Wordless Wednesday: Mid-Hudson Bridge

The Mid-Hudson Bridge in Poughkeepsie, New York, on a colorful autumn day. The bridge carries NY 55 and US 44 over the Hudson River from Poughkeepsie on the east side to the town of Highland on the west side.

Weekend Cat Blogging #172: Autumnal Equinox

Luna and I welcome everyone to the autumnal equinox edition of Weekend Cat Blogging. For us, the changing of the season is more of a formality, but there is no escape from the shrinking days. And for those of us in the U.S., daylight is not the only thing in decline this week.

But I digress. This is about celebrating our feline friends. And we would love to have you all participate. So please leave us a comment with your (cat related) links, and we’ll add you to the round-up…

And with that, let us get started…

We at CatSynth know that it can be challenging to photograph black cats. But it’s well worth the effort, as in this lovely expressive portrait of Maruschka. Definitely not camera shy.

More expressive black cats. Puddy displays some serious ‘tude after refusing to sit still for the camera. This is of course another challenge of cat photography, and Katie is giving up on getting a “pretty photo” for this weekend. We of course still think Puddy is pretty.

Samantha does her impersonation of monorail cat atop a chair, at Life from a Cats Perspective.

We now move from black to white, with August, the handsome British shorthair gentleman at The World According to Pia. Check out his baby photo as well, you can see how much he has grown.

At Anne’s Food, the white kitten Klara is not enjoying her first outing. Luna did not enjoy her first outing either, though as the top photo suggests, she’s becoming queen of our balcony patio. So Klara may come to appreciate the fresh air and grass soon enough.

Meanwhile, Salome enjoys some scritches while Kashim helps himself to the big pot of cat grass that Astrid bought. The weather is turning in Vienna, getting colder and rainer. So less time out on the balcony, and Othello does like this at all.

Our friend kitikata-san presents Weekend Animal Blogging. Animals of many species share shelter, and perhaps friendship, as they ride out hurricane Gustav. It’s a wonderful image, one that humans can learn from.

At The Sour Dough, LB is delighted to have his mom home sooner. He is also enjoying his new mouse toy. We at CatSynth are also curious about the wine that Breadchick has brought back…

Thanks for joining us for Weekend Cat Blogging. We will continue to post entries through Monday as we receive them.

Autumn sun, Midnight Monday, and Site Improvements

Well, I am back home at CatSynth HQ in California. That means back home with Luna, of course:

Although she is calm and poised in this photo, it's been all purrs and cuddling today, even while I try to work. Not that anyone is complaining.

Today we enjoyed what I traditionally called the “August sun”, that really deep yellow sunlight that gives everything, but especially green leaves, a rich yellow coloring, that feels warm even as the air cools down. It is difficult to capture in a digital photo, but here is one attempt:

I think I should change “August sun” to “Autumn sun”, since the phenomenon extends well into September and even October. And not only here on the west coast. New York was exceptionally warm and getting plenty of “Autumn/August” sun this past week.

I have been working on several improvements for this site, including upgrading our software. As usual, a few things break in the process (e.g., comment displays were a little off, the “tag search” featured on the highways page and elsewhere was completely broken, our “cats synthesizers music art opinion” slogan was missing, etc.). Those are mostly fixed, and now we can proceed to making actual improvments.

Actually, the main change we need to make is in our hosting service. The good folks at A Plus net (the same people who messed up our domain name and left us stranded in the CatSynth FEMA trailer for a week) let us know that we have exceeded our CPU usage limits (not storage or bandwidth) and will need to switch to a more expensive hosting plan – all in a message from the friendly-sounding “abuse at aplus dot net.” So we could simply upgrade our plan, but since our lease is up on October 7 anyway, it might be a good time to shop around for an alternative. We welcome suggestions from our readers on good and bad experiences with hosts – please leave a comment or contact us. Of course, we have to act quickly on this matter…

Webs on an autumn afternoon

It's been a rather pleasant October afternoon, warm, breezy, with a clear sky. The mobile sculpture Airborne catches both the wind and the waning October sun:

The garden plants are doing about as well as they have all year. Admist a recent burst of flowers, I noticed this rather impressive spider web:

…not to mention the rather impressive spider that inhabits it:

The peace of the backyard was briefly interrupted by the sound of cats fighting. More worrisome was the sound of an angry dog barking in response. After peeking over the fence to investigate, I was assured by a neighbor that it was “just some crazy cats.” One of the “crazy cats” wandered into view and I immediately recognized him as the friendly grey tabby that often visits my yard (I jokingly refer to him for a while as Luna's “boyfriend”). Foruntately, he seemed to be none the worse for wear.

Cats, or more specifically, cat allergies, have been much in the news this weekend. The New York Times featured an article on a California biotech company that is breeding hyperallergenic “no sneeze” kitties, two of which are pictured to the right. The market for the hypoallergenic cats, which the company says will cost about $4000 USD each, is people who love cats in spite of their allergies. It is certainly a high price tag, but I gather so are the medications for the most severe allergies. Those who seek a more affordable feline companion and want to continue to adopt shelter cats can take heart in a study supporting the theory that having pets cuts allergy risks. Finally, there is this story from Wales about a hospital fighting to keep their cat Tibs, who has chearing up patients for years. While I do my best to avoid hospitals, I know having a cat around would help me during a health crisis.

I had an opportunity last night to jam with some friends and acquaintances I have not seen in a while. I played keyboard, with primarily piano, electric piano and organ sounds, though I did add a Moogerfooger pedal to the mix. Musically, we did a mixture of jazz standards, some 12-bar and 16-bar “headless” jams, and several trippy free-jazz experiments with keyboard, guitar, bass and drums. The latter reminded me of how I would like to get together a standard “quartet” at some point that freely moves back and forther between jazz/funk and experimental improvisation. It would be quite a contrast to my recent performances, but still consistent with my musical vision and sensibilities…

…in another example of slipping back and forth between disparate musical styles, I was listening earlier to alternating tracks from Ethiopiques, which I described in an earlier article, and the rather dark, political, and vaguely Middle-Eastern electronic music of Muslimgauze. The two albums could not be more different in geography, style, production and social context, yet they seemed to work well together. The dark electronica of Muslimgauze worked for me, dispite an implicit political view I probably don't share, and the gritty funk of Ethiopiques brought me back to reality. Perhaps here is the seed of another musical project…

…or just idle thoughts on a warn autumn day…