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This would ordinarily be Crooked Acres Thursday, with pics of various and sundry sights from around Crooked Acres, but I didn’t get a single dog or garden or chicken picture this week (I just haven’t been motivated to do a single thing outside this week because of the heat and also the lack of sun for the better part of the week, because pictures taken outside when it’s overcast just don’t come out all that wonderfully), so instead I’m going to do a list of stuff I like and think y’all might like too!

FYI, none of this stuff was given to me, everything in this list was bought and paid for.

Stuff I Like (and you might like too!)

1. Carbonite. My friend Katherine suggested Carbonite to me, oh, sometime last year, I think? I made a mental note, and then I did nothing, because that’s just the way I am. And then I don’t remember exactly what spurred me to get my butt in gear – probably I was having issues with my hard drive – and I started thinking about the incredible number of pictures I have on my computer, and how sad I would be if I lost them all (or any of them!), and I finally signed up with Carbonite and installed the software. It took forever for the backup to happen, which wasn’t Carbonite’s fault because the way my failing hard drive was set up, I basically had two hard drives with everything copied over from one to the other, so there was a huge amount of information there. I think it took three weeks or so to get everything backed up, but once it was backed up, I set it so that Carbonite would update the backup starting at 10:00 every night, and I honestly never even notice that it’s there. Knowing that all those pictures and documents are backed up and safe makes me sleep a little better.

2. Neutrogena Body Oil. On Facebook, Catie mentioned that she’d used Neutrogena Body Oil instead of shaving cream or gel when she shaved her legs, and she got the best, closest, smoothest shave ever. I made a mental note and then promptly forgot about it until a few days (or weeks) later when Cait posted that she’d tried it as well, and she too got the best, closest, smoothest shave ever. This time, instead of making a mental note, I made a real ink-and-paper note in the form of adding Neutrogena Body Oil to the grocery list. Then I bought a bottle, and then I used it instead of shaving gel and OH MY. Catie and Cait were NOT kidding in the slightest – that is one excellent, awesome shave and I highly recommend it. Now, Neutrogena Body Oil is not the cheapest stuff on earth, but I can tell you the the one bottle I bought is hanging in there months later and I expect it’ll last another month or so. It’s definitely worth it!

(The rest of this list is cat-related. This should not surprise you.)

3. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat, and Cat Attract litters. Let me tell you a story. Back in February, I did something very stupid. Actually, I did a bunch of very stupid things: I was about to have surgery, so in the course of less than a week, I (1) found a new home for Reacher (who is doing very well these days, by the way) and he left our house, (2) I moved the couch to another part of the front room, (3) I removed the litter box from the guest bedroom, since there were no fosters staying in there, and (4) I completely changed the kind of litter I was using from Fresh Step (which we’ve used for years) to a different kind of litter that I cannot remember the name of at the moment. What happened next was a furious flood of cat urine from one end of the house to the other. Cats in this house were SERIOUSLY peeved and they were intent on letting me know it.

It wasn’t until mid-April or so that we finally determined who the peeing-outside-the-box culprits were, and it shocked me to find out that Tommy, our wonderful, awesome, super-sweet boy, was the one doing most of the peeing, accompanied by his evil accomplice Elwood. Also, there was some occasional spraying by Spanky and Joe Bob.

The first thing I did was switch the litter back to Fresh Step. The second thing I did was to add the litter box back to the guest bedroom. The third thing I did was to (finally) move the couch back to where it belonged. That stemmed the flow of cat urine (and is there anything that smells worse than cat urine? I think not.), but I was still having to get up every morning and walk throughout the house, looking for cat pee and then cleaning up what I found. And I was still finding at least one puddle or spray, and most days multiple.

It was delightful.

I have finally (fingers crossed) managed to stop the spraying and peeing by adding a litter box to the front room (it’s at the other end of the front room, away from the living room area) and slowly, slowly, slowwwwwwly switching our litter to Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract and Precious Cat. Between the two, I find that Cat Attract is less dusty than the Precious Cat (though it’s possible I just got a particularly dusty bag of Precious Cat), and I haven’t found any puddles or sprays outside the litter box in a few weeks now. Now, Dr. Elsey’s is not perfect – Fresh Step remains better at holding down the litter box smells – but we were getting to the point where Fred was coughing a lot, especially after I scooped in the evening, and since switching to Dr. Elsey’s he hasn’t been coughing at all. If this means that I have to change out the litter more often, I think that it’s worth it not to have Fred die a slow and painful death from Anderson Litter Lung while causing damage to my hearing because when he coughs and hacks, he does so at a decibel that hurts my ears. Why can’t he cough and hack quietly? Why? Whyyyyyyy?

4. Odor removers.

(a) Nose Offense. I don’t remember where I read about this stuff, but it is flat-out amazing. I’m listing it first not because it works so much better than the other two (in section c), because they work very well too, but because it works well AND it has no smell at all. The problem with anti-odor sprays is that they have a scent added to them, and after you’ve used them for a while, in your mind you link the smell of the spray with the smell of cat urine and then you catch a whiff of the anti-odor spray and you think “Did I just smell cat pee?”. Nose Offense works immediately, it takes the smell of cat pee (or whatever horrendous smell you’re trying to get rid of) away and leaves no smell in its place.

When I scoop the litter boxes, I take the bags of scoopings out to a trash can in the garage. I have a spray bottle of Nose Offense by the trash can, and I spray into the trash can once a day, and even though there’s this kitchen-sized trash can filled to the brim with bags of litter box scoopings by Wednesday night (trash day’s on Thursday), it doesn’t smell at all. I was going to say that my only gripe is that this stuff doesn’t come in gallon-sized containers, the largest size it comes in is 32 ounces, BUT I just went and looked and that is no longer true, it DOES come in gallon-sized containers now. Yay!

To further convince you that you should give this stuff a try, the months when I was dealing with cat pee on a daily basis, I used this stuff. It took care of the smell, but what was even better was that after I’d cleaned up the pee, the cats would avoid peeing in that spot for weeks afterward. This was good because, well, they weren’t always peeing in the same spot over and over again. This was bad because it became a game of “Where’s the pee?” I really really like this stuff, if you couldn’t tell.

(b) 16 0z Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 Teaspoon dishwashing liquid, 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda. One of the places the cats were peeing to show their displeasure with everything under the sun was on the couch. Grrrr. Yes, I could have used Nose Offense to get rid of the smell, but even though Nose Offense is very reasonably priced, I wanted to soak the couch down, and that would have taken a lot of liquid. What I did instead was mix up the Hydrogen Peroxide, dishwashing liquid and baking soda, mixed it gently, and I soaked the heck out of that couch. It stayed wet for a long time, but when it was dry, the smell was gone. Thank GOD.

(c) Anti-Ickypoo and Simple Solution Extreme Cat Stain & Odor Remover. If for some reason you’re against trying Nose Offense (you weirdo), both Anti-Ickypoo and Simple Solution (which you can get at Petsmart) work really well. I like Anti-Ickypoo because the trace scent isn’t a flowery one, it’s more a spicy smell, kind of cinnamon-y, and it works just fine. They both work perfectly fine, but they do have those trace scents, which Nose Offense does not. I’m just sayin’.

5. You can buy pet cord protector to protect your cords from cats, who just loooooove to chew through wires. For reference see: the cord to my memory stick reader. Grrr. The problem with those cord protectors is that they’re treated with a “citrus scent” that smells absolutely awful. It smells like cat pee to me.

What I do is buy flexible split tubing and put that on the cords instead. It’s actually more flexible than the citrus-infused pet cord protector, and so far is working really well. The magazine where I read the tip (Family Handyman magazine, if you must know, and shaddup) said you could find flexible split tubing at Lowe’s, but I couldn’t find it there. Instead, I ordered a 100 foot roll of it from usplastic.com. I ordered the 3/8″ black tubing, but they have it in 1/4″ as well, which would work just fine to cover most cords (also, 1/4″ is smaller than 3/8″, which I confirmed with Fred the math major. Shut up. Math is harrrrd.) I’m not going to lie to you: putting the tube on the cord (or the cord into the tube, whichever way you prefer to look at it) is a pain in the butt, but once it’s done you don’t have to do it again, and it protects your cords from sharp little gnawing teeth.

6. Ham-Micks. We’ve had our Ham-Micks for a year and a half. I can tell you that our cats were immediately interested (Sugarbutt, especially, loves to curl up in the Ham-Mick in a corner of the computer room), and both Ham-Micks are still getting lots of use. The fosters like them, the permanent cats like them, everyone likes them! (If you don’t like the fabric available, I’d encourage you to email Forty Paws and see if you can get something different. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect they’d work with you.)

7. Cat toys.

(a) Sunstones’ crocheted catnip cat toys. These are so pretty and so well-made that I try to have enough on hand to send home in the bag o’ toys I send with my foster kittens. The cats love them and did I mention that they’re pretty? They’re SO pretty – and all proceeds are donated to animal rescue/ rehabs.

(b) Tee Tugs’ Kitty Bugs. Kitty toys made from recycled t-shirts. The cats love the toys, they’re reasonably priced, and they’re made from recycled t-shirts. How cool is that?

(c) Nip and Bones. I love this site, and I (er, the cats) love the toys I’ve gotten from them. Particularly the shaggy ducks and frogs, the kitty boinks, and the mylar balls.

(d) Meowing Deals. Do you know about this site? You get stuff for cats – usually toys, and usually KONG toys, which the cats and kittens ADORE – at a great price. I always get a little bit excited when I see that I have an email from Meowing Deals in my inbox. And I currently have about 300 Kong cat toys in this house. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good deal, especially when it involves cat toys. There’s also Barking Deals, for dog stuff.

8. Pet fountains. These are the pet fountains I have tried: Drinkwell Platinum, Petmate Fresh Flow, Cat-It Fresh & Clear, Pioneer Big Max, and Cat Mate.

Of these, the only fountain I do not recommend is the Cat-It. I was cleaning it and broke the globe within weeks of bringing it home. The Drinkwell and Petmate fountains were what I had in the house for the longest time, and the cats liked and used them just fine. The problem is that they’re made of plastic, and plastic can develop hairline cracks and hold bacteria, which can make your cats sick. So I got the Big Max, which is made of ceramic. I actually got two of them, with the intention of putting one in the upstairs bathroom and one in the laundry room. The one in the laundry room was fine, but the one in the upstairs bathroom didn’t work out because the hum was just too loud – the upstairs bathroom is across the hall from my bathroom, and even though I wear earplugs at night, I could still hear the hum of the fountain. So I sent that one back and looked around some more, and tried the Cat Mate.

The good thing about the Cat Mate: it’s super quiet. The bad thing about the Cat Mate: it’s made of plastic. The good thing about the Cat Mate: It’s dishwasher safe, so (I hope) any bacteria that get on/ in it is taken care of by the dishwasher; I run each Cat Mate through the dishwasher once a week. The other good thing about the Cat Mate: all the cats like it a LOT. The potential bad thing about the Cat Mate: a review I read (after I’d bought a couple) said that the pumps don’t last more than 8 months or so, and the company doesn’t sell replacement pumps. If that’s true, I won’t replace the Cat Mates, because that’s too much to pay for a fountain that only lasts several months.

And that’s all I can think of at the moment.

Now it’s your turn: tell me about cool stuff YOU like and think I might like too!

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The Many Faces of Lucy Peppers.

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I’m sorry, would you look at that little face? Could you just DIE?

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Lucy and Sally, conspiring, while Everett eavesdrops.

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“NO you don’t get to hear about how we’re going to rule the world! You go away, Everett!”

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One cannot rule the world unless one is properly clean.

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“Who, me? Yes, I plan to be a benevolent world ruler. Unless you annoy me then it’s OFF WITH YOUR HEAD.”

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“Planning to take over the world is hard. We sleep now with Everett, our evil henchman.”

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Solar powered Lucy sticks her ear into the sun for a little extra energy.

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“Must. Be. CLEAN.” (Lucy might be a little OCD about the cleanliness.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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“Um, NO. I wasn’t sleeping! I was… um. Not sleeping! Is what I was doing!”

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Clove’s pretty sure that one day she’s going to figure out how that camera works.

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Sweet, snuggly Cilantro.

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I was thinking about Ciara and her nose freckle (god, I love that nose freckle), and I was thinking “You know, I really don’t think she had that freckle when she was wee…” so I had to go back and look…

And FYI, at 4 days old, girlfriend indeed did NOT have that nose freckle!

Nor did she at 9 days old.

At two weeks old, she’s got a bit of darkness under her nose, but it’s not really in the right place, so I’m going to call that a booger or some sort of booger-like material.

Three weeks old, I’m still not seeing it.

Almost four weeks old, definitely not.

Five weeks, the first sight of it.

Six weeks, there it is! See it?

So, there you go. The evolution of Ciara’s nose freckle.

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Clove don’t care ’bout no nose freckle.

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She really reminds me of Dorothy more than a little.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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We really don’t get many squirrels on the side stoop, surprisingly, but this was a day when the bird feeders were getting toward empty, and there is that bowl of cat food on the side porch. Oh, this was driving Sugarbutt crazy – I can only imagine the visions he was having about getting his paws on that squirrel.

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That squirrel wasn’t skeered of Sugarbutt, though. Not at all. He was all “I have eaten my fill, I guess I’ll mosey off toward home now.”, and Sugarbutt couldn’t do a thing. Poor Suggie.


2010: Maddy, then and now.
2009: Now, kitten by kitten, meet them all.
2008: Harbl airing commences.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: Rambo checks his fan mail.



8-11-11 — 26 Comments

  1. Those black kitties are cool. It’s gonna be fun watching them grow up. My Nana had a black kitty named Midnight who tolerated us grandkids and she was the smoothest, most graceful ladycat ever.

  2. Couldn’t agree more about the Neutrogena Body Oil. That stuff is GOLDEN. Keri has a pretty good one too.

    The squirrels regularly taunt and harass my guys from outside as well. Heads have bonked against the windows so many times I’m surprised they don’t have Stewie-from-Family Guy heads.

  3. You’re like Oprah! I kept on imagining you would tell me to look under my chair and I would find a Ham-Mick and some Nose Offense! I can’t think of any suggestions, cat-related or otherwise, but I will cheerfully take yours. Thanks!

    Oh, and I still adore Clove, but those little black Peppers are pretty darn cute. They look like little black bears.

    • I thought about having a giveaway for some of that stuff, but Fred would protest and I try to keep him happy. Wouldn’t it be neat if you were reading the site and had just thought to yourself “Oh, a Ham-Mick, I think I need -” and then the doorbell rang and there was a pile of the very stuff I’d recommended sitting there? I’m not sure how I’d make that happen, though, without hidden cameras and invasions of privacy. πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your list. Priceless info there, will be checking into a lot of it, especially Nose Offense! And the cat toys of course, lol. Already have Carbonite, thank goodness.
    Found Ciara’s nose freckle evolution fascinating and I look forward to reading your blog every day.
    Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to all of your kitties. I for one really appreciate it.

  5. I like Bissell’s Pet Carpet & Upholstery cleaner. It is a can of foaming cleaner with built-in brush top. It is wonderful for semi-digested food piles on carpet. (Yes, those of us in cheap apartments have carpet!) I use Nature’s Miracle, which is an enzyme cleaner, at the no kill shelter where I volunteer every other Saturday. I clean a cattery with Feline AIDS residents–all male except one. I recommend Bitter Apple to anyone with a plant eater–dog or cat. You can wipe it on electric cords, too, but use your brain. Unplug the cord before applying. If the cord is already damaged, it needs to be replaced.

  6. One of my two cats loves to drink from the faucet, so I thought he would love a cat water fountain. So we bought one and they were both terrified of it! So we gave it to a friend who’s cats like it. Sigh. Silly cats.

  7. I HAZ A COMPLAINT! I looked at Lucy Peppers a while ago and I did indeed fall down dead. This was most inconvenient as I was just about to leave for an appointment. But I’m glad you have saved me the trouble of looking back for the appearance of Ciara’s beauty spot; the only problem I have now is, do I tell my boy that he was behind this young whippersnapper in the nose adornment development stakes? πŸ˜‰

  8. I think I’m going to buy some of those toys made from recycled tshirts…and then see if it’s worth trying to do myself.

    If I might add on fountains:
    stay far away from the cheaper/regular Drinkmate. I’ll also recommend the Petmate fresh and flow. Perhaps most important: the quality of your water will drastically effect how well the fountain works. Another thing to keep in mind with fountains for anyone considering buying one… does the water fall actually splash into water? That’s noisier/etc…one of our cats doesn’t like that style (the drinkmate) but is fine with the other style (the Petmate)

    For the person who uses Bissell’s Pet Carpet and Upholstery cleaner – does it have a strong scent? Compare to another cleaning product with similar scent strength if you don’t mind? Thanks πŸ™‚

    • For missleya: Yes, it has some scent, but I don’t think it is particularly strong. This is a spray can for spots–it isn’t an all over carpet cleaner. Be careful to not push the button hard as it does come out easily.

  9. I used Neutorgena body oil when I lived in Vegas, and I loved it! When I think to look for it at stores here, they never have it, but I am going to have to search for some now. My skin gets really dry in the winter and this stuff would be wonderful for helping that!

    I have tried just one cat fountain, but all the cleaning and the filtering and it being plastic….well I didn’t keep it.

    Will have to check out some of the toys you shared with us. I am always on the look out for new toys for my boys or ones I can hang on to for auctions for kitties in need or for gift exchanges at Christmas.

    The odor remover stuff is good to know about. One of the cats that I did TNR on is really pretty friendly and supposedly had a family here. Well the supposed family has moved and I hate seeing this guy left behind. It already made me angry that they didn’t really take care of him. He is a wonderful lilac or blue snowshoe meezer (Siamese). Now, I know he sprayed before he was neutered, but mainly when there was the Mom and her kittens on my porch. I haven’t seen him do it since he has been neutered. I would dearly love to bring him in and make him mine even though I really shouldn’t add the financial burden of another cat. but I can’t stand him being family-less. He lets me pet him while he eats and he rolls over for me to rub his tummy. He really is a sweet cat, just still a bit skittish. It seems that sometimes he would be happy to come in my house, as he sits outside and peers in the screen door. Anyway, beside him spraying, my other fear is one of mine (who has done this before) peeing on my bed to show his anger. So, knowing about these odor removers may help me finally make that step and see if I can’t acclimate him to being inside and get all of them to get along. Whew! that story turned out much longer than I meant it to!

    I adore Lucy Peppers!!!!! And Ciara!!!! And Corbie!!!! And…and…..and…

    • For Rhonda: Bissell also has an enzyme cleaner called Pet Stain & Odor remover. (No, I don’t work for Bissell!) It is in a spray bottle. I like it on carpet for hairball barf. I think for pee I would prefer Nature’s Miracle. We’re talking heavy duty in that cattery sometimes. Always check in an inconspicuous spot before using any product.

  10. Clove really does look like Dorothy! I had to do a double-take and I see Miss Dorfy every day. πŸ™‚

  11. I really like World’s Best Cat Litter. Too bad my cats refuse to use it…

    1) it is made from corn, so it’s a ‘green’ product.
    2) No dust
    3) it clumps firmly, no pieces falling off when you scoop
    4) since no pieces fall off, only unsoiled pieces remain behind, so you can use the litter until it’s gone, instead of having to throw it out when it starts to smell.
    5) it doesn’t stick to to the pan, or if it does, the whole clump just pops off with the greatest of ease, leaving no pieces behind.
    6) flushable (Which I don’t do, anyway)
    7) edible (which is good for young kittens, who sometimes eat their litter when learning to use it. Clay is bad for them to eat.)
    8) since you don’t have to be wasteful and throw out stinky yet unused portions, it saves you money.

  12. Awesome list! Gonna try some of the other items on the list.

    Even “awesomer” pics o’ the kitties. Love black kitties and little black nose spots. I became woozy just looking at precious Miss Lucy Peppers. *sigh*

    Precious Cat litter is our fav. It really helped us cut back on the dust. And our out-of-box pee fiend stopped almost as soon as we started using it.

  13. Oh I love coming to this blog at the end of my working day! I know I’ve said that already but boy oh boy your pics are just too adorable and really really make me smile and I forget my horrid day!!!

    Miss Lucy Peppers!!!! I think me and Charlie are in love with you! LOL!!!

    I am so tempted to get a ham-mick for Charlie!!

    Yay to all the other sweet fosters and Suggie!!! Take care

  14. Now Miz Robyn I haven’t tried them but I was taken with the looks of these two water fountains (and the fact that one is stainless silver/procelain & the other one is porcelain/glass):
    1. Glacier Point water fountain: http://glacierpointforcats.com/index.php &
    2. Pioneer Raindrop design drinking fountain: http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-Pet-6022-Drinking-Fountain/dp/B00329RZFE/ref=sr_1_3?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1313110477&sr=1-3 Tamar from I Have Cat reviewed this one and it was a very positive review.

    Hm…will these links even work??

    I don’t think we have any of those no-odour sprays here in Australia or those brands of litter – darn!

    Have a good weekend everybody!

  15. Hey! Where’d my commetn go? It was far more entertaining than this will be, I assure you!
    Two water fountains I amthinking of trying out:
    oh, wait, what if it all repeats??? I’ll wait a little while…

    • Dammit! It must be the links I keep trying to put in that causes it to go all skewiff!

      The three fountains I think look promising but haven’t tried yet are:
      1. Glacier Point Perfect Pet Fountain
      2. the Hammecher Ceramic Pet Fountain &
      3. Pioneer Pet 6022 Ceramic Drinking Fountain, Raindrop Design – available through amazon and it comes in stainless steel and Tamar from ‘I Have Cat’ did a review for this one.

      Look ’em up yourselves, people! I keep getting lost in hyper-space when I try to post them with links. Hm!

      • LOL – sorry about that Lita, your comments got caught up by the spamcatcher and I had to approve them first!

        I’m most interested in the Glacier Point fountain, I’ve been eyeballing it, and dithering about whether or not to give it a try. The Pioneer Pet fountain is the smaller version of the Big Max – which is the one I liked, but the hum was too loud. I wonder if I should give the smaller one a try and see if there’s less of a hum from a smaller version!

        You’re going to see me on Hoarders if I don’t stop buying all these fountains. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Marilia – they are very sweet little ones, and I can’t stop myself from kissing them! πŸ™‚

  16. Robin! What are you doing raising squash when you could be playing the stock market? THIS is from today’s Boston Globe:

    “Shares of Boston-based Carbonite Inc. jumped more then 23 percent yesterday in the company’s first day of trading after its initial public offering. The online computer backup service priced its shares late Wednesday at $10 per share. The stock closed yesterday at $12.35.”

    I am actually gonna put a (small) chunk of change on the stock for its entertainment value. Will give it a year and then donate any earnings to Challenger House! Anyone else want to see what comes of one of Robin’s Favorite Things? πŸ™‚