Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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Tornado Warning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Early Birthday Weekend

(I wrote this on April 15th)

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

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

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

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


Another Birthday...

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

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


Percussion!

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

I sent these tweets on the train ride home:

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

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

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


OK, gonna post this now.


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


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

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

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

In the '90s, I bought the cheapest, crappiest bed I could afford on my temp-agency salary when I lived in Arizona, and slept on that god-awful bed for years.  

Finally in 2004 I was making "a nice wage" (as my brother would once write) and splurged on an expensive mattress/boxspring set for almost $800, which was hella spendy back then. I bought a Serta Perfect Sleeper Modesto, and it was deemed by many people to be The World's Most Comfy Bed. (I don't know how to type that without it making me sound like a slut. I'm just saying I was proud of my purchase because it was one of the only nice things I owned, so lots of people tried it.)

They say you should replace your mattress every seven years, though that may just be the mattress companies telling you that... but for the last 9 or so years or so it was pretty obvious that the non-Jill side of the bed was significantly lower and more broken/sunken in (read: broken) than my side of the bed. Matt's back has been bugging him now for a while, so we decided it was time to buy a new mattress.

I take after my mom-- I am not a shopper. I have noooo interest in going to 12 different places to find the best price and compare 47 different things; I just want to walk in, try a few items, and buy the one that I like that also offers the least amount of hassle. I don't care if this means I might pay $3.69 extra for something. I've got a life to lead. 

So yesterday we looked online to see what stores in the area sold Serta Perfect Sleepers in hopes of getting a mattress close to what I've got now (only not broken on one side). We decided to hit the Concord Mall on 202 where we could go to Sears and Boscovs in one shot, and then head over to Raymour and Flanagan if those didn't pan out. 

On our way to the mall we passed Raymour and Flanagan, so we said "screw it" and went there first. (50,000 points for Matt's fast reflexes and driving skills.)  We walked in and were greeted by a lovely saleslady who showed us a bunch of mattresses. She was a good salesperson with just the right amount of personable gab, but also knew when to leave us alone. She'd clearly been to Mattress Selling School, asking questions about how we sleep, if we have back problems, what we like/don't like, telling us all about the best type of mattress for hinky spinal injuries, and I'm not gonna lie... we settled on the most expensive one we tried. She didn't even try to force us into it; it was just the most comfortable. We are thrifty in most other aspects of our life, so why not splurge on a thing where we spend 70% of our time? (We spend a LOT of time lounging in bed; waaaaaay more than your average human). (Another way I take after my mother.)

This bed is like a cloud, and it apparently will help keep Hot Flash Jill cool during sweaty nights. I'm skeptical, but hopeful... because right now I have a stack of towels next to the bed that I rotate in and out throughout the night. (In fact, that's why I started writing this blog entry at 6-something AM... the bed was soaked and it woke me up. Sexy.)

They have next day delivery, so it should be coming today. (actually, the delivery guy just called and said he'll be here between 10-1. Woot!)  They'll take away the old mattress and box-spring and set up the new bed, plus there's a 100-night no-questions-asked return period. I liked that there were no hidden or extra charges... the price is the price and you don't have to pay for delivery or setup or taking away the old mattress, yadda yadda. 

We opted for a split box-spring hoping we might move to NYC someday where narrow stairwells would make getting a queen-sized boxspring into an apartment potentially tricky. It felt nice to be thinking ahead. 

I feel like I'm saying goodbye to a friend that got me through some really important years of my life... but it also feels nice to be buying a thing with Matt as a couple. We don't really have anything like that, really; we just have my stuff and his stuff all co-mingled, but nothing that is *ours.*  It only took us seven years to make this leap. :-)


NYC

In other news, we went to NYC this past week to see Steven Page's new trio at the Highline Ballroom on Tuesday night. We were supposed to go with Jeff and Mindy, but they were busy so we went with Brian Marshall and Tom Moynahan.  Steve was funny, smart, sounded great, and did a great mix of old and new stuff.  Matt and I grabbed a hotel (yay, Hilton points!) and slept in the Financial District, right at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan, an area of the city we'd never stayed in before, and it felt like it could be home.  We saw an apartment building we loved, and a two-bedroom is only $7500/month sooooooo we won't be moving into that particular building anytime soon I guess. :). But it did have a great Australian breakfast/lunch place nearby called "Hole In The Wall" which was deeeelicious, and I had my very first flat-white, which is a coffee-drink originated in either Australia or New Zealand (they argue over it)... it's like a latte except the milk isn't frothy at all (it's flat; get it?). I'd wanted to try one forever, and it lived up to the hype. 

Anyhoo, it's 7:55am and I woke up in a puddle of sweat about 45 minutes ago, so I'm ready to go back to sleep. I'm turning my ringer on nice and loud so I can hear the bed delivery guy's call. (He called! They'll deliver between 10 and 1.)

It's hard to believe this is the last morning I'll be sleeping/snoozing on this bed. 

Thank you, bed. You've been the best bed. 

--

PS: The weather has been absolutely GLORIOUS the last few days, hasn't it? Man, this season (aka 'the Fifth Season') is by far my favorite season. 75 degree days, low humidity, slightly foggy mornings, starry nights, sleeping with the windows open... so good!

PPS: I watched the clips from this weekend's SNL premiere and I howled! I thought they really nailed it. Apparently I like Adam Driver. I did not know this before, even despite my Kylo Renning.  (Kanye though... what the hell was that?)


x-posted to dreamwidth.org

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10/2 '18 18 Comments
You kids just jumping into buying newfangled doodads.

My mattress is 17 years old, and I'm in the same boat. It's brokeity broke ass broke. I need to get on the stick and buy a new one.
Ray Conrad 10/2 '18
You will be a happy guy when you do.

I will tell you that Raymour and Flanagan had a thing where the price of the mattress included everything-- new boxspring, setup, taking the old mattress/boxspring, etc.

We missed the (very reasonable and totally understandable) fine print that said that they will not take your mattress/boxspring away if they inspect it and find anything that could vaguely look like a bug ever walked on it, because they don't want a potentially buggy mattress to be on the same truck as new mattresses. I dig this. Good god, if I got bedbugs or fleas or anything because of some other person's ancient mattress touching my new mattress, I'd kill someone.

Alas, our boxspring had some cobwebs on it (hard to believe that a boxspring would have cobwebs after being in a house for 11 years, but hey) so they wouldn't take it away. No stress-- our trash company will take them for free (I just called)... but right now I worry that our house looks like "that house" with the mattress outside.

It's hidden, thankfully... but yeah.
Ooo. New beeeeeeeeeeeedd. May you sleep the sleep of the ages.

Nuthin' like a new mattress, even better when you can afford to get the most comfy.

We found a mattress company out in CA when we lived there. Love their mattresses so damned much, we ordered a new one and had it shipped to VT when the old one started to wear out. LOYAL we are.
Anne Mollo 10/2 '18
Oooooh! What kind of mattress? I love knowing about products people are super-loyal to.

Tonight shall be glorious. :)
(I'm sitting on it right now, desperately fighting the urge to climb inside since I have rehearsal tonight and need to be working on music right now...)
It's this company: https://sleepworks.com/

"European Sleep Works" sounds fancy shmancy, and I guess they kind of are, but not in a ... fancy shmancy kind of way. It's really the engineering that impresses me. You can even customize the two sides of the bed, for whatever level of softness/firmness you like, and also the "box spring" isn't really a box spring; it's this nifty adjustable slat system with little sliders, so you can make sure the bed gives a little more at your shoulder, for instance, if you're a side sleeper. (And it's a split system, so if one of you is a side sleeper and one is a tummy sleeper, you can adjust independently.)

Oh, and they're local. They source a lot of their components from Europe (hence the name, I guess), but they build the mattresses right around the corner from where we used to live. So basically you order a bed and they build it for you.

But really, their beds just FEEL SO GOOD to me. Which is whatcha want, after all.
Anne Mollo 10/2 '18
Oooooooooooh, this sounds absolutely *decadent.*
Oh! And the mattress covers unzip, so you can actually open them up and see everything inside, the coils and the latex and the wool and whatever. Which makes my brain gurgle with rainbow colors.
Anne Mollo 10/2 '18
And yeah, they're a million dollars and thirty two cents and we'll probably never be able to afford another one, but wow it's fun while it's lasting.
Anne Mollo 10/2 '18
We've got a ~$300 foam mattress with an egg crate pad and feather bed on top and somehow the combination is just about perfect. Though it's been a long stretch of years of tweaking and juggling things to make it so. I mean it's a whole story of making do and making do until making do actually worked. I have so many stories about beds. None of them really awesome. But at least now when we can't sleep, it's not physical discomfort but BRAIN BEES.
Sean M Puckett 10/3 '18
When my mom was alive, I'd visit and sleep with her in her big king bed. I have no idea what the mattress was, but the egg crate pad she put on top? I always slept So Soundly. What is it with that stuff! It doesn't LOOK like it should be so comfortable.
Anne Mollo 10/3 '18
My dad absolutely swears by his egg crate bed, and he will not consider sleeping on anything else. When you find what works, you go with it!

Tell me more about this feather bed on top. Does it make you sweat? My new bed has a magical pillow top, but there is always room for Moar Fluffiness.

And hoooo-boy, I am allll too familiar with BRAIN BEES. I've never heard it described with that term, but that is the most perfect description ever. Thank you for giving me words for this thing.
Ikea Canada seems to no longer sell the featherbed we have. It's similar in function to the pillow top of your new bed. A featherbed wants to be aired out and rotated more regularly than one rotates a mattress. Weekly or as frequently as you change the fitted sheet is good.
Dawn Keenan 10/4 '18
Ah! Thank you! This is very helpful.

I've seen them advertised over the years, but never actually knew how to use one, as goofy as that may sound.
One more question-- does it go under your fitted sheet, or do you sleep directly on it?
We don't find the feather bed unduly sweat inducing; it is neither cooling nor warming. Just... [ poof ] comforting. Some kind of magic.

Anyway, our stack is

Fitted sheet
Waterproof mattress pad (cat insurance)
Feather bed
Egg crate foam
Mattress itself
Sean M Puckett 10/8 '18
Heh. I have almost this exact same setup, also from having to make do. And it do make do, very nicely.
Karen 10/8 '18edited
Winnie-the-Pooh could knock on his head and the bees would shoot out his mouth. Yet another reason having a head full of fluff would be, many times over, superior to meat.
Sean M Puckett 10/8 '18
Girls is a kind of annoying show in most respects (and only gets less interesting as the seasons go on) but it is, in my opinion, well worth watching for how freakin' HILARIOUS Adam Driver is in it.

CM Adams 10/11 '18
 


Edited to add: Got home, didn't have to break in-- power's on. One section of the fence is a shredded mess.  Go go gadget home insurance!  That fence needed replacing in 2008, so I'm happy in a way-- this will get me off my ass to get it done finally. 


The Philly airport was a shiiiiiiit-shooooow... I've never seen it like that. Granted, when we fly home we normally land around midnight so maybe we're just not used to the usual 9:45pm crowd? But I suspect it has more to do with the Philly airport being closed for 24-ish hours and being filled with stranded, grumpy passengers.  The baggage carousel had so much luggage on it that it couldn't spin anymore because it was gridlocked... and there was only one poor lady working at baggage claim... and she was trying to juggle 24+ hours of lost/rerouted bags and angry passengers so she couldn't unclog the bag carousel... so I did.  (Everyone else was just standing around like idiots. Ugh. So yeah, let the 110-pound anemic lady with a wooden leg* do it.)

Ok, bedtime.


*I do not actually have a wooden leg.

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3/3 '18 2 Comments
The problem's plain to see.
Too much technology.
I hope you're home and safe soon.
 

OK nerds, next time there's a thunderstorm, get your sexy arse over to the coolest damn site you've seen in a long time: lightningmaps.org.

Somehow this site displays real-time lightning strikes... and I do mean real time... as in, the lightning flashes, and by the time your eyeballs register the flash outside your window and then you look at your screen, a dot is on the website showing you where the lightning struck. As if that's not cool enough, if you click the "gear" icon and turn on the "thunder" option to one of the top two positions, you will also see a circle radiating from the lightning strike heading towards the dot that represents your position on the map. And the MOMENT the thunder-ring reaches your dot, HOLY JESUS you hear the thunder out your window. It is the coolest damn thing I have seen in years. 

As you adjust the various site settings, the URL changes a bit, so below is the custom URL for the settings I happen to like. Your mileage may vary, of course. 

https://www.lightningmaps.org/#y=39.8211;x=-75.4922;z=8;t=3;m=sat;r=0;s=201;o=3;b=21.07;n=0;d=8;dl=3;dc=0;ra=1;

Anyway, today (Thursday) is supposed to be thunderous for our region, so consider bookmarking the site. Works great on the Chrome browser on my phone.


(Originally posted at xtingu.dreamwidth.org)

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4/6 '17 4 Comments
DUDE!
RIGHT?!? I can't stop staring at it and screaming in nerdgasmic joy when the thunder ring reaches us. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
Not only did I enjoy this over lunch, but I scored brownie points with my boss, whose son is a weather nerd. :) WELL DONE JILL!
And there was great rejoicing in our office.