It happens almost every year. After returning home from NAMM, a few days later I fall ill with what we affectionately call the “NAMMthrax”. I suppose it’s not surprising, being in close quarters with thousands of musicians and others over four days and compromised immune systems from all our drinking and debauchery. This year’s hit hard around Wednesday, and has lingered into the weekend. But fortunately Sam Sam is here, and being both a great companion and a great nurse.
When I lie down to rest, she is usually by my side. Of course, being a cat, she takes frequent naps herself.
There is something so peaceful and calming about her curled up and resting. And it seems to fit well visually and spiritually with the stormy weather that has settled in this weekend. Since December, we have been hit with a series of really nasty winter storms with high winds and flooding. It is not pleasant, and sometimes even stressful, but I know I shouldn’t complain as much of the country is in a deep freeze.
I like this portrait of Sam Sam sitting down in “loaf” pose on the ledge. And if you want to see a bit of action, here she is in our most recent Instagram.
It’s been exactly two years since Sam Sam made the long trip from southern California to come live with us at CatSynth HQ! And not a day goes by that we are not grateful to have her in our lives. I’m pretty sure she feels the same way.
Samantha, or “little Sam Sam”, had a complicated life. She started out (as far as we know) in the suburbs south of San Francisco, and then moved with her human to the high desert north of Los Angeles – we like to joke that she lived “out in back of Palmdale where the turkey farmers run” in tribute to one of our musical heroes, Frank Zappa.
When her human passed away, she then went to live with his sister, also in southern California. Unfortunately, the sister’s health was declining and another cat bullied Sam Sam, so this was not a happy chapter for her. As her new human was preparing to go into assisted living, Sam Sam needed a new home.
In December of 2016, I was still deeply grieving after Luna’s death – and also reeling for the shock and horror of the election. I hadn’t yet prepared to welcome another cat into my life, but when a friend and bandmate reached out to me that he needed to find a new home for a sweet cat whose human was headed to assisted living – and then shared her adorable photos, I said yes. How could I not?
At first, Sam Sam was exceedingly shy and skittish, spending most of her time hiding under the bed, coming out only for food, water, and the litter box. She was mostly silent but occasionally emitted these tiny squeaks. As she adjusted to her new home, her personality blossomed. She’s quite friendly, vocal, outgoing, and quite a ham.
And she has no trouble demanding exactly what she wants from her humans.
We close with this episode of CatSynth TV featuring Sam Sam is all her adorableness.
Please join me in wishing Sam Sam a very happy Gotcha Day!
California is on fire. To our south, the area northwest of Los Angeles that I remember fondly from past visits in on fire, including Malibu and Thousand Oaks. To our north, the devastating Camp Fire has laid waste to much of the town of Paradise, is threatening Chico, and is among the smokiest I have ever experienced. If anything the air quality in San Francisco is even worse than it was during last year’s wine-country fires, which were much closer.
We’re mostly hiding indoors during this time, at least as much as we can. Even just opening the patio door for a minute left my eyes watering and nose as if I was just breathing straight out of a charcoal grill. Yesterday, Sam Sam seemed quite distressed as the particulates seeped into HQ (mostly from the main hallway). Today is slightly better, and she is more like her normal goofy self, including showing off her scratch’n’roll.
But she still is finding places to hide – if I can smell the smoke, I can only imagine it’s much more intense for her. Yesterday, before I left for work, she jumped up on my chest and snuggled in, wanting me to stay and be close. I had to go, but came home as soon as I could after my in-office responsibilities were done.
We do also worry about our pal Marlon in Oakland, who spends much of his time outside.
The light from the smoky skies is stunningly beautiful. It’s amazing how such beauty can arise from something as awful as this.
But in all, we need to put our challenges in perspective. I can’t imagine the horror and pain people in the fire zones are going through, losing their homes, fearing for their loved ones, and of course their companion animals. The messages I see from people searching for their missing cats, or the heartbreak of not being able to rush home to rescue them, is painful and our hearts go out to them. Other animals, too, of course, as we hear about horses, dogs, and birds.
Both north and south zones have evacuation shelters for those who have small or large animals. In the north, Butte County has set up a line for those who either find and are searching for lost pets in coordination with North Valley Animal Disaster Group.
NVADG is active both in trying to locate and rescue lost pets, as well as running multiple shelters for those with animals. From their website:
NVADG is providing emergency animal sheltering and where and when allowed will evacuate and/or care for animals in evacuation areas. Animal shelters will be established at:
Small Animal Shelter: 2279 Del Oro Avenue, Oroville. Off Nelson near the County Center and Highway 70.
Small Animal Shelter 150 Airpark Dr, Chico at the Chico Airport Large Animals should be taken to the Rolling Hills Casino Equestrian Center off Highway 5 in Corning
If you want to donate to NVADG, please consider a cash donation. It gives us the flexibility we need and we will definitely need it! Donate on our website or send a check to NVADG, PO Box 441, Chico, CA 95927.
We certainly hope all the fires around our home state are brought under control soon, and the air returns to normal as well. Then the hard work of rebuilding begins…
Our feline neighbor is back and enjoying himself on one of the terraces behind CatSynth HQ. You can see his face through the glass bricks, albeit in a Cubist sort of way.
Nothing wrong with his being there. I for one love to see cats enjoying themselves. But his presence brings out both Sam Sam’s curiosity and territorial instincts, and she was quickly back up on the ledge to investigate – and to assert her territorial claims. We managed to capture a bit of it in this video.
It definitely makes a bit nervous to have Sam Sam up there, but there really is no stopping a determined cat. It’s also a reminder that I need to replenish that wine rack. The one bottle that remains is from Armida Winery, whom we featured in a CatSynth video back in June.
This is a good time to remind folks that you can follow her antics regularly on our Instagram @catsynth. Please do follow us if you feel so inclined.
The main rug is definitely one of her favorite spots and shows evidence of her frequent scratch’n’rolls. Honestly, we don’t mind as we delight in her antics. But it does require vacuuming, which is on deck for today. I know she is not going to enjoy that, but it is necessary.
Fortunately, she has other spots to enjoy around HQ, including this comfy chair in the loft.
Honestly, I wanted to sit there to read 😸
We hope you all have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.
It’s a good time to check in with Sam Sam. Life is good for her at CatSynth HQ, as she relaxes, gets brushed and cuddled, runs around, plays, explores…it’s good to be the cat!
Here we see Sam Sam on the upstairs balcony.
Behind her to the left is a painting/collage by Kasper Rodenborn. We acquired it at his solo show at Far Out Gallery here in San Francisco last year. You can read our review of the show and also watch our video (it was one of our earliest on the CatSynth TV channel).
Of course, Sam Sam never misses an opportunity to demonstrate her trademark “scratch’n’roll” move.
It’s irresistible and definitely gets my attention whenever I’m sitting nearby. She does love getting attention. For example, her she is yesterday in the studio while I was busy working on our latest synth-demo video.
We hope you are all having an enjoyable and relaxing weekend.
It’s been a stressful few weeks for us at CatSynth. Not bad per se, just stressful. During times like this, I often lie down to reduce psychic entropy and practice disintegration of thought. And Sam Sam is often lying down next to me.
Like most cats, Sam Sam is quite good at napping. One might even say she is an “expert sleeper”, but that might cause confusion with one of the modular-synth manufacturers we sometimes feature. She does have her own unique way of curling up, though, pull her tail close to her head and sometimes even grabbing it with her paw. It’s adorable, and it never fails to make me smile.
She enjoys the soft blankets, either the burgundy or gray. But she almost always chooses the same corner of the bed. This is not surprising, as all of us at CatSynth are creatures of habit.
We hope you all have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend. For us, it will be a bit stressful once again, but with very focused study and practice on both the technological and musical fronts. But I will do my best to keep Sam Sam’s example in mind as I work through it. We can learn much from our cats!