CatSynth 8th Anniversary

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Well, our eighth blog anniversary occurred this weekend.  So today we celebrate that milestone as we do every year, with some statistics and a look backs.

First, as always, the photo of Luna that launched it all on July 19, 2006.

We are always happy to receive visitors from all over the world, and we do.

Our top countries are:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Germany
  5. France
  6. Australia
  7. Switzerland
  8. Italy
  9. Netherlands
  10. India

Not surprising, the largest English-speaking countries are on the list (I include India), but also a strong presence in countries of Western Europe, especially Germany and France. Beyond India, several countries an Asia were well represented, especially Japan and South Korea. Notably, China had only 6 visitors this year, perhaps we have been blocked? Our top country in the Middle East was Iran, in Africa it was South Africa, and in South America it was Brazil.

Our top ten cities were San Francisco, New York, London, Zurich, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sydney, Melbourne, and Chicago.

Our top post from this past year was Our review of new modules from Make Noise. Indeed, we saw the highest overall engagement on our NAMM coverage.

Our top commenters for the year were:

  1. Georgia and Julie, along with the late Tillie (we miss Tillie)
  2. meowmeowmans of Animal Shelter Volunteer Life.
  3. Snowcatcher
  4. Louis la Vache (of the now closed Bay Area Photo blog)
  5. Beth F of Beth Fish Reads
  6. Our friend “Kitty” from Canada
  7. Gattina
  8. Sukhmandir Kaur
  9. Sue St. Clair
  10. Lee County Clowder

Overall, activity on the blog itself is down, while participation via Facebook, TwitterInstagram are increasing. Our top “liked” posts via Facebook were:

  1. Chris Broderick Farewell Bay Area Concert
  2. Happy Gotcha Day to Luna!
  3. CatSynth pic: Belly Rub
  4. Cat Museum of San Francisco’s Morrissey Birthday post
  5. CatSynth pic: Nina the Studio Kitty

Our Facebook channel has become particularly strong on its own, often with distinct posts and readers from the blog. As for the blog itself, my own activity has gone down quite a bit this year, due to a variety of work and personal issues. In particular, I’d like to get back to more of our interest posts, including more music and art reviews, “Fun with Highways”, etc. And of course more cats and synths.

And finally, thanks to everyone who has stuck with us through any or all of our channels. You are what makes this such a rewarding experience!

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CatSynth pic: Giuliano and Maschine

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Here we see the cat Guiliano “sitting where he shouldn’t, on [a] Maschine studio controller…”

From Alessandro Automageddon via our Facebook page.

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CatSynth pic: Cat and MS-20

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Submitted by Eduardo Villanueva Poloni‎ via our Facebook page.  I think I espy a Nord something in the corner as well?

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CatSynth pic: Rodec Sherman Restyler

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Submitted by Mieke Frere via our Facebook page.

“I’m waiting for some music !”

And as one commenter wrote: “GOOD MUSIC!” :)

If you have any experience with this device, the Rodec Sherman Restyler, please leave a comment.

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CatSynth pic: Ook (catsynth) pik

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From our friend Alex Ookpik (see what we did there?) via Instagram.  Instagram is a great way to get your cat-and-gear pics onto the blog.  Simply post to your feed and leave a comment on your post with “@catsynth”.

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CatSynth pic: Nina the studio kitty

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Nina the studio kitty
Submitted by Jacqueline Hendriks via our Facebook page.

“Nina loves synths! She is a real studio kitty :p”

Identification of the synths left as an exercise to the reader.

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Wordless Wednesday: Rene and Teleplexer

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Make noise Rene and Teleplexer

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Android App Addicts

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aaa-logo-220I don’t usually talk about stuff I do for my day job here, but when I do it’s because it’s particularly interesting or amusing for this audience. I recently appeared on the popular podcast Android App Addicts first as an interviewee and then as a guest commentator for a few episodes. Basically, it’s three guys who casually talk about Android apps, bring a few each episode to share and discuss. The conversation is at a the level of the geek user rather than deeply technical.  I appear in episodes 210-213 if you want to check it out. In episodes 211 and 213, I do share some cat-related apps, as well as a synth app in 212 :)

The hosts, Steve Cherubino, Steve McLaughlin, and Eric Arduini were very open and welcoming, and I would like the thank them for having me.  It was a lot of fun, though I do hate the sound of my own voice.  It also reminds me of the challenges of speaking extemporaneously – in music I can do that with ease, but not as much with speech.

One day when I have free time (?) I would like to restart a CatSynth podcast, basically starting where I left off with the World of Wonder on San Francisco Community Radio but taking it in less strictly musical directions.

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Wordless Wednesday: Florida Street

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Kearny Street Workshop Auto(SOMA)tic Bus Tour

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A few weeks ago, our friends at Kearny Street Workshop concluded their Auto(SOMA)tic program with a performance bus tour around the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood of San Francisco. Regular reads of CatSynth will know that SOMA is our own neighborhood in this city – it is a place I have grown quite fond of, and I have watched the rapid changes here with a mixture of openness and apprehension. The tour featured performances at several locations around the neighborhood, all of which were geographically and visually familiar, but contained surprising and diverse cultural histories.

In terms of format and style, the event borrowed heavy from KSW’s SF Thomassons Performance Tour back in 2010 (which I also attended). This included having Philip Huang as our host, joined this time by Allan S. Manalo.

Philip Huang
[© Kearny Street Workshop/Mido Lee Productions]

Our first stop was at the intersection of Russ St and Minna St. This otherwise modest intersection in the middle of a larger block was a center of Filipino-American life in the neighborhood, and the street is closed off to form a community park. Here we saw a performance by MeND Dance Theater combining dance with song and spoken word.

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There were moments of minimalist form, and others that channeled the thoughts and ambitions of young women who could have easily lived on this block. The performance certainly captured the attention of those of us on the tour.

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[© Kearny Street Workshop/Mido Lee Productions]

We then moved on to St. Joseph’s Church on Howard Street, a site that was also on the Thomassons tour in 2010 because it is a maintained but unused building that closed after the 1989 earthquake. This time it was setting for a performance featuring Cynthia Lin and Rachel Lastimosa.

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[© Kearny Street Workshop/Mido Lee Productions]

The musical performance featured arrangements of songs vaguely related to activities of the former church such as prayer. But the highlight of the set was a lively gospel tune with the refrain “Come on in” that started straight but quickly because a satirical play on the rising costs of living and working in the neighborhood, and the problem of displacement in the midst of the tech boom. ”If you can pay the rent, then come on in!”

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[© Kearny Street Workshop/Mido Lee Productions]

Next we stopped at a large vacant lot at the corner of Harrison St and 8th St, which was once the location of Gordon’s Sugar Works, a large sugar processing plant founded by George Gordon. A nearby alley (coincidentally adjacent to the Stud club on Harrison) bears his name. However, we were here to see a performance by Hālau o Keikiali’i, a performance and cultural group dedicated to preserving and nurturing traditional Hawai’ian culture, particularly hula kahiko (ancient dance).

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[© Kearny Street Workshop/Mido Lee Productions]

The performance was energetic but also had a very serious quality to it, with its invocations of gods and respect for the land. Indeed, part of the connection to the tour was a tribute to the land that has been industrialized and redeveloped many times. At the corner itself was a ‘Ōhi’a Lehua tree – I had seen that tree plenty of times and never realized that. The performance ended with an offering at the tree and an invitation to us to do the same on our own “land”.

We then headed east across the breath of SOMA, even passing quite close to CatSynth HQ, before coming to the Embarcadero and a bayside park at the site of the former Pier 36. Here, we were met by Anirvan Chatterjee and Barnali Ghosh of the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour.

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[© Kearny Street Workshop/Mido Lee Productions]

The introduced us to the history of South Asian immigrants to San Francisco in the early 20th century, focusing in particular on one young man who came to study at UC Berkeley. He encountered racism and xenophobia, but also a community and the chance to encounter progressive ideas that he and others put to use organizing support for eventual Indian independence from the British Empire. Look for a report from the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour here in the future once I finally have a chance to attend.

Our final stop was, at least in my own opinion, not in SOMA at all, but south across the Mission Creek in the partially developed Mission Bay neighborhood. Here, in a construction site on the edge of the new UCSF Mission Bay campus and housing developments, we were treated to a series of skits by Granny Cart Gangstas.

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[© Kearny Street Workshop/Mido Lee Productions]

This all-women-of-color troupe “pokes fun at pervasive media representations of women, pop culture, and consumerism in our daily lives.” One of the more amusing ones centered on a young woman convinced she was Ariel from the Little Mermaid.

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Overall, it was a fun afternoon, and provided some interesting ideas and information as I continue and wander the neighborhood where I live. Thanks to Kearney Street Workshop and co-presentedShaping San Francisco, and to our hosts Philip Huang and Alan S Manalo for a successful event.

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