Farewell to 2018

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The end-of-year colage has become a long-standing tradition here at CatSynth, and one that I particularly enjoy. It was a complex year, and the images reflect that. Our cats Sam Sam and “Big Merp” (who has pretty much become an indoor-outdoor cat at his new home in Oakland), some great shows including outstanding performances with CDP and Vacuum Tree Head, a wonderful and restorative visit back to New York. It was also dark and fiery at times, as when the Camp Fire leveled the town of Paradise and bathed our sky in smoke and ash – beautiful and tragic all at once.

Another New Year tradition at CatSynth is to share some stats from the past year. First, the basics:

  • 309 posts
  • 169 Cat-and-music posts
  • 78 episodes of CatSynth TV

Our top posts for the year, using the somewhat shaky measurements of Google Analytics:

  1. Wordless Wednesday: Windmill (Golden Gate Park)
  2. Aretha Franklin: Rock Steady
  3. Secret Chiefs 3 and Cleric play Zorn’s Masada
  4. Women’s March 2018 in San Francisco
  5. CatSynth Pic: White Cat and Modular, Vertical View

It was heartening to see such a diverse set of posts top the list. However, this belies the fact that blog readership is way down, and eclipsed by Facebook and YouTube / CatSynth TV. Most of our referrals to the blog come from these two sources; but most activity stays on Facebook and YouTube. On the plus side, CatSynth TV viewership has grown significantly. Here are the top videos for the year.

  1. NAMM 2018: Mellotron! [Episode 34]
  2. Arturia MiniBrute 2 Part 1
  3. Arturia MiniBrute 2 Sequencer [Episode 61]
  4. NAMM 2018: Rossum Electro Music Assimil8or [Episode 31]
  5. Volca FM: Deconstructed Electric Piano [Episode 53]

Clearly, the NAMM reviews and synth demos dominate the channel, though I am proud of the diversity of art, music, and culture topics shared there as well. Overall, we at CatSynth do see the writing on the wall, and the efforts in 2019 will probably accelerate the shift from blog to video in terms of time, energy and investment.

On a more personal and introspective note, 2018 was a year we accomplished a lot. At the same time, it ends feeling like I both did too much and didn’t do enough. There are still so many things going on, even as we tried to consolidate and focus. One of the challenges going into 2019 will be looking at how to stay organized and even more focused, without giving up on all that we do. Also, like birthdays, a new year is a reminder that time is passing, and we are getting a bit older. Taking care of myself will also be a priority.

Thank you all as always for sharing this past year with us, and wish wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Farewell to 2016: Annus Horribilis

2015 may have been a difficult year, but 2016 was a true annus horribilis. It was a year of loss. The graphic only represents a subset that we elegized in 2016 here on CatSynth. Some were personal, some were heroes, some symbolic. There were many deaths. A dark illiberal populist pall has been cast over the country and the world. But most of all, I am still grieving for the loss of our beloved Luna.

How does one keep going after a year like this? The answer I give to friends who have asked that question in the past is that we have no choice. Surviving is what we do, until that day when we don’t.

To be fair, there were many good things this year. Much good music and art that we have written about; career and personal life are much better now than they were a year ago as well. And we look forward to many adventures with our new cat Sam Sam in the coming years.

It’s hard to know what will come to in 2017. It’s a prime number, which brings us a modicum of joy. A see quite a bit of anxiety ahead, but also things to look forward to, including in January. We shall see…

Farewell to 2015: Annus Asper

Farewell to 2015
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2015 was a rough year. There is no other way to put it. We looked over the precipice at some of the worst possibilities becoming reality. But we came through. Luna stared down an extremely dire diagnosis and is once again thriving. For that I am truly grateful. I rebounded strongly from my own health issues as well. And there were many other beautiful moments this year, a few of which are included in our graphic.

This was a year of many endings as well, most notably in the personal and musical domains. But new doors are opening for 2016 as a result, and there are some new projects and opportunities for which I am excited. 2015 left a lot of questions unanswered, some of which are also depicted in the graphic and some of which are beyond the scope of this site.

So we are excited for 2016, but also extremely anxious and apprehensive. There are more big challenges coming up; and if I have learned anything, it is that I have no idea how things will ultimately turn out. It’s just a matter of doing things one at a time incrementally – but also continuing even more than ever to speak my truths and accept the risks and consequences that come with doing so.

Meanwhile, we at CatSynth will continue to do what we do here, bring music, art, culture and cats to the world. Thank you for all your support in 2015, and especially all your support for Luna and me. We are truly humbled and look forward to sharing this new year whatever it brings.

2014: Transition and Turbulence

CatSynth 2014 in Review
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Once again, it’s time for our traditional end-of-the-year image at CatSynth. 2014 was a year like no other for us: transition, turbulence, complexity, controversy, beauty. Luna turned 10, and is enjoying the life of a mature but very spoiled house cat. And for me, the year began with a profound change that is still reverberating. Some things stayed remarkably constant, as one can see from themes in the words and images here. But others changed in ways I was not prepared for. Changes in my music, my personality and identity, my friendships and relationships, and my professional life. But in the end I learned the importance of speaking one’s truth. It comes with tremendous risks, but with potential great rewards. So what this means is that even more big changes are likely in store for 2015, especially in music, work, and the pages of this website.

The blog did suffer a bit amidst all the tumult of this past year, but we are reinvigorating it for 2015. There is the new look and feel – one of our truths – and more posts and channels coming. Thank you for being part of this year with us, and looking forward to the next!

2013, The Transformative Year

2013 Year End photo

 

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Once again, it’s time for our traditional end-of-the-year image at CatSynth.   The past couple of years have all been good, rich, full, and sometimes complicated.  But 2013 has been particularly significant, certainly one that I will long remember.  As the title says, it has been a transformational time on multiple dimensions for me, indeed it has touched almost every aspect of my being.  There will be more to say on that in the coming days. Music and art have been going very well, too, and one of the main challenges of this coming year will be to build on the successes of this past year but in a more directed way.  If that sounds vague, it’s because I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

For Luna, things pretty much are the way the always are.  Such is the life of a contented house cat.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks to everyone who reads and supports this project, whether here at the blog, on Facebook, or through the many personal friendships that grown from here.  You are all what makes this work worthwhile!

Farewell to 2012

It’s time for our traditional end-of-the-year image. It is always a challenge to decide what to include, but we thinks this captures a few of the significant elements. 2012 was a crazy and at times and a bit nerve-wracking, but it full of richness and opportunity. I except more of the same in 2013. It’s going to be a busy and challenging year ahead, but I hope to be able to continue to keep this site going and maintain the friendships I have made here.

Farewell to 2011

As has become a tradition here at CatSynth, we present our end-of-year image.


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It was a bit of a challenge to decide what to put in, as there were so many this time. But I think these are particularly representative. And it’s also significant that it is more colorful than previous end-of-year images.

The first few days of this year were quiet and a bit dark. That changed quickly, with tumultuous events around the world, and new experiences close to home. It’s the year I finally had a photography show, and by the end of the year I had several. There were new surprising types of performances and the costumes to go with them. I deepened my connections back in New York with friends, music, art and the landscape. And I no idea what I would have the chance to participate in something like the Occupy movement . There were many sad moments as well, with the loss of friends.

In all, 2011 has been particularly rich and productive, if sometimes a bit chaotic. If one had told me at the end of 2007 or 2008 (or 2001 for that matter) that this is what life would be like now, I would have been pleasantly surprised. There is a sense, however, that the patterns of this past year are not sustainable. This will have to be part of the plan for 2012, in particular getting organized, staying healthy and trying to make good choices. We will see how that unfolds as the new year progresses…

Happy New Year and thank you for all the support and warmth from those who read these pages!

Weekend Cat Blogging: New Year and Photohunt:Fuzzy

We at CatSynth attempt to wake up to the new year…slowly.  Here is our first published photo of 2011:

The theme of this weekend’s Photo Hunt is fuzzy, which is easy with Luna around.  One can easily see the fuzziness of her thick winter fur.  Cats do seem to get thicker fur in the winter…and contrary to stereotypes, we do have a winter season in California.

This may end up being about as much as we do today.


Weekend Cat Blogging #291 New Years Edition is hosted by Pam and the cats at Sidewalk Shoes.

The Photo Hunt is hosted by tnchick. This week’s theme is Fuzzy.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by Nikita Cat.

And life goes on…

Farewell to 2010

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This is not a convenient day for the year to end.

January 1, 2010, was a calm, and truly monochromatic day, which set the initial tone for the year and the first photo I posted reflected the tone.  It was turning away from the excitement and adventures in 2009 towards a more inward and local focus on creativity and relationships…and finding a new job.  And at the end of the year, much of that remains true: more creative output, both musically and visually than ever, new friends (and deepening ties with old friends), and I did get that new job.  But the pace and energy are anything but calm.  Life has been hurtling forward at a faster and faster pace, with an ever higher density of activity and experience, and that can’t keep going forever.  There are limits.  Limits in time, in resources, and in my body.     Slowing down is not easy, and may not even be necessary, but this coming year is going to be about doing the best I can within those limits. In terms of this site, there is always the tension between experiences and writing about those experiences, and lately I have been erring on the side of experience versus writing about it.  It’s a continuous process to learn how to balance that.

Things don’t always look particularly bright when you’re in the middle of them.  This year (like most) was riddled with mistakes and failures, missed opportunities, and more.  But if, say, “2008 me” got to look ahead and see “2010 me”, he would probably be amazed at how much has changed…mostly for the better.  I saw another interesting perspective yesterday when a friend, in saying good riddance to 2010, pointed around the table and said (and I paraphrase) “your 2010 sucked”, “your 2010 sucked” and then when she pointed to me said “yours was actually pretty good”.

So tomorrow I will simply pick up where things left off today…and keep in mind the phrase from a show I saw at the beginning of the year (by Anthony Discenza), “Everything Will Probably Turn Out OK.”

Farewell to 2009

So this is the time when we choose to look back on the year that has just ended.  Or in some cases, not look back.  It seems that this past year was a difficult one for a lot of people, an annus horribilis or a “year to forget.” For me, that particular title could be better applied to another year that was far more tragic and difficult.

So I feel a little at odds looking back at 2009 and seeing a really rich year, one filled with visual and personal experiences.  I actually learned a lot, about other people around the world, about myself, about what is important to me, and I think that is actually reflected on these pages in a strange way.

I expect this coming year to be more of a transitional one, though I am not exactly sure yet where that will lead.  But in the meantime, we at CatSynth will continue to do what we do…