Saturday, January 19, 2008

Return with me now to the thrilling days of....


I was attending the University of Wisconsin at Platteville and living in the dorms, Morrow Hall 3rd floor.
The guy in the corner room had bought the first CD player on the floor.
He only had 2 CDs, one of which was Pink Floyd's The Wall.
I'm sure some of you remember this album - "We don't need no education", "It's just another brick in the Wall", "Is there anybody out there?" etc. etc. etc.
He went to his morning classes, ate lunch lunch and came back and played this album.
Monday through Friday.
Every day.
Let me repeat - Every day!



After about 2 months of this my roommate Ron and I decided to get even.
Ron had a Commodore 64 computer and the video game M.U.L.E.
One day we hooked up his computer to my stereo system, cranked the volume, and went to lunch leaving this playing:

We came back an hour later to find about 20 guys outside our room, pounding on the door.
We posted a note later explaining why we did it.
And threatening to do it again.
The other guys on the floor chipped in and bought "The Wall's" owner a set of headphones. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

@pp1e eBook? Where are you?

I want an eBook reader!
I have been looking at the Sony Reader for over year now, saving all my change.

But I knew that Amazon was coming out with one so I was waiting.
Amazon has now released the Kindle except that I think that it is just ugly, like a miniature Apple IIe with the qwerty keybaord stuck on the bottom.

I had decided to go ahead and buy the Sony but I got an email from an unnamed source who had some info from another source that a certain large computer company named after a fruit was going to introducing their own version.
The annual MacWorld Expo (which I attended in San Fran in 1990 and 1993) is this week and so far I have not seen any mention of in the coverage.
Inside Mac TV has posted the Macworld 2008 Steve Jobs Apple Keynote Highlights but nothing there :(

So do I wait another 6 months and see what Apple will do?
Or get the Sony now and take advantage of the 100 free classic books they are offering through the end of January?
Or do I forget the whole thing and start saving for this?

Owls in Caledonia!

Last night as I was reading in bed I heard an owl outside my house, pretty close by.

A couple of minutes later I heard it again to the north, near the Tree Farm.

Suddenly I heard it again near the house and realizied it was two owls!

They hooted back and forth in a 5 hoot pattern (whowhowho-whowho) several times.

I'm not sure what kind they were.

There is a pack of coyotes that spend several nights a month in the Tree Farm, we can hear them howling at night.

This is another reason why we keep our cats inside at all times.

Sunday, January 13, 2008 Free Books • Free Minds

One of the only things I like better than buying books is Free Books!
I recently found a free legal online source for pdf books and comic books. has a huge selection of books and you can download 3 a day.

They have everything from mysteries to textbooks to comedy to comic books to classics to travel to romance, etc. etc.

Several comic books series well worth downloading: Inverloch, Swords of the Swashbucklers, and The Dreamland Chronicles.

Recent books I downloaded include: Ancient Natural History: Histories of Nature, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt: A Social History, The Songs of Robert Burns (originally $335.00!), The Early Works of Dr. Seuss - Volume 1, The Early Works of Dr. Seuss - Volume 2, The Land That Time Forgot - Three Book Special Edition by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

If you check out their site and find some book or series you find interesting please leave me a comment!

Thursday, January 10, 2008 Part 2

I have books.
Lots of books.
Lots and Lots and Lots of books.
I checked and the only room in my house that does not have books in it is the dining room.
(Yes, there are books in both of the bathrooms.)
I have tried numerous ways of keeping track of what I have, from notebooks to index cards to spreadsheets to FileMaker databases.
And then I found

LibraryThing allows you to enter your books into their database using either the title or the ISBN.
They pull data from, the Library of Congress, Oxford University and over 200 more libraries around the world.
The British Library was just added on January 9th!
You can enter your own books manually if LibraryThing can't find a source for your particular book.
Every book can have "Tags" added to it like nonfiction, Poirot, not read, or anything else.
Once you have entered books, LibraryThing can compare your collection to everyone else's showing you how popular a book is or whose library is most similar to yours.
It has both a "Suggester" to find books you might like and an "Unsuggester" to find books that will probably not be in your library.
People have currently added over 22 million books into the system!

It's fun poking around the site because they keep adding new features.
Most owned book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (26,381)
Most reviewed book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (550 reviews)
There are authors who are staring to post their libraries on LibraryThing.
Even Thomas Jefferson, our third president has his library posted on LibraryThing!

I changed my LibraryThing sidebars so now you see 6 random books plus the last 6 books I entered.
(Can you tell I was bored in the hotel last night???)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Deja Vu All Over Again

My sister posted the same Human Tetris video on her blog the day after I posted it here.

And we did not talk to each other about it either!

Welcome to the Laycock Twilight Zone de-be-do-be de-be-do-be!!

I'm off to Munster tomorrow.

Going to Munster again...

No, not M√ľnster Germany

I wish it were Munster, Ireland :(

Not these Munsters either!

Yep, It's Munster Indiana!

Every Wednesday and Thursday for work.
My trips down there have been extended another 8 weeks, through the end of March.

Important tip: If you have to drive through Ilinois on a regular basis get an iPass! Half the cash price and saves probably 50% travel time.

It's still about a 3 hour trip so I stay overnight at the Munster Hampton Inn, which has a pool and whirlpool and free breakfast, but no cats in the room :(

Monday, January 7, 2008

Human Stop-Motion Tetris

Also check out the versions of Pong, Pole Position and Space Invaders they animated! Part 1

See that yellow box over there? ------>

That is a random selection of 5 books we own out of the 1300+ books I have entered into My Library at I think this is about 25% of the books in our house.

Unfortunately I need to work some overtime tonight and can't explain anymore about LibraryThing today but I promise I will soon.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Introducing.... Gitana!

This is Gitana, the newest member of our family.
Born in July 2007, along with her mother Gypsy and two siblings came to foster with us.
We foster kittens and cats for Kindred Kitties, a no-kill cat-only animal shelter in Kenosha Wisconsin.
After a quick Google search on "Gypsy baby names" we named her brother Mander, her sister Chavali and her Gitana, which is Spanish for "Gypsy".



Gitana and Mander are polydactyl having 6 toes on their front paws and 5 on the back instead of the standard 5 and 4.

12 toes
Gitana got an ear infection and a scratch above her eye and had to live inside our house for several weeks, away from her family who were staying in a cat condo in our garage, where most of our foster cats stay when it is warm enough.

Mander was adopted by our friends Brent and Jackie who have named in "Lando Catrissian" after the character "Lando Calrissian" from "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi".

After she was not adopted at Petco for two weeks we realized we missed her very much and brought her back home to live with us permanently.

She has adapted very well, getting along with Sunshine and Jeeves but she is particularly good friends with Wooster.

Gitana can not bear to left out of what's going on. I cannot go up or down a flight of stairs without her following me, even if she was sitting in Michelle's lap at the time. She is also waiting for us outside the bedroom door every morning and by the back door when we arrive home at night.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Does the world need another Cat Blog?

Hi and welcome to my blog!

I am Cap'n Frank and this is my Cat Blog.

What's a Cat Blog?

First a bit of background info - I am a reading junkie - books, magazines, newspapers, websites, comic books, cereal boxes, whatever.

I recently was poking around electronic book sites and found an ebook called "Who's There? Seth Godin's Incomplete Guide to Blogs and the New Web". (You can get your own free copy at

In it he defines three types of blogs (page 16):
1) Cat Blogs
2) Boss Blogs
3) Viral Blogs

"CAT BLOGS are blogs for and by and about the person blogging."

This is definitely going to be a cat blog!
In addition to my wife and I there are 4 permanent Feline-Americans in our house and between 0-10 foster cats and kittens present at any time. There is currently one foster female cat living with us.

The last two summers my wife has been posting pictures of our current foster kittens over at her rubber stamping blog ( but she has stopped posting much there so I will be doing it here.

The other reason I am finally getting off my butt and starting a personal blog is that my 13-year-old nephew has started his own blog!

I'm not only going to be talking about cats & books but also the Wii, Tubas, board games, movies, music, webcomics and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Does the world need another Cat Blog? According to my Cats it does!

Cap'n Frank