Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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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.)

11/14 '18 6 Comments
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."
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
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.
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’m stressed out for you, just reading this. I have a feeling that once you figure out the pattern, you’ll triumph.
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.

Had a really fun gig tonight at this thing called "Smyrna at Night," which is where the cute town of Smyrna, DE shuts down a few of their "Main Street USA"-type streets and fills them will food trucks, vendors, 25 bands... and all of the local businesses stay open late and people just walk around and have a spiffy time. 

It was hot and humid (they were calling for thunderstorms that never came) and thankfully we had an indoor venue (this cute place called The Drunk'n Baker, that makes booze-filled cupcakes (and regular ones, too), coffee, teas, etc) that blessedly had air conditioning. The AC couldn't really keep up with all of the people packed in there, but it was definitely better than being outside. 

I felt bad... the guy who played before us is a hauntingly beautiful singer/songwriter who tours the world ("I wrote this song in the Southern part of Thailand...") but people just talked/yelled over him and I felt like he maybe had three people listening attentively, two of which were me and Matt.  

The event people provided a sound system, but it was just a speaker with two inputs and no volume controls, so Matt and I had to share a mic (not easy when he also plays guitar), and we had to way to turn the vocals up, so I reeeeeaaallllly had to push. I always over-enunciate anyway because I wanna make sure people can understand our lyrics, but having to REALLY extra over-enunciate plus sing as loudly but still as musically as possible for a 70-minute set was taxing... but still fun.  

It was very cool that a bunch of people came out specifically to see us, and other folks who had no idea what to expect when we started playing wound up sticking around. I love when we first start a show and maybe 1/5th of the audience knows to yell "HOT BREAKFAST!" and everyone else is looking around like "What the hell just happened?" And soon we let the newbies in on the deal and then the whole place is going nuts. I still can't believe how that yelling-Hot-Breakfast thing has taken off, and I sincerely, genuinely, honestly have no earthly idea how it happened... it definitely wasn't our idea, it just kinda happened, and I feel like it happened at our very first show at the Tin Angel maybe. Either way, I am so grateful; I cannot express how much fun it is while we're on stage in the heat of battle having people cheering us on in a dork-rock salute. (I acknowledge that outside a concert situation, it is annoying as hell for everyone else, so we are hyper-vigilant about working to limiting its use to gigs. We don't want people (especially other artists) hating us, and we DEFINITELY do not ever wanna take the spotlight away from someone else. Dick move.)  Though it is amusing to be pumping gas and hearing someone yell "HOT BREAKFAAAAST!" while they drive by the gas station. Those interactions are surreal and funny. :-)  I am still convinced if I ever cut or dyed my hair a different color nobody would recognize us. 

(Wow... it is pouring really hard out of nowhere. Guess we're not mowing the lawn today before our next gig. We've got our Billy Joel tribute show tonight (Saturday) at World Cafe Live in Philly.)

In other news, I find that on days of gigs, especially when I have to carry our 50-pound backpack full of gear/merch/etc. to/from the venue from our car (assuming it's a slight hike, which today was), my restless legs are merciless later that night. (Don't worry, Matt is carrying a guitar and a pedalboard and other heavy stuff. I'd much rather have the backpack.)

I went to bed around 12:30AM tonight (wow, so early for us!), but I woke up around 4-ish with MERCILESS restless legs. (well, leg... singular. My left leg is being an asshole.) So yeah, I started writing this entry at 5:32am and I've been up for the last 90 minutes gnashing my damn teeth over this fucking RLS. I even took my RLS meds (Clonidine (not Klonopin)) which has taken it from an 11 to an 8... so then I took a OTC sleepy-thing (doxylamine, which doesn't make my RLS worse like Satan's Remedy known as benedryl/diphenhydramine does-- OH JESUS), and no dice. So lucky you... you get a whiny shitpost from me.

The only thing bringing me a shred of relief is taking really long thick socks (think baseball/soccer socks) and tying them tightly around my thigh like a garter or a tourniquet. Having the constant pressure on my screaming/itching/twitching quad muscle is vaguely helping, and since the socks are a little stretchy it's not cutting off my circulation. I can still feel my leg screaming, but the sock pressure is a distraction, at least.

But I swear, I wanna cut my damn leg off.

RLS is often the first sign that my anemia is in overdrive and it's time for an iron infusion, so I should probably schedule my labwork for this week. My last infusion was November 8th, so it's definitely possible... especially since I went through all of 2016 with just one period for the whole year (it was magnificent), but this year The Ladytimes are back in full force... so I'm back to losing a ton of blood each month-ish again. (Why body, WHY MUST YOU TEASE ME SO??!) 

Anyway, it's now 6:40am (which means Jenn Abrevaya  has already been up for an hour -- hah), so it's now been 2.5 hours that my leg is making me nuts. It's maybe down to a 6.5 now, so I'm gonna put this down and see if I can power through it. Come on, sleep. I need to be on tonight!  (It's so weird when your body is your instrument... self-care is critical.)

OK-- I hope everyone has a spiffy day/weekend!

If any Philadels wanna come to the Billy Joel tribute tonight, hit me up VIA TEXT... I can probably toss you one comp.  

(ps: I love the term "shitpost." I also love the term "shitshow," but that's mostly because I can't hear "shitshow" without hearing Lord Buckethead using the word as he describes Brexit. I am obsessed with Lord Buckethead, and am seriously considering a Lord Buckethead tattoo. Yes, really.)

(Scroll to 16:19 for Bucketheady "shitshow" goodness.)

6/24 '17 5 Comments
"Smyrna at Night," - sounds like Media. Which is meant as a pretty big compliment.

"songwriter who tours the world" - makes me miss Knappucinos - and I was never at one. I know you have about 8 baJILLion things on your plate, but don't you want to start another singer / songwriter coffee shop?! ;)

"...honestly have no earthly idea how it happened... " - I thought it was Jamaica. When we tried to explain it to our tour guides at or on our way to the swimming hole. Though that could entirely be reconstructive history - but it's the origin in my head. Some sort of evolution as we described the name and how happy a hot breakfast makes someone feel, one of them pumped their fist and said "Hot Breakfast!". Or some such. Maybe? Jenn?

Really sorry to hear about the RLS issues. I'm not prescribing here - I'm asking - does extreme use of the muscles in question help at all? I'm imagining things like deep squats to stress/stretch the muscle.

I am jealous of Thomas Boutell ​​​​​​'s fancy bullets he used in an earlier post. I don't know if my bullets here will be as pretty and diamondy as his. Let us try in a listo!

  • Last night (Thursday May 25th) was a bittersweet night... about 73 million musicians and singers and players* played over 6 hours of music in a huge, free concert on both stages as we said goodbye and thank you to World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington. World Cafe Live pulled out of The Queen because it was bleeding money despite all their efforts to keep it in the black, and last night was officially the venue's last night, so all of the bands that were known to be Queen favorites were on the bill and we threw a Thank You and Goodbye show to give the venue we love a royal sendoff.
  1. With that many bands and players/singers, there was no way to give everyone their own time slot; so we created these giant "supergroups." For example, Matt and I told everyone they could use our saxophone-playing skills -- so two bands (Shytown and Vinyl Shockley) took us up on that as we bulked up their horn section -- we played one song with each of those two bands -- easy peasy.  And then The Joe Trainor Trio became JTTwelve (!) because Joe added a sweeeeeeet five-member horn section, he added a guitarist, and three women on backing vocals, so Matt played sax for that, and I sang backing vocals. 
  2. We were sent the charts for the two songs ahead of time, so Matt and I had time to rehearse them at home. But last night once we arrived and met the two other horn players for Shytown and Vinyl Shockley, they handed us a stack of music for a bunch of other songs and said, "Just watch us for cues," and away we went! Sight-read it on stage, no time to play through anything before we went on. I LOVE THAT.  And to sweeten the deal, these guys would even throw in the occasional "horn section moves" which were a blast... nothing too nuts... but every once in a while we'd do an intuitive choreographed "pop" and it looked cool as shit.  It felt SO GOOD to just jump in, feel trusted by strangers, trust them as well, connect into their neural network and be a horn section.  God, I love being a musician.

It was a magical, bittersweet night... and I'm so happy to be part of the World Cafe Live community.  

(And I'm also very happy to hear that we now have an "in" with LiveNation... but that's a topic for a different day.)

[Edited to add on Saturday: The muscles/tendons in my left forearm that control my left pinky (The G# key, as well as all the sub-C notes on a sax) is nice and sore, as are my hands and the muscles in my neck. I friggin' LOVE playing Moose (my tenor sax) but lorrrrdy these hands hurt afterwards. Totally worth it, though!]


* There is an important difference between a singer, a player, and a musician.  Just because you can carry a tune or play an instrument does NOT mean you are a musician. Can you arrange a song? Can you tell me what a diminished chord is? Can you tell me the difference between dorian and mixolydian modes? Could you music direct a show? Could you write the parts out for all of these other instruments?  No? Then you're not a musician.  Words have power.  Please do not appropriate the title of what so many of us have trained so hard daily for DECADES to achieve.  

(x-posted to xtingu.dreamwidth.org)

5/28 '17 7 Comments
oh PLEASE tell me there's video of all of this! i was so bummed i couldn't get down there for the show, it sounds like you kicked your usual ass! <3
Also? Welcome aboard. It's good to see you here.

Also also? I'm with you on the whole "Christ, I hope there's video..."
EEEE JENN IS HERE! [Clicks ALL his "give keys" buttons]
LOL - yeah, I pretty much just had the same reaction.
Jenn! Yesyesyes! Be here!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I didn't use standard listo bullets. I just pasted in some Unicode diamonds. The End uses diamonds in their own design, so it felt apt.
Ah! That 'splains it!
Can you just use html? Like, could I do the ol' "&bull;" and get a bullet?