Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

  • Followed
  • Follows you

Edit biography

I forget if I mentioned here this ridiculous musical undertaking we decided to attempt: We are putting on Delaware's very first Beatles festival, and this festival means that we are playing every Beatles song ever released (and even two that were recorded and never released) over a course of six consecutive nights... this means we do two albums per night, plus any singles that were released around those albums.  There is one night we're only doing one album, and that's the night we're playing The White Album since it's a double-album... and one other night we're playing three albums because that's just how the math worked. 

The festival started tonight, and we were kinda expecting the lightest crowd tonight since it's a Monday night, and since we just kinda figured this is their less interesting material.  But holy crap, we had 130 people tonight, and the theater only holds about 250... so it felt very full, and the crowd was very enthusiastic. One of tonight's audience members was actually in the audience when The Beatles played on Ed Sullivan!! GAAAH!!  After our show tonight she said she was so happy she came tonight so she could actually hear the songs, unlike the Ed Sullivan show where all she heard was screaming. :-)

We've been rehearsing this material since January-- two rehearsals per week -- one a vocal-only rehearsal, and the other rehearsal was with the whole band. 

The name of the group putting on this BeatleFest is called "The Rock Orchestra," which is an tribute show organization headed up by Joe Trainor and Matt Urban. Joe and MattU (not to be confused with 'my Matt' (aka MattC)) choose what tribute shows they want to perform (basically curating a season's worth of music), and then writes all the arrangements, and hires the right musicians to play it. So there's no set band member list to The Rock Orchestra... but they have an extensive Rolodex from which to draw. :-)

This BeatleFest takes 40 musicians to play all of this music as true to the albums as we can, once you get strings, horns, traditional Indian instrmentalists, harmonica, harp, even sound effects... all in addition to the core band. 

Because we're playing these songs in release order, tonight was the "simplest" material, so we only needed the core band tonight.  But we've been rehearsing in release order, too... so our most recent rehearsals has been the REALLY complicated stuff requiring all 40 players.  We had two final rehearsals this weekend... Saturday was sound-equipment load-in, and Sunday was all 40 of us... and we played all of the hard stuff (we're even doing "Revolution #9" live!)  We intentionally left the stage set up with all the (empty) chairs for the strings and horns, all of my 73,000 percussion instruments were out on display, MattC's guitars and saxes and keys were all set up, even though we don't use them until Wednesday.  We really want the audience to watch and feel this stuff build in complexity as we move through the Beatles' catalogue and timeline. 

So tonight when we got to the theater for Night 1 of BeatleFest to play "Please Please Me" and "With The Beatles" and the surrounding singles, only the seven core band members were needed, and we were like "Where is everyone? Oh, wait, it's just us tonight!"  

We've got Joe Trainor singing mostly Paul McCartney's parts and also playing piano and keys; we've got Brendan Sheehan playing guitar and singing mostly John Lennon's parts, Rich Degnars on drums (he's amazing), Josh Dowiak on bass and some vocals, Joey Lopes on lead guitar (he is freakin' awesome), and then Matt and I are the utility players.  (Utility players are people who can sing and play many instruments, so they play whatever is needed.)  I sing backing vocals on almost everything (I sing lead on a few, too) and I play about 22 different percussion instruments (everything from simple handclaps to timpani and anvil and concert chimes to a motorcycle exhaust pipe), keys a few times, and I also handle all the sound effects (think the animal sounds in "Good Morning, Good Morning").  Matt sings whenever we need 4-part harmony (and he also sings lead on a few), and he's playing guitar, bass, sax, keys/piano, and percussion. 

Tonight was an easy night music-wise, and tomorrow night (Tuesday, Night 2) is also just the core band again because we're playing two more " simple" albums: "Beatles for Sale" and "A Hard Day's Night" (plus some singles).

Wednesday night (Night 3) is "Help!" and "Rubber Soul" (plus some singles). Wednesday night is when Matt and are the guest singers, so we sing lead on a few songs. This night is also when more band members arrive... Indian musicians arrive, some horns and strings...

Thursday night (Night 4) s the big night where we do three albums (‘Revolver’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’) and also the point when all 40 musicians are on stage through the rest of the festival!

Friday night (Night 5 of 6, also Matt's birthday):  Tonight we only play one album, which is "The Beatles," aka The White Album. It's a double album.  We'll also play any singles released during that time. And once we tackle that, we're brought to closing night, which is "Abbey Road" and "Let it Be," plus the singles. And that's it!

During the show, we have fun projections as a backdrop that sorta gives you an idea of what "era" of The Beatles we're in (in Hamburg, the Ed Sullivan stage, their psychedelic stage, the rooftop, etc... and we have another projector with a slideshow that displays the song name, album title, and a counter that counts up the number of songs out of the 215 we've played already.  

I'm really proud and excited to play this music with these people-- it sounds great, and best of all everyone gets along, so it's been a very joyful experience!  It's also been exciting new really exciting to feel how the songwriting got more interesting and complex as The Beatles' progressed, and also to note how they were able to do all the things they wanted to record thanks to advances in recording technology.  

There was more I wanted to type, but I've forgotten because I've fallen asleep a few times while typing this... haha... and it's now 3:55am so I'm gonna post this now. 

These shows sound amazing. Do your best Norwegian Wood for me, and Maxwell's Silver Hammer for Mr. Archer. <3
Thanks! Tonight is Norwegian Wood-- that actually features me and Matt (along with Day Tripper and Ticket to Ride.) Maxwell's Silver Hammer is tomorrow night-- I love that song!
I am not normally a tribute show person, but this would absolutely have drawn me in, especially the White Album night. Alas, I'm in Virginia Beach for the week. So I shall console myself with sun, surf, sand and ludicrous amounts of cozy time.
Both are equally magical. Have a fabulous time, sir!
It is absolutely killing me that I can't be there (or give Robbb the gift of being there). I hope you all break all of your legs!
Thanks, babycakes! It's very strange not having you guys here... you are both missed very much!
This sounds like so much GD fun. I can feel the glow from here.

All seasons of MASH are now available on Hulu, so today we started binge-watching it.  Season 1 is where they are working out the kinks, and finally easing up on the blatant misogyny and tail-chasin'... though I guess it is a period piece. 

Either way, I love these characters so much, and Larry Gelbart is a script god. 

I am happier now that the Father Mulcahy I recognize and Klinger have arrived. 

The show holds up great now that we're half a season in, and it's a pleasure to watch. But you definitely have to get through the first few. Henry Blake is less of a dunderhead and more a dude; Frank and Houlihan aren't just meanies out to foil Hawkeye and Trapper, but are nuanced people.  

I feel like I'm with old friends. :)

I wish I were binging with you!
Come on down! :)

Or, we can make a date to binge-watch simultaneously. We'll synchronize episodes and we can talk about 'em here or elsewhere!
I guess what I really mean is, I wish I had the TIME to binge, and especially with you!

Right now I'm bingeing on the final season of 12 Monkeys. Not because it's good, but because I've seen the rest and feel as though I should take it to the end.
Oh, that’s going to help me survive this holiday. Thank you!
It is a magical balm.
Damn you. I already have too many things on my binge list, but this is kinda a 'must add'. I mean, M*A*S*H is, like you described, a collection of old friends.

I've also recently listened to an interview with Alan Alda on one of my myriad podcasts and it just reminded me how much I've always liked the dude. I'll have to see if I can't find the episode and add a link...

Update: I think this was it: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/22/577433687/alan-alda-wants-us-to-have-better-conversations
I love Alan Alda. I also love Bill Hader's impression of Alan Alda.
When Saturday Night Live does their faux auditions (e.g., They pretend to play the screen tests of people auditioning for "Back to the Future" or Star Wars. So you'll have Bill Hader impersonating Alan Alda auditioning for Marty McFly or Han Solo. It's hilarious! -- like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azwKHqEkXEY)
Holy crap that's amazing. Love Bill Hader, and I hadn't seen some of his impersonations. So good.
god do I love that show.
Rabbit 7/2
It's soooo good!
Vince has the DVD set, and it has the option to remove the laugh track.
Matt and I discovered that we both always listen for the same guy on the laugh track... that same guy can be heard laughing on Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, too. I'd bet a zillion bucks that you and Vince know the exact laughing guy we're talking about. :)
No, but now I want to listen for him!
Wow, this is like the Wilhelm Scream.
I've never heard that before! Gaaaaah! That is amazing!
I don't think it was any of the Star Wars clips in that youtube video, but there was a more recent movie (maybe TLJ?) that I actually caught it while in the theater and I almost shouted when I realized what it was.
I kind of like the post-Radar Klinger. He wasn't as madcap, in fact they abandoned the whole section 8 crossdressing thing completely once he became company clerk. It made him a more nuanced character.
We haven't gotten there yet, but now I'm curious. I hadn't noticed it in my youth... I just remember being sad when Radar wasn't on the show anymore.

This article by Lili Loofbourau on Slate sums up my feelings of sadness, helplessness, futility, and we're-fucked-ism. 

Enjoy!  Yay!  This is fun!

those videos are glorious!!!
Jenn A 7/1
If you want soul food cooking videos, I got some soul food cooking videos for you: http://phillyjaycooking.com/

I wrote this stream-of-consciousness and haven't edited or condensed this yet. I'm just talking it out, out loud. Yep, I know it's a public post... but I fucked up the other day and I own it... and I'm trying to work out my thoughts here by typing them out. 

Didja ever have something really frustrating  happen, and you vent about it, and once you've gotten it off your chest, you've pretty much forgotten about it?  Like, the act of venting pops the proverbial zit, it heals, and then you're done?

That's what venting is for. And we vent to our pals about stuff. That's one of many many neat things that pals are for. And that's also what blogs are for... and blog pals. :-)

Another thing blogs are good for is for feeling connected to people when you may have a hard time seeing folks. Like, I don't really like thinking about what I'm about to type in this here paragraph because it depresses me, but it's a fact that Matt and I are pretty isolated. When his belly issues started in 2012, we couldn't go out as much. And then what seems like one day in February 2015 the belly issues stopped and were replaced by unspeakably awful anxiety attacks, and then we really couldn't go out any longer. When we would try to go out we'd always have to leave early, so eventually we just stopped going out. The few times we tried inviting people over instead, Matt would still end up having an anxiety attack (I'm not looking for a cause or diagnosis here), so we just stopped inviting people over.  And understandably, people have stopped inviting us to things because they/we just know we'll either have to cancel beforehand or leave shortly after we arrive. So we don't really see people any longer unless it's for a rehearsal or a gig. Matt has friends he talks to on the phone, but I don't really. I also don't have coworkers, and my family all lives hours away, so I am pretty isolated.  I'm not on Facebook, so this blog (and barely Twitter) is pretty much my main  connection to other people. 

I've been keeping an online blog since the mid-90s, since before the word "blog" was even used.  I once had a creepy neighbor discover my old llij.net blog, and he saw me in person one day and told me how close he felt to me because he read what I wrote.  But he didn't know me-- he just knew those teeny moments and ideas I shared.  This spooked me out a bit, and shortly thereafter I switched to LiveJournal, which had the ability to lock certain posts down so only a small subset of people could see it. You could have public posts too, of course, and you could also even lock things to be completely private, for those rare things I didn't want to bounce off any friends but still wanted to immortalize on electrons. :-)

But when you don't see someone very often but you read something they've written, it's logical to assume that what they're written is some deeply-held sacred belief or life philosophy... when it could just be the brain-fart du jour.

LiveJournal ("LJ") got bought by the Russians a few years ago, and since Russia does not believe in https, we all abandoned ship since no privacy could be assured there. OnePostWonder ("OPW") was born, and we've all built a nice cozy home here. It's not as huge as LJ was, but most of my LJ pals (many of whom are IRL pals) made the jump to OPW, so it's good here. (Plus I love and trust the people who built it.)

I've always loved writing, though I know I'm not that great at it. I switch tenses all the time, I change I/you/they prounouns constantly because I write in a very stream-of-consciousness way. And I'm long-winded as hell (plus I start sentences with conjunctions-- heavens!).  But I blog as a way to just shoot the shit, but also so I have a way to work out some things I'm thinking about, and to share some general life happenings. 

Anyhoo, you may recall I wrote a post the other day where I vented about a very frustrating night at a restaurant where an acquaintance's kids (two daughters)  misbehaved and it upset not only people at our table, but also a group of strangers who had to sit in our semi-private section because it was a busy night. I wound up buying the strangers' dinner (nobody put me up to it) because they were in my direct line of sight and I could see how upset they were over how often they were getting bumped into and squealed at by the kids, and I felt the mom (I called her "S") wasn't doing anything to control her kids. Plus, this kicked Matt into one of the worst panic attacks he's ever had, and he left the restaurant early. I had assumed he went to sit and cry in the car (which he always does), but when I got outside after I quickly said goodbye to folks, I found him wandering the far end of the shopping center speaking gibberish and spinning in circles, arms flailing. I wish I was exaggerating. It was really upsetting.

In S's defense, her daughters were super-happy. I think maybe parents tend to correct their kids when they're being skootchy or annoying or hitting, but when they're squeeing and giggling and dancing (OK, and climbing the walls and trying to do cartwheels) maybe you don't worry about it because they're chipper, maybe it's hard to see that as misbehaving. I dunno, that's just a guess... I'm not a parent.  

Anyway, when I wrote that post, I really let loose. I was raw. We had just gotten home and I had finally gotten Matt calmed down and in bed, where he was still punching himself in the head and speaking nonsense words, moreso than usual. It was a particularly awful panic attack (he said later it was one of the worst, if not the worst one, he's ever had), made even worse by the fact that we were so sure going into the night that he wasn't going to have one. We don't get to go out anymore, but that night the stars had this magical alignment and he was actually OK, and we felt normal and hopeful for the first time in a very, very long time. I was so, so angry to have had that taken away... and I was so so angry because I felt that this could have been avoided. 

What do I know.

Maybe I'm delusional and maybe Matt was destined to have a panic attack all along. Why should that night have been any different?  Maybe we're idiots for having hope anymore. 

So I vented. I was frustrated. Not only was I trying to piece Matt back together again, I was also out over $100 for the strangers' meals... and I was annoyed that the strangers never even smiled to say a silent "thank you." Nuthin'.  And then I felt guilty that my friends bought my and Matt's dinners because they knew I bought the strangers' dinners. I wasn't trying to cost anyone extra money! So I was angry, and embarrassed, and annoyed, and sad, and hurt, and crushed, and disappointed. And those were all valid feelings, and I don't feel bad for having them.

But in my venting in my blog post, I did something awful. Legitimately, genuinely awful, and something I feel deeply sorry for.  I called S, the mom of the rowdy daughters some awful, awful things in my blog post.  I was vicious. I was beyond harsh. I used words that may have felt justified in the moment but were absolutely NOT OK.   

It's one thing to hate the behavior... it's another thing to hate the person

And the truth is, I don't hate the person at all.  Never did. After I wrote what I wrote, the venting was over, we commented on it here, and bloop-- I forgot all about it. 

Right? Haven't you ever vented about something and then forgotten about it? That's what venting is for.  Once it's vented, it's over. It's a non-issue.  If someone were to bring it up again, I'd say "Yeah, that night was a shit-show," but if I saw S the next day I'd say hello like everything was fine, because everything is fine, and I don't hate and never did hate her.  Sure, I was pissed in the moment, and I reaaaaaallllly wish the night played out differently, and I shot my big dumb mouth off on my blog and let my New Jersey out, but then I got over it once it was out of my system. Humans are wonderfully resilient that way. 

But due to my blog entry, a bunch of strangers on OPW now think that S is some awful human being, though she is not.  (Not that 99.9% of you know or will ever know who S is... but still... that's negativity the world doesn't need.)

But if you don't know me very well, or if you don't see me that often and you read my post, you'd think I was gonna set this lady on fire. You might think, "My god, I've never known Jill to hate anyone like this. This is upsetting and concerning." And I could see why you'd think that, and I wouldn't blame you.  (Sure, I'd hope you'd give me the benefit of the doubt, but I could also understand why you wouldn't.)

And this Benefit of the Doubt thing:

This is where I went wrong, and for what I feel awful: In the moment of blogging, I never gave S the benefit of the doubt. I went straight for the jugular; I chose vicious. I didn't say "I wish her behavior was different," I said "She is a fucking piece of shit." I didn't say, "Man, she had a lapse in judgment that night," I said "She has shitty fucking parenting skills." (or something like that.)  I didn't separate the actions from the soul.  I judged her as a human. I called her such awful things that it could almost even be viewed as an insult to everyone else at the dinner. If S was such a complete piece of shit then everyone else at dinner must be too since they're all friends with her. Only shit likes shit, amirite?

This is not okay. 

To be clear, I don't regret my description of what happened at dinner. It was factually accurate from my viewpoint-- I was watching stuff happen because I could see the whole room from my seat. But I deeply, deeply regret what I said after I described the events of the evening... where I got personal. I called names. I judged. 

As if you couldn't tell, I've been really reflecting on that evening and its blog post and my word choices, as well as my description of the night's events.

And check this nugget out:

There were two moms there; Julie is Kit's mom, and then there was S and her two daughters. The truth of the matter is Kit was behaving just as inappropriately and was just as rambunctious as S's daughters, but I described Julie and Kit as "fine" because I know Julie and I love Julie very much... so I naturally cut her some slack in my judgment. I didn't mention Kit's climbing or cartwheel attempts or windowsill dancing once in that post... because I know Julie is a good person who tries hard, so I didn't throw her under the blog bus.  But S? I don't know her so FUCK HER-- SHE MUST BE A TERRORIST. Whaaaa?  Hey Jill you asshole... YOU may not know S., but everyone else does, and she wouldn't have been invited if people didn't love her very much. So just because you Jill don't know her, maybe you should cut her the same slack you cut for Julie and Kit. They are clearly deserving of slack and basic human fucking decency, instead of coming out guns blazing.

So I've been soul searching ever since I realized what I had done. 

And I really think this is the crux of what sucks with the world and the USA today. So many of us are all so quick to vilify those we don't know... but that person we're vilifying is someone's friend, someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's mother. Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to "other-ize" people, or to "well they should just"-ize people. It ain't that easy. If they "could just," wouldn't they?

If anyone called any of you the things I called S, whether you made a mistake or not, I'd set them on fire.

It's actually a very very minor subplot-point that I completely accidentally made that post a public post (that I have just friends-locked an hour ago), and S's dear friend saw it and got very understandably upset... so upset that she didn't want to speak with me so her husband brought it up to me.  (S's dear friend and husband were not at dinner; they had heard from other attendees that dinner was a shitshow, and I think it got mentioned on Facebook... but my OPW post was the only place where someone (me!) was vitriolic and horrible.)  I'm not angry at the dear friend who got upset, and I'm not angry at her husband for telling me... and I'm not angry at anyone else who may have seen the post and shared it.  I'm angry at myself.   

I fucked up. I own it. I'm genuinely sorry. I am using this as a learning experience and as an opportunity for growth... which sounds douchey, but I am totally sincere here. 

This is not one of those things where I'm apologizing because I'm sorry I got caught. 

In some lumpy way, I'm almost happy (?) I got caught, because it's forced me to have a VERY uncomfortable look at this thing I sometimes do without thinking about the larger impact it's having.

So while I'm damning S for doing something without realizing the larger impact it's having, I'm doing the same thing like a hypocritical fuckstick. And I've gotta knock it off.  If you wanna make the world a better place ya gotta look at yourself and make a change, yo.

So yeah, I'm not apologizing because I got caught. And I'm not apologizing because people are upset.

I'm apologizing because I'm sorry for judging this person so harshly instead of cutting them some slack. I'm sorry for being a judgy asshole and jumping to the worst possible conclusion without even considering any other possibility. I denied her her humanity. How fucking shitty is that?

Sure, her actions almost definitely caused bad times for me and Matt, and caused other people to have an uncomfortable, awkward, unpleasant night.  But nobody is perfect. You need to separate the person from the actions until you have hard, ongoing, consistent, repeatable proof that the questionable actions are an actual character trait and not just someone having a bad night or a one-time lapse of judgment. We all have bad days. We all make mistakes. We all deserve forgiveness. 

I hope people will extend me the same courtesy. 

I have some apology emails to write.

(This post was typed stream-of-consciousness and has not been edited or condensed.)


I'm going to comment more thoroughly once I have pants on, because that's another step toward organized thinking (in my world). I wish I could buy you a cup of coffee right now and listen and pat your birdy head.

If kids are allowed to do cartwheels in restaurants, you are allowed to say how it made you feel.
Actually, now that I think about it, my 40K-word howler can be summed up very easily.

People need to be able to express, through writing/art/etc., their feelings, whether positive, negative, or multifaceted.

Social media can and should be a way for us to discuss and refine ideas.

Being prevented from airing grievances will make one sick and/or violent.
I think your reactions are not at all out of line, though, as you said, it would have been better to not broadcast them so publicly.

A quote went by on some social media thing lately saying something like "you can still be a good person while not putting up with bullshit."

You're good people!
Sean M Puckett 6/4edited
Yeah, I feel you, sister.
I don't know anything helpful to say about the issue at hand.
You're thinking and feeling sounds WAY more responsible and mature than I have access to, so I'll take your word for it on all that.

Your writing is top-shelf, in my opinion.
I've enjoyed watching the subtle changes over the many years I've been reading your emails-llij-LiveJournal-OPW, while your boss voice stayed constant.

I'm a fan of that.
The only fault I find here is making the post public if you didn't want S or her friends to see it ... and that's more of a goofup than anything else.

This is where you communicate with your close friends.
You are allowed to vent to your friends.
You are (we all are) allowed to be unfair when you vent to your friends, you are allowed to be not your best self, you are allowed to have a shitty day, you are allowed no makeup and puffy eyes and conversations about your digestive system (or ours) and you do not have to be fair, kind, or perfect.

You are fair, you are kind, you are thoughtful.
You are not perfect.
With the people you love and who love you, with the people who know you and care about you ... we KNOW you are fair and kind and thoughtful, we do not expect you to be perfect and if you vent or rant or whatever, we know that isn't your secret evil self, you just got annoyed at thing x or thing y.

I also think you need a night out without Matt, a night where the only person you have to take care of is Jill. Your needs matter. It doesn't make you a shitty human to need a break from your partner - I shoved Houser out of the house last night because he had ENOUGH of Hunter, Hunter had enough of him, and it was time for everyone to recharge. Houser came home a few hours later and much happier.

That was about Hunter, but we do it to get space from each other too, not "I hate you" space, but "I want to be with my friends and not have to worry whether you are having a good time" space. That makes it sound like we spend the whole time when we're out worrying about each other, and we don't do that at all ... but we're aware of each other and tuned in to each other, and sometimes it's fun to be just ... out.

Also, it's hotter. I mean like when you get home ... but I digress.

You, Jill, need some time where you allow yourself to take care of Jill. In my unsolicited, unprofessional opinion. You are not selfish. This is not a reflection on Matt ... and I do not mean time when you are traveling for work - I mean time out with your people where you are not worried about how long it has been since you've seen us or whatever other judgement stuff ... just time to BE. (I know, says one of the judgiest bitches on the planet, but caring for a partner's medical needs, mental and/or physical can really take it out of you and I totally get it.)

I love you.
A lot.
All of this is true, seconded, ^^^THIS, etc. etc.

I agree with what Shelle says, also.
Rabbit 6/5
Good. For. You.
Rabbit 6/4
SeaDel friend Falko told me not long ago that he used to have a real problem with a generally negative outlook on people and the world. road rage, phone rage, work rage, etc.

He started an experiment to try and rewire his brain away from "that person is a STUPID IDIOT and I hate them!" reaction to things that were, when you really look at them, pretty minor issues. The experiment was, whenever he started to feel that impulse to hate someone he didn't know (or barely knew) over some minor fuckup, to just say "maybe that's the only stupid thing they've ever done in their life".

Maybe they're AMAZING all of the rest of the time. Maybe they're curing cancer. Maybe they're the kindest, gentlest person in their town. Maybe they're a great friend. Maybe they're the person who solves all the tech support problems in their office. Maybe they just wrote a great book. Maybe they are amazing at fixing engines. Maybe none of those things - maybe they're just a regular person going about their business. BUT MAYBE THAT'S THE ONLY STUPID THING THEY'VE EVER DONE IN THEIR LIFE.

It doesn't necessarily remove the ragey impulse, but it quickly puts it into proportion - points up the absurdity of it.

Or anyway - it worked for him.

Has kinda worked for me.

CM Adams 6/8edited
Yes! This is also a good way to avoid bashing allies. "I am enraged by that surfacey gesture / slacktivist post you're making because I assume you are doing nothing more." No. Maybe they are singlehandedly flipping Alabama.

I really do tend to see the best in people, which is why it was so jarring to go completely off my onion that day. When I get ranty, it's usually for comedic/"NewJerseyan" reasons and not out of any real anger or vitriol. But maaaan, I was in very rare form the other day, and I have been flogged deservedly.

But I love the whole "Maybe this is the only stupid thing they've ever done" approach!
also, sorry about the whole feeling/being isolated thing. I really enjoyed seeing you when Barb and I were there. and every time I talk to Matt, I like him more. hearing now about some of the toll that socializing can take, I feel especially lucky that we seem to have managed it without major issues on that occasion.
Matt and I loooooved spending time with you guys, too! Barb is the bees knees, and you've always been and continue to be one of my favorite people on the planet. You crack me up like few people can. :)

(and now that you know our dirty secret: After we got home from the restaurant, Matt was having a meltdown in the bedroom while you and I gabbed in the kitchen. We just said he was tired. :-) But his meltdown was totally expected; there's almost a rhythm to these things, if that makes any sense.)

But the goal is to not make his anxiety impact other people... so I'm happy we skated under the radar. (Which isn't to imply that we'd think you wouldn't be cool/understanding if you knew, but we just didn't wanna make it a thing.)

Our dryer died about a month ago. I forget if I wrote about this or not.  

Since that happened, we've taken our clothes to the laundromat a few times, did our laundry at my folks' house, and also washed stuff here and hung it outside.  It hasn't been awful. 

I figured our dryer died because it's 20-ish years old. But I also know it's entirely mechanical, so therefore entirely fixable by anyone with half a brain. I've already replaced the belt that spins the drum, so I'm totally comfy fixing stuff.  

My dad raised us to always try fixing broken things. In the worst case, it continues to stay broken. In the best case, you fix it! In the medium-case, it stays broken but now you know how one more thing in the world works. 

Anyway, I know that dryers can die because of a clogged lint pipe, but we just had our lint-tubes totally cleaned out when we had our ducts cleaned a few months ago.  Turns out they didn't clean the dryer lint tube at all. See Exhibit A:

Ummmm... I guess this would explain why our dryer stopped working. Guess I should ask for our money back from the guy who cleaned our dryer vents a few months ago....  It's a miracle the house didn't burn down.

Anyhoo, our friend and handyman Crusher (yep, that's his name!) ripped out the old impacted lint-duct and replaced it with smoove new pipe that is easily accessible and clean-outable.  We fired up the dryer, but it didn't get hot... turns out the heating element burned out (surprise surprise), so I ordered a new one off Amazon which will be here Friday along with a new thermostat (I figured I'd replace it just in case).  So we'll be back to laundrytown by Friday evening. Yay!

But man. It's crazy to think that the house really could have burned down from all that lint. My dad's a fireman, and we know lots of stories of fires that started with a lint-trap clogged a fraction of what ours was.

So please clean out your lint-lines, folks. 

"My dad raised us to always try fixing broken things. In the worst case, it continues to stay broken."

Just one of many reasons to love the recent birthday boy.
I love your resilience. I'd have been tempted to mail the bad duct cleaner that impacted pipe.
Nothing like fixing an appliance to make you feel like The Boss.
I like it when my friends reduce fire hazards in their dwellings. I like it a lot.
Oh my ... that dryer lint clog is horrifying. Looks like a sandworm from Dune! Glad you investigated.

Did you know that you have a dominant eye? I knew this, but had never considered what it might mean for my life.

So... put your arms straight out ahead of you, palms facing away from you, fingers pointing towards the ceiling.  Now twist your wrists inward a teeny bit to touch your thumb-tips together and your pointer-fingertips together... this makes a diamond-shaped hole.  Now find something on a wall about 10-20 feet away and look at it through the hole in your hands (make sure both eyes are open).  Now close one eye. Now switch eyes. Make sure your hands didn't move.  When you closed one eye your hand blocked the thing, right? And when you closed the other eye you could see it through the hole, right? Whichever eyeball you could see the distant thing through is your dominant eyeball.

I'm sure there was an easier way for me to describe how to do that, but okay. 

Anyhoo, this morning I went to the eye doctor-- it had probably been nearly 10 years since I've been there. My prescription has never been all that strong, and it's only ever been for distance.  Even though I only ever was supposed to wear my glasses for driving and for watching movies, I'd just keep them on all the time because it was just easier. They're so weak that they never really got in the way or me seeing stuff.

Today's eye exam showed that my distance-prescription has gotten just a teeeeeny bit worse in 10-ish years... and both my eyeballs continue to have the same prescription as each other, which is nifty.  He asked if I'd resorted to cheater/reading glasses yet now that I'm 47, and I told him that just in the last year I find that if I need to read something I have to take my glasses off and read it with my naked eyes... but I don't need cheater/reading glasses yet.  (Matt owns a pair of cheaters and I only use them if I'm doing REALLY close/fine detail painting for an extended period of time. But general reading and dicking with my phone, nope, still all good.) 

So he asked me how I felt about contacts. I told him I only ever really wear contacts for any gigs where I need to glance at sheet music or lyrics (I keep the sheet music/lyrics far away so they don't block the audience's view-- so my everyday distance glasses/contacts work great) otherwise I don't wear contacts... my glasses are fine for everyday life.   I have a gig where I don't need lyrics/music, I prefer the "psychic distance" having a slightly-fuzzy audience provides.  Proof: The last time I ordered contacts was 2009, and I just used my last pair about a month ago. So I really don't wear them often.

(I brought the empty contacts box with me just so he could see my old prescription, and he said "You just used these? You realize these expired in 2016, right?" Oopsie.)

He asked if I was averse to contacts, and I said no. So he suggested we try an experiment. He figured out which eye is my dominant eye, and then did a few tests to see how dominant my dominant eye is... and as luck would have it, my dominant eye is more of a switch. ;-)   This means I'm a great candidate for Eyeball Shennanigans™ -- which means I wear a distance-contact in my non-dominant eye, and I leave my dominant eye nekkid. So if I need to read, my dominant eyeball springs into action, and if I need to see far, my brain switches to my other eye with the distance-lens in it.  Ta-daaaa!

So we popped one contact-lens in at noon today and HOLY SHITBALLS my life has changed. I can see EVERYTHING. It's so cool!  Fuckin' eyeballs, how do they work?

For the record, eyeball dominance has nothing to do with which eye is less-blind or which eye has an astigmatism or anything. It's also not related to your dominant hand. It's just a brain thing.  (My left eye is my dominant eye. Neat!)


(Hi. My name is Jill, and I take 87 years to say what anyone else could convey in 6 sentences.  Go me!)

One world, one vision, fried chicken.
Do you go to Dr. Strauss on Marsh?
Nope! We go to Dr. Tom Piorowski at Springfield Opticians immmmmmmediately over the DE/PA border on 202. I lerve him.
One time, around 1990 or so, I went to a movie with Ursula and we were trying to decide where to sit.

She said "we should sit on the left side of the theater because the majority of people are right eyed" and I almost blacked out laughing.

I didn't realize that eye dominance was a thing then, but I still consider it an absurd factor in deciding where to sit at a movie.

Old ladies have ways of doing things that seem silly or dated or whatever... but ya know what? These old-lady ways WORK. 

Like, I have this great sweater-dress that I wear with tights or leggings, but I'm always yanking on it because sweater + leggings = sticking to each other.  What's a girl to do?  Wear a (half)slip. 

Slips?! But those are for old ladies!

Yeah, but ya know what? Old ladies aren't pulling on their damn dresses all day... because the slip just fucking works

I jumped on Amazon to buy two half-slips (insert joke here about why didn't I just buy one whole one instead-- herpaderp), one black and one cream-colored... and instead I discovered a magical thing called "pettipants," which is a floofy slip but with leg-holes so your thighs don't touch. And I wore it under my sweater-dress and over my leggings for Mothers Day and sweetwoundedjesus it was magical. I was comfy, the dress looked great, and I didn't have my hand up my arse tugging and unsticking myself all day.  

Old ladies. They get it.

Some Other Old Lady Stuff that I'm Using and It's Working Great:

1) Washing my hair once per week, if that... otherwise I just slap conditioner on it and rinse it out. (Some days I just chuck on a shower cap and don't wet my hair at all. They're really onto something with the not-daily-hairdo. Boom. Done.

2) Cleaning my house with stuff like a vinegar solution, borax, baking soda, etc.  It's cheap, it works like a mofo. Boom. Handled.

​​​​​​3) Oil of Olay. I'm talkin' the OG OoO... the shit just works. Smells like Nana. Boom. Addressed.

4) Cold cream to get your makeup off... even impossible stuff like waterproof mascara and that liquid lipstick. Boom. Fixed. 

​​​​​​​5) Those pillows that go between your knees when you sleep. HOLY CRAP, what a godsend! Without it, my hip is screeeeeaming in the morning. With it, happy times.  Boom. Finito.

6) Bathtub handles. OK, I don't have a bathtub/shower handle in my bathroom (yet), but whenever I stay in a hotel with one I'm much happier. Should probably get one.

7) Toppik for thinning hair. No, it's not the scalp spraypaint of the Ron Popeil days... these are little fibers that you sprinkle on and they really fill in the slightly sparse spots. They're not gonna make a totally bald person look like Fabio, but it is amaaaaazing. Really works. For men and women. Boom. Fixx0r3d.

So, there you have it.

Any other old-people hacks that work for you?

I have no old lady hacks but I use Ponds.
Ponds ROCKS. I love the smell-- it brings me back to 1974 or something.
Huh. I never stopped wearing slips. I didn't realize they were old-ladyish.

Also usually don't take off my makeup because I kind dig the morning after look. (Not that a wear it every day. Cause retired and never got into the habit and often get home in a state of collapse and whatnot). But I use Nivea when I do.

I'm a believer in not washing hair more than once every week or so. I find the less I wash it, the less often it needs washing.

I wear Hanes Women's Stretch Jersey Bike Shorts shorts under my dresses to solve the thigh rub problem. And sometimes boxer shorts when my bike shorts are all in the wash.

I'm going to get me some pettipants
I remember someone telling me in like 2002 that slips were "for old ladies." I dunno why I didn't think to question it. But yeah-- now that you mention it, maybe slips never were an old-lady thing all this time, and I've been duped! Gaaah!

I wear Matt's stretchy boxer-briefs when I need a no-thigh-touching solution. Soooo comfy.
Wearing Boyfriend's underwear is so much fun.
Karen 5/17
I've always loved full slips (and had them in two lengths, long and short) because you never have to adjust the waist or turn them—cuz they hang from the shoulder! But wouldn't it be UHmazing to have a full slip that ended in pettipants?!

Of course, I don't wear slips much anymore because I don't wear dresses much, or the ones I do wear are clingy-like, so what I need is something underneath to smooth out all the bumps.

That's my chief complaint with aging, I think. Getting lumpy. I mean, I'm still pretty skinny. but the older I get the lumpier I get.

Well that and all the little pockets between my teeth. Now I want pettipants for my teeth.
Yes! Pettipants for teeth!

Yeah, the teeth thing is starting to concern me. I sleep with my mouth open (so sexy) so I get dry mouth really bad, which is no bueno for teefs. My dentist has tried a zillion things to lube up my mouf overnight (wow, sounds dirty) but alas, the gum-pockets persist. I'm gonna need a gum-graft soon, I know it. Ugh.

And a full-slip that ends in pettipants would be magical! One that was slightly form-fitting to just gently smooth things out without being tight like spanx would rock.

Anyone sew? (Hey Ursula!)
I had a gum graft maybe 15 years ago. It's not so bad. I needed a massage the next day for my back & neck, 'cause I held myself so stiff.

Only probably with full slip with petti-pants? Going to the bathroom. Y'gotta strip allllll the way down.
Ooooh, yeah, the full-strip es no bueno.
Ah. Yeah, I didn't think about that. I hate clothes like that--anything that makes me strip to pee, or anything that's what I call "toddler clothes for women," meaning it has buttons or zippers in the BACK. Which requires you to ask for help getting dressed.
I know! Pettipant full slips with a back flap! snort.
Heating pads, electric blankets, all the live long day.
Karen 5/17
Yes! Heating pads!
YES! Heating pads and electric blankets, even in the summer!
I'll swing in and gross everybody out by stating that I haven't washed my hair in probably over 5 years. I condition it every morning. Once a month or so I deep-condition with shea butter and leave that in overnight. But in the shower every day, all I do is condition and rinse.

That's a textured hair thing, though, not really an old-lady thing. Hrm.

- Does using only a paper calendar, no Google or Outlook or anything count? I really hate telling Google and social media what I'm up to.

- I keep a designated ceramic thing above the kitchen sink for rings and watch, because I don't like wearing jewelry while I'm cooking or cleaning up. It feels a little old-ladyish.
Oh I'm with you on the paper calendar. And apparently I was so convincing I got a much younger colleague to switch!

And what I like most about paper calendar keeping? It forces you to slow. the fuck. down. And it makes you less instantly schedule-accessible to everyone else. People say, "Can you do thus and such on this or that day?" and I get to say, "You know what, I don't have my calendar handy just now; I will look and get back to you!"
YES PAPER CALENDARS! I get a "continuous" paper calendar every year from this guy https://supamoto.co/ Because LOVE the continuous part. .. I keep them around for years after as mementos of everything done.
I could use that. HMMMMM.....
Yep! I keep past years as references, sometimes just to remember but sometimes for important info, like medical event info, etc.
I ... have all my calendars dating back about 25 years.
I tried out a Quo Vadis "President" dealio (http://quovadiscanada.com/en/categorie-produit/diary-2018-en/diary-president-en/) almost 10 years ago and I haven't looked back since. I keep it in a red pleather cover that is impossible for me to leave behind anywhere, and I get the annual refill with Amazon points every November.

I think what I really dislike about computer- or device-based calendar systems is that you can't simply flip through them. For some reason it just irritates the heck out of me to have to clicky-clicky-click-scroll-blah and toggle between the views of day, week, and month to just frickin' see what my workload looks like for the next 10-20 days.
I'm with you re: the frustration of not being able to flip through the calendar pages. I have a calendar app called "Business Calendar" and I even bought the Pro version because it's the only calendar app that gives me the damn view I want... or I should say, gives me closest to what is the ideal (paper) view.

Some things are meant to stay analog.

I have a month-paper calendar that has images of Extraordinary Chickens-- I've been buying this chicken calendar since probably 2008. Flipping to the month and revealing the new chicken is a very happy ritual. (It was always The Weather Channel's calendar before that.)

But GAAH-- I agree with the Supamoto website: the time between months really fooks things up, and I always miss early-month birthdays, and I hate not having an idea of what the next few months look like at a glance.

Hmmm. Not sure where I'd put this or if I could end my chickenny ways, but your calendar here is pretty spectacular.
Re Supamoto: YESSSSSS Monday start or GTFO.
I think these things are all brilliant.

But I have always admired you for your life-hacks and frugality hacks and just general sensible-ness.
aw, shucks
Shampooing all the oil out of your hair and buying another product to deal with it being too dry now is how they getcha. Natural bristle hairbrush. Also Gold Bond Medicated Powder and Bag Balm. Although the bag balm is not for the bag, and the powder is. #mystery
Gold Bond is a magical substance. I like the extra-strength. I have learned where it should not go.
the old-lady-ist of my old-lady-isms: WID. As in "when in doubt." As in, pee when you get the chance, because you WILL need to pee before long.

Not unrelated: panti-liners. Because sneezing proves I gave birth.

I'll bite: 

I DAAAARE CM Adams post about the story of the Wallingford House.  I gotta know.  

(Many apologies and thanks to Anne Mollo ​​​​. :-D  )

Standing by with a bucket.
I want this.
I've been meaning to actually type it out for months, so you're really doing me a favor by calling for it.

I'll write it out tonight or sometime over the weekend in its own post.

alright - you asked for it.

And no worries if you're not.  (Long overdue HB Snoozeletter comes out tomorrow. You can sign up for our mailing list here if ya want.)

Also: For pals in far-away places: If you know of any venues near you that book bands where people tend to listen (read: we are not competing with TV screens showing sports), or if you've ever wanted to host a house concert (they are shockingly easy), let me/us know! 

You can reply here, or you can email us at awesomesauce@hot-breakfast.com .

I'm 100% serious about this, we will find you a gig where people listen to you when you come to St. John's.

Also we will put you up.
And we are 100% serious about taking you up on it! Warm weather is coming... :)
I have forgotten what leaves look like.
Dood, so have we.

The daffodils are up, and our grass is clumpily coming in, but dammit there are no buds on the trees yet. I would love a day over 60, plzkthx, it's almost fucking May.
I'm hoping to make it to the May 2nd gig.

We should talk about places down here for y'all to gig at. I know your requirements are pretty minimal, but knowing how much space, do you need electric, etc would help. I'm still too new to the area to be all "Oh! Hai! I know all the places!" but I'll keep my eye out.
Honestly, the most important thing is vibe. We don't wanna be background music, but we also know that more traditional theater-esque won't book us without knowing who we are. It's a conundrum.

But thanks for keeping an eye out! :)

Can't wait to see you on the 2nd! :)
Seconded with Roger and I planning to come.
Karen 4/25
The Trapp Door Gastropub in Emmaus frequently does two-person bands in the corner right up front. Very intimate, and people do go for the music. And clap.
Karen 4/25
Oh - that seems like a good call!
Holy carp, are we really both on the same 3-day old post at the same time? Ha! I love OPW at night right before bed.
Karen 4/25
Yup. Or at least I'm online and I see when there's an update to a Post I commented on. :)
This is great-- thanks!
When you are in Dover, you might want to walk over to Governor's Cafe. They've started hosting singer/songwriters but I'm not sure the exact setup. Ditto for 33 on Lockerman. Forham Brewery does new beer release events about once a month where they book music. .

I"m going to do my best to come hear y'all on Friday so I get a better idea of what you're all about. Then I might be more useful in my suggestions.

I've been devouring all of the reports about Southwest 1380 (the plane that lost an engine and had a hole in the fuselage that made an emergency landing in Philly).  As an air travel enthusiast and Southwest fan, I am so impressed with how this terrifying scenario was handled.

I just listened to the control tower chatter, and wow... this is what everyone's training is for.  (Listen here, if you're interested: https://youtu.be/fASCzgKS0Qg)

That pilot was so calm, professional, and perfect. That first ATC guy (the one you could hear clearly during the first few minutes) was also absolutely fantastic. He's *exactly* the guy I'd want on the other end of the comm channel during an emergency. Great job, everyone. Really. 

I am devastated to hear about the one woman's passing, and one is too much, of course; but it's so true that this could have been so much worse.

I wish I knew the name of the ATC guy... I would send him something. For realzies.

I wonder if you could send a fruit basket or a card or something to the tower staff in general, congratulating them on their professionalism etc.
I'm not entirely sure if the guy with the kind voice is PHL's ATC guy, or is he with some interim control tower. Because once the plane was approaching the runway, they switched radio channels and some crappy guy took over. I don't want him to get the fruit basket. Only good guys get gifts. :)