Sam Sam’s First Gotcha Day!

It was one year ago today that Sam Sam came to live at CatSynth HQ, and we are wishing her a very happy first Gotcha Day (adoption anniversary)!

A year ago I was still in the early part of my grieving process for Luna, who had passed away just a little over a month earlier.  Getting another cat was always the plan, but not quite so soon.  But our friends Michael de la Cuesta (of Vacuum Tree Head) and Karen de la Cuesta told me about this sweet cat they needed to rehome – her longtime human had passed away a year earlier, and she needed to leave her current home in southern California.  I, of course, said yes.  So on December 7, 2016, she made the journey north to San Francisco and stepped in HQ for the first time.  Not surprisingly, “Sam Sam” was a bit shy and skittish at first, spending most of her time under the bed, sneaking out periodically for food, water, and the litter box.  But bit by bit she came out her shell and blossomed into a wonderful companion.  She is quite talkative and outgoing now – even a bit sassy at times 😸

She delights many with her unique markings and quirky antics.

Happy Gotcha Day, Sam Sam!  We are so glad you came to live with us, and we hope to spend many years together 💕

Remembering Luna, One Year Later

Luna with her beautiful green eyes.

It’s been a year since Luna passed away. And so today we mark her yahrzeit, or anniversary of death. Over the past year, the grieving process has continued in its complicated and chaotic pattern, sometimes raw and at the surface, sometimes just a fond memory now tinged with melancholy. Perhaps if one plots the grief over the course of a year. it will trend downwards, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of deep loss and sadness.

Farewell to Luna

We began observing the yahrzeit at sundown yesterday. After repeated heatwaves and the worst fires and air quality that I have experienced in California, the skies and air suddenly became chilly, crisp, and damp, signaling the real arrival of autumn. The palpable chill in the air brought memories of Luna’s last week back into focus and set the tone for the evening. We switched on the memorial candle – I only use electrical candles for this purpose. A glass or two of red wine, some comfort food, and David Bowie on the stereo. The songs “Dollar Days” from Blackstar and “Prettiest Star” from Alladin Sane are particularly tied to Luna’s passing, along with the chill.

Sam Sam seemed to sense my state – exacerbated by an unusually stressful workday on top of everything else – and provided a lot of extra comfort last night, breaking her night-time wanderings around HQ to come and lay on my chest and purr. She does this most days, but not as long or as deep. Indeed, her presence has been a great source of love and comfort as I continue to move forward. I will always miss Luna, but my current and future cats need me in the present.

CatSynth 10th Anniversary!

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On July 19, we hit a major milestone: 10 years since our first post. And we celebrate as always with some stats:

2,982 Posts
14,031 Comments
4.7 comments per post
1088 Cat-and-synth pics, videos, etc.
430 Reviews, gig-reports, and related posts

In some ways, the blog activity has declined a bit since it’s height in the early 2010s. Much of the activity has moved over to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And more recently, we are looking to the future via our mobile apps – there is much more coming there in the not-too-distant future. Additionally, I find myself balancing time spent writing blog articles with an increasingly busy schedule of musical performances and such. All good things in their own way.

We are a bit late to celebrate this year due to some major personal and medical priorities on my part (all of which are going well, but also beyond the scope of this forum). It isn’t the first time our blog anniversary has gotten caught up in other things. Last year we missed the 9th anniversary entirely as we coped with Luna’s cancer diagnosis. And our first anniversary came amidst a major downtime for the site that took a week or so to fix.

As always, here is the photo of Luna that started it all on July 19, 2006.

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Luna hasn’t aged all that much, retaining her youthful appearance. And that beanbag chair is still a favorite of hers. It’s where she hangs out in the studio, and over the years we have taken major photos of her with it.

The studio has certainly gotten more crowded over time.

Please join us in celebrating 10 years of CatSynth, and looking forward to many more!

Happy 11th Gotcha Day Luna!

Today marks Luna’s 11th Gotcha Day (adoption anniversary) since I first brought her home from the Santa Cruz County animal shelter on June 10, 2005. She has come to be the queen of her home in the years since.

This Gotcha Day is a particularly sweet one, considering all that has happened over the past year. It was about one month after her previous anniversary that we saw the first signs of her cancer and got the formal diagnosis soon after. She was given only months at best with aggressive treatment. But with love, attention and the best medical care available, she is still with us a year later and thriving!

And she is still the star of CatSynth.

We are looking forward to a weekend of celebration and treats.

Please join me in wishing Luna a very happy Gotcha Day!

Happy 10th Gotcha Day, Luna!

It was exactly ten years ago, June 10, 2005, that I brought Luna home from the Santa Cruz County animal shelter. And so we are celebrating her 10th “Gotcha Day” (adoption anniversary) over the next few days in style. It began the evening before with a festive meal, complete with main course, treats, and a “cocktail.”

Gotcha Day dinner

The “cake” didn’t quite come out of the can perfectly, but as we can see that did not bother Luna at all. She devoured her special dinner with enthusiasm.

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It is hard to believe that 10 years have gone by, but it is hold hard to imagine life without my special little girl. We have been through a lot together – adventures and transitions – more than be documented on these pages.

Here is her official photo from animal shelter, followed by a portrait from her first week at home.

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Baby Luna at home

At the time, she was 7 months old. Still a baby in many ways. Over the years, I have watched her grow into a beautiful cat. Here are just a few photos, including one of the most recent.

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We are certainly looking forward to many more years and adventures together, wherever life leads us. Please join me in wishing Luna a Happy 10th Gotcha Day!

CatSynth 8th Anniversary

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!

Happy Gotcha Day, Luna!

It has been exactly 9 years since I first brought Luna home from the Santa Cruz County animal shelter. This was her official photo from the shelter.

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It was already clear with that face and those green eyes she was going to grow up to be a beautiful cat. And she has been a sweet and faithful animal companion for almost a decade now.

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Please join me in wishing Luna a Happy Gotcha Day!

CatSynth 7th Anniversary!

Today we mark seven years since CatSynth first went online!

Here was the photo of Luna from that first post on July 19, 2006.

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As we do every yeah, we celebrate this occasion with some stats.

2,278 posts.
12,218 comments.
538,771 visitors.
760 “cat-and-synth” posts.

Some overall stats for the past year:

Our top day for visitors was January 26, 2013. This was during NAMM.
The greatest number of visitors came from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.
The top cities are San Francisco and New York. The top city outside the U.S. is London.
iOS and Android are among the top five platforms used by our visitors, surpassing Linux.

Our top commenters over the past year:

Tillie and Georgia 187
meowmeowmans 142
Gattina 70
Snowcatcher 57
Kitty 56
CatSynth 53
Beth F 45
Sukhmandir Kaur 42
AVCr8teur 42
Louis la Vache 40
Sue St Clair 39
KatzTales 37
Cafe au lait 34
Marilia 33
The Chair Speaks 29
Sweet Purrfections 27
Cats of wildcat woods 25
Marg 24
Team Tabby 23
Beth @ 990 Square 22
SandyCarlson 22

It’s great to see longtime readers continue to participate over the years, and always good to see newcomers as well.  Interestingly, the number of comments has gone down significantly over the past year.  My conjecture is that an increasing amount of the engagement around CatSynth has migrated to our Facebook page, and to Twitter, where we have lively communities of commenters.  In terms of Facebook, here are our most shared/liked posts over the past year:

The Green Wood, an opera by David Samas 64
CatSynth pic: Brian Eno Purina ad 44
Weekend Cat Blogging: Good News from PAWS 38
Pitta of the Mind, Red Thread, and Pet the Tiger at Turquoise Yantra Grotto 36
CatSynth pic: Gary Mew-man 33
CatSynth pic: Moog Little Phatty 31
Superb Owl 29
Outsound Music Summit: Fire and Energy 28
CatSynth pic: Chewie on Ensoniq EPS 26
CatSynth pic: Pinto and Moog Little Phatty 25
Jay Korber Benefit Performance, Berkeley Arts 25
The Fashion World of John Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, De Young Museum 23
CatSynth pic: Maggie Monotron 23
Military Cats 20
CatSynth pic: Schnuffi and Modular 19

It’s gratifying to see a mixture of “cat-and-synth” posts and art/music reviews in this list.  It supports my belief that mixing all the different topics together into one stream is worthwhile.  I particularly enjoy our many cat enthusiasts commenting on the music reviews or highway posts.

We hope to continue this project for a long time, and hope it continues to be a valuable and worthwhile resource.  And a big thank you to all our readers and fans!  You make this a joy to work on.

On the Night of War

I wrote this poem on the night the Iraq war began, ten years ago.

On the night of war…
March 19, 2003

A light rain has fallen
A trio of snails marches up the main path towards my front door
Upon the thinnest of thin sheets of wet
Like the one who came into my garage a week ago
To say “hi neighbor, what is all this stuff in your garage?”
A week ago, before I turned thirty, before we entered this latest war
I was unaware there was such an abundance of large snails
Before this night which is a second day
Rising after collapsing from exhaustion of the stress, agony, exhilaration, guilt
Of being alive and flourishing at this strange time

© 2003 Amar Chaudhary