I don't have cats. I have a greyhound who is a bit too fond of them so we stick to dogs.
Mad calico jack is a silly moniker that came about when I grew my beard out. It has multi-colored hairs. I'm somewhat fond of pirates, so my wife called me mad calico jack as a pirate name. Interestingly enough I found out later that a very famous pirate, Jack Rackham, was also known as calico jack. Anyway, it just kind of stuck.
I've been sifting through the commuting forum. There is a ton of good information about bikes and gear. I'll wait until I get to Austin at the end of July to buy anything. No sense buying it now and having to move it. In the mean time, I'll stick to the forums to help me put together a shopping list.