Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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I have Joni Mitchell's "California" in my head, and that makes me happy. We are sitting in the Long Beach Airport, waiting to board our plane to Phoenix, where we will likely get stuck because of the snowstorm hitting Philly tonight.  We scored first class tix, and this canceled-flight crap only ever seems to impact us on these rare occasions when we are flying on a non-Southwest flight and also managed to score first class seats. (So it's gotta be our fault somehow.)

We were in California for about 36 hours, for Uncle Greg's funeral services. They had a very short viewing just for close family, and good LORD, Greg looked AWFUL. Like, we all joked that maybe they brought the wrong guy to the funeral parlor, because seriously-- no resemblance whatsoever

It's fascinating watching people from different families playing these familar roles... mourning wife, mourning sister, mourning children. No matter whether they're from my family, Matt's family, or a friend's family... there are these motions everyone has culturally agreed to go through, clothes you wear, things you say, body gestures you make... and we all have more or less agreed to play these roles when they are foisted upon us. 

We gathered in a Catholic church in the middle of a breezy beach town in California, yet it smelled like a Catholic church, it had all of the symbols that I recognize... and I admit it brought me comfort somehow... being thousands of miles away from the church I grew up in, yet got comfort in the familiarity of the smells, sounds, and symbols that I assume are in every Catholic church. 

But I also knew very deeply that these traditions didn't really *mean* anything to me other than simply tradition. And it made me think: When I die, I don't want this stuff. 


At times I found myself imagining being in that front-row of the church, playing the role of the person closest to the departed, accepting the condolences and watching all of these gathered people playing their parts.

I know we will go through all of these motions/play these roles for when my Mom passes, because these things are very meaningful to her. And I imagine as my brother and I bury my Mom (and I guess my Dad; I've never really asked him what he wants), these rituals will be comforting to me and Jeff (my brother) because it's what would be expected of us.  And in some weird way, it would be a symbol that we are the "family elders" now. 

But when I die, I don't want a church service. I don't want a viewing (unless you can stuff my body so I'm standing up and making some totally silly expression, with my hands positioned into finger-guns so people can take tacky selfies). But seriously-- I don't want any of this formal Catholic stuff... but because what I want lacks the formality of these generations of practicing these roles, I kinda accept that when I kick off, there won't be any kind of "official farewell." Because without the formality, it also loses importance somehow. 

Anyway.

Been thinkin' a lot today. 

And with that, our plane just arrived, so it's time for us to fly to Phoenix so we can get stranded there. Yay. 

[Edited to add: Flight from Phoenix to Philly took off right on schedule. Not sure what the weather sitch will be when we land, but I'll find out in 90 mins when our flight touches down. In the meantime, this has been a very pleasant flight so far.]

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2/17 '18 15 Comments
Yeah.

Death is for the living though. I think I wrote something like "cremate me - or really do whatever the hell you want - you're the ones going through a terrible time. Sorry, wish I could be there to help."
Thomas Boutell 2/17 '18
Glad you’re not stuck somewhere. I’m sorry for your loss, for you both.
Safe travels. It's uglaaaay here in the 19810. 3 inches of fluffy snow.
They would be on my bucket if I had a bucket.

Robert Bryan 2/17 '18
if i go first, i want to be made into diamonds and have everyone wear me someplace fabulous: http://www.lifegem.com/index.php

welcome back. and i'm sorry again about Greg. :(
Jenn A 2/17 '18
I want to be planted in a tree planter, but I’m afraid I’d get dug up to build a Hooters or something.
Lindsay Harris Friel 2/17 '18edited
that got me.
Robert Bryan 2/18 '18
I hope it got you in a good way.

Worse, the tree would probably be dug up by a developer, to build a Hooters with a Chuck E. Cheese right next door.
It was a good way.
Like, I woulda probably shot coffee out of my nose if I had been drinking coffee at the time.
Thanks.
Robert Bryan 2/18 '18
When I die, I want all of you who are still living to gather around my children and tell them stories about me. They'll be adults, so you can even tell the embarrassing ones.

I want my mortal remains scattered at Eastern State Penitentiary, on Broadway, at Versailles, at the Tower of London and in the ocean off Bermuda by Archer and Hunter together. That's not really about the ashes, it's about them taking that trip together, that pilgrimage to their mother's favorite places. Now that I think about it, there are also a couple of stops along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway - the FI, the PMA. I hope they think of me fondly every time they smell The Heart.
This choked me up.
💗
I love you. If I do go first, I picture you and Matt L. telling the boys lots of diner stories.
I HAVE THAT SONG IN MY HEAD TOO BEFORE I EVEN READ THIS WHAT.
Rabbit 2/18 '18
ASDFGTYUIFGYHJGTUJGH!!
Death/Funerals really does produce a kind of out-of-body experience, doesn't it? You float over it all, see the patterns and the rituals, you contemplate your own end. You ponder time and entropy, and what it is to be human... My love to you and Matt.

Anne Mollo 2/18 '18
Thank you, my friend. Xoxo
 

Up until a few months ago, I hadn't seen my natural hair color since high school.  I decided to just stop coloring my hair and take advantage of the "shadow root" trend. Once the sides got long enough, I got it cut so it was cropped super-short all over except the fooge on the top/front of my head, which I need.  I let it grow and grow, and soon I had what looked like all nondescript brownish-blah hair with frosted tips (with surprisingly little gray, but who cares)... but I didn't feel funky at all. I missed feeling funky.

So I went to the local, indie, mom-n-pop beauty supply shoppe near my house so I could to restock up on mah hair stuff, and $3.50 later, I had everything I needed to go back to Jillish.  I kinda dug the two-tone hair, but I just didn't have my mojo.  So... TADAAAA, I'm back to all-platinum again. (And with a better color result and less breakage than I get at the salon, thankyouverymuch.)

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Once again, I am sick.

It's so weird. There were years where I wasn't getting sick, and now I'm getting sick all the time, it seems. Maybe it's because I'm around more people since I'm at Penn all the time... I dunno. But MAN, this cold is extra awful.

Started with a sore throat, and now it's sore ears, a meaty lung cough of death where I'm coughing up a ton of yellow disgustingness... my lungs rattle and it's just gross. My ears are killing me. I hate it. 

I've been living on tea and Progresso soup since Sunday, which is the right thing to do, I suppose. 

I need to get better ASAP because I have an ITIL Foundation class to teach at Penn from Monday to Thursday of this coming week. 

Today is the first day I've gotten out of bed since Sunday. I feel like I've turned a corner, but I still have noooo voice. I hate having no voice, but I figure Matt likes the peace and quiet... tee hee.

Lindsay Harris-Friel had gotten us all tickets to see Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble on Tuesday night, but I was too sick to go, and she was too busy to go. We had those tickets since August-- we both so desperately wanted to attend... but the universe had alternate plans for us.

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In other news, The Eagles won the Super Bowl for the first time. I normally don't care about sportsball, but you can't deny it was a really great game. My mom emailed me to ask if we went to the game, but I don't think she realized that the game was played in Minneapolis and not in PA, and that the cheapest tickets were $4500. So no, we didn't go. :) I don't understand why Eagles fans celebrate my destroying the city... this is why we can't have nice things. 

[Pause]

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


OK, I can't put off breaking this bad news any longer. I hate making small talk when there's a bomb to drop, so here it is:

We are very, very sad to hear that Matt's Uncle Greg (Betsy's older brother) died suddenly today. He was just diagnosed with lung cancer, so he had just started chemo. Sometimes chemo can cause pneumonia (who knew?) which he wound up catching... and then he had a stroke last night. His wife Elizabeth said it looked pretty grim, and she had hoped he wouldn't wake up... and he didn't. We just got the news this afternoon (Feb 7th) that he died at 4:30. It's absolutely heartbreaking. Greg was so amazing. We'll be flying out to California for the services next week. Greg worked at Boeing for most of his life as an engineer plus he had a lot of hobbies, one of which was birdwatching. He led tours for birdwatchers to see species that are native to the California coastline, and even led school groups through California's conservation areas. He took us on a private tour one time when Matt and I were in that neck of the woods as I taught in Irvine, CA. Something tells me that we will definitely see a bird or two at Greg's burial. 

It makes me sad that my parents will never get a chance to meet Greg; they really would have liked him.

But I am grateful to have had a lot of time with him recently, especially considering how far away he and Elizabeth live. We got to sing for his wedding, they came out for Grandmom's funeral, and they even flew out for Steve and Betsy's 50th Anniversary Party. They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?

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Also, just to lighten the mood a bit (and apropos of nothing) you probably didn't know that you needed a video of a bunny-jumping competition. So here ya go. 

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Anyway, I want to write more, but the cold medicine is kicking in and I'm feeling derpy. So... I'm off to bed.

Good night!

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I am so sorry. Glad you got to know him.
You especially would have freakin' LOVED him. Funny as hell, super-duper-ridiculously smart, dry humor (but not always), always using his body, insanely curious. Lots in common, you two. :)
Oh, I'm so sorry about Greg. And sorry you are sick!

On a lighter note, I sent the bunny jumping video to my daughter Nina, who will LOVE IT.

I am so with you on the hair color thing. I'm struggling right now. Still growing out the last of the "gray" from the play--which is now just white. I've grown out the bleachiness once before, went back to my normal color (there's proof of that in one of my storytelling videos). I eventually went shrieking back to my hairdresser because I couldn't stand it anymore. This time, I'm trying to grow my hair longer and have no idea what to do about the color, since I'm growing it so I can audition for a play I'd really like to be in this fall--and I have a feeling my short bleachy look wouldn't get me the part--but I don't know how long I can stand having Bad Hair. It's driving me batshit.
Anne Mollo 2/8 '18
I know the batshit-caused-by-hair very well.

How long can you grow your hair out before you scream ASDFGYUFGYHGYUJFGH and chop it all off again? You and I have similarly-short hair styles, and whenever I say "This time I'll grow it out!" I skip maybe two of my regular cutting times and I am so miserable that when I finally get it cut I get it cut REALLY short as if to compensate or atone to the short-hair gods for my foolish whims.

I sometimes wish it was more acceptable for white women to wear wigs in daily life. As for your role, wigs can look awesome on stage, so hopefully your director can look past your short hair and plop a wig on you. What part are you auditioning for? I love living my theater life vicariously through you. :)

(And thank you re: Greg and my plague. Xo.)
oh, i am so sorry. i'm sorry about Greg, i'm sorry you feel like crap, i'm sorry you missed your concert. but happy about your hair (although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P). feel better, and miss you.
Jenn A 2/8 '18
"although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P"

Written like someone who knows her well. :)
Thank you all around, m'dear. I hate being a whiner, but these are worthy whines.

Miss you too. :) <3
I didn't know Greg, but I'm sorry to hear that he's gone. Sounds like a good dude.

"They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?"

I sure as hell hope so.
You sir, are two for two, and then some. :-)
*lerv*
I'm so sorry for your loss. Greg sounds awesome.
Kate Haney 2/12 '18
 

HOLY  CRAP, the Southwest Air Eclipse Flight was awesome awesome awesome. Just so much fun! 

After we deplaned, a news crew from Channel 11 Alive Atlanta was interviewing people about their experience, and since I'm a whore, I jumped in front of the camera. Apparently I'm gonna be on the Atlanta news. Woot!

So if you watch this video, that's me at 1:36 in my ITMFA shirt kvelling. :-) 


The Channel 11 folks also asked us to write up our experience and email it to them with photos, so here's what I sent.

_____________________

Hi, Julie and crew!

I'm the Jill Knapp that Matt mentioned in his first email. I believe someone from your station grabbed a quick interview with me when we landed in Atlanta. (I have the spiky platinum-blonde hair with the blue streak and the big smile.)

We've attached some photos for you. 

We are an acoustic dork-rock duo from Wilmington, Delaware called "Hot Breakfast!", and we fly Southwest exclusively because of our earned Companion Pass status on the airline. (Companion Pass status allows us to perform all around the country in a buy-one-get-one-free arrangement, reserved for their most frequent flyers.)  

When we heard this flight was happening, we jumped on it specifically to see the eclipse from above the clouds!

Boarding the flight was super-fun-- the plane was decorated with a disco ball and colorful streamers, and the flight attendants were all dressed up with glittery wigs, glow glasses, alien antennae ("deely-boppers" for those of us '80s kids), and the pilot was able to bank the plane several times to let both sides of the plane get great views. Matt and I sat in the "LUV Seat," which is the exit row with only two seats in the row, so we had room to crouch down low by the window to see the eclipse, and we encouraged other passengers to jump in our row to get the great view, too! 

The vibe on the plane was so friendly, fun, enthusiastic. The Southwest flight attendants are always top-notch, but they went above and beyond today with custom eclipse-themed cocktails, eclipse and space trivia games, and glow-bracelets for everyone, and plenty of jokes and smiles. 

Sometimes the news will make you think that everyone is angry and there's no happiness in the world (and especially in our country). But this flight made me remember that people are almost all wonderful, curious, and fun. I admit, I needed this. :-)

This flight was absolutely everything we hoped it would be and more. 

Thanks for letting us report in!

Our very best,

Jill and Matt

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8/21 '17 12 Comments
\o/!

Were you laid over in ATL, or are you here-here?
Rabbit 8/22 '17
Just a layover for about 90 minutes, and during that time we had to get our bags from baggage claim and re-check in, due to some creative flight scheduling on my part. But we made our next flight with about 10 minutes to spare! Wooot!
Whatever they offer you ... don't feed the plants!
That soundtrack has been in my brain for a week now... and I am not complaining even a little. (It's mah favorite show EVAR.)
Of course it has, because it starts with a TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN! I need you and Matt C in my life to grok my Little Shop jokes ... and Jerm, but he is not on OPW.
My little Audrey II insisted on nursing for most of it.
Rabbit 8/23 '17
Feed me, Mama, feed me all night long. That's right!
May I touch the hem of your garment?
Thomas Boutell 8/22 '17
Mais oui!
Just watched the video - you look SO geeked out happy! Eeeee!
that's so awesome!!!! so how did you even hear about this flight -- did the airline send out a blasto to their elite passengers or something? :)
Jenn A 8/24 '17
excellent! so jealous...
Kate Haney 8/25 '17
 

Matt and I are SO FRIGGIN' SICK, like lung-meat death-cough no-voice-fever sick. Fun vacation. But right now we're sitting outside on Santa Monica Blvd drinking Philz Coffee, and a douchebag in a convertible drove by cranking "Life in the Fast Lane" and I've never felt more California. 

Life is good despite it... though I'm not looking forward to 43 flights in the next 24 hours with clogged ears. (But I am looking forward to watching the eclipse from the plane.)

So much for singing Total Eclipse of the Heart for Southwest Airlines. Can't currently talk. 

Boo.

OK, that's it. More later.

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8/20 '17 5 Comments
Ugh, that SUCKS! At least you'll get to enjoy the eclipse, somewhat.
That's not fair, getting sick right on top of an iron infusion! Like, you should have super powers now, not lung death fever! Boo!
Anne Mollo 8/20 '17
Be well kids!
Thomas Boutell 8/21 '17
How was the flight??? I was in a concrete box all day, so I have to experience the universe through my friends' social media posts.
Like others, I am dying to know how the flight was!?
Anne Mollo 8/21 '17