Happy birthday, durham.io

Well, OK, the actual domain name was registered in May, but my first post was made exactly one year ago today.

Trivia about durham.io:

  • durham.io is a hosted wordpress.com weblog.
  • I pay roughly $200/year to operate this site. Half of that is for the sweet Indian Ocean domain name, the other half is for wordpress.com’s hosting fees.
  • I make roughly $0/year in revenue from this site, resulting in an annual profit of about -$200
  • I know I could save money in a variety of ways, but I’m too lazy to change anything right now

Fun facts about my workflow:

  • RSS is where it’s at. I shove the regional subreddits, Duke Today, The Chronicle, WRAL, The Herald Sun, TheDurhamNewsDotCom, Indy Week, WUNC, local blogs, twitter accounts, and all the other stuff into my installation of Tiny Tiny RSS. This gives me a huge stream of data to deal with.
  • An average day results in about 100 posts from all of these outlets.
  • I take time to read maybe 5 articles a day.
  • I seldom read articles right when they come in. Instead, throughout the day I sift through the unread list in TTRSS, skipping over all the stuff that’s clearly not of interest while “starring” interesting articles to read at my leisure.
  • I really don’t like the wordpress editor, since it often mangles formatting and is generally frustrating to use. I compose short articles in-line, but for longer posts (like DNO&E) I create a git repository and manually edit html files with vim. This isn’t ideal either, since I then must copy/paste from vim into the WP plantext editor, but it’s much more consistent for me.
  • Speaking of DNO&E, those posts take a surprising amount of time. Due to this fact I find them the least fun to actually write, but the feedback suggests that they are among the most popular which encourages me to keep doing them.
  • My DNO&E-specific workflow is:
    • Wait until I think “boy, I should probably do a DNO&E before this list gets overwhelming”
    • Get distracted, and procrastinate for a week or so.
    • Go back and actually look at my list of starred items. Realize that it has become overwhelming.
    • Procrastinate for another week or so.
    • Now, go back and open every single starred item in reverse chronological order (reverse chronological order is useful because often the later articles on topics provide the most relevant information), writing a summary of each one before moving on to the next.
    • Next, I re-order, combine, and edit the list until it reaches “perfection.”
    • To wit: I typically try to put the most “important” items near the top of the list. I try to put weird / strange items throughout the list. For the rest, it ends up in mostly chronological order.
    • I then try to come up with a clever “X edition” title and some kind of intro / outtro text.
  • I like the ability to “schedule” posts with wordpress. There’s no telling when I’ll write a post – often late at night, over the weekend, etc – but I mostly want posts to appear in the morning during business hours, since I figure that’s when people like to slack off on the Internet most. Unless I feel like I’m running behind, or I have something I just want to get out ASAP, I’ll schedule posts to appear the next morning.
  • I say it all the time, but I really do love the Herald-Sun. Not only do I love it in earnest for actually covering Durham news, but I also love how just plain weird it can be at times. I honestly wonder whether some of their articles (see: UNC Student burglar, armed with knife, damages cheese ) are written by robots.
  • As the site has gotten more popular, I’ve started feeling that I should keep posting frequently so people don’t give up and stop checking in. I aim for three posts a week, which obviously doesn’t always happen.
  • I don’t write much about the rest of NC any more, mostly because I don’t think that’s why you guys come to the site, but also because I don’t have much to say right now. I might go back to state-level stories that particularly interest me, but right now Durham is really front and center.
  • And in case you’re wondering: yes, writing stuff for this weblog still amuses me, so you should expect for me to sick around for a while.

So, that’s year number one under my belt! I’ve had a lot of fun writing stuff for this site, and I really hope you guys are enjoying it. I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section or hit me up on Twitter.

WRAL: I read the comments so you don’t have to

It’s time once again for some comments from our good friends over at WRAL dot com! If you’d like to preserve your faith in humanity, I’d suggest that you just skip this one.

OK, are you ready to be depressed? READ ON!

Up first, here’s a downright baffling comment on the story about Rise accepting BTC [ED: both spellings of "donut" are actually acceptable, lest you be confused]:

mafiamic: It is DONUTS not doughnuts….Pretty soon you’ll be paying with your picture,show a copy of your drivers license online on a site then get your goods and pay later. And not the one from 20 years ago when you were a supermodel wannabe before your 20 kids changed you either.

I… um… what? (on the Duke porn star article):

notexactly: Um like bill getting a lawinsky in the white house , then lying about it, then having his wife lie about it and try to ruin ml life. (well until the blue dress came out) Both her and bill were wrong to lie. Hilary was wrong to try to slander ml alone. Both were wrong, but you will vote for Hilary just the same cause dems can do stuff like that and you are good with it, Makes no difference if this girl is a dem ore rep. her business. But when a prez lies to the American people it is wrong and sad. You know like O did also. Wow take off your one way glasses.

On the wonderfully titled article “One hour, three gunshot victims in Durham“:

ThomasL: Don’t travel to Durham so let em kill each other off,just another day in the worst town in NC,who else has daily shooting?

Check out this sick burn from an article about a guy who shot his baby:

Itsmyopinion67: Note to local news channels — It’s NOT breaking news when someone is shot in Durham. It’s breaking news when someone is NOT shot in Durham.

Astoundingly, these guys even showed up on an article about the expansion of the NC Museum of Life & Sciences:

03arabian2: That is nothing at all what all of Durham is now is it? Its a cesspool of crime and shootings, murders and robberies. Why would anyone want to take their family to play in the middle of it?

And last but not least, it wouldn’t be WIRTCSYDHT if I didn’t include at least one racist:

MadMaxx: welcome to Durham, Crime Capital of NC. More crimes committed by blacks on blacks, but has a problem of profiling since most of the crime is black. Facts just make liberal news groups so mad.

That’s it for this episode folks!

Oh, a program note: I’m pretty busy again, so posts may be a bit less frequent for the next week.


Guys! I’m really busy, OK!

Lots of irons in the fire, which means fewer posts from me over the next few days. Sorry guys! I’ll do better next time.

I do have a mega Durham News Odds and Ends in the works, and I’ll try extra special hard to get that out this week – assuming, of course, that I survive the nightmare winter storm that is fast approaching.

For your enjoyment, here’s a handy preparation guide (thanks /r/triangle):

Request: can you help me understand the DPS magnet lottery?

This is a slightly unusual post in that it’s a question to you, the reader.

So: can somebody who actually fully understands the DPS magnet lottery system answer a few questions for me? The deadline for entry is this Friday, which reminded me that I should write a bit about the whole weird thing, but in reviewing what I actually know I realized there were some gaps in my understanding. I found that the DPS web site was… somewhat lacking.

Hit me up in the comments, or @durhamdotio on Twitter, if you can lend a hand.

Also! I haven’t talked much about state politics much lately, because Durham’s been interesting enough, but if you’re curious it appears that things are getting kind of weird in Raleigh. Like… seriously.

Possum Drop it like it’s hot! For realz this time!

Well, it’s the last day of 2013, and there’s only one way to ring in the new year: dropping a possum!

A Superior Court judge will allow Brasstown’s annual Possum Drop to go ahead despite opposition from animal rights activists.

You may recall that in one of his first acts as governor McCrory signed a bill into law that allowed the return of the Possum Drop, and in one of my first posts as blogger I wrote up an extensive retelling of the saga, which you might (or might not) find amusing. This ruling marks the end of the legal shenanigans from the likes of PETA , and so the beloved hillbilly tradition is back in earnest.

I hope you guys had a good 2013! I thought it was pretty sweet. See ya next year.

WRAL: I read the comments, so you don’t have to

A common bit of wisdom holds that one should never read comments on the Internet. In the course of perusing articles about Durham and state politics on WRAL.com, I have decided that this is generally good advice.

However, from time to time, I find the level of idiocy on display remarkable enough to be mildly amusing. And so, I have decided to share the wealth with you, dear readers!

A semi-literate racist comments on a shooting in East Durham:

And they think they are being profiled because so many are in prinson. Right!!!! ~aquamarine46

A commenter describes his/her petrifying fear of Durham’s famous roving rape gangs on a bank robbery story:

This town just needs a net dropped on it. Corruption and crime is rampant. I am afraid to even drive through Durham anymore. I grew up hanging out there, but I wouldn’t set foot in it anymore. What a shame. It probably has a lot to offer, but nobody wants to be there for fear of being gunned down, robbed or raped. ~crystalswisher

A conspiracy theory about felons being released on purpose so they will vote for the current City Council is posited in the comments for a shooting arrest article:

Catch and release is great way to preserve fish populations but in Durham it seems to be used to preserve the voting base to keep the crooks running the city government. ~68_dodge_polara

A person who seems to doubt the DPD’s capabilities comments on an arrest story:

I can almost bet that the DPD didn’t catch this guy, the public, or should I say some1 that knows of him or either in his circle, caught him. DPD rarely does things like that, so for ppl that’s saying good job to DPD, get real! ~raynorteresa

Another pair of racists seem to be afraid of black people in comments on a murder case:

Another fine citizen from that community being raised , clothed, fed, and free cable t.v. for the next phase of his life. ALL FREE AND CLEAR ON THE TAX PAYERS DIME!!! Gotta love the country club atmosphere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ~cantbtaught [ed. - nice nick there, buddy]

Which is exactly why you never look these people directly in the eyes. ~Obamacare survives

A commenter laments the death of the state religion bill… I think, anyway:

Back in the days where our children could still hear the name God, Jesus Christ, Bible, and be able to pray in school. The good days of when Nativity Scenes could be placed on disply in front of Town Halls or other government properties. The days where placing a Cross on the side of the State Highways to honor fallen Law Enforcement Officers (See Case in State of Utah). The DAYS WHERE CHRISTMAS TREES WERE CALLED CHRISTMAS TREES NOT “HOLIDAY TREES”. The days where people could actually GREET YOU at the door of any government building OR private business for that matter with a “Merry Christmas” versus the “Happy Holidays”. YES…ALL THESE GREAT TIMES IN HISTORY where these activities could be done without the THREAT & FILING OF LAWSUITS BY THE ACLU at the very mention or sight of above mentioned. Just take a moment, reflect on those times, you will see that people as a society were so much better with God in picture. Today’s society is crumbling ~kodac31

On that same story… I recognize the words, and they seem to make sentences, but I actually have no idea what this guy is even trying to say:

The state, aka Government, is encumbered by religion…it’s the religion of godlessness, and it is to be worshipped. All who believe in God are to be ridiculed and shunned as the closed, simple mind zealots that they are. We, the godless, are too open-minded to consider an opinion different than ours, because we have facts not faith. ~mrday69

Defending the two year divorce  waiting period bill:

Gee… you would think folks would WANT to make divorce tougher…. helping families stay intact, children in homes with both biological adults. Fact is, with counselling and the proper effort ANY couples relationship can be saved. Trouble is, divorce is TOO easy… especially in the selfish “I deserve to be happy” world we live in today. For better or for worse is not what they REALLY mean… its for better, but if it gets worse… good-by. And then… just look at how the Democrats are putting forth so much effort into redefining marriage…. remember jobs and the economy? Democrat Hypocrites. ~mep

On the same story – this one’s actually a little sad:

I agree with the bill for a longer waiting period and counseling. I hope this bill passes before my husband divorces me so that we can get the counseling we need to resolve our differences. I think it is a shame it is so easy to get a divorce and it tears families apart when we should be trying to hold families together. ~pameladolinger

And that’s a wrap on this installment, folks. Tune in next time for more… well, whatever that stuff was.