Nels Cline Consentrik Quartet at Solar Myth

February 2024 Update

posted in: Personal Essay, Reading | 0

February featured the solution to the “coffee incident” of January when I spilled an entire cup of coffee directly onto my laptop completely frying it. I successfully navigated a couple of weeks using my iPad and my work computer (which, itself, has seen better days) while waiting for my new computer to be available.

Early in February, I picked up my new MacBook Pro. I’ve been a longtime Windows user but decided I wanted to switch to a Mac for a variety of reasons. Both Holly and my brother use Macs and speak highly of them. Even Holly’s older Mac has better battery life than my laptop had. Although Macs are more expensive, the stats are impressive. Even if I spent as much on a new Windows machine, I’m not sure it would match a comparably priced MacBook.

I’m not totally new to using a Mac. I had one during my 4 years working at Drexel University, although I left there about 9 years ago.

I needed a couple of weeks to get comfortable with my MacBook, but I can now say I love it and am very pleased with my decision.

We didn’t go out a lot during the month. Our big outing was seeing the Nels Cline Consentrik Quartet at a local bar, Solar Myth. We were quite surprised that a relatively big name performed at a small, nearby bar, and we quickly decided to get tickets. Solar Myth’s performance area is quite small, holding maybe between 100-150 people. The Nels Cline Consentrik Quartet had a 3 show residency there thanks to a grant from the Ars Nova Workshop.

The Quartet was fabulous, playing what I can best describe vaguely as experimental jazz with Nels Cline on guitar, Ingrid Laubrock on saxophones, Chris Lightcap on bass, and Tom Rainey on drums.

Someone a few rows in front of us was recording the performance, and his videos are available on YouTube.

Another exciting event from February was making our vacation plans. Starting to make arrangements to visit California in May is rather comforting in the midst of a Philadelphia winter.

Last year, we started our trip with a few days in Downtown Los Angeles before flying up to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, our home away from home.

This year, we’ll be spending 3 days in Holly’s hometown of Long Beach, and then driving to Solvang for one night before driving to Carmel-by-the-Sea.

As a winter pick-me-up, I treated myself to a new Kaweco Sport pen, Smooth Sage, from Jet Pens, and a case specifically designed for Kaweco Sport pens from Galen Leather.

I’m not exactly sure why I’ve taken such a strong liking to these small Kaweco pens, but I really like them. I have 6 at the moment and the case holds 14 so there’s plenty of room for growth!


I got out twice in February to take photos with my Minolta Hi-Matic 11 loaded with Lomography Potsdam. I used Potsdam twice before and liked the results. Over my 2 recent outings, I came close to finishing the roll but didn’t quite get there.

I’ll write more once I finish the roll and get it developed.


Back in December, during the trip Holly and I took to Washington DC, we had gone to the National Gallery of Art to see, among other things, the Dorothea Lange: Seeing People exhibit. Although I enjoyed the exhibit, the museum was hot and crowded, and we had just come in out of the rain, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have in better conditions.

Shortly after we returned, I ordered the book that went along with the exhibition and am glad I did. Although seeing the photos in a book isn’t always as rewarding as seeing them in person, the book provides more information and more images. It was a great supplement to having seen the exhibit.

The other book I finished in February was James McBride’s The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store. It’s interesting enough on its own merits, but I was particularly intrigued because it’s set in Pottstown, not too far outside of Philadelphia.

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store is a combination of being an easy read and challenging in its structure. Starting with the discovery of a body in a well, the tale fills in the backstory of how that body got into the well. But it’s not so much about this mystery as it is about the community, a Jewish one that, over time, becomes predominantly African American. It’s told through a variety of characters so there’s some piecing together required on the part of the reader.

Books Read in 2024

So far, I have read 6 books in 2024:

Being and Formulating Posts in 2024

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