Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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(I wrote this on Sunday, 8/4. It's really long. There's a TL;DR at the end.)


Last night (Saturday, 8/3) was the final night of The Rock Orchestra's BeatleFest 2019.  BeatleFest (or, our event we call BeatleFest) is where our group of anywhere from 7-40 musicians play every single Beatles song (all 215 of them) in the order they were released, over a series of six consecutive nights. I equate it with running a marathon, but instead of running 26.2 miles on the streets of Boston, we're doing it on a tightrope. We do our damndest to recreate these songs note-for-note, as best as we possibly can without the help of studio magic... though we also really try to recreate those studio sounds live as best we can, too. 

Out of 215 songs, I'm only tacet (not doing anything) on about 7 or 8 total.

For the show, I'm the 3rd singer (I sing the unintuitive harmony parts since I'm a choir nerd). I'm also the "if you get stuck vocally, Jill's got you," and this can even be in the middle of a song. Joe might give me a look and I know to cover (or double) a particularly high part, or I might hear a harmony and notice two people singing the same part, or I might see that someone forgot to sing, so I jump to the missing part on the fly. Or we might have given a female guest singer a song that goes too low for her, so I'll double those basement notes to give her support. Backstage I'm also in charge of running/checking harmonies for that night's tricky spots. I absolutely love getting to do this stuff. It keeps me on my toes, and I secretly love feeling helpful or being able to fix stuff in a pinch... it's been a weird thing of mine since I was a really little kid. 

In addition to my vocal duties, I'm also the main percussionist (shakers, tambourines, maracas, casaba, etc) and one of the two 'aux-players' -- which means if there's an instrument we don't have covered either because nobody knows how to play it (see Indian tanpura and swarmindal) or everyone else is too busy to cover it (hello 2nd drums all over Abbey Road, or organ on Savoy Truffle), I figure it out. Up on my platform I have a billion nouns: everything from a drumset, a glockenspiel, soprano recorder, kazoos, Korg Triton keyboard, motorcycle exhaust pipes (for 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer,' 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey,' and for the alarm clock in 'A Day in the Life' when played with a different beater), an Ableton Live rig (for the scant sound effects we can't recreate live, (like the animals at the beginning/end of 'Good Morning, Good Morning') in addition to the usual tambourines and shakers and a bazillion other percussion toys.

Matt, however, is the real MVP aux-guy... he covers all of the melodic extra instruments, playing everything from extra piano, bass, guitar, synth, bari, alto, and soprano saxes, secondary percussion, plus backing vocals when we need four voices. He's a monster!  It's a lot of fun going through our music at home and saying stuff like, "Wait, what do you do on 'Savoy Truffle?'" "I used to play the electric organ part, but now I'm gonna play bari sax. Can you cover the organ now?" "Yup! On it!" 

My dear friend from college, Stefan, who specializes in Medieval and Renaissance instruments and runs Phoenix' hella-awesome early music group Bartholomew Faire (of which I am an alum), flew out from Arizona again this year to help us play the Indian-based songs using his assortment of unusual ancient instruments. He played hurdy-gurdy on most of the Indian tunes (Within You Without You), and he also took the recorder solo on Fool on the Hill, and he even played a crumhorn (that melodic buzzy sound) on 'Baby You're a Rich Man.'  It was so wonderful having him stay with us again-- he is the perfect house guest: cheerful, low-maintenance, a late sleeper like us, funny as hell, self-sufficient, up for anything, friendly with all of the other musicians, and good for reminiscing, too. Anyway, I was sad dropping him off at the airport today. 


This is the second year of the event, and you can tell we've refined things a bit. From a personal perspective, I was able to streamline all of my percussion gear thanks to some new racks, stands, and rack-mountable versions of some of my usual percussion instruments, so I wasn't the thing holding us up between songs like I sometimes was in 2018. I also had more room on my platform this year, so I had everything I needed within easy reach, as opposed to last year where I had to (for example) drag out and then put away a floor tom or a snare and hi-hat every time I played them. 

I also added a footer to the last page of every song with the name of the next song and what I play on it... that way as we're playing the last chunk of a song I can quickly eyeball where my next batch of instruments are, and how I'll transition to them from what I'm currently doing. Why put the tambourine down if I need it at the top of the next song?

Performance-wise, Night 4 (aka "the long night") was probably my favorite-- that's the only night where we play 3 albums instead of just two (Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, and Magical Mystery Tour), though the final Night 6 (Abbey Road and Let It Be, as well as the singles and Past Masters from that year, e.g., "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)") was a very very close second.  My own personal roughest night was Night 5 (The Beatles (aka The White Album)), because I whiffed a harmony or two (in my defense, I was sight-reading one of them after I got a nod on stage to cover it), but it was still a hell of a fun night. Good GAWD how I love recreating 'Revolution No. 9' live. It's a riot!


Once again, like last year, I got totally emotional and lost my shit during "A Day in the Life."  Good god, it's an overwhelming magical brain explosion to play it live with a string section, horn section, and with all of these people I just love so much. At one point I took out my in-ear monitors so I could hear the sound with my 'real ears' and holy mother of crap, it's just stupendous. Plus, it's cool as hell seeing the younger folks in the string section fall in love with The Beatles. 


Physically, this year was a bit rougher than last year. I was getting woefully low on iron in May, and the earliest I could get in for an infusion was the morning of Day 2 of BeatleFest. I did BeatleFest last year sans iron and the crash afterwards was fucking awful, so I decided I'd rather get the infusion on a performance day and run the risk of playing percussion with a freshly sporked arm, because holding off was not a healthy option. Besides, the brain fog was getting bad, and I needed to be on my A-game for this thing.  Infused iron takes about 2 days to fully absorb, and I was excited to be feeling better by Night 4 (the big night).  The infusion went smoothly, and as expected, I felt better every 8 hours or so.   (Speaking of my infusion, I just wanted to jot this down so I remember it: I'm very happy to be back at the hospital's Ambulatory Infusion center as I did from 2006-2010 as opposed to getting my treatment at the Cancer Center as I'd been since about 2011. Contrary to what you might expect, the care is just somehow better and cooler at Ambulatory Infusion than at the Cancer Center. Sure, the Cancer Center has the therapy doggos and the VR goggles of peaceful scenes, but it's still somehow impersonal and production-line-ish; and the blare of TVs blasting The View or whatever is so fucking annoying and inescapable. Also, the Cancer Center's specialty is chemo, not iron infusions, and they actually do iron infusions kinda stupidly backwards there. So yeah, I was happy to be back to the infusion center.)

By Wednesday morning my brain fog had significantly lifted, and my skin sans makeup was no longer corpse-guppy-translucent. :-)

Matt and I both agreed that this year, our biggest challenge was being able to see our goddamn music. It's like in the last 365 days our eyesight has hit that tipping point where music on a stand or tablet is too far away for reading glasses but too close for our usual distance glasses. It might be time to talk to our eye doctor for musician glasses for that middle kinda sheet music distance.

Speaking of sheet music, my magical tablet worked out perfectly-- not a single glitch during the show -- and HOLY BALLS was it a total, total game changer. It's amazing not having to turn paper pages and instead just tap a foot pedal. I was in heaven. It saved SO much time and so many headaches! I kept my paper sheet-music binders on stage juuuuust in case my tablet exploded, but I never needed it for a second. Whew!

We went back to the theater around 12:30pm today to load out the rest of our gear and break down the platforms, and that was pretty sad.  As soon as we got home, we unloaded the car and then immediately loaded it up with Stefan's stuff and then I brought him to the airport. I just walked in a moment ago, and the house is eeeeeeerily quiet and calm. Nobody's rushing around, nobody's woodshedding parts last minute or getting music in order, figuring out what to wear, etc etc etc.  It's kinda nice? I think?


I am pretty distracted by how much my hands really hurt, though. They hurt during the shows, but the combination of joy + adrenaline made it ignorable. But walking off the stage they'd be throbbing. Right now they are still distractingly painful; neither turmeric nor Advil even takes the edge off.  A few years ago I bought a faithful replica of a late 60s-era skinless tambourine that sounds amaaaaazing, but also weighs about 98523823 pounds. Playing fast 16ths on that thing song after song after song really did a number on my right hand from having to grip it so tightly to maintain good control. My metacarpals are on fire as are the muscles in the meat of my palm. Holding things, turning doorknobs, and just generally using my fingers hurts pretty damn good.  But also just doing nothing hurts.  Typing sucks too, but I really want to write this all down, so fuck it. 

In May when we played "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" twice in one day, I strained my right bicep and tricep from that goddamn tambourine, and that's when I became a disciple of KT Tape. Starting on Night 4 of BeatleFest I taped my arm and it really did help tremendously (and had the added bonus of reducing under-arm flab wiggle! Yay!). I may try taping my hand later. 

In some screwed up way, having my body hurt after BeatleFest somehow feels good; like I have evidence that I gave it my all. I'm sure a better, healthier measure of success would be an internal feeling of the satisfaction of a job well done, but whatevz.

I've typed way too much. 

===========================

TL;DR: BeatleFest 2019 was awesome. My tablet rocked; taping my arm helped a lot; getting an iron infusion was smart; I fucked up my hands but I somehow like it? I love getting to make music, especially with these people. I can't wait until next year. 

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you are AMAZING. xoxo
Jenn A 8/6
Your joy shines through. Thank you for sharing it with us!
So happy to hear that things went so well! Sorry to have missed Stefan. Sounds like I may get a chance to catch up next year though, since BeatleFest doesn't sound like it's slowing down at all. :)
I am so proud of you. Congratulations on surviving that high-wire act!
Loved to read this write-up!

Can you take naproxen (Aleve)? I've found that it's the best thing for me when I've jacked my back, knee, or elbow and I need to interrupt the cycle of "this is injured, so it's inflamed, so it hurts, so it's inflamed." Two naproxen to make it knock it off, then another one naproxen 12 hours later, then one again every 12 hours until -poof-. On the stomach irritation scale it's more likely to irritate than ibuprofen but less likely than aspirin. Anyway I think it's the bomb diggity, handles swelling better than ibuprofen, and is not always on people's radar.

Did the City of Wilmington do anything to boost the event as a tourist draw, do you know? I think I recall after last year's success that there was noise about maybe they would do that.
Y'all were amazing, we're talking about engineering it so we can see a weeknight next year. And of course there will be a next year... Right?

Regarding distance vision, these days I'm wearing progressives. it's nice to get most of the benefits of bifocals but there's no line. I'm not sure if the range of options it provides would cover the case you're talking about or not.
I LOVE when you expound on your musical expertise. Love love love. Generally speaking I have musical anhedonia, but your technical and functional descriptions light up my nerd soul like a Christmas tree.
You might want to look into an athletic sleeve instead of tape. All the compression goodness, plus flab compaction and it is reusable.

I owe a post about my vacation but I am too fried right now.
This is gonna sound like an epic humblebrag, but it is the annoying truth: I have tried all of the athletic sleeves I could find, and they're all too damn big. It's ri-god-damn-diculous.

(Insert 5th grade joke about going to Dick's and only finding things too large. Hhuhhuhhuhhuhuhh!)

In other gnus, I look forward to your vacay post. Hope it was spiffy.
Try shopping for a boy's athletic sleeve.
 

(I wrote this at 4:00am on Saturday morning.)


Hi, all!

It's been go-go-go land here, so I apologize for not writing or generally being more present or responsive. I have been reading here and trying to comment where I can, but that's about all I can offer for the next 8-9 days or so.


We are now just a few days away from Beatlefest 2019. It's going to be the same format as last year, in the same location, etc.

The biggest change for me is that instead of using three enormous 3-ring notebooks full of sheet music, I'm trying to use my new tablet that I bought expressly for this purpose. I struggled so much last year juggling several percussion instruments and having to turn pages, so I needed something electronic with a bluetooth foot pedal. I labored over my decision, and I chose the Boox Onyx Max2 Pro, 13.3" e-ink tablet, so it's crazy-light, and easy on the eyes, and displays a sheet of music at full Letter Page size that my 48-year-old eyeballs can read.  I've been using this amazing app called MobileSheets Pro which is everything you want in a music-performance device. 

Sadly, the app blew up last night (Friday night, just 11 hours ago) and I lost 4 days' worth of the notes I transcribed from my paper notes from last year. I am heartbroken. The app developer is ridiculously responsive, so he may be able to salvage some of it. I am not hopeful, but we're trying.


It's very late (or early, depending on how you view days)-- I've been trying to fix this since 5:30pm and now it's 4:09am (good morning, Jenn!). Today (Saturday) we core-band BeatleFest people move into the venue and get everything wired up for sound, and then we run a quick sound check with the core band.  Then the strings, horns, and Indian musicians come in Sunday to get them wired up and rehearsed.  

And then we start Beatlefest on Monday! 


In other news, my iron levels have crashed, but I go for an infusion on Tuesday (yes, a Beatlefest day). That was the fastest they could get me in, so I'll take it... and hopefully I'll be feeling magically awesome by Thursday night when I really need to be thinking clearly. It's remarkable how fuzzy my brain is when it doesn't get oxygen. 


Away we go!

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I miss you
I miss you, too. Genuinely, sincerely.
I can't believe your app crashed at the worst time! I hope you get something back!
Karen 7/28
The good news is that I got it all back! The bad news is I lost 3 days doing so, so now I'm 3 days behind in getting the rest of my written notes re-written into the tablet. Tonight (Night 3 of Beatlefest) is the last night of notes I have in my tablet. Nights 4-6 have no notes written, and they are also coincidentally the hardest friggin' music.

I'll get it done, though. Just gotta do it.
good morning! :)

booooooo to that app crashing, that completely sucks. but all that tech sounds so cool! i always wondered how people using a tablet for music turned the pages, didn't realize it was a foot pedal. i feel like i'm living in the future.
Jenn A 7/28
Yep! It's a bluetooth pedal! Some folks prefer to just tap the tablet which turns the page, which is still infinitely easier than turning paper pages. They even make a drum-pad that triggers the page turn for drummers.
 

My Blackberry KeyOne's battery has been bulging uncomfortably for about 6 weeks now. I didn't feel right bringing it on our trip to Portland this past week... I remembered that Samsung Galaxy 7 phones had bulging batteries that would asplode randomly and were prohibited on planes, so I took my cue and tossed my SIM into my previous phone, my Blackberry Priv. 

I looooooooved my BB Priv. It's a slim phone, gorgeous screen, has a slide-out keyboard so you don't even have to use the keyboard if you don't want to (though I always want to). I stopped using it because the battery got shot and wouldn't hold a charge for longer than 5 hours or so, which isn't do-able in real life. Worse is that I dropped it one time with it plugged in and janked up the charging port, so the thing only charges wirelessly. This wouldn't be a problem if it held a charge for a decent amount of time.

Anyhoo, I brought my doesn't-hold-a-charge-long Priv with me to Portland and just kept it in airplane mode unless I actually needed it... and HOLY CRAP how liberating! How fabulous not to be constantly interrupted with bullshit! 

I don't have the self-discipline to not look at it (even with notifications turned off), but with the sucker actually in airplane mode I was able to be much more mindful about my phone usage. It was painless. 

Now that I'm home, I still keep the Priv in airplane mode unless I need it, and my bulging KeyOne (which is wifi only/sans SIM) is in a drawer, and I only use it if my Priv's battery is Bill.Bixby.dead.dead.dead. 

I made an appointment with a friendly local business guy to replace both "non-replaceable" batteries late next week... it'll take a week for the batteries to arrive. (Strange that he doesn't keep Blackberry Priv or KeyOne batteries in stock /s). 

Anyway, I'm really enjoying being more mindful about my phone use. My friends and family are puzzled as to why my usual speedy text reply-time is now delayed by half-days, but this was fine in 1995 and it's gonna be fine now. I shouldn't be that important to anyone. :-)

In other news, my iron levels are officially in the shitter. If I had more time, I'd explain how my iron was in the shittter 2 months ago but not quite shitty enough where insurance would justify an infusion, so we had to wait until I'm gasping for air like a goddamn guppy out of water like I finally am now. It's weird that I have to "look forward" to getting so shitty so I can get fucking treatment. I hate it.  With any luck I'll be ironed up before Beatlefest.  (Last year I did not get an infusion until after Beatlefest, which was a giant mistake.) Let us pray to the scheduling gods that they can fit me in within the next 2.5 weeks. 

In other other news, our trip to Portland to make music with Sunnyvale was amazing, inspirational, beautiful, and magical, and I'll tell y'all more about it soon. But now I must shower for I stink. 

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My iPhone 6s (shut up) battery started draining super quickly several months ago. I found that putting it in a battery-saver mode where it's not fetching my e-mails until I specifically tell it to do so was just what it needed. It doesn't miss text messages, though, in that mode, which is nice. Maybe you have a similar option on your phone? (Or maybe you don't want it!)

Hopefully I'll get another year out of the battery before I need to find someone to replace it. I like my phone a lot, but iObsolescence is really some of the worst obsolescence capitalism has ever seen.
Alas, battery saver mode isn't quite savey enough for my crappy batt'ry. Because we have such awful cell reception at my house, my phone (any phone) spends a silly amount of brain cycles saying "Cell signal, where are youuuuu? Oh! Look! I have some cell signal! Oh, and now I don't so I'll switch to wifi. But I better keep searching for cell signal!" Repeat and fade. So keeping it in airplane mode kills that off.

But if I lived in a world where Verizon fixed their cell towers after they got damaged in a hailstorm, then Battery Saver mode would be the perfect solution.

Yay for old phones! (No sarcasm-- that is an actual Yay.)
I miss my BlackBerry Curve 83xx so much, I took a photo of it and use it as my iPhone's wallpaper.
Okay, that made me chuckle out loud a little.
Generally good stuff, but...

>if my Priv's battery is Bill.Bixby.dead.dead.dead.

Too soon.
No recognition /
For green guy's stolid straight-man /
Pursued by evil.
[ from Jeff Swanson’s memorial haiku collection. Evil is a season, right? When does it stop being Evil Season? ]
 

Hi, all!

It's been forever since I've posted here, though I have about 98734 drafts just none of them finished.  I'll summarize the last month with a listo:

  • Beatlefest (wow, a month ago) was one of the most musically satisfying things I've ever done, tribute-wise.  The band Joe hired was full of some of the best musicians I've had the pleasure to work with here. Everyone has extensive musical training and reads music like a motherfucker... you needed those skills if you were gonna get through 215 songs... yet they also had rock chops so we knew how to feel an ending that just fades out on the record.  There were times we had 40 musicians on stage which includes string a section, a horn section... we also had musicians who specialized in Indian instruments.  There was one instrument that pretty much nobody in north America plays called a Dilruba, so we flew my dear friend Stefan in from Arizona to approximate the part using a hurdy gurdy.  Stefan was the real MVP.  We have dates for Beatlefest 2019 already, and FINALLY the City of Wilmingon sees this as the lucrative, exciting thing that it is and will be putting their marketing hype behind it next year, making Beatlefest a destination with hotel deals and stuff.  It was nice that we sold out the last 3 nights of the six-night run, and we all made a really nice chunk of change. (This is unusual for these tribute shows... usually we make a few hundred bucks, but this was quite nice, especially considering that we'd been rehearsing since January.)
  • Through the hype of Beatlefest, I didn't really notice how anemic I was getting... adrenaline is a hell of a chemical.  The following week we had Hot Breakfast's 8th Annnual Summer Blowout at the Bellefonte Cafe (which was sold out 3 days before the event-- yay!) and I kinda noticed I was having a hard time singing medium-length phrases, but again, I just pushed it aside because adrenaline.
  • The thing with anemia (or at least my anemia-- my hematologists insists I'm weird for this) is that I'm able to hit "snooze" on the Iron Alarm when there are more pressing things in front of me... so Beatlefest, Hot Breakfast show... caring for my Mom for a week... being in NJ for Sunnyvale rehearsals... and then BAM, I was almost dead. 
  • So yeah... I put myself in the hospital for 5 days because I got too damn anemic.  That was last week.  I was gonna go for iron anyway because I would never go to Burning Man without being freshly ironed-up... but still.  Damn.   It also turns out that there's a manufacturer's shortage of my usual iron preparation, Iron Dextran, which is normally a 6-hour infusion when I'm not so low I'm a fuckface, so I had to do a 5-day infusion of this other formulation anyway.  
  • SO!  BURNING MAN!  After a 7-year hiatus, we are headed back to The Thing In The Desert. We leave for the airport in a few hours, and we'll be in Reno getting supplies tomorrow (Friday), and then Saturday we will head out to the playa.  We have Early Access Passes which normally I don't really care about, but with the city having 70,000 people in it, I'm happy to get out a day early so we can beat some of the line at the gate.  We will be there (assuming all goes well) until Labor Day Monday. We'll head back to Reno on Labor Day, clean the car on Tuesday, and then fly home early on Wednesday the 5th.  So we will be totally incommunicado from Saturday August 25 - Monday September 3rd.  Yes, I know that Katy Perry updates her Instagram from the playa and that there is scant wifi if you look hard enough, but I am not going to do that. The phone stays in the car, which stays locked for a week.
  • Matt is very excited to be heading back out there, too... this will be his 2nd burn, and my 8th.  I'm a little worried about his anxiety, but we have a nice, newish trailer, so if he gets squoodgy, we can just hang there where it's comfy.
  • We were in NJ for a week (before my iron infusion) and my dad was out to breakfast and my mom fell.  It was a huge deal, and Matt and I managed to get her back up after her being on the floor for 90-ish minutes.  I wrote a long OPW post about it, but haven't posted it yet because I didn't finish it. But she was trapped on the floor and it was awful, and she was basically suffocating because she didn't have her oxygen.  More on this later.
  • My mom's mobility is seriously hindered and her body has basically told her to fuck off.  Her biggest pain is her knee, and she's not allowed to take any pain medication (not even Advil or other NSAIDS) because of all the other medications she's on.  My mom was supposed to have her knee fixed on Monday at a surgicenter, but once she got there, the anesthesiologist was like "Um, your heart is A-Fib, your lungs don't work from emphysema, you need supplemental oxygen... I can't believe anyone thought we could accomodate your surgery here.  We can't.  Go home, and we'll do it at the hospital where I have more ways of keeping you alive, yo."  So she was VERY disappointed... but I admit I was kinda relieved because she would have been recovering while we were at Burning Man and unable to give my dad a hand.  We want to be up there with her during and after the surgery... my dad can't handle it all.
  • Life continues to be happy. I'm in a much better place mentally than I was 2 weeks ago-- I was feeling really dark and angry and sad and frustrated and overwhelmed and unable to cope... and in retrospect this was probably because my iron was so low.  
  • Please don't give me crap about ignoring my iron. I know. I know. It won't happen again, Mom. :-)

OK, that's all I can think of for now.  There's more to write, but no time... I need to get in the shower... our ride to the airport comes in less than 3 hours and I still have to throw together a few more things. 

I love you all, and I hope you have a spiffy few weeks!

xoxo,

Jill-o

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8/23 '18 7 Comments
Happy trails! At least one other friend of mine, in a completely different and non-Philadel circle, has just left Reno. If you run in to a big ex-Air Force guy wearing Philadelphia Brewing (http://philadelphiabrewing.com/) or Fishtown-related swag, or maybe a Mummer costume, his name is Steve and it would be hilarious if you ran into each other.

I know the city grows to 70,000 people. But things happen at Burning Man.
Michele Grant 8/23 '18
It's better to burn out than fade away, as the poet says.
Thomas Boutell 8/23 '18
I just read about the crazy searches being done by law enforcement on vehicles headed to the playa. Officials are claiming they're only making regular traffic stops (speeding, stop sign roll throughs, tail lights out, etc.) but are apparently making random and frequent stops, then bringing out the drug sniffing dogs and requiring vehicles be unpacked on the side of the road. It sounds like they may even be making a grab for people's prescription drugs? Not sure. With 70K people going this year, I can't even begin to picture the mess this will be. Stay safe. <3
Anne Mollo 8/23 '18edited
It's only a matter of time before people starting landing light aircraft on the playa. Capitalism will find a way to meet a demand.
Ray Conrad 8/24 '18
They have their own airport-- there have been direct flights to the playa for a while. You're totally right!
I notice that you didn't give out your snail mail address for the burn this year. #JillCanLearn #IAmDisappoint
Ray Conrad 8/24 '18
No, it's not that... it's that they don't accept incoming mail anymore as of 2015. BRC post office is outbound-only. Once the event grew to 70K it just got to be too much, I imagine.

Or maybe they didn't want to earworm an entire damn event. :-D
 

I wrote this Thursday, August 24th.

I woke up at 7am this morning crying my face off from a horrible dream where I was alone in a hotel room on a work trip, and it occurred to me that I was dying. I was actually mostly OK with dying, but I wanted to be with Matt and my parents, and I couldn't get to them. There's a lot more to the dream, but I'm typing on my phone here at the hospital... I'm currently getting my 2nd iron infusion, so I have a tube in my arm and today it's extra-pinchy for some reason.

Anyway, I have been on the verge of tears for 10 days. I don't know if it's that I've been in slightly more emotional situations lately, i.e., the house concert was great, but made us miss Paul; seeing Patty in California was awesome but her mom recently died and reminiscing was so, so good, but also really sad. The eclipse was happy and wonderful, but got me choked up. And singing just about anything makes me cry... if it sounds bad, I cry... if it sounds good, I cry.  I don't get it. Maybe this is the world's longest bout of PMS... but I've gotta figure out how to handle it, because I can't cry at rehearsal or during the shows!

Anyhoo, tonight I have my first Lizzie rehearsal since vacation. They moved into the theater while I was in California, so tonight I'll be seeing the set for the first time. I'm not gonna be able to sing tonight because my voice still sucks from this cold. Argh!

In other news, everyone here in the hospital chemo/infusion suite is extra-chipper today. It's a bright, sunny, 80-degree day today, and I think people are just kinda feeling the change of season starting. There are three other patients here right now (as opposed to last week where all 20 chairs were filled), and one patient is telling her cancer story-- she's a relatively new patient-- she's 37 with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She said she had no idea she was even sick until someone mentioned she looked a little yellow. So she went to the doctor and he was like "Get your ass to the hospital NOW."   So hearing her story and the other patients talking about their chemo ports and yadda yadda makes me STOP BITCHING about having a dumb cold. (A crappy, tenacious cold with a lungmeat cough that is now here a week and holding my voice hostage... but whatever.)

We're taking our Billy Joel tribute to The Rehoboth Beach Bandstand this weekend, and we had to cut our 2-hour show down to 75 minutes. It'll be a quick but fun show. And when we get home we'll have a dogggggg. (We're dogsitting JD. Yaaay!) 

[...time elapses...]

Aaaah. My infusion is finished. They also gave me a steroid (Decadron), which, in addition helps prevent any potential death by anaphylaxis that iron infusing can sometimes (rarely) cause, will also reduce the inflammation of my vocal cords, so my voice should be back soon. 

August 28th Update

So it's a few days later and the Billy Joel show in Rehoboth was a smashing success... the guy who booked us said we had a crowd of about 1000, which is impressive considering the bandstand only has seats for 350. It looked like a sea of people out there, and everyone said that the audience was all singing along and dancing, which is cool. As usual, my damn mic barely worked and a zillion audience members complained to me after the show about it. I wasn't able to hear myself in the monitors so I crammed two earplugs in just so I could hear myself, and it was sub-optimal at best. Oh well.  

In other news, the ladytimes have kicked in, so at least I know why I was a crying hot mess last week. And hopefully it'll only last a week or 10 days so it'll be over for when Lizzie opens, considering we're wearing all white.  

If you're coming to see Lizzie, might I gently suggest coming to the second weekend if your schedule allows? 

In the last bit of news, we're dogsitting JD again. They've changed up his meds and he's a lot "doggier" now-- he's getting around better and seems happier, too. This is the best news.

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8/28 '17 6 Comments
Glad to know you're back in control of your Jillness.
Okay, one more time for the slowies in the room like me: what are all the dates and times for your show?

Seriously considering crashing on your couch just sose I can see Lizzy but also seekritly sose I can meet you and, well, crash on your couch.

I suspect all of my own busy life plans will interfere with this plan, but a girl can dream.
Anne Mollo 8/28 '17
Very much looking forward to the show!
Thomas Boutell 8/28 '17
We're coming to the first weekend because custody schedule and inflexible ex-thing.

I have been having weird upsetting dreams lately too ... I have been sick and I blame the cold meds. Or just the floaty feeling of illness. Some of the dreams feel like echoes of other people's dreams.

Glad to hear about JD. Last time I saw him he was Not Good.
"This is the best news."

It really is.
JD update: Not Good as of today.
Jeremy update: same.
 

My friend Anthony Stramaglia (whom I wonder if Thomas Boutell and Jeremy Moskowitz know from the classic computing shows they've gone to?) attended this weekend's house concert, and was kind enough to tape all of the songs.  I am SO grateful to him for doing so, because in all of my prepping for the show, I totally forgot to set up something to record the happenings. Anthony is a life-saver and an all-around awesome guy-- he used to run a local BBS back in the day. (Epsilon Process in the hoouuuuussse!)

So this morning he sent out a link to the second Sunnyvale song of the evening; this one is called "The Enemy."  This song is an old Evelyn Situation song, and we retooled it for one voice, as opposed to the three voices that sang it back in the day.  We dropped the key a step because in the old days Danielle (top voice) sang the melody on the choruses, and now that I'm covering all the parts essentially, we had to drop the key so I could sing the choruses that lay a little higher, as well as the verses (which I always sang because they, like my balls, hung low).  (so classy.)

This song was always my favorite Evelyn Situation song. It was written from the perspective of a person who was left behind as their significant other decided she was leaving the "cold cold northeast."  (In case you're wondering: Yes, Jeremy knows the song was inspired by him, though he wasn't interviewed before the song was written or anything. Durk just sorta imagined that this is how someone in Jeremy's position might feel.)

Once again, I tried to be extra-dictionny with the words so you could catch them all.  In the event you can't, here's a link to the lyrics.  (Click "Lyrics" from the cutting-edge 1996 FRAMES web technology, and then choose "The Enemy."  (Huge apologies to Tom, whom I can hear cringing from over here! lulz))

If you want to hear what the song sounded like in its original Evelyn Situation format, click here.  Cue college-age Jill.  Good lord, how I loved that band like it was my only true, true love.  And daaamn, how I love how the voices end the song with Danielle resolving to the 7th of all places, because why the hell not.

God damn, I love music.

ps: I wrote this while getting my iron infusion today. It went well. I can already feel the difference. Tomorrow I will be really cooking with gas. I go for a second infusion next week because MOAR MOAR MOAR.

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8/15 '17 5 Comments
I love all of this. Especially that you are getting infüzd. I love your voice and your good health.
Thanks! Eeee!

Also: This magical spelling pleases me. :-)
Frames don't really matter, good user experience matters OH MY GOD I CLICKED A BACK LINK AND THE FRAMES ARE FRAMING THE FRAMES FRAMECEPTION it's fine
Thomas Boutell 8/15 '17
Hahahaha!

I figure the band was from the 90s, so should the web-t'knology. Written in Notepad, like someone intended. (?)
Jill "xtingu" Knapp 8/16 '17edited
GORGEOUS song! And you sound amazing, I love hearing before-I-met-her Jill. :)
Jenn A 8/18 '17
 

Yes, I know you all know this. But just in case: 

Please, PLEASE!! PROTECT YOUR EYES DURING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE.  Everyone knows how to make a pinhole camera, but some people erroneously believe that you look at the sun through the hole in the paper. NO NO NO.  You look wherever your pinhole camera is projecting the image onto. 

Or, you need to get some ISO-certified eclipse-viewing glasses. But PLEASE don't look directly at the eclipse.  "But I can look at the regular daytime for a second, so why can't I look directly at an eclipse?" BECAUSE YOU CAN'T, OK?

House Concert in NJ with Sunnyvale and Hot Breakfast!

In other news, we were up in NJ at my folks' place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this weekend, because Hot Breakfast!, along with Sunnyvale, co-billed on a house concert in north Jersey at my brother's house. ("Sunnyvale" is our new bi-coastal musical project which includes me, Matt, and my pre-Matt lifelong musical collaborator Andrew Durkin. We play Andrew's compositions-- some are retooled versions of old Evelyn Situation tunes, and some are brandy-new compositions.) Andrew lives in Portland (OR) but was out east taking care of some family stuff, so we decided to try to play a show while he was out east. We also used this house concert as a way to honor Paul's memory. After Paul's memorial service in January, we all vowed to stay in touch... so we called everyone together to hear these Sunnyvale tunes which were all songs inspired by Paul's passing, or songs on which Paul had some input while Andrew wrote them, or songs that Paul had played on back in The Evelyn Situation days.  Hello, house concert!  It was attended by my and Andrew's and my brother's overlapping high school friends; some I hadn't seen in eons. 

Here's a video of the first Sunnyvale tune of the night, called "Blood and Bone." It's my favorite of our Sunnyvale new tunes. I sing a bit more "legit" (meaning "treat these songs more like an art song rather than a pop song." Or, more precisely, find someplace in between art-song and pop-song) with Sunnyvale songs as opposed to the "always huge voice, all the time, always with a knowing wink" with Hot Breakfast.  It's sincere. Since I was mic-less for this, I really tried to focus on my diction because I wanted everyone to catch every word. I might have over-done it... I was nervous as hell, mostly because I wasn't able to get through a lot of these songs in rehearsal because I kept crying. (Plus, many of these songs are brandy-new and I've only sung them once before. Or never.)

I fucking LOVE this song so much; it's in 6/4 which just gives it this hypnotizing droney feel... but then I love how the piano part and the vocal intertwine with his majestic right-hand thing with the vocal's wordless "ooohs."  And then the bridge goes into a quicker 4/4 time as it talks about remembering how it feels like to be a child on the family vacation, and just *being.*  [1]

OK, so now here's the video of the first Sunnyvale tune of the night, called "Blood and Bone." It's my favorite of our new tunes. (Music starts around 1:10. Feel free to forward through my thank-yous and the backstory.)

Lizzie

What else. Lizzie rehearsals continue to go well. The girl playing Lizzie hasn't been at the last few rehearsals because she was wrapping up another play, and then she caught the plague, poor thing. But the other cast members have been doing good work, and Lizzie will plug right in, no doubt.​​​​​​​

Iron Time!

In other news, tomorrow (Tuesday) is my first-of-two iron infusions. I cannot wait... hook me UP!  And then Wednesday we leave for California to visit Patty and to see one of Matt's plays at the Little Fish Theater in San Pedro/Los Angeles... and then we fly home during the eclipse. Wooooot!  We'll be home late on the 21st.

So that's the latest!

If you've emailed me (Shelle Klein Houser ​​​​​, Lindsay Harris-Friel ​​​​​​, Thomas Boutell ​​​​​​), I know I owe you a reply. I'll reply soon, I promise. 

Xoxo!

Jill-o

 _____________

[1] How the hell did I get so lucky to get to sing the songs that Andrew writes? It was just right-place-right-time -- If Andrew wasn't on my bus on that band trip in 1986, he never would have heard me sing, and he never would have asked to work together. And then none of the Area Code (201) / Brooklyn Ferry/ Evelyn Situation/ Jay's Booming Hat / Industrial Jazz Group bands ever would have happened. Which then means that I wouldn't have had the musical taste and experience that makes me me... which means I wouldn't have been the right fit to sing Matt's music in either the "Matt needs backing vocals for his solo record(s)" to "holy crap, playing as a duo is fun, let's do this more" days, up to and through to the Casarino Royale and now to the present Hot Breakfast! days. And now I get to make music with these two absolutely It's all right-place-right-time... and once again, I am the luckiest girl in the world. THANK YOU, UNIVERSE.

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8/14 '17 6 Comments
Right place, right time, right Jill.
Thomas Boutell 8/15 '17
We are all products of our experiences. I'm so lucky to have had the experiences that paved the way for other experiences, which pave the way for other experiences. It all starts with surrounding yourself with people who inspire you. (Hello, Philadel.)
Make sure that's ISO certified, not NASA certified (apparently some products are claiming the latter, nonexistent honor). My cousin's husband is the Chief Medical Officer at NASA, and he's been all over FB reminding people that NASA does not certify (or even endorse) products.
Kate Haney 8/16 '17
Indeedy! Mine are ISO-blessed... at $4/pair with a minimum order of 25, so I'll share them with people on the plane. But there are lots of bogus, cheap specs out there that have "NASA" or pictures of galaxies all over them, which means nada, but people are buying them up like crazy. I'm very worried about the eyeball damage.
Also, I am in love with your cousin's husband because he has the coolest job on the planet (and probably on other planets!).
It is a very cool job. He's a bit of a schmuck, but he suits my cousin fine.
Kate Haney 8/20 '17
 

Well, that explains/confirms a lot.

Have you ever felt like crap but you had stuff to do so you wouldn't allow yourself to really BE sick, and then when you get medical confirmation that you are, indeed, sick, you suddenly feel 73,000 times worse?  So, that.

I admit I'm about due for an iron infusion, but I've worked so little this year that I figured, "Meh, I haven't been flying around the country every week, so maybe my iron is better than the calendar implies it should be." So I ignored it, like an idiot.

And last week I got the always annoying and "Holy shit it's now serious" angular chelitis, which is when the corner of your lip rips and no amount of lip balm, neosporin, or other ointments in the universe will heal it. It is caused by iron deficiency and/or its good friend Vitamin B/folate deficiency.  As soon as my lip ripped, I thought, "OK, no more fucking around and trying to ignore this. Get your damn bloodwork and get fixed, Knapp."

I only had my period twice in 2016, so I assumed my ol' body was doing the menopause thang (my Mom went through it early, too)... but in 2017 it's been back with a vengeance. As of July, I've had 4 periods already, and they've all been 10 days long (as always) and ridiculously heavy. So yeah, even though I haven't been traveling as much this year and using up my iron reserves by running through airports, instead I'm exhausting my iron reserves by being a freakin' female. (A female who would love to have her ladyparts removed, thx... but noooooo, good heavens. "We don't just go removing perfectly good organs," says my OB/GYN.  Nice. Yank it out, please. And no, I don't want an endometrial ablation... good lord, it sounds awful.)


I went for my double-bloodwork on Monday... which means I had 2 vials of blood drawn for my anemia labs, but I also had *11 vials* drawn for my "big bloodwork" which tests everything from protein, calcium, PTH, zinc* and everything else that could ever be tested.   I got my anemia labs back this morning (my "big bloodwork" results will take longer because they're so much bigger) and HOLY CRAP I am in the shiiiiiitter. Like shit-ter. SHITTER I SAY.  Not only did some results show "Low" (though if the target range of something was, say, 11-30, my value was 5), there were others that had a bold, italicized ALERT next to some which is to say "Daaaaaaaamn, girl."  So this definitely explains the desire to stay in bed 16 hours a day and also explains why I sound like shit in Lizzie rehearsals, and why at our last Hot Breakfast! shows I couldn't get through a damn phrase without taking extra breaths. (And people thought that was performey "faux exaustion."  Nope. Genuinely gasping, folks. Just trying to play it off so nobody calls the paramedics at a gig.)

I suppose the good news is that insurance won't have any problem paying for an iron infusion or two... though the dumb news is that an iron infusion costs $500 if I were to pay out of pocket (which is a bargain), but costs $3000 when billed to insurance.

At Labcorp, they said I owed $18.00 out of pocket for my anemia labs, and $83.00 out of pocket for my big labs. I have an $8500 deductible.  Only $8399 out of pocket to go!  Plus $490/month for the honor of having this "insurance."  I am SO mixed on the ACA. On one hand, I am so happy I can even qualify for insurance (hello, pre-existing condition), but I have to mentally budget $490 x 12 + $8500 a year for healthcare. I don't feel $14380's worth of sick... especially when an iron infusion costs $500 out of pocket. I have to keep telling myself this insurance is there in case I get hit by a truck or get that cancer diagnosis that is lurking around the corner.**


In other news, Matt and I were supposed to head down to the beach today until Thursday morning, but we just found out 20 mins ago that Matt's friend Lisa's dad has passed and his services are tomorrow... so we'll be home instead.  It's kinda funny how we've had this beach trip on the calendar for two weeks, but I never really "felt in The Force" that we were going. And boom-- there it is. I feel awful about Lisa's dad... that poor girl has had waaaay more bad shit happen in her life than anyone else should. She's a friggin' math teacher, ferfuckssake. Bad shit shouldn't happen to math teachers. 

Does anyone here watch Stranger Things ? Matt subscribes to Entertainment Weekly which helps us pretend we have a vague idea about what is happening in pop culture (though it just reinforces that we really don't)... but EW makes a compelling case for Stranger Things. So do a few of our friends who all say "Out of everyone, we can't believe YOU don't watch it!" (Geez, you do a Total Eclipse of the Heart cover and all of a sudden you're stuck at 17.  Eh, nah... really... I guess we wear our trapped-in-the-80s-dom loud and proud on our sleeves. Why fight it?) I admit I haven't binge-watched a show in eons, and it is kinda fun... so I'm thinking that might be something to do on this staycation.

In other news, I want to shoot myself in the fucking face for missing Lindsay Harris-Friel ​​​​​'s big reading this past weekend. It's been in the back of my head as something I had every intention of doing, and boom... I just didn't. I kept thinking July had one more week left, and I just never put it on my calendar... blah blah blah. I can't blame anyone but myself. I'm a fucking idiot.  But I am really, really sad I missed it. Not only selfishly because I really do like that play and I wanted to see someone else's interpretation of it... but also because I love Lindsay and want to support my friend. (Don't worry, I emailed this to her already... but I'm still kicking my own ass VERY HARD over it.) 

I mean, I do expect to miss out on a large percentage of things in life because I'm not on Facebook, and some people only communicate events and life happenings there (which is cool).  But I take my "if I'm not gonna be on Facebook then I will listen very carefully on OPW/DW/Email/meatspace" obligation very seriously. But I fucked up. Ugh. I'm a schmuckface.

OK, I'm gonna go figure out what to do about my hairz. (Dye it at home? Go back to The Land of Triple Processing Overpriced Brillo? Try somewhere new? I have to have presentable hair by Friday, cause I have a new client meeting and blue/green/gray hair isn't gonna cut it.)

Ok, I got stuff to do.


----------------

*  (Is it just me? I cannot type or say "zinc" without hearing the Simpsons fake school science movie bit with "Come back, Zinc!" Anyone else?)

** (I'm a Knapp. I've got tons of cancer on both sides of the family... plus never having been pregnant increases my chances of breast cancer bigly, and only being on hormonal contraception for like 20 minutes in fits and spurts also increases the risk of ladycancer. Whatever. Bring it.)

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I got a couple episodes in and then did my usual meh. But I do that with almost everything "on TV." Whatever that means now.

I'm only six episodes into freakin' Breaking Bad and that show is amazing.

It sucks that you're stuck in the category of people who probably couldn't have insurance at fucking all before... but now have to get mortgage-priced insurance with deductibles so high they don't actually catch a break in practice unless hit by a truck. These are the people who would benefit most from single payer... always providing it doesn't do a worse job with situations like your iron deficiency. The devil is in the details.
My friend Patty wrote the pilot and first season of Breaking Bad. She had to live in New Mexico for a few months as they shot it. I'm so happy you dig it! (I didn't watch it, but my dad was tooootttaaaallllyy into it.)
Your friend Patty is genius on toast.
OF COURSE you know someone who worked on something as epic as breaking bad. Somehow, I'm not even surprised by this.
Leela 8/2 '17
Stranger Things was like reading an early Stephen King novel, the kids are like the D&D nerds in the 80s version of the kids in The Body aka Stand By Me. Winona Ryder is really good and the world of the show is totally 80stastic.
You'll dig it.
We watched three episodes last night and are DEFINITELY hooked. Yaaaaay!
Yeah, this. Agree with Shelle completely.
Karen 8/2 '17
I feel you on the lurking cancer diagnosis thing. And on the wanting your lady parts removed thing. And about the 10 day periods, oof.

Very glad you got to the doctor and are able to get some iron. The cost thing through?!? ...It should just be $500, period. The ACA has allowed me to have decent affordable insurance, and what with my recent breast lump it may well have actually saved my life. But I'm sorry you fall in the category of folks who have a rent-sized bill to pay every month. There has to be a better way.

Also, stranger things! Watch it! 😁
Leela 8/1 '17edited
hooooooooleeeeeeesheeeeet. thank goodness you did that blood test... that is freaking CRAY. hope you start feeling better soon!

Stranger Things is awesome. So is Breaking Bad, probably one of the best shows I've ever watched in my life. Every single episode is perfect, not a bad one in the bunch.
Jenn A 8/2 '17
Oh no. I'm going to get sucked into Breaking Bad. I can tell already. Especially since I'm trying to cut cable out soon.
Karen 8/2 '17
Karen, it took me about 6 episodes to like it. Then, I binge watched like I thought I'd never see a TV again. 😂
Leela 8/3 '17
I watched most of season one of Breaking Bad. I thought the writing was excellent, but I got sick of watching him lie to his wife, so I was done. Most people who watched it loved it. I am not unilaterally opposed to people who lie to spouses (I enjoyed Mad Men), but when I watch a TV show, I need somebody to like, even if that isn't the same character for the whole season or if my liking is spread among more than one character. The person I liked in Breaking Bad was the wife, and she kept getting shit on by her husband (and by the fans on the Internet). So I was done.
I had this same problem with Ray Donavon.
Karen 8/4 '17
Don't go on the Internet. (:
Matt had a similar feeling about Breaking Bad. He loved it at first, but it was just so depressing and dark, and he just couldn't be in such a dark place every week, even if it was just a TV show.
I don't understand how there can be so many episodes of Breaking Bad, because every episode I've seen before is so perfect, and I can't imagine that being pulled off for years... obviously I can expect to be amazed!
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that, given your blood work results, you maybe might not wanna kick yourself *quite* so hard for missing Lindsay's reading...
Anne Mollo 8/3 '17
*COUGH* *WHEEZE* *BLEED* I'M SO GLAD I MADE IT TO YOUR *EXPIRE* yeah
Yeah this.
Anne Mollo 8/4 '17
Hahahaha! I was gentle-ish. :)
Jill "xtingu" Knapp 8/5 '17edited
Dang! PCP still nixing the hysterectomy? BLARGH. I'm recovering from mine, which sucks, but the suckage is orders of magnitude lower than the endless bleeding stuff. And my iron deficiency was nothing compared to yours.

I'm so sorry you're suffering. Boo! I am sending you virtual hugs, dark chocolate, spinach, and sweet potatoes. And meat, if you eat it.

I'm also sorry that virtual iron-rich foods aren't terribly helpful.
Kate Haney 8/8 '17
I know that the endless bleeding stuff was holy hell for you!!!! I hope you're all healed up soon and you can wear white pants every day now. (you know, all those white pants you own. LOL) xoxo
Jenn A 8/8 '17
I dunno if your reply is for me or for Jill, but I do indeed own white pants... and plan to wear
them just about every day between now and Labor Day!
Kate Haney 8/16 '17
excellent! i guess i'm thinking of our younger days, when all you and i wore was black. :) yay white pants!
Jenn A 8/17 '17
Absolutely! My anti-Kate (all-white) Halloween costume was one of my most successful ever.
Kate Haney 8/20 '17
 

Had a really fun gig tonight at this thing called "Smyrna at Night," which is where the cute town of Smyrna, DE shuts down a few of their "Main Street USA"-type streets and fills them will food trucks, vendors, 25 bands... and all of the local businesses stay open late and people just walk around and have a spiffy time. 

It was hot and humid (they were calling for thunderstorms that never came) and thankfully we had an indoor venue (this cute place called The Drunk'n Baker, that makes booze-filled cupcakes (and regular ones, too), coffee, teas, etc) that blessedly had air conditioning. The AC couldn't really keep up with all of the people packed in there, but it was definitely better than being outside. 

I felt bad... the guy who played before us is a hauntingly beautiful singer/songwriter who tours the world ("I wrote this song in the Southern part of Thailand...") but people just talked/yelled over him and I felt like he maybe had three people listening attentively, two of which were me and Matt.  

The event people provided a sound system, but it was just a speaker with two inputs and no volume controls, so Matt and I had to share a mic (not easy when he also plays guitar), and we had to way to turn the vocals up, so I reeeeeaaallllly had to push. I always over-enunciate anyway because I wanna make sure people can understand our lyrics, but having to REALLY extra over-enunciate plus sing as loudly but still as musically as possible for a 70-minute set was taxing... but still fun.  

It was very cool that a bunch of people came out specifically to see us, and other folks who had no idea what to expect when we started playing wound up sticking around. I love when we first start a show and maybe 1/5th of the audience knows to yell "HOT BREAKFAST!" and everyone else is looking around like "What the hell just happened?" And soon we let the newbies in on the deal and then the whole place is going nuts. I still can't believe how that yelling-Hot-Breakfast thing has taken off, and I sincerely, genuinely, honestly have no earthly idea how it happened... it definitely wasn't our idea, it just kinda happened, and I feel like it happened at our very first show at the Tin Angel maybe. Either way, I am so grateful; I cannot express how much fun it is while we're on stage in the heat of battle having people cheering us on in a dork-rock salute. (I acknowledge that outside a concert situation, it is annoying as hell for everyone else, so we are hyper-vigilant about working to limiting its use to gigs. We don't want people (especially other artists) hating us, and we DEFINITELY do not ever wanna take the spotlight away from someone else. Dick move.)  Though it is amusing to be pumping gas and hearing someone yell "HOT BREAKFAAAAST!" while they drive by the gas station. Those interactions are surreal and funny. :-)  I am still convinced if I ever cut or dyed my hair a different color nobody would recognize us. 

(Wow... it is pouring really hard out of nowhere. Guess we're not mowing the lawn today before our next gig. We've got our Billy Joel tribute show tonight (Saturday) at World Cafe Live in Philly.)

In other news, I find that on days of gigs, especially when I have to carry our 50-pound backpack full of gear/merch/etc. to/from the venue from our car (assuming it's a slight hike, which today was), my restless legs are merciless later that night. (Don't worry, Matt is carrying a guitar and a pedalboard and other heavy stuff. I'd much rather have the backpack.)

I went to bed around 12:30AM tonight (wow, so early for us!), but I woke up around 4-ish with MERCILESS restless legs. (well, leg... singular. My left leg is being an asshole.) So yeah, I started writing this entry at 5:32am and I've been up for the last 90 minutes gnashing my damn teeth over this fucking RLS. I even took my RLS meds (Clonidine (not Klonopin)) which has taken it from an 11 to an 8... so then I took a OTC sleepy-thing (doxylamine, which doesn't make my RLS worse like Satan's Remedy known as benedryl/diphenhydramine does-- OH JESUS), and no dice. So lucky you... you get a whiny shitpost from me.

The only thing bringing me a shred of relief is taking really long thick socks (think baseball/soccer socks) and tying them tightly around my thigh like a garter or a tourniquet. Having the constant pressure on my screaming/itching/twitching quad muscle is vaguely helping, and since the socks are a little stretchy it's not cutting off my circulation. I can still feel my leg screaming, but the sock pressure is a distraction, at least.

But I swear, I wanna cut my damn leg off.

RLS is often the first sign that my anemia is in overdrive and it's time for an iron infusion, so I should probably schedule my labwork for this week. My last infusion was November 8th, so it's definitely possible... especially since I went through all of 2016 with just one period for the whole year (it was magnificent), but this year The Ladytimes are back in full force... so I'm back to losing a ton of blood each month-ish again. (Why body, WHY MUST YOU TEASE ME SO??!) 

Anyway, it's now 6:40am (which means Jenn Abrevaya  has already been up for an hour -- hah), so it's now been 2.5 hours that my leg is making me nuts. It's maybe down to a 6.5 now, so I'm gonna put this down and see if I can power through it. Come on, sleep. I need to be on tonight!  (It's so weird when your body is your instrument... self-care is critical.)

OK-- I hope everyone has a spiffy day/weekend!

If any Philadels wanna come to the Billy Joel tribute tonight, hit me up VIA TEXT... I can probably toss you one comp.  


(ps: I love the term "shitpost." I also love the term "shitshow," but that's mostly because I can't hear "shitshow" without hearing Lord Buckethead using the word as he describes Brexit. I am obsessed with Lord Buckethead, and am seriously considering a Lord Buckethead tattoo. Yes, really.)

(Scroll to 16:19 for Bucketheady "shitshow" goodness.)

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6/24 '17 5 Comments
GO GET 'EM 🐯
"Smyrna at Night," - sounds like Media. Which is meant as a pretty big compliment.

"songwriter who tours the world" - makes me miss Knappucinos - and I was never at one. I know you have about 8 baJILLion things on your plate, but don't you want to start another singer / songwriter coffee shop?! ;)

"...honestly have no earthly idea how it happened... " - I thought it was Jamaica. When we tried to explain it to our tour guides at or on our way to the swimming hole. Though that could entirely be reconstructive history - but it's the origin in my head. Some sort of evolution as we described the name and how happy a hot breakfast makes someone feel, one of them pumped their fist and said "Hot Breakfast!". Or some such. Maybe? Jenn?

Really sorry to hear about the RLS issues. I'm not prescribing here - I'm asking - does extreme use of the muscles in question help at all? I'm imagining things like deep squats to stress/stretch the muscle.
Okay, I kinda loved that.
RELATABLE.
 

Tonight was the 10th Annual WSTW Homey Awards ceremony at World Cafe Live in Wilmington. We jokingly call it the Music Prom because everyone from the Delaware, Philly, South Jersey and Baltimore original music scenes get together and get dressed up and celebrate the cool shit we all did this year. Yeah, there are awards, but even if you don't win, it's still a really cool, warm, celebration. (Trust us. There've been years we didn't win. It was still great.)

This year we were nominated for 7(!!) categories and took home three(!!) awards, which is blowing my mind. We won:

  • Best Live Act (we also won that last year-- holy crap!)
  • Best Collaboration with Jake and the Stiffs for our punky punky song "New York Drama." (We also won that last year with our EDM parody song with Todd Chappelle called "This is Our Hit Song")
  • And I won Best Lead Singer, also for the second time, but it'd been two years since I won that. I am reeeeeling. (I'll post photos and links to songs later... but if you wanna see photos, the event hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, which barely anyone used, but enough that you'll get the idea) was " #Homeys10 "

There was a funny running gag throughout the night-- when we were announced for our first award, Joe Trainor jumped up on stage to accept the award for us saying, "Hot Breakfast is sorry they couldn't be here tonight so I'm just gonna..." and then we dragged him off the stage.  So for the rest of the night, anytime we were called to the stage (even to present awards or to play), either someone else would stand in for one of us and the other would say, "Jill's sorry she couldn't attend" or "Matt wishes he could be here, but..." or something along those lines. It was good and silly.  I love our people very much. 

Anyway, we were also nominated for Song of the Year for "Kids Today," which we were fine not winning, so much so that even I voted for the band who won it (Wave Radio, for their song "Unbreakable") instead of voting for my own song. But because we were nominated for Song of the Year, we had to play it live (rules is rules). It was fun to play for our peers.  Later on, one of our favorite bands (Glim Dropper) were playing the closing set of the night and asked us to jump in on three Bowie tunes: "Star," Hang On To Yourself," and "Ziggy Stardust." Glim Dropper uses in-ear monitors, so the sound guy forgot to give me and Matt (and Kevin Niemi who also joined in bass) any monitors until the middle of the second song.  (If you attended our CD release show, Glim Dropper was the band who backed us up. We LOVE them, and they are honestly probably the best musicians I know, period, hands down.)

Anyway, I wanna tell you more about it, but Matt's folks are gonna be at our house in less than 7 hours because this weekend is our "we don't buy each other Christmas gifts and instead pool our money and spend a nice weekend in NYC seeing a play, an opera, and eating some good food" weekend. We're taking the train up, so we're on a schedule.

See you on the flip side!

ps: oh! My iron infusion went well. I was achy when I got home (normal) so I slept for the rest of the day/night, and woke up today still craving ginger (so my pica wasn't completely eradicated yet) but hour by hour I'm feeling better and have more color. After next week's infusion I'll be rockin' extra hard at 110%. Yay!

OK, bed. 

Happiness!

(x-posted to xtingu.livejournal.com)

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3/5 '16 3 Comments
Wowza!!!!! That is so fabulous. And yeah, what Matt said--all of this makes me so happy for you!
Anne Mollo 3/6 '16
Welcome back, infusion girl!
Everything about this post makes me extremely happy for you. :P