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:

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

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.
 

My face is on fire. 

I could type out the whole story here, but I just had to cancel birthday and Dead Milkmen concert plans with Jenn and Jack for tonight... and it's just easier if I copy and paste what I typed to her, because I am the laziest fuck ever... but hey, I have an owie excuse.

Cut/Paste:

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

And now, the bad news: We have to bail tonight. I had two root canals on Tuesday and one got infected (sexy!), and yesterday morning I woke up in agony and my face looked like Rocky Dennis from Mask. Flew to the dentist at 8am, and he prescribed mega-doses of steroids and antibiotics to get the swelling down... but we had a gig last night that I should have canceled but didn't, and I overdid it because I'm an asshole, and my face and skull are friggin' on fire today... plus, I leave for a work-trip tomorrow. 

I'm so sorry and sad to not be with you guys today. We were REALLY looking forward to it... but I really feel like I should err on the safe side. 

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

(Additional thought: Plus, the high doses of steroids means I have hella reduced immunity right now, and being in a giant sweaty  Milkmen crowd is probably a bad idea... but I'm honestly not really thinking about that.)

Good god. I would love to be able to attend one goddamn event with my fucking friends without SOMETHING happening... anxiety attack, rotting infected tooth-skull, Mom emergency, etc.  I feel like a selfish jerk for feeling this way, though.

Humans are complicated.


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10/27 '18 3 Comments
Christ! Take care of yourself. Sorry you had to miss big plans. That is super shitty pain and swelling after an already painful procedure.
Karen 10/27 '18
You do look a bit lumpy. Take care of yourself and get better real quick!
Ray Conrad 10/28 '18
oh man! I hope you're feeling better. :(
Kate Haney 10/29 '18
 

... are the words I use at the laundromat

Our dryer died last week, so for the last 5 days we've been watching Mt. Laundry reach Everest altitudes while our underwear drawers were even running out of Emergency Undies rations.  So on Monday we decided to bring our enormous hamper full of dirty clothes to the laundromat. Dare I say it was fun?

We tossed the stuff into three giant washing machines and then went next door to El Diablo Burritos where I got myself three delicious chicken soft tacos and Matt got himself three steak tacos with this chili-lime sauce on 'em. SO GOOD.  When we were done nomming, it was time to move everything into the dryers. 

We filled the 40 minutes of dryer time with a trip next door (the other way) to the Hallmark store where we bought Mothers Day cards and Yankee Candles (because we're grandmothers, apparently).  We have a little Yankee Candle problem-- we keep one lit in the bedroom and/or the great room pretty often; it acts like a nightlight in the evenings. The problem is that no matter how well we trim the wick and use those little candle caps, the black waxy soot is on EVERY wall and ceiling, really amplifying every drywall nail in the ceiling. It's a great look... though it gives me something to obsess over when I can't sleep at night and am looking at the ceiling.  I can't but think "Jeez. If our walls and ceiling have this much black crud on them from just 2 years of burning candles, imagine the work that dude had to do as he cleaned the hundreds of years' worth of soot off of the Sistine Chapel frescoes." 
  


House stuff

My house needs a lot of love. In no particular order:
1) I need to fix the fence that got wrecked in the nor'asters. At the very least I need to replace the missing slats... at the best I need to replace the whole fence because it looks like crap.  That will not be cheap, but that's OK-- I am willing to pay good money to have a straight, even fence that will last.


2) I need to have a plumber come over and fix a zillion broken things.  A) The basement slop sink keeps filling with black bilgewater... that's not good.  B) The drain underneath the basement slop sink has a huge hole rusted out of it so I kludged together a replacement pipe out of duct tape (yes, really) and it's holding enough, but water + tape don't equal a long-term solution. C) They also need to figure out why my master-bathroom sink is dripping underneath it. (Stuff in the cabinet beneath the sink is wet, but I can't find where it's leaking.)  D) My kitchen faucet looks like shit and the adjustable water-spray can't decide what setting it wants to be on, so it just spritzes in get-all-over-everything mode. E) my hall bathroom toilet needs to have the guts replaced...  you have to hold the handle down to get a complete flush, and that only works 80% of the time... the other times you need a second flush. Annoying. 


3) I need to get the carpets cleaned. We had them scheduled but called them off because of one of the snowstorms.  I'll probably wait until July to get the carpets done at this point, mostly because we are having two Beatles rehearsals per week at the house and we have a zillion people bringing instruments and gear in and out of the house. No sense cleaning the carpets when I have a parade happening 2x/week.  Maybe I'll have them cleaned once the show is in production so we can have a cast party at our place after the closing night, maybe.


4) Landscaping. I would love to hire someone to trim my bushes that got obliterated in the snow last month. While they're at it, I would love to have them plant plants, put some mulch down, and have a yard that isn't a joke.  Then I would love to have someone turn my backyard into something not-embarrassing.  Yes, that means removing the Big Gay Purple Shed. 

5) I need to get the gutters cleaned, and while someone is up on the roof, they need to clean out the drain vents because I am sure they are clogged.  As much as I love my rare Redwood tree, it poops stuff for three out of four seasons and I'm constantly cleaning up after the damn thing. It's maddening.  And the stuff it drops is smaller than the holes on the gutter guards, rendering them completely pointless.  

Easter candy
In other news, I'm not all that into chocolate. But Matt's folks were in Connecticut for Easter and brought us each back a solid dark-chocolate bunny from this local magical chocolatier in Simbury, CT.  I devoured two chocolate rabbits by Munson's Chocolates in just 5 days. They were DELICIOUS. So smooth and tasty!

Yogurt: The struggle
Speaking of tasty things, I've been on a yogurt kick, but it is near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store. There is Greek yogurt out the ass, and every kind of low-fat or fat-free yogurt everywhere. But I just want full-fat yogurt, made with sugar or some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee.   I finally found Siggi's Icelandic Yogurt, but you have to look through the different kinds of Siggi's to find the full-fat stuff. It is deeelicious.  I also found Brown Cow brand yogurt, which is also full-fat yogurt and damn tasty.  But finding these is a feat and a half, and I have to make special trips to find 'em. Annoying. 


What else...

Hot Breakfast stuff...

Hot Breakfast has been taking a bit of a hiatus, but we're finally starting to fill up the ol' gig calendar. We've got a gig in Dover on May 4th, and then we've been asked to play the Wilmington Flower Market on the 10th and then a record-store event on May 11th.  We've got other stuff potentially coming up, too... so it'll be nice to play our own gigs for a change, since we've been doing so many tribute shows lately.


What else...

lipstick
I've been wearing this ridiculously bright hot-pink lipstick lately and I don't care how silly and age-inappropriate I look. It makes me happy. 


Birthdays
Today is my brother's birthday, and I posted a goofy photo of him wearing a leisure suit as a 4-year-old on Instagram.  I called him and we chatted for 20 minutes or so, which was delightful. I love my brother very much.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is my birthday and we have nothing planned, just like the last zillion birthdays. Matt asked me if I wanted him to get everyone together and I said no thanks.  I don't need people to interrupt their lives and go through the hassle of leaving the house and fighting the social anxiety (or real anxiety) on my account. I don't need the validation. I already feel valid and loved, thanks. :)

If someone thinks of me tomorrow they can send me a text or a card or something. But I don't like obligation. Birthdays are not important to me. 

EDITED TO ADD: How could I forget! My beloved birthday pie turns 17 today, which means we're bringing it for its drivers test and license.  It's a little stressed about the junior prom considering how hard it is to find a date, but we are staying optimistic. I was telling Shelle via text that the closest prospect was a can of evaporated milk from 1995 that lives with my parents, but said can of milk is not interested in kid-stuff like the prom anymore. Shelle replied "Too milquetoast for dances?" And that is why I love Shelle Klein Houser ​​​​​​. 

OK, that's enough for now.

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4/16 '18 13 Comments
It's your birthday, but you give away the presents.
"some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee."
That's a gift.

Happy Birthday. I celebrate you.
We've had good service from http://moonplumbing.com/ since before they had their current website (2001).
-q
Robert Bryan 4/17 '18
Awwww, thanks for the birthday wishes and sweet words!

Thanks also for the Moon recommendation. You've recommended them to me before and they did really wonderful work for us.
Yay you're coming to Dover! On a day I might be here! (or I may not, since I'm kidfree that night, and miss city life). Where are you giggin?

Also, Plumbers putty is an awesome temp-fix for leaking pipe solution. My kitchen sink drain (vintage 1971) is rusted through in a way only fixable by replacing the sink. And sinks are no longer made the same size, so it's not easy to just drop a new one in. So I puttied the drain about 6 months ago, and dream of a day when I can remodel the whole damn dump of a kitchen that I currently have.

I'm with you on the annoying "can't find real yogurt" issue. I've caved and gone over to greek.

In my washerless youth, I used to pay $0.20/lb for a wash&fold service. Cheap at twice the price,IMHO, and worth every penny.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
Ursula Sadiq 4/17 '18
Also in my washerless early 30s, I also used a wash-and-fold which was most definitely absolutely the best deal ever-- I am in total agreement!

And thanks for the plumbers putty suggestion. I'd never heard of it, but your suggestion sent me down a youtube rabbit hole, and now I wanna fix EVERYTHING.

We'll be at the Dover Public Library on Friday, May 4th from 6:30 - 8pm. So a nice, chill night for everyone! We are not kids' music, but we don't drop F-bombs or sing about anything particularly inappropriate... but I always like to set that expectation, especially when we're playing in a place one might expect a kids-band to play. Kids do seem to like us... I think it's because we smile a lot. :)
> near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store

The struggle is real. I like whole-milk yogurt, and I like it plain because I want to control how much sugar I put in it. Whole Foods is terrible but I always found that they tend to have a more reliable inventory of unsweetened, whole-milk yogurt than Acme.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY tip: If you can't find Brown Cow, try Nancy's brand.
Michele Grant 4/17 '18
Nancy's brand? Never heard of it, but I am officially on the lookout!

Xo!
Best returns of the day. Wear that lipstick!
Scott Stevens 4/17 '18
Thank you, thank you!

And consider my maw stupidly fuschia. :)
and I love you.
And I love you. :)
Oh! Happy birthday, Jill! A world with you born into it is a world enriched.

You know what's weird? When I'm out and about and I buy nonfat yogurt for Paul, I actually have to be very careful when grabbing a container because SO MANY brands are sold in full-fat form around here. I kid you not.
Anne Mollo 4/17 '18edited
You are so sweet. Thank you for the birthday wordseses!

And dooood, I am coming to Vermont for the Mollo and the yogurt. :)
Yesterday, the store I visited had ONLY full fat yogurts. It was The Weird. And if I'd known that was how to lure you up here I'd've mentioned it a LOT sooner...
Anne Mollo 4/19 '18
 

At the Philly Airport.   It is creepily empty. I keep waiting for Bronson Pinchot to show up with a blind chick. 

Debating telling the flight attendants that it's my birthday.  

Cons: They may sing Happy Birthday, which I really don't like.  

Pros: They might make me a crown made of toilet paper rolls and stirrers. 

We shall see. 

Off to Austin! 

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4/17 '17 15 Comments
Happy Jillbot Day!
Rabbit 4/17 '17
Yaay! Thank you!
Happy pie time
Thomas Boutell 4/17 '17
Thanky thanky!
Happy Birdie to You!
I am also at the Philly airport, waiting for my shuttle to take me to my car.
I hope your travels were safe and rewarding! Was that the Epic conference? How did it go?
That was the "going to Atlanta to see my godson" trip. Epic conference is next week, and I am not quite ready for it, but I will pull my shit together at the last minute, as always. Ta-fucking-da.

My visit to my godson and his wonderful family was very rewarding. I miss his little face already, and I miss my Rabbit and Brandes and Miles, and all of their parents too. It was a great visit. I got to hang out with live chickens and live bees. I got closer to the chickens.
This sounds like the perfect thing. <3
Happy birthday and safe travels!
Leela 4/17 '17
Thank you, m'dear!
“You ought to write ‘A Happy Birthday’ on it.”
“That was what I wanted to ask you,” said Pooh. “Because my spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. Would you write ‘A Happy Birthday’ on it for me?”
…Owl licked the end of his pencil, and wondered how to spell “birthday.”
“Can you read, Pooh?” he asked, a little anxiously. “There’s a notice about knocking and ringing outside my door, which Christopher Robin wrote. Could you read it?”
“Christopher Robin told me what it said, and then I could.”
“Well, I’ll tell you what this says, and then you’ll be able to.”
So Owl wrote…and this is what he wrote:
HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA
BTHUTHDY.
Pooh looked on admiringly.
“I’m just saying ‘A Happy Birthday,'” said Owl carelessly.
“It’s a nice long one,” said Pooh, very much impressed by it.
“Well, actually, of course, I’m saying ‘A Very Happy Birthday with love from Pooh.’ Naturally it takes a good deal of pencil to say a long thing like that.”
“Oh, I see,” said Pooh.
I love this so much. And I love YOU so much!
I wanted to type just the HIPY PAPY greeting, but it needed context, so I had to copy and paste.
Happy Pie Day Beautiful. :)
Awww! Thank you! :)