Site update!

I’m switching how the site is hosted, which may cause various issues for the next few days.

Also, I’m still busy! I won’t make any promises about post frequency, but maybe I’ll have a chance to pick up a bit in the coming weeks. We’ll see!

Tuesday is election day! Go vote!

Yes, it’s election day! I’ve been so busy that I completely missed the early voting window myself, so I’ll be in line with everybody else tomorrow. Well, probably not in line, the municipal primaries aren’t exactly the biggest draw…

Here’s a table with the endorsements of several local groups; you get to pick three council members and one mayor. Have fun! Indy Week Durham People’s Alliance Durham Committee Friends of Durham
Mayor Bill Bell Bill Bell Bill Bell Bill Bell Bill Bell
At Large Council Steve Schewel Steve Schewel Steve Schewel Steve Schewel Steve Schewel
At Large Council Robert T Stephens Jillian Johnson Jillian Johnson Ricky Hart Ricky Hart
At Large Council Charlie Reece Charlie Reece Charlie Reece Mike Shiflett Mike Shiflett

To replace my earlier pick of Azar (who didn’t make the cut) I’ve given the nod to Stephens. I feel like he’s a strong proponent of improving infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

And now for a brief program note: you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been scarce lately. This isn’t for lack of desire to keep posting or anything! I’ve been incredibly busy with other projects. A lot of that is wrapping up and I do hope to even out my posting schedule a bit going forward.

I don’t really have anything to say this week

I try to post twice a week, on average, but I’m just going to tell you: I’m phoning it in this week.

I have to read a lot of local news to write this blog, and that means I read about a lot of awful shit that I don’t relay to you guys (like last month when they found three bodies in Durham over a two day period). I try to avoid writing about things like that, because they’re depressingly common and are already omnipresent on local media. I have nothing of value to add.

This particular week, though, there’s only really one news story that anybody can even talk about, and you already know everything about it that there is to know. And I just don’t have any desire to write about it because… well fuck that.

So, for this week, I’m going to just write nothing at all.

Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

So, hey, it’s 2015! Congratulations everybody, another successful orbit in the bag!

After a much needed break, is back and better than ever [read: basically the same as ever], and we’re resuming normal business hours this week. First, though, I want to quickly mention a couple of noteworthy stories that happened while I was off the clock:

  • It looks like the protesters took a vacation too. Obviously the grand jury decisions are still on peoples’ minds throughout the country, but Durham has been fairly calm; whether or not that’s just due to the holidays is unclear.
  • Although the protesters stayed home, there were still some troubling developments related to the DPD. Two officers were shot at, although neither was injured. One officer was off duty and somebody shot into his home, while the other was on duty in the projects near NCCU. Although Lopez claims one of the attacks was “an attempted assassination,” I haven’t seen any evidence to back up that claim yet.
  • Councilman Steve Schewel wrote a lengthy and well considered response to the recent protests, and I’d urge everybody to give it a read.

Also: I’m looking for ideas on whether to do another podcast and what it should be. I’ve got a couple ideas I’m kicking around for longer, single topics rather than the odds and ends, which I’m not sure worked so well. Just hit me up with a reply on the blog or shoot me a tweet if you’ve got any thoughts.

Happy birthday,

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

Trivia about

  • is a hosted 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’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):