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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this Benefit of the Doubt thing:

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

This is not okay. 

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

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

And check this nugget out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope people will extend me the same courtesy. 

I have some apology emails to write.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

You're good people!
Sean M Puckett 6/4 '18edited
Yeah, I feel you, sister.
I don't know anything helpful to say about the issue at hand.
You're thinking and feeling sounds WAY more responsible and mature than I have access to, so I'll take your word for it on all that.

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

I'm a fan of that.
Robert Bryan 6/4 '18
The only fault I find here is making the post public if you didn't want S or her friends to see it ... and that's more of a goofup than anything else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with what Shelle says, also.
Rabbit 6/5 '18
Good. For. You.
Rabbit 6/4 '18
SeaDel friend Falko told me not long ago that he used to have a real problem with a generally negative outlook on people and the world. road rage, phone rage, work rage, etc.

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

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

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

Or anyway - it worked for him.

Has kinda worked for me.

CM Adams 6/8 '18edited
Yes! This is also a good way to avoid bashing allies. "I am enraged by that surfacey gesture / slacktivist post you're making because I assume you are doing nothing more." No. Maybe they are singlehandedly flipping Alabama.

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

But I love the whole "Maybe this is the only stupid thing they've ever done" approach!
also, sorry about the whole feeling/being isolated thing. I really enjoyed seeing you when Barb and I were there. and every time I talk to Matt, I like him more. hearing now about some of the toll that socializing can take, I feel especially lucky that we seem to have managed it without major issues on that occasion.
CM Adams 6/8 '18
Matt and I loooooved spending time with you guys, too! Barb is the bees knees, and you've always been and continue to be one of my favorite people on the planet. You crack me up like few people can. :)

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

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

I'll bite: 

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

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

5/4 '18 5 Comments
Standing by with a bucket.
Anne Mollo 5/4 '18
I want this.
I've been meaning to actually type it out for months, so you're really doing me a favor by calling for it.

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

CM Adams 5/4 '18
alright - you asked for it.
CM Adams 5/5 '18

I should not be awake right now.

I drove exactly 300 miles yesterday over 6.25 hours driving between rehearsals, Matt's performance at a north Jersey wedding (nobody we knew-- it was just a gig, and I did not attend... I was just the chauffeur), my parents' place, and home. 

I was very happy to see my folks yesterday, even though it was a quick visit. 

I have two more rehearsals today and another performance. 

I bought my house exactly 10 years ago Friday. 

​​​​​I still have boxes I haven't opened since they were moved here from my old apartment. 

I spend a lot of time waiting for my phone to do what I'm asking it to do, which often isn't much.

I think operationally, not strategically.

I move gently.

If I have a problem, I solve it fundamentally.

I think mentally-- and when I fly I'm so high, I do it intercontinentally.

(Those last three lines courtesy of Robert Bryan and Dave Peters. Listen here.)

11/12 '17 6 Comments
Wow you are one seriously busy lady! I hear you re the phone... it gets old. How hard is it anyway for my $600 machine to perform simple tasks? Ugh.

Congrats on 10 years of home ownership and enjoy all the gigging (exhausting as it is). And I hope you get some rest soon!
Leela 11/12 '17
Oh shit.
I thought, “That sounds familiar... wait, that’s me, that’s Dave.”
Wow. Thank you.
Robert Bryan 11/12 '17
I sing that song ALL. THE. TIME. I love how he delivers your lyrics (the inflections make me soooo happy), and the little vocal percussions he sometimes does betwixt verses.

I fly a lot. So that line is in my head very often. :-)

Thank you to the both of you for giving us all that song.
Holy crap! I completely recognize those lyrics from the mix you put that on about a bajillion years ago. I didn’t know that was Mr. Bryan‘s work!
Yup! Rob wrote the lyrics and Dave set it to music, played it, and recorded it. Fun, right?
Fun indeed!

I like watching SNL via YouTube clip a day or two after the show.  I have been loving SNL super-hard since last year (along with the rest of the universe), but last night's Larry David /Miley Cyrus episode left me wanting. Weekend Update was great as usual, though.

I've never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm so I have no feelings either way about Larry David, but I felt like he didn't have much to work with this week.

I heard Miley Cyrus interviewed on Howard Stern and respected her-- she seems to have a good head on her shoulders and a healthy understanding about who she is and where her place is in the universe. I also think she has a powerful voice, and an accurate voice, too-- but the musician in me wishes her songs weren't so contrived and dumb, and I wish she didn't rely so heavily on "faux R-and-B melisma thinly veiled as passion and soul." Just fucking sing the song. (Then again, I wish someone would give her something better to sing... but then again, she is in her early 20s and maybe that's all she has to sing about right now.). 

Everyone's a critic, apparently.

My UPenn consulting gig is going well, though I really don't feel like they need me very much, though they use me a lot. I think they just use me as a sanity check/training wheels, but their own instincts are great and they don't really need my guidance. I'm happy to give them the extra assurance if it makes them feel better, though. 

Hot Breakfast is back in the studio and we've got two songs done; "Giants are Sleeping" which is a dream Matt had, and "Taking Care of Bobby" which is about someone who is taking care of a person ("Bobby") with a mental illness. Bobby was once a famous musician and now decades later he's become unwieldy and unstable and relies on the kindness of others until he wears out his welcome and is foisted on some other unsuspecting fan.  We're about to start recording our Meatloaf-esque epic song "Open Mic Night," which is an 8-minute monstrosity with skits and everything. I'm ridiculously excited about it.

I've been doing a lot of voiceover work lately. My latest project is that I'm the voice of New Mexico's health insurance exchanges (e.g., "don't forget to choose a healthcare plan under Obamacare" since open enrollment is HELLA SHORT this year and ends December 15th and the healthcare.gov website is closed Sundays I shit you not. (Fuck you, Trump.))   I'm also the voice of St. Francis Healthcare, which is a hospital in Wilmington.  It's fun to hear my voice in commercials when I'm listening to the radio in the shower. 

Yesterday Matt and I played in a memorial softball game for our friend Joel who died two years ago. Joel loved softball, so our friend Kevin Regan organized a game so we could do something fun on what would normally be a sad day. It was a gorgeous, crisp fall day, and we had fun.  I played catcher which means I did 73,000 squats, which means I can barely walk today.  But I did hit both righty and lefty which was fun.  Matt pitched really well, and also hit really well, too. A fine day out.

Allrighty, I'm gonna sign off-- got stuff to do.

11/5 '17 17 Comments
When Weekend Update comes on, I chant "Che! Che! Che" and Houser says, "Johhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhst!"
Yeah, those guys have really nailed it. I really look forward to that segment, and I love how they react to each other.
H loves it when they crack each other up. I love the Michael Che eyeroll that ends up as laughter.

We ended up fast-forwarding Larry David's monologue. Holocaust jokes are in poor taste, but maybe salvageable if the comedian is Jewish ... maybe. But why, why waste the audience's time and emotional energy with Holocaust jokes that are not at all funny, not to the Jews and not to the goyim? UGH.
Shelle Klein Houser 11/5 '17edited
I didn't even get to watch the monologue yet... and now I won't. Thanks for saving me a click!
I've been pretty underwhelmed by SNL for a long time, but I'm with you both - Weekend Update is fantastic and pretty much always makes me lol.
Ooh I'd love to hear those ads! I just started copying all my old voiceover tapes to digital and would love to share (OMG my little baby voice back then!), but have no idea how to share them on FB or here...
Jenn A 11/6 '17
Soundcloud is your friend... or even just save 'em to Dropbox and share the public links. Nuthin' to it! I'd love to hear yours, too!
Didn't know I could use Dropbox, thanks!!! Just posted one to FB, here's the link because I know you're never on there. :) https://www.dropbox.com/s/0r5wwosn8x2b507/Jenn%20Del%20Val%20College%20spot.wav?dl=0
Jenn A 11/7 '17
DOOOOOD! I finally had a chance to listen to this! (I couldn't play it on my phone because crappy phone.) This is awesome!! Is the whole thing your voice-- even at the end with the phone numbers? It sounds like two totally different people! I can't tell either way... on one hand I think it's you, and then I listen again and I'm like "mmmmaybe it is?" Eeeeeeeeeeee!

If you want, I'd be happy to toss your name into the pool if/when my guy needs another female voice, because I absolutely can't do that awesome character you did there. You rocketh mightily!
I would love that!!!! Thanks! It's actually 2 different voices -- the one at the end is Lucy St. James, who was the ad production person at the time (I forget what station she's at now). She did most of the radio spots that the station recorded for clients... but if the client wanted a "character" (like in that one) she'd poke her head into my office and be like, "can I steal you for 15 minutes?" :)
Jenn A 11/9 '17
Holy crap - I wanna hear those too! Any chance we can convince you to share with the rest of the class?
I posted one on FB (same as the link above)... I'll put the others up this weekend. :)
Jenn A 11/9 '17
Excellent! I will be checking these out ASAP.
Can I ask how you got started doing the voiceover stuff? I have to confess to being a little curious about that myself. Not that I think I have a great voice or anything, but I'm thinking a LOT about side gigs right now, and pretty much any kind of creative work seems like it would be really good.
It really was just a case of being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people. I hate to say it, but it's true.

I got that Cream of Wheat voiceover in 7th grade because Nabisco's headquarters was in my town, and they wanted cheap labor, so they sent a guy to the middle school and asked the Broadcasting Club advisor (Mr. Ginsberg!) if he had any club members that had good voices, and Ginsberg recommended me. So I recorded the spot, not really knowing what I was doing, but I guess I came across like I wasn't a total idiot. But that was the first thing on the resume that made me appear "legit."

In high school and college I recorded music in studios with various bands, so I got really comfortable with hearing the sound of my own voice (granted, my singing voice), but I also got comfy with studio equipment, so I looked like I knew what I was doing and sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

Then I had my college radio show for 4 years and earned my FCC radio license and had to do newscasts and commercials for the station, so that also built up my resume. Moving to Arizona helped because it really neutralized my NJ accent.

Then I was working as the head of IT for a huge radiology group in Arizona when Bell was morphing to Lucent, and my company was shopping for a new phone system. So the Bell sales droid said that we could save money on our phone system by recording the phone prompts ourselves, so I said I'd do it. So I first recorded the voice prompts just for our own company's phone system, and when the guy heard that it sounded good, he suggested his bosses dial into our phone system to hear my voice because they were looking for the voice for Lucent's new phone systems to sell to people who didn't want to record their own voice prompts. I honestly think I got that gig because I was... there... and not totally incompetent. Saying I had an FCC Radio License gave me some kind of faux-credibility -- it sounded important to people who didn't know any better. (Fun fact: The year after I got my radio license the FCC decided you didn't need a license anymore to be on the radio... so my license means absolutely nothing. But it sure sounds important!)

Anyway, I got the recent voiceover gigs because we hired George Murphy from Planet Ten to do our CD design/layout of our first CD (39 Summers), and instead of paying him, he asked if I would just barter some free voiceover work... somehow he knew that I had done voiceovers before. And then going forward, whenever he needed a voice he called me... and those turned into paying gigs.

This is more information than you wanted, I'm sure... but the upshot is, I was in the right place at the right time, and I spoke up about what I could offer people. *shrug*
Jill "xtingu" Knapp 11/9 '17edited
You crack me up. “I was just lucky“ and then proceed to list a long set of ways in which you created that ‘luck’.


Very cool though. I don’t think I knew about most of those gigs. I knew about the college radio, but I think that’s about it!
Matt Lichtenwalner 11/13 '17edited
Now I have “George Murphy” by Tom Lehrer in my head. Listen to it. It’s a great song, on “That Was The Year that Was.”

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.)

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 Kuhl 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 Kuhl 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 Kuhl 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
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

Matt and I were supposed to go to the beach to enjoy a little change of scenery, but Matt's folks forgot they told us we could use the beach place and instead gave it to Matt's aunt. (Totally no biggie.)

So earlier today I had to drop some stuff off in Philly for a client, and on my way home I got a frantic call from Jeremy. Apparently the Moskosteins are heading out of town tomorrow and so they brought JD to the dogsitter today-- it's the same dogsitter they've used for 8-9 years, whom JD loves and vice versa. But today JD just did not want to go. He was angry when they put him in the car, and once they drove to the dogsitter in NJ, JD was really not happy and didn't want to get out of the van. Eventually JD was coaxed out of the van and then bit the dogsitter on the arm and also snapped at and just barely missed a small dog whom JD normally gets along with.  JD has never bitten anyone/anything before (not that we can remember anyway), so this was scary, upsetting, confusing, and a zillion other adjectives one uses along with worried eyebrows. So the dogsitter said she couldn't risk not only her own safety but the safety of her other clients' dogs, so Jeremy was asked to get JD out.  It was a scary and awkward and sad situation for everyone involved... but Jeremy was also in a bind because he's trying to get his family on a plane and now he needs an emergency dogsitter for a dog who is now biting people he supposedly loves. I said "Bring him here, please... he'll be fine, and so will we."

Nicole and Jeremy brought JD over and he as soon as they pulled into our driveway, JD's tail was wagging and he was perfectly fine... clearly much much happier to be at our place.  If I had to guess, I'd say that JD is hurting and just didn't want to be someplace where he'd be annoyed by 5 other dogs and not where he's totally comfortable... so JD figured if he misbehaved at the dogsitter he'd get to go someplace else. Smart dog!

ADDED MONDAY the 24th:

So we had JD all weekend, and everything was perfectly fine... absolutely noooo sense of  doggie weirdness.  It is sad to see how often he'll be walking and BLAM his back legs give out. He doesn't seem to be "in pain," but when his rear legs just fail, it is kinda awkward and inconvenient for him when it happens. But when he's laying down he's still very much a happy, good, playful dog... so having end-of-life discussions seems premature right now. 

But JD was picked back up this morning and brought back to Chez Moskostein, because Laura and Audrey are back home from their trip now. (Jeremy will be away for a little while longer.)

In other news, Lizzie rehearsal is going well, and if the voices involved are the litmus, this is gonna be one hell of a show. 

OK, that's enough outta me.


7/24 '17 4 Comments
Oh, JD. Dogs teach us so much about love. I'm so glad you could be there for him and the Moskosteins.
Yes. This.
You are a good human. Poor JD.
Thomas Boutell 7/25 '17
poor puppy! :( so good that auntie jill could give him luvs all weekend and deal with his wonky legs.
Jenn A 7/25 '17

This entry has been copied/pasted from xtingu.dreamwidth.org/1034861.html .
I was happy to see that rone replied there.


Wow, I've been writing a lot. I take this as a good sign, and maybe the first sign that maybe my hermitty ways may be ever-so-slightly starting to lift. 

I wanted to jot some things down so I don't forget them, in no particular order.

1) My company, Knapp I.T., Inc. is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year. Coincidentally, my brother's company, Jephens Tech is celebrating 20 years this year. I feel like we should get the employees of Boutell.com and Moskowitz-Inc and go spend some pre-tax dollars on an employee appreciation dinner. :-)

2) If my company is 10 years old, that means I've been living in my house for 10 years come this November. Jeeeezus. So much for only moving to Delaware for six months until I figured out where I wanted to wind up. :-)

3) Matt and I have tickets to a Phillies game tomorrow. The weather should be perfect. This will be my first time at the "new" stadium. 

4) Our home wifi dies once a week or so, and one of us has to go reset the router in the basement when that happens. So this afternoon the wifi died, but it turns out my entire FiOS box is dead dead dead... it's not getting power at all. The outlet works, and the battery backup seems to be charging, but no power is getting to the main unit. Not sure what's happening, but the nice Verizon man will come out on Saturday to fix it. Until then, we have no land line, and only Internet on our phones. Hmmmm. Suboptimal. 

5) This past Friday we went to Hummingbird to Mars, which is a cute speakeasy sorta place in Wilmington. It's not as swanky as Please Don't Tell in NYC or the Franklin Mortgage and Investment in Philly, but it's fine for Wilmington. We went with our pal Brian and also with Kevin and Lee. We all agreed it was very civilized. And no matter how foo-foo and well-prepared a cocktail is, I just don't give a crap about drinking. Gimme a ginger ale and I'm happy. 

5a) I went for a quick check-up (more like a check-in) with my regular doctor and he asked me the usual questions. When he asked if I drank, I said no. "Not at all?" "Nope." "Not even a glass of wine?" "Maybe once a year..." "Wow, OK." I found his surprise amusing. :) Anyway, he gave me crap about not having a gone for a recent mammogram or a DEXA bone density scan, so imma go do those, along with my big annual bloodwork and anemia labs.

6) Last week our pal Noelle was releasing her new EP at the Wilmington Art Loop, so we went to grab a copy and to see the gorgeous photo exhibit of images by Joe del Tufo that accompanied the album. We then went to the DCCA to see Lauren at her art studio and seeing all of her paintings made me itchy to paint again. So I started a new piece soon to be called "Hello, Pinball." I love it so far... really proud of it, but the hardest part (the lettering) hasn't begun yet. I can't decide what color to make the letters yet. Hmmmm.

7) Tonight while I was painting, I saw the BIGGEST FUCKING ANT I have ever seen in my life, and I ran screaming as if I were getting axed in the face. Matt saved the day with a slipper... and it took me 10 minutes for my heart to stop leaping out of my chest. I love bugs, spiders, beetles... but ants? NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Little ants? If there's only one or two, I'm ok... but if there's a line, or wosre, a pile? AAAAAIIIGGHH!! And big ants (like carpenter ants)? FUCK THAT GET A BAT. This ant that I saw was waaaay bigger than a standard-issue carpenter ant. I don't know what the hell kind of radioactive mutant ant it was, but if I had to guess, it was probably called a OH MY GOD GET IT AWAY FROM ME KILL IT WITH FIRE ant. 

8) When my company was born all those years ago, one of the first things I did was hire an accountant/bookkeeper. Her name is Carol, and I honestly couldn't run my business without her. She's funny, she's brilliant, she talks to me like I'm six, she fixes my QuickBooks stupidity, she handles forms and files my taxes and just takes care of everything and keeps me out of jail. I love her. Welp, she used to be a one-person business, and then she got bought out by a bigger firm, and now that firm is focusing on wealth-management clients and getting rid of their accounting/bookkeeping clients. I am heartbroken. I mean, I totally understand of course. So we're trying to tie up as many loose ends by the end of the month as possible, because she officially goes away on June 30th. It is daunting trying to find a bookkeeper, an accountant, and someone who can run my payroll under one roof, so I figure I'll go back to using Paychex for my payroll at least. No idea about the bookkeeper/accountant yet. Gotta move on that soon, though. 

9) Last but not least: I need to see my folks; it's been too long, and I miss them. I have to figure out a Fathers Day Plan. I'm gonna call my folks tomorrow and see what they're thinkin'. 

Allrighty-- that's all the news that's fit for bloggin'.

6/15 '17

I taught from Monday through Thursday (today) at Wharton Business School (at Penn) this week. It felt good to get back in the saddle.  It's Penn's spring break this week, so we were able to snag one of the really nice classrooms in the basement of Vance Hall, which is on the corner of 38th and Spruce.  There is no cell signal in that there basement, so if you need to send/receive a text you have to go into the stairwell that leads outside so you can pick up just enough signal to send/receive a few characters.  Plus, I'm not on their WiFi/network, so I really am cut off from the world from 7:50am - 4:30pm. (I should add that by the time I get home from teaching all day, I am 100000% out of spoons, so I don't even get online, really. I'll check my work email via my phone, and that's all I got. LJ/OPW/Twitter/Instagram? Nosiree.)

Anyway, the last time I taught at Wharton, I had Delaware Express Shuttle drive me to and from Penn every day... but at $130 EACH WAY (yes, really... $260/day x 4 days, that's over $1000 just to get to and from work each day.  Granted, it also involves the least amount of hassle, and since Wharton is paying a pretty penny for this training, I didn't really feel all that bad about spending that money (crazy as it sounds).  

So, this time around I decided to take SEPTA for the first time in my 18 years of living in Delaware.  So I had Delaware Express drive me TO Penn in the morning, and in the afternoons I would walk to the University City station and ride SEPTA to Claymont for $6.50.  Much better than $130.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the train schedule was such that by the time I ended class, I'd have to wait over an hour before my train would leave, and I wouldn't be home until 5:45pm. We had a Billy Joel tribute band rehearsal last night, and I desperately wanted to take a nap between teaching and rehearsal, but I knew I wouldn't be able to fit a nap in if I took the train.

Anyway, after class yesterday I grabbed my backpack and walked down Spruce St. towards the University City train station, and I'm weighing the pros and cons of taking the train as planned for $6.50 (even though the train didn't leave Philly for a good 75 minutes. I also considered calling an Uber to see if they would just drive me home thanks to the miracle of credit cards... and then I decided, "Screw it. I'll take a cab, then. I wanna get home, I wanna lose this heavy backpack, I wanna take a nap... but most importantly, I wanna see my guy."  As my eyeballs scanned Spruce Street for a cab without passengers, a car beeps next to me... and it's a green Mini Cooper with Matt behind the wheel!  Apparently he had texted me 7238 times asking if I'd like a ride home (messages I never received due to the location of my classroom); and when he didn't receive a response, he decided "Screw it.  I'm gonna go get her."   What makes it nuttier is that Matt doesn't 'normally' drive up South Street / Spruce Street to get to Wharton (the whole ONE other time he's been to Wharton), and instead he'd normally take some weird back streets... but something made him take Spruce, and we like to psychically believe it's because he somehow "knew" that I would be walking down that road at that time.  So I jumped in his car.  We kept saying, "Oh my god! This is so crazy! What are the chances I'd be walking on this street at the same time you decided to drive up it?"  Boom!

As if that wasn't amazing enough, today I finished up my class and a few students wanted to hang out and chat, so I did... all while covertly keeping an eye on the clock because I didn't want to miss my noon train... which I did.  No worries though... after I said goodbye to the students, I gathered my stuff and walked out of the building, and onto Spruce Street... and suddenly Bobbi Block is standing in front of me, fresh off the plane from New Zealand, and we are staring at each other, totally baffled and excited and giggling to be seeing each other so randomly and unexpectedly (not to mention out of context).  We kept saying "Oh my god! This is crazy! What are the chances of us walking this way right now?"

I love when cool stuff like that happens.

3/9 '17 5 Comments
Look behind you!
That is magic indeed!
Whoa, neat! I love it when cool stuff like that happens, too.

Also like you: I tend to want to go home and veg out after working all day. I love love love my job, but it fully depletes the energy stores in my brainpan!
Sharon Crowley 3/10 '17
Lesson 2: Take NJ Transit to Manhattan from Princeton Junction. Compare and contrast to Amtrak fares and comforts.
Jixel 3/23 '17
Oh yes, how I love that trick. 12 bucks vs. 140 bucks. Kinda ridiculous. And Amtrak wonders why more people don't ride...