Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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I've been getting hired to play a lot of percussion gigs lately; and these gigs require actual sheet music and precision. When hands are busy, it's hard to turn paper pages, so for my recent Genesis gig I used a tablet with a bluetooth foot pedal to turn the pages.  This was extremely liberating, and I will never go back to paper!

In the past, if I have a singing gig where I only need lyrics and not actual sheet music, my fabulous Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1" I inherited from Matt Lichtenwalner is the perfect thing. However, it's got a pretty big bezel, so it's just too small for actual sheet music that I have to *read,* like for BeatleFest. (I cannot memorize the harmonies  plus percussion parts to 215 songs, because the harmony I sing changes on each song. Am I singing top? Middle? Switching on Page 4 because Brendan has been singing a certain part for 20 years and so just for these two words I sing this other thing?)

I looked at the new iPad Pro, but for $1200, I couldn't justify it... plus, I really just don't "get" IOS. It's unintuitive to me, which I know makes me weird.

After months of research, I settled on the Onyx Boox Max 2 Pro, which is my very first e-ink device. It purposely doesn't have a backlight, because I find that backlit devices cause eye fatigue like whoa, plus they can mess with the look of the stage when you have a fancy light show goin' on.  (I can always use a judiciously-placed stand light that can't be seen from the audience if necessary.)  This Boox Max 2 Pro sucker is 13.2", so it's larger than a sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper-- I don't have to squint or zoom to see my music. Yippee!  It's so much easier on my eyes, too!  And for making notes in my music, it's got Wacom 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity for the stylus, so making notes feels just like writing on paper, no lag, no bullshit.  

But what makes this tablet very different from many other e-ink devices is that it's an Android device that isn't locked down (runs Android Marshmallow), so you can install stuff off the Google Play Store to your heart's desire.  It runs Mobile Sheets Pro (my favorite-- and the publisher even made an e-ink version just for this specific tablet since so many pro musicians use it now), and has no problem with my bluetoof page-turner pedal. YES!

My goal was to buy a high-speed two-sides-at-once scanner, take my 3 GIANT binders of Beatles music and scan 'em in, and stick them on my tablet for BeatleFest.  Alas, the scanner I purchased for this purpose scanned lightning fast (35ppm!), but only if you didn't need to deviate from the defaults. The moment you wanted it to tweak any setting (a little more contrast, please?) it crawled to an unacceptable speed. Like, I would still be scanning my Beatles music long after BeatleFest 2019 ended. :-) 

I did a test run and scanned/imported my music for The Who tribute show we do (much less sheet music to scan), but I noticed that no matter which scanner settings I picked, I still couldn't easily read whatever notes I had written on my sheet music once I was viewing it on the tablet... which means I had to re-write 90% of my handwritten notes... which then looked sloppy because I was trying to trace over my original handwritten notes with the stylus. So annoying.

(So first world. I know.)

To Summarize:

So because the scanner was a bust, I will be returning the scanner, and I'll just import the original, plain PDFs of my BeatleFest music, and I will transcribe my handwritten notes using the tablet stylus. It'll save a ton of time in the long run, I'm sure.

I'm really excited to be able to use this tablet for BeatleFest. I'll have my binders there as a backup, of course... 

I'm also excited to get rid of that giant music stand that was blocking some of the cool percussion stuff that I was doing.  I know this tablet is large, but it's not nearly as intrusive as a music stand. And yay: hands free page turns!  Wooot!


There will still be plenty of gigs (mostly Hot Breakfast gigs) where I will prefer to use my smaller Samsung 10.1" Galaxy Note tablet, mostly because that smaller tablet is a full-color device (very helpful for lyrics) where e-ink tablets are obviously greyscale only. 

But it's nice to have the choice.  My eyeballs aren't getting any better as I get older, so having some options is really nice. 

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6/14 '19 5 Comments
Tell me more about this Bluetooth foot pedal.
Lindsay Harris Friel 6/14 '19edited
Most people's sheet music is just in a PDF, so these foot pedals are just a way to tell your app to flip the page.

Even fancy-pants sheet music applications (I use Mobile Sheets Pro, which is one of the popular ones) is really just a glorified pdf reader-- it just has easy ways to group and display songs into set lists and stuff, and has tools easily write notes in your music, zoom, crop out huge borders, too. You can even tell it "When you get to Page 4, turn back to page 2 because I have to take the repeat. Then when I get to Page 3 the second time, jump to Page 5 for the coda." That's all in the app, not the pedal.

The pedals have been around for a long time, honestly... I just never needed one until recently. The pedal effortlessly pairs with your tablet via Bluetooth, and then when you hit the footswitch on the right it turns the page forward/up, and the left footswitch turns back one page. They have a no-stick back so you can't easily accidentally kick it off the stage. :-) The cheapie pedals are fine-- no need to spend a fortune. This is the one I own-- the PageFlip Butterfly. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LIROF7W?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share)

Some people like their foot pedals to have a click so they have some kind of tactile feedback. I got a silent one because nobody wants to hear clickity-click during a quiet moment.

They also make pedals with four foot-switches, and you can assign from a bevy of actions you want to each footswitch. Forward/back, and maybe "back to the top" or "open next file" or whatever.

Forward and backward is all I needed.

I imagine a foot switch could be handy for table reads, or even transcriptionists, too.
Now I want a series of foot pedals for all my online reading and browsing...
Anne Mollo 6/14 '19
It's the "Crazy Train" sound. :-)
 

The thing I teach is this thing called "ITIL" which is basically a set of books that give you ideas on how to make your IT department suck less.  When I teach what's known as an "ITIL Foundation" class, I'm basically giving a 3-day lecture on the highlights of these books (kinda like a live-action Cliffs Notes), and then I proctor the official Certification Exam that "proves" that people remember the highlights and major plot points of these books. 

When these books first came out in 1989-ish, they were a set of 31 books. They were revised in 1999 and they shrunk down to 8 books (though they added a 9th one later) -- that was called "ITIL v2," and then in 2007 it became 5 books ("ITIL V3"). In 2011, they did a teeny little update to the five ITIL V3 books and there was confusion in the industry as to whether it was still called "ITIL V3" or if it was called "ITIL 2011" or just plain ol' "ITIL." But it stayed five books.

A new version just sorta came out in beta, and only instructors have access to this draft version (called "ITIL 4"). Instructors have to be certified in it before we're allowed to teach it, obviously.  The new version won't be officially released until February-ish, and the new ITIL 4 Foundation exams will go live around then.

I'm heading down to Washington DC today because the ITIL Mothership is holding a  Train the Trainer Class on Thursday and Friday... and then Friday afternoon I'll also take the Foundation Exam.  This new version is soooooooooo fundamentally different than any of its predecessors that I am worried I'm gonna fail this exam on Friday... and boy howdy won't that be embarrassing. 

I know when ITIL V2 moved to ITIL V3 in 2007, I was convinced I'd never ever be comfy or fluent in the V3 material... and hey, look at me, I'm considered a fancy-pants subject matter expert and I haven't had an in-person student flunk the exam on my watch since 2009, and people buy access to my online instructional videos and send me fan-mail thanking me for helping them nail the exam. So maybe I'm not as dumb as I think. 

But this new version... man. I read it, and it means nothing to me... and I channel Matt Lichtenwalner ​​​​​​'s friend Don and kinda giggle because all I see are "worrrrrrrrds..."  O_o


In other news, a few weeks ago I had two root canals and one of them turned to the dark side and got infected (yum) so my face blew up and it hurt... so I jumped on 10 days of antibiotics. Those ended on November 5th.

On Monday of this week they had to do more dental work, and now the *other* root-canaled tooth has turned to the dark side. So I'll be on yet another stupid round of antibiotics starting in an hour or so. Sick of this, you guys.  (I swear I brush and floss! I even have a Sonicare and a WaterPik that I use religiously!)  And my dentist is awesome... so I don't know why my teef rebel like this. It hurts, and I look like an idiot with my face all lopsided yet again.  (Perfect for meeting new people!)

It's supposed to be a wintry mix of blecch from DC to NYC for the next few days, and the hotel I'm staying in is about 1/2 mile from the Sofitel hotel where the training is at. (As much as I wanted to stay at the Sofitel, I couldn't justify $800/night. So it'll be $400/night instead at the Hampton Inn... ouch.) I'm not looking forward to walking 1/2 mile in the icy snow to/from class, but I also know that 1/2 mile is just not far enough to justify calling an Uber/Lyft.  So I will comfort and warm my heart by flipping the bird at The White House as I walk directly past it on the walk to/from class each day. 

I am looking forward to meeting my friend Dan for dinner tonight since he lives in DC. He's been my pal since Kindergarten, and he's fucking awesome. We were in punk band in high school together and he is one of those "touchstone" people in my life. Stoked to see him. 

This will be my first work-trip (or any trip, really) in forever where Matt isn't coming with me. I haz a sad. But honestly, I'm gonna be studying each night, so I wouldn't be that much fun to hang around anyway.


In other news, this Saturday night we are playing in a big-ol' tribute to The Who, and I am pretty excited about it.  Good lordy, the song "Slip Kid" is so much fun to play. Plus I'm getting to play trumpet on "5:15," "Drowned," and "The Real Me," and it's a blast.  I can't remember if I've ever performed on The Grand Opera House stage before... it's a 1200-seat theater. I feel like I would have remembered that. *shrug*

Ok, time to get out of bed. (I've been up since 8, but I just like being in bed.)

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11/14 '18 6 Comments
I can't imagine that it's possible that you haven't performed at the Grande. Maybe at the Baby Grande? Dunno.

Anywho - sounds like you're pretty slammed over the next couple of days, but I will be working in DC (or nearby) both days (weather permitting) so ping me if you want to grab coffee.
I gather you’ll have little time, but if you do, pop into the Renwick? (right around the corner from the White House) Also, Air Canada has a pop up Poutine restaurant in DC this season. Also also, Thursday evening Local 16 DC bar has a Broadway singalong. Pop pop pop.
Ursula Sadiq 11/14 '18edited
I’m stressed out for you, just reading this. I have a feeling that once you figure out the pattern, you’ll triumph.
I never have figured out what ITIL is except that "we don't have it" and "we need it."

And you've already taught me something, as now I know it is "ideas on how to make your IT department suck less."
Chris Herdt 11/20 '18
Take a whole bunch of really smart IT managers and come up with a very long list of their best practices for running IT organizations (big and small). Put it through the 'common language' filter so that everyone understands everyone else.

Now distill all that stuff down into something that doesn't take a lifetime to learn.

Voila! ITIL
Matt Lichtenwalner 11/21 '18edited
ETA: ITIL CAN take a lifetime to master, of course - like anything. Ms. Knapp seems to have an uncanny ability in that department. Smart one, she.
 

Last night we played a show in Kennett Square, opening for an impro comedy troupe.  We played a 25 minute set, and then sat in the back of the theater to watch their improv show. They invited us on stage to participate in the final improv game of the night and I protested because I'd never done any improv whatsoever... and it turns out I did kinda OK given my total lack of skill. That was kinda fun to try. Matt did great because he's freakin' effortless at everything-- I don't know how he does it. 

Today (Friday) I put my phone in Airplane Mode and stayed offline pretty much all day in what we call a NEDNOP day (NEDNOP stands for "no electronic devices, no other people"). We spent some time at a little spa down the street to finally get the last of the playa dust out of our pores.  (After we got home from Burning Man my skin was so dry and angry that I desperately wanted a facial, and I also wanted a massage because my muscles hurt from building shit and pounding the playa for a week. So today we finally took care of that.)

Matt and I got massages and facials (his first facial!), and I also got a body treatment where they dry brush you and slather you with shea butter and then wrap you in warm towels and plastic and stick you under the heat lamp like a piece of Roy Rogers NJ Turnpike rest stop chicken.  The facial and the body treatment were maybe a 7 out of 10 (perfectly delightful) and the massage was an 8.5 or even a 9. She was amazing.  

Matt and I went to get a bite right afterwards, and then hit the hardware store for some stuff for the house, and then he started feeling anxious so we came home and crawled into bed around 6PM-ish... and we fell asleep... and then I woke up around 2AM, which is why I'm typing this at 6;19am. 

While I've been writing this, I've been listening to "Who's Next" on headphones. Good lord, what a masterpiece. Roger Daltrey is a MACHINE. Pete Townshend's voice is so smooth... and John Entwistle's bass playing is so melodic and he plays it like a lead instrument. And my friend Rob summed up Keith Moon's playing perfectly, like "someone kicked Keith and his drumset down a flight of stairs and he landed on 1."  What a band. Man oh man.

OK. I'm finally getting sleepy, so I'm gonna end this. 

Xo

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10/13 '18 13 Comments
NEDNOP is kind of an amazing idea. I'm not sure how we'd survive, though. Read a book? Conversation? Walks? Huh. Maybe?
Sean M Puckett 10/13 '18
Do it. You won't regret it.
Just pretend it's 1991, and you'll be fine. :-)
I'm not shocked that either of you would be good at improv. I think the 80/20 of improv is being 'quick'. Assessing, processing, and being able to respond quickly. We all know that there are different kinds of intelligence, but you both have that in spades. Glad to hear you tried it!

I'd like to say that I'm due for a NEDNOP day, but I think most days look pretty much like NEDNOP to most folks. I have so little real interaction with anyone. Problem with that is that it moves the bar. Now, on those days where I talk to one person, I'm all "Whoooaah! That took it out of me." #GoodProblemsToHave?
I'm kinda with you re: real interaction with people. We don't have much, honestly. We play gigs, but that's not real interaction-- it's very one-sided. We also eat at Angel's a few times per week and chit-chat with the staff and the regulars, and call that enough interaction. We also see people at rehearsal but we've got a job to do there and always go right home afterwards.

Kinda bums me out that I don't hang out with anyone really, but then again I'm also totally OK with it. Deep down (OK, not very deep down) I'm a very lazy person who just wants to lay in bed all day, so I get to live that dream most days.

This makes no sense.
It makes _perfect_ sense.

Hello bed.
NEDNOP is something koozbanians should have said. NEDNOP!
Thomas Boutell 10/13 '18
I really wish I could put my parents up in a swanky hotel with a spa and restaurant for a long weekend, and then take over their house for a long weekend of All The Space I Need. I would hire Bobbi to teach a master class in improv, so we could all benefit from all the listening and "yes and" and stuff.
That sounds like a damn fine weekend for all involved.
Hell, just wait until your parents go away on one of their vacations and we'll do it then!

Or... we'll do it at Anne's house. VERMONT ROADTRIP!

(You are also welcome to do it here anytime. If our great room can handle 7-person Beatlefest Core Band + 8-person string ensemble rehearsals, we could do an improv workshop. Wouldn't be nearly as roomy as your folks' place, but it's something.)
I can't remember whose line it was about the Who being "a singer plus three guys all of whom think they're playing lead" but it's nowhere more evident than on Who's Next and Quadrophenia.

Moon in particular on Quadrophenia is fucking supernatural. if you haven't fired it up on headphones before, allow me to recommend.
CM Adams 10/16 '18
I think I'm gonna make Quadrophenia on headphones happen tonight. I need me more Keith Moon!
there's some awesome Moon segments in the Kids Are Alright film, btw. he was one crazy ass motherfucker.
CM Adams 10/17 '18