Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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Tornado Warning!

I wrote this on Twitter this morning (April 15th), and I'm going to be lazy and copy/paste the tweet-storm:

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1) Holy crap. I haven't been sleeping well for the last few nights... and last night my body said "ENOUGH." Like a Roomba driving itself back to its dock, my body auto-piloted itself to bed at 11:15. (This is unheard of for me... I usually hit the hay around 4:30am.)

2) Normally I wake up 8-9 times over the course of a night/morning, and like an ass I always check my phone when I wake up, which naturally makes it harder to fall back asleep. This did not happen last night... I slept SO HARD. I knew nothing.

3) I'm also a huge weather and safety nerd; my ears are finely-tuned to detect any and all weather-related sounds (distant thunder, wind, rain, etc.), as well as weird noises in/outside the house. I sleep with one ear open, and these sounds always wake me up. Not last night.

4) I just woke up now (8:43am) to a bazillion missed phone alerts from 3-4am (including one of those incredibly loud Emergency Alerts sent via the Powers The Be™) commanding I "take immediate shelter from the [goddamn] TORNADO." I missed 'em all. That scares me on 2 levels.

5) It scares me 'cuz it's always been my job to be in charge of weather safety. I like keeping aware of wx threats, stocking a modest emergency kit, and making the rare "it's time to get in the basement" call. I like this job. I missed this completely; we could have been hurt.

6) It also scares me that my body was SO exhausted that it could not be awoken, even for a substantial threat, and despite a zillion warnings that surely made my phone scream. What does this say about the state of my anemic body, that a zillion alarms didn't even make me flinch?

7) Anyway, I really hope everyone is safe. I haven't yet looked at damage reports yet (hell; haven't even looked out the window yet) and judging by the sheer number of alerts, I imagine there's gotta be some. I'm just hoping people heeded them and erred on the safe side. (Fin)

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

After I wrote all that, I started investigating why my phone's emergency alert didn't wake me. I keep my phone on Silent 99% of the time; however, I remember when President Cheeto sent that Presidential Alert a few months back, that shizzle came through loud and clear. So why didn't this Actual Alert make a sound? I went digging through my phone's settings and even RTFM and still couldn't find the answer, so... I dunno. 
Anyhoo, there was an F2 tornado that touched down at 3:38am in Sussex County[1], so that tornado warning was real. Thankfully nobody died; I believe there was only one injury caused by a tree falling on someone's house... yikes.

And thankfully, my worry above was for naught... I was really concerned that I slept through crazy alarms that should wake the dead and holy-lord-am-I-that-anemic-and-dead-that-even-that-couldn't-wake-me?! But the alarm was silent, so I just slept like a normal person. No crisis!


Early Birthday Weekend

(I wrote this on April 15th)

My birthday is coming up on Wednesday of this week (me and George Takei!). As an early birthday gift, Matt bought us tickets to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. This is the 4th time we've seen him at MSG since he started his residency, and he sounded amazing, as always. I scored us a hotel near Times Square, and we could see the New Years Eve Ball from our hotel window. Thankfully the hotel entrance is away from the crowd, so we could avoid the tourons and belligerent buskers in Elmo and SpiderMan and Statue of Liberty costumes.  We took the train up (admittedly, a decadent gift to ourselves) and arrived around 3-ish, so we enjoyed the 20-block walk to the hotel, grabbed a cup of coffee and a few fronch macarons along the way, and checked right into the hotel.  After freshening up, we went to our favorite restaurant (a Turkish place, creatively named "Turkish Cuisine,") and had an amazing meal as always, and then walked to MSG.  We entered the venue and took the escalator up to the 100 section, and then walked to the door marked "Sections 111-115." The usher looked at our tickets and said "Oh, NICE! Which one of you bought these tickets?" Matt said, "That was me." The usher turned to me and said, "This guy right here? He done good. Enjoy the show." He handed us off to a different usher who walked us down to our seats... closer and closer to the stage... to the front row of Section 115. HOLY CRAP! We were as close as you could possibly get to the stage without being on the floor... which means we could see absolutely everything. In fact, we were so close that I could read the brand of gear on the sound guy's mixing board. It was SO GREAT!  We sat next to some friendly drunk people in their late 50s and after just generally chatting, our Billy Joel tribute band might get a gig out of the deal. (One of the couples was verrrrrrrry wealthy and had flown up from South Carolina just to see this show. The husband is turning 60 and they want to do something extra amazing for him, so we said, "Why not hire a Billy Joel tribute band?"  The wife gave us her phone number. Who knows?)

After the show, we walked back to the hotel in the pouring rain, and stopped for dessert and a nightcap at Cafe Un Deux Trois, which was lovely. 

The next morning we went to this diner we really like (The Times Square Diner- though don't let the name fool you-- it's not particularly touristy), and then we headed over to Central Park to walk around and then go to the zoo. We got to see the sea lions, all of the amazing birds in the Tropic zone, and also Matt's favorites-- the puffins.

We made sure to leave the zoo by 3:45ish so we could catch a cab to Sam Ash, which is a giant music store right by Penn Station. I needed to pick up a few more percussion gadgets for this Genesis show I'm playing in (see "Percussion" below) and wound up spending almost $450.  Whoops... oh well. Happy Birthday to me, I guess!


Another Birthday...

My brother's birthday and mine are two years + one day apart. He's 4/16 and I'm 4/17. He turns 50 in 14 minutes! For his big 5-0, he decided he wanted to go to the most beautiful place he'd ever seen, which is Assisi, Italy. He went there in high school, when our high school used to arrange annual trips to Europe (which they natually discontinued once it came time for me to be old enough to go). Since 1987 he's been saying it's the most beautiful place he's ever been to, and how he'd give anything to go back. So, they gathered up their immediate family and headed over there. My sister-in-law and my youngest niece left 5 days early so they could visit a friend in Israel, and then they met my brother, my nephew, and my oldest niece in Italy. I'm so happy they're able to experience this all together.  It's also kinda neat that Jack (my nephew) is the same age that Jeff (my brother) was when he first saw Assisi.

We'll be having the Knapp Family Easter Passover Birthday Goulash next weekend in NJ. 


Percussion!

The next musical thing I'm involved in is a live performance of Genesis' double album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" with The Rock Orchestra. We're not dressing like Peter Gabriel or anything, but we are playing the hell out of this music.  The band has been rehearsing for about 2 months now, but every weekend they rehearsed I had to be in NJ for something. But for this show, they can definitely rehearse without me, because I'm just playing percussion and provding some secondary backing vocals. (Joe has this other woman Chris singing primary backing vocals. Whenever there are two backing vocal parts at once, I'll jump in. But the percussion is keeping me plenty busy. It's so much fun!)

I sent these tweets on the train ride home:

1: Just spent almost $450 on more percussion toys at @samashmusic in NYC. There's so much fun percussion on Genesis' #TheLambLiesDownOnBroadway, and I get to play it all, twice in one day, with @RockOrchestraDE on Saturday, May 18th at 3pm and 8pm. Shows at  @TheGrandWilm. Wheee!

2: Bought some monkey skulls (pitched woodblocks), mountable castanets, a snake spine (ratchet), & an ultra-lite tambourine for crazy-fast 32nd notes. Also bought 2 expansion trays for my percussion stand for quick/easy access; sometimes I only have 2 beats to switch instruments.

3: Got yet another shaker: This one is REALLY bright/crisp/loud & really cuts through. Has a great feel/swing/weight. My fave purchase: A Flexatone! Gonna follow @Casarino around in case he sees something eerie, catches a chill, or eats Jello. (Helpful Example!) 


OK, gonna post this now.


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[1]: Sussex County is Delaware's southernmost county-- we only have three, stacked on top of each other since Delaware is a tall, skinny state. We live in New Castle County, the northernmost one.


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my phone didn't make any sound either, and I'd been keeping it by my bed for years in case of something like a tornado warning.

happy birthday.
thank you for sharing the update.
You know where else Matt can see puffins? https://mollybawn.com/boat_tour_newfoundland I think tours start in June. Also they participate in Puffin Patrol, where they help puflings (!) get from where they’ve hatched to the water without getting eaten by gulls. That starts in August. https://cpawsnl.org/puffinpetrelpatrol/ (EDITED to add: I don't know why the second link won't linky, sorry.)
Michele Grant 4/21edited
PUFLINGS! EEEEEEEEE!!!
Puffins are gud. See them a lot in Maine, and on my travels for work (including Newfoundland). They're just so... good!
that sounds like an AMAZING birthday! and holycrap those seats! well done, matt! :) (and i love un deux trois, if jack weren't 100% paleo i would have taken him there the other night since our theater was right next door. nom.)
Jenn A 4/22
I was awake, prepping for a medical procedure. I just thought, "Well, we're screwed." Since I was pretty immobile and everyone else was asleep.

Happy Birthday! Give Pie my best!
Yes! Birthday Pie needs to get its proper adulation!
Happy belated birthday!
Sounds like a fantastic birthday - more so when thinking about the two of you and that scene. Super happy to hear it.
 

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.
 

Hit a home run with Verizon Residential and a bunt to first with Verizon Wireless today. It's been a Verizonny day. 

In a nutshell, Verizon Residential came out (and was on time!) this morning and they confirmed my diagnosis and remedy, because I am awesome.  So yep, turns out the ONT (optical network terminal) wasn't getting power from the outlet, and was only getting power from the BBU (battery backup unit).  The tech was awesome and took one look at our 10-year-old ONT/BBU and immediately said "I gotta replace this shiznit," at which point I said "Whoa whoa whoa, Amigo... the new units don't have battery backups, so you're not allowed to replace it because I have a landline that relies on the battery in the event of a power outage." And he was like, "Holy shitballs, you're right, which is weird because you appear to have both technical skills and boobs."  Yes, I get that a lot. I understand. It's an anomalies in your home and native land of DelCo, where everyone has Rodney Anonymous' accent.  Anyway, he replaced the power supply and didn't charge me anything, and said "I just gotta warn you though... a sales guy is gonna call you and they're gonna try to get you to upgrade your FIOS. Right now you have 256MB Up/Down, which was bleeeeeeeeding-edge speedy 10 years ago, and now we've got Gigabyte Up/Down. So just brace yourself." I asked if I was in any danger if I didn't upgrade... like, was I vulnerable to some nutty exploit, and he said "Nope, none that I can think of. As long as you keep your router firmware up-to-date and don't keep default passwords, you should be OK."  So, yeah. I call that a win for now.

* * * * *

The bunt to first base happened overnight last night when I tweeted to VZWSupport about a problem that has been plaguing our neighborhood and environs since May 2014: We had a freak hailstorm in May of 2014 with baseball-sized hail that got me and my neighbors new roofs/siding/car bodywork/etc.

(see cool photos of hailstones and damage to my house and car: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xtingu/sets/72157645237393142/ )

It also knocked out the Verizon cell tower that serves our area, and since that very afternoon, cell reception for everyone around here has been shittastic... you either have baaaaaarely one teeeeeeny bar of signal or none whatsoever, or you have to go outside to make a call. (This is why I still have a landline.)  Various neighbors have called VZW to complain over the years, and Verizon resolved the individual Incidents (be selling signal boosters to people who complained) but never addressed the Problem of fixing the smashed tower. So after I tweeted VZWSupport last night, they called me today and I was able to explain to the rep that it wasn't just me and Matt experiencing this, but it was over 200 customers in the area, many of whom are switching (or already switched) to Sprint.  She said "Holy crap, we'll get someone out there within 5-7 days!" Which seems like a long time, but we've waited three years, so what's other week?

There's a slightly more locked-down social media site called "NextDoor" which is a neighborhood message board that somehow verifies you actually live in a certain neighborhood before it lets you join. This "Damaged Verizon Cell Tower" has been a very sore point for a looooong time, but I'm suddenly a hero today for telling everyone in our surrounding neighborhoods that this might FINALLY get addressed. I am cautiously optimistic, hence a bunt to first base.  I'll keep y'all posted... I'm sure you're all biting your nails wondering how the cell reception is in North Wilmington, Delaware. 

Other than that...

Music Stuff This Weekend

We've got two gigs this weekend. On Friday (6/23) we're playing this neat town festival called Smyrna At Night. Smyrna, Delaware is a cute town about halfway down our tall skinny state that has a street festival every summer where they close the main drag, have a ton of vendors, food trucks, bands, and stuff all night. We're playing an indoor venue at prime time, from 8-9pm at a place called The Drunk'n Baker, which is a bakery that makes booze-infused treatz.*  Should be fun, even if I won't eat their boozey snax.

The second gig is the next night (Saturday, 6/24), where we're playing in our Billy Joel Tribute Band at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, on the big stage downstairs. Show starts at 8pm.  I sing lead on a few things, I sing backup on a zillion others, and play tenor and also saxes, and a crap-ton of percussion. It's a blast, and I love playing this music with my friends... it's an 8-piece band and we make a good racket. If you're in or around Philly, come on out if ya want. We'd love an audience. :-D

On Sunday we'll do a belated Fathers Day up at my folks' place in NJ and we'll stay with them for a few days. It'll be nice.

So that's the news. 

Riveting, I know.

Ok, bye. :)

____

Seven dollahs, get a big bagga treatz!" (Inside joke. Sorry.)​​​​​​

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6/22 '17 9 Comments
"Seven dollahs, yah get a big bagga treatz!"

I fuckin love you. Have I mentioned that recently, cuz I do.

Laughed out loud in my hotel. Hope I didn't wake the neighbors.

Also - Nice work with Big VZ - both counts. I love that the kid tried to warn you of the impending call from the sales droid. Because of COURSE there's going to be a call.

And the cell tower? That seems like it will be a MAYJOHR win if it happens.

Your customer complaint fu is so VERY much stronger than mine. Remind me to have you come with me the next time I have to deal with VZW...
Matt Lichtenwalner 6/22 '17edited
Sometimes autocorrect is good. "Also sax:" now my favorite typo
Thomas Boutell 6/22 '17
So I wanna say I am proud of you for taking it to the man and getting good service ... and I am, but the fact that getting honest, helpful service from a vendor who YOU PAY is a victory, not a commonplace occurrence ... that makes me sad.

Yay you!
Boo Corporate America.
*pumps fist in solidarity*
I'll be there is Smyrna with my (most likely cranky) 6 yr old in tow. Hoping to finally meet you!
Ursula Sadiq 6/23 '17
Wait ... Ursula and Jill, you've never met?
That makes sense considering the timing, but still, it feels weird.
Jill I saw you through the window - but kid was extra cranky melting down, so we didn't come in. . . . some other day!
Ursula Sadiq 6/23 '17
No worries at all! Just saw this now that we're home, so I wasn't on the lookout and didn't know to be disappointed. :-D

But get this-- your name was totally brought up tonight! Kristen Halversen (new last name is Pickering) was there and her super-talented son Brody joined us as an intern when we recorded our last album. Kristen said to me, "Hey, I didn't know you know Hamlet! We were in the honors program at UD together!" And then started naming people we knew, and she mentioned you, and I said that we hadn't yet met but were probably going to any minute. IT'S LIKE I WAS PSYCHIC.
Told you.