Rain Songs

As mystified as I am by it storming here in Florida EVERY SINGLE AFTERNOON, I asked some of my friends on Facebook to help me come up with a playlist of songs about Rain. I had Patty Griffin’s “Rain” stuck in my head for three days (which prompted the question), and my ear worm has since moved on to The Alarm’s “Love to Feel the Rain in the Summertime”…but this super long and eclectic mix is nothing short of amazing! I’m copying it here so it doesn’t get lost in the black hole of Facebook…

What are your favorite Rain Songs? I’ll start with mine.

“Rain” — Patty Griffin
“Love to Feel the Rain in the Summertime” — The Alarm
“Rain” — Concrete Blonde
“Stormy Weather” — Billie Holiday (I prefer this version to Lena Horne)
“Red Rain” — Peter Gabriel
“Only Happy When It Rains” — Garbage
“Let it Rain” — OK GO
“Here Comes the Rain Again” — Eurythmics
“Rainy Days & Mondays” — The Carpenters
“Dreams” — Fleetwood Mac
“Purple Rain” — Prince
“Listen to the Rain” — Evanescence
“November Rain” — Guns N Roses
“Concerto for a Rainy Day” — ELO
“Rainy Day People” — Gordon Lightfoot
“Riders on the Storm” — The Doors
“It’s Raining Again” — Supertramp
“Love a Rainy Night” — Eddie Rabbit
“I Wish It Would Rain” — The Temptations
“I Wish It Would Rain Down” — Phil Collins
“I Can’t Stand the Rain” — Tina Turner
“It’s Raining Men” — Weather Girls
“Georgia Rain” — Trisha Yearwood
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” — CCR
“Blame it on the Rain” — Milli Vanilli
“It Can’t Rain All the Time” — Jane Siberry
“Caught in the Rain” — Hurt
“Rain” — Madonnna
“Rain” — The Beatles
“Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” — BJ Thomas”Rain” — The Cult
“After the Rain” — Nelson
“The Rain Song” Led Zeppelin
“I Made it Through the Rain” — Barry Manilow
“Crying in the Rain” — The Everly Brothers
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” — Willy Nelson
“And it Stoned Me” — Van Morrison
“Songs about Rain” — Gary Allan

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Goals & Zombies

The timer on the elliptical machine at the gym only goes up to 60 minutes, plus a five minute cool down. While you can’t up the length of your workout once you’ve started, you can add five minutes to the cool down, for a total of 70 minutes. (I don’t worry about cooling down too much at the actual gym, since I still have to walk back to the apartment.)

Most days I go about 4.5 miles. (I don’t always go for 70 minutes.) I give myself “bonus points” for hitting 5 miles before the program stops. Today I hit five miles. Hooray!

Now if I can only get 2500 words into my novel on top of that, I’ll be golden. Which means I should probably stop screwing around on the blog and hop in the shower already.

See you guys later! Happy Friday!

(PS – if you want a fun diversion today [via Nick Kaufmann], go to your Facebook profile. Look on the left and note the top 5 friends there. If you and they were trapped in the zombie apocalypse, what would your chances of survival be? Murphy decided to have a bit of fun with me on this…out of my 3000 friends, Bob Ford, Drew Williams, and R. Scott McCoy all just happened to be in my Top 5. As Nick pointed out, if they don’t laugh the zombies to death, at least we’ll all go down smiling!)

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Networking Nitwittery

Look, folks, it’s just common sense. You don’t ask a woman how old she is, you don’t ask anyone how much they weigh, you don’t talk about politics or religion, and you don’t tell someone that you know they’ve unfollowed/unfriended you on the internet.

There is absolutely no situation in which this doesn’t make the other person feel like a jerk, even if they had a valid reason (most people do). And there is absolutely nothing the other person can say to you now that’s not going to look like an excuse.

This is especially horrific if this other person IS YOUR FRIEND IN REAL LIFE.

With all the crazy social networking that’s available now, some folks are obsessed with their electronic footprint so much that they forget about REAL LIFE. You know, the sun that shines and the wind that blows and the rain that falls. The people who smile at you and talk to you and shake your hand. Want to know who I met yesterday? Heather. She works at Starbucks. Want to know how? After a brief conversation while she made my frappaccino, I introduced myself and shook her hand. “You know everybody,” said Fairy Goddaughter the Younger. “That’s because I introduce myself,” I said.

I like people. I like getting to know people. I like finding people who share my interests, and who bring topics to the table that I don’t know much about: exotic world travel, spelunking, ancient musical instruments of Africa. The internet paved the way for the children of the twenty-first century to meet these people all over the world. It sparked a global conversation. It made me feel that I could go anywhere in the world and not be a stranger.

And then it became high school all over again.

I do not understand people on Twitter who only follow people that follow them. Similarly, I do not understand people on Facebook who refuse to accept an invitation from someone they don’t already know in person.  The latter makes a little more sense, if you want to only keep up with family members or keep things “private,” but dude, seriously? If your profile is on the internet, it’s not sacred or safe. Nothing is. And chances are you probably have half these people in your phone book anyway.

Some of those family members on Facebook I wish I didn’t know. They act like idiots, and in any other world I wouldn’t follow them. But I need to follow them so I’m not caught quite so unawares when my mother calls me to tell me someone is in jail. Or pregnant. Or leading a revolution halfway around the world.

All of you people subscribing to any of those services (or who have just memorized their friends lists) that tell you when someone has unfollowed/unfriended you, CUT IT OUT RIGHT NOW. You are doing harm to yourself, both mentally and socially.

I’ve unfollowed a couple of friends, a few times. I’ll give you two examples, and I’ll name names, because these two people are my FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE. If I saw them walking past, I would cross the street to give them a hug. I care about them dearly and value both their insight and opinion. But they both blog A LOT. I’m talking about Jay Lake and Cheryl Morgan.

Back when I was at the day job, I could only check in to Twitter periodically. Between the two of them, Jay & Cheryl could fill up my entire feed for pages. It sucked that I couldn’t read what they were actually saying between their automatic “new blog post” entries, but they could still @reply to me and we could chat that way. And we did. I have their websites bookmarked and we’re also friends on Facebook — it’s not like we were out of touch. Plus, you know…there’s this whole email thing. Jay might have wondered why I added him on Twitter five or six times. Hopefully he didn’t. And if he did, he never said anything. Know why? Because it doesn’t matter. We’re friends in REAL LIFE.

I would like to point out a big difference between Social Networking and REAL LIFE. What you get on Facebook and Twitter is the Real Me, but it’s only about 60% the real me. It’s the Princess Alethea you’d meet while mingling at a party. I don’t blog every time I have cramps or burst into tears (the latter far more often than the former). I don’t talk about money problems, or publisher frustrations, or personal issues. I don’t talk about why I don’t have pets or children. When horrible things happen in my life, I don’t really want you to know. You know why? Because *I* don’t want to look back on my blog and remember that.

One day there are going to be so many visitors to this blog and comments, I won’t be able to check them all. I’m going to miss something clever my mother says — just like I missed someone’s MySpace wedding invitation that one time — and I’m going to be sad about that. But it’s something that happens, and I accept that.

I want people to check in with me because I’m fun and sunshiny and smiley, and occasionally I fall into amazing opportunities…or manholes the size of Mars…and I do it with grace and aplomb and fairy dust. History is written by the victors. I have the ability to write the version of my life I like to pretend I live. If you don’t follow me or friend me or stalk me or whatever, that’s totally fine. I’m sure you have better things to do.

There are jerks out there. You follow them on Twitter. You’ve retweeted them when they asked you to. They have done horrible things to decent people, and you don’t know this because they don’t say, “Hey I cheated on my girlfriend today” or “I swindled my best friend out of $600” or “There’s a twelve-year-old girl in my basement.” What you see of their lives is all they choose to tell you. I simply choose to tell you more. I still don’t tell you everything.

You’re welcome.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go call my mother. xox

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Well, That’s Done It

About a month or so ago, I accidentally clicked on the “Facebook Chat” icon, putting myself out there in the intarwebs available for interaction. Within about 15 seconds, I had 10 people open chats with me. Seven of them were from people I hadn’t heard from in a long time, all of whom I wanted to talk to. Three were folks that were total strangers trying to hit on me.

This–coupled with the fact that I’m edging dangerously close to 3000 friends on my Facebook page–forced the decision to cave and go ahead and make an official “Fan Page”.

For the most part, it’s not going to be much different from my personal page. I can post just as much on there as I do on my personal one, and probably will. And I’m not going to do a massive purging of folks from my personal page — I’ve made a lot of new friends there and I’m always up for making more.

Instead, I’m going to slowly edge people out the door if they:
1.) Post on my wall just to promote themselves
2.) Send me a creepy stalker email
3.) Initiate a chat with me with the sole purpose of telling me how beautiful I am. (Send me a Tweet about it. There’s nothing much to chat about beyond “thanks.”)

I’m also going to stop adding friends I don’t know, willy-nilly. You can send me a personal message — tell me you’re a D-H fan, or that we met at a con, or that you’re an aspiring writer/reviewer/editor. If I’d met you at a party you’d tell me something about yourself, wouldn’t you? I’d totally ask anyway.

I’m also not going to massively spam folks asking them to add my fan page. That’s silly. I’ll promote it on my personal site, and here on my blog, and you’re welcome to share the link. It will grow, in time, as all things do.Ultimately, this is just one more way I’m easier to find. You’re welcome. It’s nice to meet you.

Link to the fabulous (and as of 5 minutes ago completely bare — guess what I’ll be working on this afteroon?) Facebook Fan Page: HERE.

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Brought To You By The Letter A

I often get asked where I got the inspiration for AlphaOops. It’s true, it did really come out of a discussion at Orson Scott Card’s Boot Camp, but the seed of the idea has been germinating inside me all my life. If your name starts with “A”, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Those of us whose names start with “A” get special privileges. We get to be first in line. We get picked first to give our reports in school. We’re not shelved first in the bookstore, but that’s okay, because we get called first when the one we ordered comes in. And as “L” is in the first half of the alphabet, only Abigail, Adelaide, and Agnes get their books before I do.

We’ve heard the intimate moments and jokes at business dinners when you’ve accidentally pocket-called us. And while I will never tell the now happily married couple that I cried when I heard them arguing in the car, I have called my father back and asked him to repeat the punch line so I could tell it to a friend.

We get all the invitations on Facebook. ALL the invitations. I get so many freaking invitations I can’t block the applications fast enough. I’m okay with it — some of them are fun, when I have the time…which is rare. But if you ask me to be a fan of your page more than ten times, I will defriend you just because it’s easier. No hard feelings — they just haven’t come up with a better way to block that yet. Or maybe they have. The new Facebook interface hasn’t rolled out to me yet.

The most fun, though, is the emails. I get accidentally emailed all the time. Most of the time, I just ignore it and delete it. If it’s a newsletter, I’ll simply unsubscribe (you should ALL have an unsubscribe option in your newsletters). If I notice that it was misdirected, I will email the sender and mention that it should have gone to someone else.

But sometimes…I’m torn.

For instance, a friend of mine is a teacher at a university here in the US. A few weeks ago, I got an email from him with the subject line “For Tuesday.” Attached were two powerpoint presentations. I thought perhaps he had taken a trip and was sending us slides…until I opened it and realized I had accidentally been put on his class email list. I forgot to tell him, and laughed when the next one came in, with everything I needed to know for the test. I couldn’t think of a great joke to send back…and now it’s too late.

I received another one today. I kind of like getting them. They’re very informative, and for a writer that’s pretty valuable. It’ll only last a semester anyway.

So the question is…do I tell him?

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My Funky Werepig Valentine

Your official invitation to magic, madness & mayhem!

When: February 14th, 9:00 pm EST – until

Where: The Funky Werepig on Blog Talk Radio!

What: Tune in as Greg Hall (a.k.a. The Funky Werepig) interviews his Valentine, bestselling author Alethea Kontis (a.k.a. The Princess) live on Blog Talk Radio! Listen to the interview…and then call in for the afterparty! (As always, if you can’t be there live, you can listen later on the website archives.)(As always, if you can’t be there live, you can listen later on the website archives.)

Official Facebook Event Page: Click here to RSVP.

Attire: No pants.

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What It Takes

It all started with an innocent Tweet, as many things this day and age do.

After a long, magical weekend at Horrorfind, a group of us retired back to Kelli & Bob’s house. The weather was beautiful. Worn out as we were, we decided to just sprawl all over the front porch. There were no theatrics or rip-roaring conversations; mostly we just huddled in silence not wanting the weekend to end. From where I sat, leaned up against the railing at the opposite end, I took a picture so that I would remember that moment forever. And I tweeted it.

And so Awesome Porch was born.

At first it was just an inside-joke, a beloved memory, an endearment between friends who already had pet names for each other: Dickie, Tomo, the gypsy, the hippie, the princess, Anubis, Qwee. And then it started being referenced by other people. Greg Hall mentioned it during his interview with Kelli for The Funky Werepig; he wanted to know how he could be a member and get his own nickname. We all laughed — it’s not like we all carry cards or have a dress code or secret handshake or anything…apart from the odd Anubis gang sign…and the stripey socks…

The joke has been made more than once that if Awesome Porch was a reality show, it’d be watched religiously. Not that we’re not already doing our best populating photo albums and creating Facebook Applications and adding each other into Twitter groups and writing each other into stories. It was the pizza place that clinched it, though. Kelli placed our order for delivery, and instead of saying, “Is that the house with all the Halloween decorations still up?” the guy asked Kelli, “Is that the house with the porch with all the awesome people on it all the time?”

It seems we’re now locally famous. How about that?

And then there are the people who end up tripping into a coveted spot on Awesome Porch, achieving a hug and a nickname and immediate entre into the core group.

Meet Chuck, a.k.a. Justin, a.k.a. JP. Kelli even called him Big Mac for a time, because he worked at McDonald’s, but to us it was just Justin. Justin who lives across the street, who has two younger siblings, who likes Buffy & Angel, and who has someone else’s kidney. Justin’s a good kid. We like Justin.

And then, one ill-fated Saturday night,  Justin threw up all over the bathroom. ALL over the bathroom. I’ll spare you the stories about the light fixture and the broken toilet seat. Needless to say, the hippie is a God.

The next day, when Justin walked back over to prove to us all that he was alive and well, he got quite the ribbing. I was in the living room, listening to the porch through the open front door as they decided what terrible teasing nickname we could give Justin that would torture him for the rest of his life.

“Chuck!” I yelled through the screen door. It was simple, really. Obvious. The porch laughed. And so Chuck was born.

Last weekend, Kelli bought a new toilet seat. As penance, Chuck had to install it. Click on the picture below to forward through the photographic montage.  We’ve still got the old one — I think we’re all going to autograph it and bestow it upon him at the next Awesome Porch gathering.

Toilet seat: $10.

Tossing your cookies until you’re passed out on the bathroom tile: all your pride & humility.

Getting a nickname on Awesome Porch: priceless.

Have you got what it takes to be a member of Awesome Porch?

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Awesome Porch December Party Pics

Just start here and go forward. Or check them out on Facebook, sans captions. (Thanks to Lilwenchi et al for the tagging help!)

Sunset over the Alien Lesbian Cow Park

Sunset over the Alien Lesbian Cow Park

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