We introduce two new kitty pals today: Fluffy and Hissy. They are outdoor kitties who live in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, California.
This is Fluffy. He is a big fellow, and quite friendly. As far as we know, he lives outdoors full time, but he is very comfortable around humans, especially when they provide food.
By contrast, Hissy is much more skittish around people, and it is quite difficult to photograph her.
Usually, Hissy backs away, but if one does get close, she lives up to her name.
Both Fluffy and Hissy seem to be healthy and well fed in comparison to some of the street cats I have encountered in the neighborhood, so they probably have a network of food and safety options, beyond our “satellite office” in the neighborhood.
We hope to get some better photographs of them soon.
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!
It looks like we have a new neighbor at CatSynth!
We have been noticing a new feline presence around CatSynth HQ, through sounds and bits of motion. But this is the first time we saw him/her on the patio ledge. It’s a little tuxedo cat, like Sam Sam.
This cat presumably lives in one of the apartments just beyond our patio. We often see him sitting on the ledge behind this glass-brick window.
As one might imagine, Sam Sam is rather curious about this new cat outside her windows.
She is a bit anxious and agitated by the cat’s presence, and often jumps up on this sideboard and even the window ledge above! Her is always fully fluffed during these encounters. I suspect she is feeling both intrigued and territorial at the same time. (We have already started clearing off the most fragile items and tchotchkes from the glass table).
We hope you have a great weekend. And we’d love to hear about adventures your cats have with their feline neighbors 😺
Those who follow our Instagram are regularly treated to photos and videos of Sam Sam and her adventures around CatSynth HQ. For those who don’t, we can assure you that she is doing well and is being spoiled rotten.
Sam Sam has made this blanket one of her favorite spots for napping and relaxing. It is quite warm and soft. In this video, we see her kneading it and purring up a storm.
It’s good to be the cat!
Here we see her posing with our Korg Volca FM sytnhesizer.
This photo was taken while preparing for our recent video on the Volca FM, which you can check out on YouTube. One of the nice things about these small battery-powered synths like the Korg Volcas and the Roland Boutiques is that we play them on the bed. And if I’m there playing a synth, reading, or napping, Sam Sam is likely to follow.
We hope you have a fun weekend, however you define it. And if you are Instagram, please do follow us 😻.
Sam Sam has her usual spots, but sometimes she sits down in unexpected places. For example, yesterday she entered “kitty loaf” mode in front of an overflow shelf just outside the studio that continued several old E-MU modules.
The E-MU Orbit, Carnival and Classic Keys are all variants of the first generation Proteus. The Orbit, in particular, was iconic in its time, but all rather obsolete now. I do still use my Proteus 2000 module (a Vintage Pro with Mo’Phatt and Beat Garden expansion ROMS) quite often – you never know when you might need a few lines of Mellotron flute or strings or a classic highly-filter-swept drum loop. There are other ways to get these musical elements, but the P2K remains quick and accessible. The Morpheus also still has a place of honor in the studio.
Both of these later-generation E-MU instruments had more to offer, especially the z-plane filters that the Morpheus took to the extreme. These days, I do find myself experimenting with the Morpheus Eurorack module from Rossum Electro-Music more than the old E-MU box, which is just the z-plane filter with CV-controlled parameters. Even after using it extensively in recent shows, I still have a lot to learn and practice with it.
When we’re not up in the studio, Sam Sam enjoys spending time on the living room rug and perfecting her patented “scratch-and-roll” move.
I have too many photos of her in this pose now, it’s just hard to resist. Of course, what she wants is not a photo, but pets and then brushing. I am more than happy to oblige.
I have been spending a lot of time at the main software-development and video workstation of late. As we have seen before, Sam Sam loves to drop by and say hi.
She seems to really like the open shelves as much as I do.
As one can see, cat decor abounds in the studio. But we also have some other items on display in these shelves.
On the left (of course) is a Bernie Sanders action figure, made by Brooklyn-based FCTRY, as well as a signed card from the 1990s when we still just Vermont’s representative. And to the right of Bernie is our Lego recording studio.
The studio is from a series of Lego kits specifically aimed at young women, and I loved the idea of having a “studio in the studio.” It’s great the engineer is a woman, but we thought it needed one more addition.
Yes, that’s a little Lego black cat! A tribute to Luna, whom we still miss dearly. 💜
Apparently, even Lego cats shed. But our life-size studio tends to be entropy-prone as well, especially before and after live shows. It definitely needs another clean-up…but first we have a lot of creative projects ahead this weekend. We hope you all have a happy and productive weekend as well.
After several days of cold, wet, dreary weather, we finally have sunshine again. Not that we can really complain compared to our friends on the east coast after the recent storm. Sam Sam enjoys looking out the windows, though she hasn’t shown the same interest in venturing outside as Luna did.
I like the contrast of angular lines against Sam Sam’s natural shape in this one. One can see more of this geometric contrast in this pose on the stairs.
It’s a treat to capture such an image. But we also enjoy the everyday antics, such as Sam Sam’s patented “Scratch and roll.” It’s her way of currying favor.
It’s always a good day with Sam Sam. We hope you have a wonderful day, too.
Sam Sam wants to play! And who can resist such an entreaty 😻
Sam Sam is a rather gregarious and playful cat, so this ritual plays out several times a day. And I am happy to indulge. The rug in the middle of the main section of CatSynth HQ is one of her favorite spots overall, and she spends a lot of time here rolling around, playing with her favorite toys, and getting brushed. Clearly, this pose in the photo below suggests she wants to be brushed (again).
On her back, you can see some of her many unique black patches, including on her paws, the back of her legs, and her “goatee” on her chin.
We hope you are enjoying your Sunday as much as Sam Sam is.
Sam Sam enjoys relaxing on the beanbag chair in the studio, even while I’m busy working on apps, music, or videos.
I do often envy her approach to life.
The new year has brought plague and pestilence to CatSynth HQ, as I succumbed to the current vaccine-resistant strain of the flu. It’s been mostly bed rest since Wednesday, but fortunately, I have Sam Sam nearby.
She has been affectionate and attentive, more so than usual. I suspect that is also due to my having started working in an office again after being home with her for most of December. That’s a story for another time. In the meantime, we are enjoying one another’s company, even if I am low on energy and sometimes a bit delirious. Here is a closeup of her.
In a way, the illness and rest have extended the period of solitude and introspection from the last weeks of 2017, which I do not mind at all. It’s given me more time to think about the vague ideas and plans that I have for this year, though it postpones getting started on any execution. On the negative side, I had to cancel a gig today in Sacramento, extending what I call the “Sacramento Curse” where every planned show in that city since the beginning of 2014 has been missed for one reason or another (the first and most dramatic being one that was canceled due to a massive fire near the venue – fortunately, no one was hurt and the venue was fine afterwards). It has also slowed down activity that requires looking at screens for prolonged periods. I made an exception to get this post out.
Lying down and letting one’s mind wander with a slight fever does lead to interesting thoughts. A different experience from The Disintegration of Thought during periods of health, but interesting nonetheless. Some are complete nonsense, but others are consistent with introspection and what it takes to try and be happy and healthy in these challenging times. The roles of fear and caution are part of that internal dialog, as well as creativity in general. Perhaps I will have more to say about them as I return to health, perhaps not.