure that, once you are diagnosed, you are prescribed an ineffective amount of the drug meant to save your sight and relieve your symptoms.
I had no idea what I was dealing with when I was diagnosed with IIH, in fact, most of the doctors around me had never even heard of it! Anyway, I was prescribed 250mg of Diamox to keep my cerebral spinal fluid in control after my spinal tap showed I had an opening pressure of 60.  This all sounded copacetic to me, but when I felt just as bad a week later for my first follow up as I did when I was admitted, I wasn't surprised to find out that I needed to be on 1000mg (this was eventually bumped all the way up to 2000mg!!) to smack my body back into order. The uneducated doctors essentially erased most of the good the spinal tap did for me. Thankfully, Diamox paired with Prednisone put my system in overdrive toward a life of less cerebral spinal fluid.

Step 3: Take tons of steroids (Prednisone) even though you are a "positive responder" to steroids.
Here's another one of those things no one could have ever known at the time. When I started to taper off the steroids in August of 2009 (after two months of some pretty high doses), a bunch of strange things started happening. Although I hadn't been able to read, drive or see much of anything clearly since before I was diagnosed in June, in the middle of August I lost the ability to see color and suddenly needed my husband to help me walk anywhere - even our home. I could see shapes and shades, but I had lost depth and any kind of clarity at all. I found out at my opthalmologist's office on a Friday, after pretty scary couple of weeks of diminishing vision ending in beyond legal blindness, that the steroids were to blame.

Step 4: When you lose the ability to see color, don't call your doctors or run to any emergency rooms, just wait until your next appointment.
My mantra these days is: Hindsight is 20/20, even if I'm not! because I honestly can't understand why, on God's green Earth, I was so stubborn about all of this. It seems so incredibly clear to me now that I needed to run, while on the cell phone with all of my doctors, to the nearest emergency room when my vision started faltering again. Instead, once my doctor saw me, I was rushed to UMDNJ in Newark, NJ for an emergency eye surgery. Terrifying. But sight saving, so I really can't complain.

In the end, the shortest path to blindness, or any kind of debilitating illness, is embedded in step 1: ignore your body. However, to nearly go blind, or to be saved from yourself in any instance, surround yourself with an excellent support system of friends, family and well-educated specialists. Reach out to communities who know what you are going through (I highly recommend DailyStrength) and, above all else:

The Scintilla Project

 This post was written in response to a prompt provided by The Scintilla Project. The prompt I chose to use today was:
Tell a story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, etc.).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reader Responses To Orson Scott Card

Reader Response
When I wrote about the Orson Scott Card controversy with DC Comics last week here on Rivera Runs Through It, I had one question on my mind: "Should an author's philosophy keep me from reading his/her work?" I finished the post still undecided, still lost as to what I should do. However, in the time since its publication, that post has yielded a number of very valuable responses from all across the Internet. Since not all of the responses found their way to the comments section of this blog, I thought I'd share them here for you.

Andrea Says This Is More Than A Philosophy

Andrea Brokaw, YA author of Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks and I'd Rather Not Be Dead had the following to say about Card's beliefs and her response to them on Google+:

Andrea's argument was echoed in an Op-Ed piece by Wayne Rée posted today on The Comics Observer in a post entitled Hate Is Not A Belief.
Becca Warns Against Squashing Our Own Freedoms

Becca Nark, one half of the genius behind Good Girls Gone Geek and a contributing writer for Word of The Nerd had the following to say on Facebook:
Orson Scott Card FB response
As I told Becca on Facebook, I completely agree with her thoughts, our freedom of speech is nothing to trifle with. On the other hand, personally funding the actions that support that speech is what - until now - I held an issue with. I thanked her for her brilliant suggestion about supporting used bookstores which allows us to enjoy the art without supporting the artist's actions that may conflict with your own!

JP Offers Neil Gaiman's Response

JPNelluc on Twitter was kind enough to share a post by Neil Gaiman where he reponds to the following question all the way back in 2006:

If you really enjoy an author's stories and then you find out the author (not you) is a jerk or believes in some fairly wretched things would you keep reading this author's works?
This is, by far, my favorite response to my post thus far as it begins with one thought that triggered me to ask the question in the first place:
If I were only allowed to read or enjoy art or listen to music made by people whose opinions and beliefs were the same as mine, I think the world would be a pretty dismal sort of a place.
And it ends off with the very intriguing, and heart-breaking, flip-flop scenario:
I've met people -- writers and artists -- over the years who I liked immediately, with whom I found myself agreeing on everything to do with art and aesthetics so closely that we might have shared the same head, people whose world-views were pretty much mine, whom I'd talk with far into the night and whom I parted from excited that I'd met them, looking forward to nothing more than reading their writing or looking at their art... and then I would find what they had done, and, at least as far as my taste was concerned, the books would be uninteresting, the drawings ugly or clumsy.
To read Neil's entire response (I didn't want to copy and paste the whole thing here, that felt sort of like plagiarism) check out Neil Gaiman's Journal.

My Conclusion

At this point I think I am going to take Becca's advice and continue to enjoy the works of Orson Scott Card via used book stores. My reasoning? Simple - I agree with both Andrea and Neil. I think Orson Scott Card is a bit of a "lunatic" and I also believe the world would be "a pretty dismal sort of place"if I only enjoyed the art of those who agree with me. 
What are your thoughts?
Do these comments sway you one way or the other?
Do you have more to add?
Thanks for reading!


Fighting Insomnia in 3 Steps

InsomniaYou've had a long day - scratch that - you've had a long week; you are ready for sleep. You're bed looks amazing, your PJs are super comfy; you are ready to go. You lay down, shut the lights off, close your eyes and... insomnia mercilessly steps in to rob all you of all of your dreams and rest. Lately this has been happening to me with increasing frequency. While I want to avoid a new prescription to bring back this most natural of my body's redemptive actions, I know insomnia is not something to be ignored. I decided this weekend, after experiencing my second 36+ hours without sleep torture in two weeks, that I needed to take some sort of action.

I took three actions, in fact, and I am extremely happy to say that I have been successful (so far) in my endeavor. In case you too suffer from insomnia, I wanted to share these three steps with you.

Step 1: Remove the iPhone from the Bedroom

iPhone in Bed
image source
Each night I was reading in bed, but not in the traditional sense. Either I was reading blogs on my iPhone, or plugging my headphones into my iPhone to listen to my latest audiobook. For a long time these activities helped me unwind and fall asleep. Lately, however, the opposite has happened. I think I got used to the "entertainment factor" and not the "unwind factor" of these activities. I was getting wrapped up in stories or story ideas (using my iPhone "Notes" to jot down writing ideas) and my mind was starting to spin wildly out of control, instead of preparing for sleep. This left a wide open space for insomnia to creep back into my life.

As difficult as it is, each night I have been setting my iPhone on the charger in the living room (extremely far out of my reach!) before going to bed. I can no longer tweet about my insomnia, jot down middle of the night story ideas (that lead to middle of the night writing FULL stories!), or ironically search the entire Internet for insomnia fixes while shining the bright electronic screen in my sleepy eyes. It has been helpful, although I am expecting the withdrawal to kick in any night now.

Step 2: Getting Help From A Guide

One of the greatest (non-physical) causes of insomnia are all those pesky thoughts that distract you from the act of relaxing. Are you planning for the next day? Maybe you are reflecting upon the day past? Did you just remember that you didn't call your aunt back after dinner? Now you're trying to figure out when will be the best time to call her tomorrow...  Ahh! It's maddening. All you need to do is clear your mind, just like in meditation, but maybe you need some help. I did. Here's what I found:

Now I know what you are thinking, "How is she listening to this without her iPhone in the room?" Well, here's the trick: we have an iPod in the bedroom that we usually use to play RelaxMyDog for Champ when he is stressed out (it helps!). I "borrow" the dog's iPod, but it on the nightstand, far out of my reach and let it play out loud.
This video (which I am just using as audio assistance) is quite effective. I have not heard the end of this video yet. Each night I have used this I have been asleep before it finishes!

Step 3: Melatonin

melatoninI want to avoid prescription aides, but I could not avoid the seemingly endless melatonin recommendations I have been getting. While this supplement can not be taken every single night, I use it when I have to make sure I get to sleep quickly and be up early for an appointment. I take a 3mg dose of melatonin. That usually takes anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour to make me feel sleepy, or knock me out completely (depending on the day). The only side effect I have experienced with it has been vivid dreams, but that's a side effect I am prone to.

While I am joining the throngs who highly recommend melatonin as an option for anyone who is having issues with sleep, it is also incredibly important to be well-informed before taking any kind of of supplement. has a great page on melatonin describing its uses and precautions. Please read it completely before deciding whether or not it is right for you.

Your Plan

Do you suffer from insomnia, or are you a sound sleeper? Whatever the case, I'm wondering what your plan is for a sound sleep. Do you alter your sleeping environment, your diet or your habits for a good night's sleep? What do you do on the nights that sleeping is a struggle? Any and all suggestions are welcomed - just add them in the comments section!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Spine Poetry

Book lovers, I know you adore seeing all your books on your shelves. I know you love looking at those book spines reminding you of your flights of fiction and fantasy. But how do you arrange them?
                                                      In size order?
                                                                               Organized by "read" and "not read"?

Take them down and let's get creative!

It's time for some book spine poetry! I first heard about this on Twitter from the fabulously creative Tui Snider (@mentalmosaic). Ever since, I've been meaning to drag my own books off the shelf and have some fun with it. Today I finally did.

What is Book Spine Poetry?

While I think the name is self explanatory, I don't like to make assumptions. Book spine poetry is the art of piling up your books one on top of another, with all of their spines facing the same way, creating a poem of sorts using the titles. Take a picture of your poem and you are done! Check out the 2012 Book Spine Poem Gallery from 100 Scope Notes for some fun examples.And then, here is mine:

Stress Pandemic
Falling Kingdoms
The End Of Men
The Last Policeman
The Last Man
In Disguise
Performance Art

And, finally, I wanted to read my poem to you. I hope you enjoy my dramatic delivery:

What do you think?
Have you created any book spine poetry?
Is there another arrangement of these books that you think could be just as poetic?
Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Should An Author's Philosophy Keep You From Reading?

What's a girl to do? Years ago I was introduced to an author I had never heard of before by a group of students. We got into a discussion of favorite reads and they were flabbergasted that I had not read nor heard of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. While I didn't run right out to the bookstore to pick up my very own copy, the name stuck in the back of my head and, after months of student torment, my husband and I decided to dive in.

We loved the book. We've been looking forward to this year's movie adaptation of the story. We continued reading Card's works; my husband has even found a short story of his that he wants to use in his teaching. We never stopped to explore Orson Scott Card, the man.

About a year ago I found my first clue that there was something to know. I read a comment from someone online declaring that they would not read Ender's Game on principle. They did not want to support a man such as Orson Scott Card. I brought this to the attention of my husband. We both found it curious, but felt there wasn't too much we could do about it since we already read/purchased his books without knowing. Last night, spurred on by the recent The Adventures of Superman reboot controversy, we had a long talk about it.

What's The Issue?

In a article discussing the recent media attention around DC's decision to bring Orson Scott Card on as a writer in its new Superman reboot, it was explained as follows:
The “Ender’s Game” author is a current board member of the right-wing National Organization for Marriage and has a long personal history of anti-gay remarks. In a 2012 editorial for the Mormon Times, Card argued that “marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.” In a 1990 opinion piece for Sunstone magazine, Card wrote that laws criminalizing homosexuality should stay on the books “to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.” 
I couldn't disagree with this man more. In fact, I find his remarks offensive and, quite frankly, a bit scary. Orson Scott Card and I would get into a number of heated, emotional debates if we were ever to sit down and have a cup of coffee. I can fully understand why people would elect not to read any of his stuff or support him in any way based on these beliefs. However, in the stories of his that I read, none of these beliefs were evident. His writing (at least fiction writing) did not appear to preach in any way to the audience it was intended for - which, based on how vocal he is about these beliefs everywhere else, is quite surprising.

My Conundrum

My husband and I genuinely enjoy Card's fiction writing.   I don't think I would be speaking out of turn if I said Card has become one of my husband's favorite authors over the years. However, we, like many others, disagree with his personal beliefs. Is this enough to stay our hand when another of his works is published? Should it be enough?

For years I wrote on my blog Searching for Sustenance about the power of the dollar, about how we, as consumers vote with our purchases every day. We tell the world what we believe in by carefully selecting where we spend our money. It is a philosophy I believe in living in this capitalist society. I have never found a place where I have come to second guess it until now. Does this still work in the arts?

Voting With My Dollar

In terms of food, I spend my money on organics, non-GMO, and certified humane foods because I want the industry to know these are the things I value in my food products. In electronics and  appliances, I look to purchase those items that consume the least amount of energy. In energy distribution I look for the providers that use a greater proportion of renewable energy sources. All of these choices are made with my thinking about the product(s) I receive. However, they also speak to the philosophy of the companies that provide them.

What does one do in the case of the arts, when the product could easily be separate from the producer? I set out to spend my money on a creation I appreciate. I want to show the world that this is the type of thing I would like to entertain myself with. Yet, to do so, I must hand over my money to a producer who may use that money to fund an assault against my personal belief system. This person may use my money to battle ME!

Final Thoughts

I am at a crossroads. I'm not sure what my answer is so far except to say I am still looking forward to the movie adaptation of Ender's Game. I believe I will go see it when it is released, but I am suddenly thinking twice about something that was a given for a long time. I need more time with this.

Finally, I am left in a quandary over how I think DC should handle this entire situation. They have safely separated themselves from Card's belief system in their statement to The Advocate when initially addressing the controversy back in February:
“As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.”
 Right now the project has been delayed since the artist hired to work with Card, Chris Sprouse, announced he would be leaving the project. Is this the final straw for DC to push Card out? I understand that they have to make a decision based on how much money they will pull in from their books, so, if they let Card go based on the belief that having him write the story will be controversial enough to decrease sales (or halt production completely), then that makes sense. On the other hand, if they let him go solely because of his beliefs, isn't that a form of discrimination itself?

What are your thoughts about this?
Should DC put their full support behind Orson Scott Card?
Would you halt purchasing an artist's works if their personal philosophies conflict with your own?

Thanks for reading!
My husband found a fantastic published on today entitled What happened to Orson Scott Card? written by Steven Llyod Wilson, an Ender's Game fan. This excerpt is my favorite:
There are some in the comics world who are really angry about the events, arguing that this is an instance of judging the artist instead of his art. Of not letting a gifted storyteller tell a story because of people disliking his politics. If the story he wrote for Superman has nothing to do with gays, then what does it matter, the argument goes. The problem is that there is no separation of the artist from the art. And when that art in question is a figure of the cultural significance of Superman, the choice of who gets to put words in that mouth is about more than a literal reading of whatever script he turned in. How do you reconcile the symbol of truth, justice, and the American way being written by someone who loudly proclaims a violent revolution to topple American democracy if the majority doesn’t agree with his opinions?
Check out the rest of the article for Llyod's appraisal of where some of Card's politics may have been evident in his most famous work.
 Here are three responses to this post from around the Internet.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fiction - The Legion of Ladies

In her four weeks at Miss Glinda's School of Charms, Jane only heard of LoL once. It was during her first Settings class when Miss Glinda was reviewing the difference between a dinner fork, salad fork, shrimp fork, dessert fork and their proper placements. Marcy leaned over and whispered, "When is she going to tell us how the Legion of Ladies actually weaponize these utensils?" Jane tensed with the mention, but Glinda was on the two women in the time it took Jane to unfold her dinner napkin and place it in her lap.

"Pardon me, Miss Marcy, but rudeness will hinder your progress in this coursework as well as your life," Glinda glared down the woman's shoulder on which she had placed her delicate gloved hand.

Marcy, nonplussed by the action, placed her hand on top of her instructor's, and replied, "My apologies, Miss Glinda, but I thought being politely social in all situations was always a lady's first position, particularly at dinner." She winked at Jane in her defiance. Glinda smiled and squeezed Marcy's shoulder before proceeding with her lecture, but said nothing else. And, to Jane's dismay, Marcy stayed silent as well... for all four weeks.

The investigative reporter screaming to get out from behind her gossip column writing career cringed in disbelief. After two years of writing for The Mirror's Page Six, Jane had done enough stories on the fearful  LoL to know not to press unless necessary; their violence was escalating. Hollywood starlets who didn't embrace the seemingly raging trend of old fashioned etiquette were falling into deeper and deeper trouble by the minute. Miranda Lovelace turned up dead after showing up late to the Grammys, Yelena Fresa's mysterious drug overdose one day after she was photographed reaching over a dinner table for the salt and Jennifer Turbin's assassination after she and her husband were filmed arguing in front of their brand new baby, Plum, were all at the hands of this mysterious all female underground militia. All three victims were found with a pink, hand-written thank you note with the same message:
Thank you for being a shining example of what a lady is not to do and for giving us this opportunity to teach the world through you. Rest in the knowledge that your indiscretion will forever be an exemplar we can learn from as we become more gracious beings.
All Our Gratitude Always,
Legion of Ladies
Upon discovering that Miranda, Yelena and Jennifer had all been previously enrolled in Miss Glinda's School, but none had graduated, Jane asked her editor, Mr. Huley, if she could go on assignment to investigate the trendy new school.

On Tuesday afternoon Jane returned to her cubicle in the office of The Mirror unable to ignore how much she had changed in the experience. After dropping a pile of pink scented envelopes in her outgoing mail box she stopped to chat with Mr. Huley's receptionist, Marie on her way to explain her four week failure. Looking at Marie was like looking into a time machine - this is who she was before Miss Glinda's. Marie, with sloping shoulders, was garrulous, chewed gum and casual. Marie would never hand write 37 thank you notes to her peers for the experience of knowing them; Jane could hardly believe she just had.

"Uh-oh, looks like someone drank Miss G's pretty pink Kool-Aide" Marie said, "Look at that catwalk worthy stride!"

Jane laughed and struck a pose, "I feel at least two inches taller."

"You look thinner, too. Maybe I should sign up - my mom would go ape-shit," Marie's gum chewing and language were so obviously disgusting to Jane in a way she had never noticed before. She pushed down her disgust and asked to see Mr. Huley. When Marie disappeared into Huley's office, Jane's cell phone buzzed discreetly in her handbag. She pulled it out to find a text from an unknown number.

The gentlemen have their clubs
while we ladies sip our tea
and old-fashioned as we appear
we'll redesign society.
Modern living and children
are so far out of reach
As a graduate of Glinda's
you are prepared to teach
so kindly reply
if you are in,
but do not do this 
on some whim
because we Ladies are serious.

Mr. Huley came to  the door just as Jane finished reading, "So what can you tell me?"

"I'm so sorry, Sir," Jane said softly as she handed him the phone, "I'm not done yet."


This post was written in response to a prompt described in a post earlier today. To read the prompt and add your own story inspired by it, click HERE.
Thanks for Reading!

Writing Prompt

A couple of months ago my husband and I found a pretty neat writing prompt book at our local Barnes & Noble called The Amazing Story Generator. We have used it a couple of times and I find the process hilarious.

The pages of the book are sliced into three sections, leading to hundreds of different combinations of (often nutty) story ideas. I created a video this morning determining the prompt I will write on today.

After graduating charm school, a gossip columnist joins an underground militia.
I will come back and update this post when I am done with my story. 
You should write along with me and share the link to your story in the comments below. 
I finished writing my story, which I called The Legion of Ladies.
I hope you like it!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Viggle is changing the way I watch TV, and I am loving every minute of it!

In the advent of OnDemand, Internet streaming and DVRs it is obvious why networks and advertisers are becoming more and more desperate for live viewers of their programming. For a long time, I thought there was no way I would ever watch live TV again.

I was wrong. Viggle brought me back.

In the week leading up to the Superbowl I noticed one of my facebook friends had "checked into" a television show using Viggle. Curious as I always am about social media tie-ins, I clicked the link to see what Viggle was all about. When I got the the site I could not believe what I was reading:
Viggle℠ is a loyalty program for television that gives people real rewards for checking into the television shows they’re watching. (from Viggle's About Us Page)
Someone wants to reward ME for watching TV? I thought, for sure, I had read wrong. Then, for a moment I thought, No, no, Nicole, this could be legit. The rewards are probably crap! So I explored further. I checked out Viggle's REWARDS Page and nearly fell over - THEY HAD BARNES & NOBLE GIFT CARDS! 

 I was sold.

I downloaded the APP and started viggling (I have made this a verb). It is so easy that I have already earned three gift cards in one month!

How It Works 
Using your Apple or Android device, you simply click on the "check-in" button and let your device "listen" to the TV for a couple of seconds. The APP will identify the show based on the sound and THAT'S IT. You will earn one point for every minute that show is still on (I love to catch The Today Show because it is so long!). If you want to check into a different show, you just open up the APP and click again.

When you have earned enough points for the reward you want (for example, the Barnes & Noble $5 gift card is currently 10,000 points), you just open up your APP and redeem through the "rewards" button. The best part for me is that the gift card can be stored right on my phone instantly - no waiting for mail, no printing - everything is all in one place.

Extra Fun & Bonuses

Now hold on a second! I see you doing the math over there and wondering how in the heck I have already watched 30,000 minutes (500 hours or just under 21 days straight) of television in one month. I didn't. Viggle offers four different bonus point opportunities every single day:

  • ViggleLIVE: This is my favorite. Some shows, movies and sporting events offer a trivia game that you play on your phone during their airing, for tons of extra points. Depending on the show and the event you can earn anywhere from +10 to +25 for each correctly answered question, and, if you answer wrong, you still get points just for playing (+1 to +5, respectively).
  • ViggleMYGUY: I promise you, playing MYGUY will change the way you watch sports. This is a game available for basketball and football games (which we're just a bit of my "wifely duty" before Viggle). During the sporting event, you will be matched up (randomly) with nine other Vigglers for a MYGUY game. As you watch the game, you select a player to be "your guy". Each time he does something good for his team, you earn MYGUY points, each time he messes up, you lose MYGUY points. You may change "your guy" as many times as you would like. When the game ends the top four out of the ten Vigglers in your game earn MEGA Viggle points!
  • Featured Shows: This one is the easiest. Each night, during Prime Time, a number of shows are featured. Featured shows will earn you anywhere from +50 to +100 points if you check into them for ten minutes or more while they are live.
  • Commercials/Partners: While checked in to various events, if you happen to have your device in hand, you will notice tiny pop up offers to watch a commercial or even a "behind the scenes" look for points. These vary in length and in point values - I have earned as little as +5 to as high as +250 points for a minute or two of viewing.
Pointless Fun

In addition to all the rewarded fun Viggle provides, there are also features that are just plain fun, but earn you nothing.
  • FB & Twitter Connect: Similar to Viggle's partner in crime and one of my old favs, GetGlue, Viggle allows users to share their viewing habits right from the APP. With just a click of a button you can show your FB friends and Twitter followers exactly what you are tuned into.
  • Viggle Chats: Every show has its own chat window which connects you to fellow Vigglers watching the show live. So, rather than following a hashtag to see who's talking about the same thing you are, you get plugged right in to an audience on the same channel as you are. 
In Conclusion
If you love your TV, and you have a Viggle-friendly device, I say it is time for your TV to love you back! Join me over in the Viggle party and start earning points to the reward(s) of your choice.

Viggle is my first true second-screen experience. Have you used another? 
If so, what was your experience?
What reward would draw you back in to LIVE TV viewing?

~Thanks for reading!

Under Construction...

A couple of weeks ago I had a great idea for a new blog (this happens to me at least once a month). My excitement was insurmountable. But something kept holding me back from going forward.  I thought about it over night and finally decided I needed someone's else approval to strike out into this new world. The next morning I  told my husband about it, not revealing any reservations I had about going forward. He smiled and nodded as I went on. When I finished he said, "It sounds like a good idea, I just don't understand why you need a new blog for it." I was struck dumb.

My husband was genuine in his confusion. Since he has never blogged before, he was sure it was his own inexperience that caused it. It wasn't. He was right and in that moment I realized I had a problem: I am addicted to "new blogs". I have fourteen blogs on this blogger account! I can honestly say that only two of them have garnered any serious attention from me - my first two:
I don't know when I started feeling constricted by Rivera Runs Through It, but that stops now. I am going back to my roots, and recreating this blog to be my blog again. And this time, rather than squirreling away my "food talk" on another blog, or my "health talk" on another, it will all be here, along with all of the stuff I have been sharing on Rivera Runs Through It all along. I don't think it will be too much of a change (except there will be more writing than there has been of late!), but I wanted to let my regular readers know that I am currently "Under Construction" here in this corner of the blog-verse.

Two changes have already gone into effect: 1. the look of Rivera Runs Through It has changed and, 2. the "About Me" page has been changed, come check it out. However, before you head off into the future, here's one more look at the old "About Me" page:

The Original "About Me"
This is a work in progress. This is the "About Me In Pictures." I still have more to add.

I had a lot of fun at my wedding. I don't think I was alone!
Someday I hope to go back to Venice.
I have been to a trapezing class. It didn't help. I am not graceful.
I have been to a number of comic book conventions. has this guy.
I held a baby starfish in my hand in the tide pools outside of Trinidad, California. Tide pools are amazing.
I really like San Francisco, a lot.
I am in awe of the Redwood National forest. I NEED to go back!
I might be a ninja.
I think Nice, France is beautiful. I have done nothing to the colors in this photo - THAT is what the water looks like!
There is nothing quite like a well-made Mojito. This one, the best I have had so far, was in Dallas. (See how happy my eyes are?)
My husband and I love each other.
I love concerts. This is Lenny Kravitz at the Irving Plaza.
I have been found, alone in a room with a book when the whole family is out celebrating the 4th of July (ahem... that's called GRAD SCHOOL!)
I got to see some pretty amazing things on my honeymoon. (Il Duomo in Florence, Italy, for example)
I have been known to look quite ridiculous all in the name of making a headache go away.
Sometimes I find it necessary to be silly.
I've been to the Collesium.
I have been in the CitiField press room. THAT was pretty awesome!
I'm married to this guy. This photo is from our honeymoon - one stop in Florence, Italy.
I live in Converse sneakers. I have many colors.
I have had some pretty exciting birthday cakes!
I am a Mets fan. I loved Shea Stadium (this was my last day there) and I love Citi Field even more!
My husband and I have a pretty cool bamboo design on our bedroom wall that we stenciled ourselves. We rock!
I was there (at Bank Street College of Education) celebrating the end of a three year intensive program.
I used to hang out in Teacher's Lounges a lot.
I miss my dog Chewy and how she used to "Rooooo" so pretty.
In the summertime I lke to find out what fee activities the Parks department is running (usually my husband and I are the only adults there without kids).
I love my dog Buffy, she is so sweet (except when she does evil beagle things).
I LOVE the Muppets. Don't be surprised if I let them Guest blog from time to time! :)
I love Champ. He was my Grandma's dog, but I inherited him. He's a good boy.
We like Halloween.
I think it is safe to say that I have more math-themed t-shirts than the average person.
I am, unfortunately, a Muggle.
One of my favorite things in the world is when my husband and my brother laugh together.
Sometimes, when I am learning, I need to be in the front of the class.
I think being a ghost for Halloween is the coolest thing ever!
I got to go inside Google NYC headquarters for an entire day of training. Officially I am allowed to go around saying, "I am a Google Certified Teacher."
I really love my techie toys, especially if they have something to do with Mr. Jobs.
For the last two years Shea Stadium was open, these were my Saturday seats. Every Saturday home game. (If you know Shea Stadium, you know the red seats means this must have been BEFORE I lost a part of my vision due to IIH!).
I use a tens unit when my back pain gets crazy-bad. This little machine is MY HERO!!
This is room 315. It is, perhaps, my favorite room in the school I work in. I lovingly call it "The Lounge of the Misfit Teachers" (a la The Island of the Misfit Toys in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer).
This is my furry family.

If you are now sick of learning about me, and want, to, instead, learn about this blog, you should read Rivera Runs Through It: The Blog.

Or, head over to the new and improved: About Me & This Blog Page!
~Thanks for Reading!