Cats and music. Music and cats.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Solitude is Bliss

Wow! 2020 has been off the chain and we are only halfway through it. My heart bleeds for people impacted by illness, chaos, cancellations, and economic devastation but from a personal standpoint I feel very fortunate. As an only child I don't mind being alone for such an indefinite amount of time. I can work from home. I did have some event cancellations but the one gig I cared about I participated in via I love not having to pack up my gear and set it up and tear it down and make small talk at gigs. I tried doing some facebook live Arthur Loves Plastic DJ sets but they were abruptly shut down due to false flag copyright issues. I did an open mic on zoom as Sad Veiled Bride and sucked, but it wasn't as bad as if I posted images of my food. I do wish I could cook and sew so  I could prepare meals that are less pathetic than Senator Warner's tuna melt and do something useful like make masks. I did get my craft on by scoring a Korg LittleBits kit on sale and modding it with filters and effects which I used for my gig:

This spring, I started a self-indulgent shoegaze project called Loopurr using a video game guitar controller with garageband on an ipad 1.

I also recorded a couple of albums:

So far I am not bored and not lonely. I do have a bit of a routine that can seem monotonous at times...wake up, pray, walk, WFH, play music, stream. Sometimes my dreams take place on zoom. I have also watched more TV in the past month than I usually do in an entire year. I love Kanopy but often end up watching guilty pleasures. I am enjoying life on pause and in no rush for the next normal!

Foster Cats

Last year I visited Humane Rescue Alliance to see if I could find a suitable companion for Kimba, who has been the only cat in the house since I lost my cat Nick to cancer in 2018. I was in the market for an older male who would presumably have a compatible energy level. However the shelter was like a Golden Girls episode with mostly older females on display! The helpful adoption coordinator I spoke with succeeded in impressing upon me how badly they needed fosters during kitten season so I ended up applying for that role instead. In July 2019 I was matched with an 8-year-old black cat named Coco Rico. He was a former alley cat who had come into the shelter with an injury and was friendly enough that HRA decided to adopt him out as opposed to returning him to his TNR cat colony.  

In October I took him to an HRA event in which he was adopted on the spot. I had wandered away from the adoption truck and didn't get a chance to say goodbye. I was very surprised at how attached I had become to this cat, though Kimba didn't seem to care one way or another about his presence. 

Fast forward to April 2020, and I received an email from HRA that Coco Rico had been picked up as a stray and his adopters did not want to reclaim him. I was delighted to foster him again and get a chance to reunite him with his favorite toy. Cats are in such demand during quarantine that I only had him for a week before the perfect adopter emailed me. We did a virtual meet and greet over skype during which he did friendly head butts and showed  off his litter box manners. He is living his best life now as evidenced by adorable photos his new adopter sent me.

Next I was matched with Ander, an energetic, cute 6-month-old. Given that cats are practically flying off the shelves, my inbox was flooded the minute his profile went up and after 3 zoom meet and greets HRA informed me the first respondent had applied to adopt him. Although he initially hid from me his first evening, he became an absolute love bug and delightful zoom bomber. I only had Ander for 6 days before his new mom arrived for a contactless pickup. 

I am taking a break from fostering for the rest of the summer because my music studio/cat room/office gets a little too hot when I keep the door closed to separate the fosters from Kimba. I look forward to doing this again in the fall since Kimba doesn't seem to mind sharing the apartment with other cats. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


I recently won a Pocket Operator drum machine at a raffle during the NorthEast Electro-Music Festival and this Teenage Engineering marvel has propelled me towards an exciting new musical direction! Pocket Operators are little Swedish musical devices that look like calculators. After experiencing their fun factor I subsequently bought the PO voice synthesizer so I can emulate the sound of a robot singing my cat's name. I sync the drums and vocals to a korg volca and use a couple of cheap monotron ribbon synths to apply effects and filters. The brains of the outfit turns out to be an MC-303 groovebox I bought in the late 90s that I stubbornly refused to part with and have recently retr0brighted for the occasion.

Over the years I had gotten rid of old digital hardware in favor of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and softsynths, so the DAWless trend feels "cassettes and command line" retro to me. I prefer producing recorded music on a DAW (I use Reaper) but the process can be 10% inspiration followed by 90% OCD-fueled editing. However performing DAWless live sets keeps me in the inspiration part of the creative process and provides the tactile sensation that is sometimes missing when sitting in front of a computer. I perform with the grooveboxes as Below is footage from my recent improvised gig at Electric Maid in Takoma Park.