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Day: November 5, 2015

How to survive Rhode Island Comic Con

How to Survive Rhode Island Comic Con

With Rhode Island Comic Con now just hours away, here are some helpful hints on surviving a convention:
1. Park at the Providence Place Mall and walk over. Sure there’s parking at Providence Convention Center but why pay $15 when you can pay less for the same amount of time. The Mall is where the food’s at and it’s linked to the Convention Center by a skybridge.
2. Check ‘n’ charge your electronics now and bring back up batteries/cards/charging wires. There isn’t a Best Buy for miles but there are several wireless carrier stores, an Apple Store and a CVS in the mall. If you’re bringing a DSLR with you bring extra cards and batteries because there probably won’t be charging stations.
3. ATMS: Get the money before you leave the house. There tend to be two long lines at conventions: Starbucks and ATMs. Guess which ATM is gonna run out of money first? Right, the one at the con not at your local Walgreens.
4. Comfortable shoes and clothes. Check the weather forecast before you leave, walking around in bundled up clothes in a tightly packed space with a lot of people things tend to get hot and you really don’t want to be dragging a heavy coat around five minutes after you just walked through the door.
5. Generally this where I’d say to have a back up panel but RICC is only 4 years old and the panels are light.
6. Yes, the food is expensive inside the Convention Center, walk back over to the Mall and buy it there. For the ragging Providence Place Mall gets, the restaurants like Dave & Busters are great places to eat at.
6a. Stay hydrated. Get a 24 oz water bottle at the corner store and just refill it for the entire weekend.
7. Download the Rhode Island Comic Con app. Make sure to spell out the full name. It includes maps and a locations of such important things like the bathrooms.
8. Remember to check out Artist Alley for up and coming artists. You never know what you may find.
9. Twitter hashtags of #ricc #ricc2015 #ricomiccon and #rhodeislandcomiccon are probably best to watch just in case. It’s the only way the dealers found out the fire marshals had closed the doors last year since no announcements were made to the con floor.
10. Remember to ask the cosplayers for their pictures and say thank you. I’d point you to the anti-harmashment policy for RICC but I don’t know if they have one.
11. Otherwise, enjoy yourselves and hopefully Altered Reality Entertainment has learned from last year’s mistakes.

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Kelly Kittel #riauthors

Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Kelly Kittel

This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.
What Goes Up…
If you Google the phrase “What goes up, must come down,” you’ll learn that it’s attributed to Isaac Newton. You’ll also find the following explanation. “Things that are launched into the air will return back down to the ground. Why? Because of gravity, that’s why.” As a resident of the Ocean State, I can be found on the beach almost every day, often humming the song, Spinning Wheel, which begins with Newton’s quotation. Because almost every single time I walk the beach I see the crumpled remains of balloons along the high tideline. One sunny spring weekend marked by both Mother’s Day and local school graduations, my son and I picked up over a hundred balloons in a one-mile-stretch of our favorite beach. It’s no surprise that balloon debris in beach litter surveys has tripled over the past 10 years.
Balloons litter our shorelines. Their colorful ribbons once clenched by sweaty toddler fists unfurl across the sand like jellyfish tentacles. And this is one of the biggest problems with balloons—they look like jellyfish to the critters that eat them by mistake. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and birds have all been found dead on the beach with balloons inside of them blocking their digestive systems, slowly starving them. Which isn’t the festive image we typically associate with a party balloon tied to someone’s mailbox. Or released en masse to mark a special occasion or memorialize a loved one.
As a bereaved parent, I have been cringing for years as folks gather in cemeteries and on soccer fields to release balloons by the handfuls. It’s a nice symbol, sending something up into the heavens where we picture our loved ones waiting to receive them. Especially our children, who will never delight in birthday balloons again. But none of us truly believes that our dearly departed will be the happy recipients of anything we launch into space. Remember the song? Other creatures will, but not in the way we’ve intended. Balloons are usually made of natural latex, which is biodegradable, but the decomposition takes many months, the ribbons even longer. Others are made of foil, Mylar, and these can float for hundreds of miles before descending. A whale calf recently washed ashore in California, dead from choking on a Mylar balloon. Killing sea creatures in the name of our loved ones is not the sort of myth we should be perpetrating. Dead sea birds entangled in pink and blue grosgrain ribbon is not how we’d intentionally choose to honor our babies.
After we’ve watched them float up, up, and away, balloons either burst or slowly deflate. Gravity ensures their return to earth and that is true for Chinese Lanterns as well. Once the flame burns out, their metal and bamboo frames can entangle birds and choke livestock. A handful of cities and states have enacted laws banning the release of balloons and lanterns, along with the White House, Park Service, and Disney World. But the Balloon Council spends millions of dollars lobbying to keep balloon releases legal, encouraging us to litter with their products. Balloon releases should be included in existing litter laws because, after all, that’s what it is.
If you want to memorialize your loved ones or mark a special occasion with something lofty, there are alternatives. For streams of color high in the air, why not fly kites? How about a mass bubble release? Or releasing monarch butterflies? Homing pigeons? Or my favorite—plant a tree. You can watch it grow and it will provide years of habitat for animals and birds instead of killing them.
Kelly Kittel is a mom, an author, and, in her own words, part fish. Her first book, Breathe, A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict, is the winner of  IPNE’s Best Book of the Year and Best Narrative Nonfiction, and was an Honorable Finalist in the Readers’ Choice International Book Awards. Link to her  website, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.