Category Archives: durango

Small Town Living: The Durango Herald

Being completely new to the Durango area after moving here, and living outside the city, I’ve been trying extra hard to make some friends, meet people, and get involved in the community. Of course a lot of this invovled the internet, even before I moved I was reading local blogs, following people on twitter, and even meeting people through other social networking experiments. I’m actually pretty impressed with how much I’ve been able to learn about the area and that I’ve been here two weeks and already made some friends thanks to the internet.

But I’ve been told that people here aren’t as up to date with technology as I’d expect coming from urban California. I was told to expect people and businesses here to be a year or two behind what I’m used to. At first I thought that was just people making fun of the local country folk. But things are a little different here as I learned yesterday.

I’ve been reading The Durango Herald (the local daily paper) online since before we moved. After moving here I decided I should support them a bit, and I really enjoy reading the paper version of the paper over a cup of coffee when I can, so I went to their website and subscribed to get the Sunday paper delivered. That was on a Monday and later that week, on Wednesday and Thursday the Herald was on our doorstep. I thought they must have got things confused but Friday and Saturday there was no paper so I figured they’d got it fixed. Then Sunday came along and I didn’t get a paper. I called the circulation desk (within their business hours) and left a message but got no call back.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt I decided I’d wait until the next Sunday to see if I got a paper before calling again. Well Wednesday came around and there was a paper on the porch again. Thursday too. So I called again and left another voicemail. Then I saw The Durango Herald on twitter. I sent a message and within minutes was talking to someone on the phone. He was really helpful and took my info down and said he’d have someone call me from the circulation department. So there’s some proof that some people do get it when it comes to technology. I don’t think anyone would have called me back if he hadn’t have gotten involved, I’d probably still be having problems and be trying to cancel my subscription Sunday after not getting the newspaper again. Well, a few hours later I got a phone call.

The woman on the other end told me that A 26 week Sunday only subscription is the same price as a 13 week Monday through Friday subscription. And when a subscription is placed via their website it doesn’t tell them which was selected and they in the circulation department have to guess which the customer wanted. Well in my case they guessed wrong. I was dumbfounded. I wasn’t quite sure if I believed her, I work in IT and hear the lies and excuses people come up with when it comes to technology, and it seems like such an absurd system, but she said she’d correct it for me.

Their website does have different product ID’s for the two different subscriptions, so I can’t imagine those product ID’s don’t come through to the person filling the subscription, but who knows. This is the paper/web company I’ve had to e-mail twice regarding their broken RSS feeds (which they fixed very quickly, but the second time was especially embarassing in my opinion as they were linking to entirely the wrong website, a result of copy code between two publications I’m sure).

I keep hearing about how newspapers are having trouble in the digital age, this seems like a perfect example of that.

Well, I just got done drinking my coffee and reading the paper I found on my porch this morning, so we’ll see if I get one delivered on Sunday like I should.

Update: I emailed Sam Rose the Online Services Manager for The Durango Herald about the problem with their website and he said they’re upgrading their online system and in the future this problem should be resolved. So apparently I was too quick to judge the woman in the circulation department. Their website really does make those on the recieving end guess as to what subscription option the customer has selected.

Durango Independent Film Festival: Sex, Death and God Shorts Program

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Kinsee and I went down to the Abbey Theater last night to check out the first night of the 2009 Durango Independent Film Festival. Last night was the free preview night of the festival and we opted for the shorts program Sex, Death and God, nine comedy shorts on those themes.

I had never been to The Abbey before, and it was much smaller than I had expected. The recliners and tables up on the balcony were a nice touch. I can’t wait to see some live theater or a concert there.

The first short, Winston: An Informal Guide to Etiquette, wasn’t my cup of tea. It looked good, the acting wasn’t bad, but the story just wasn’t my thing. I was a little worried that I was in for eight more unfunny short films. Luckily that wasn’t the case. Below are a few of my favorites from the night — I won’t say much because I don’t want to give anything away.

Marooned? by Ryan Nagata was my favorite of the night. It had me laughing throughout. Ex-nerds with a sense of humor will laugh with it, everyone else will laugh at it.

Death In Charge by Devi Snively was a close runner up for my favorite. Death (The Grim Reaper) inadvertently becomes a gothic babysitter for a night.

I liked Denim and Jewsus also. Not amazing films, but not bad either. Both pretty funny.

The Party was funny at times, but I found it kind of uneventful, not bad just not a lot happening with it. It looked good, the quality of the filming and acting was good, I just didn’t like the story. It was also the only short I knew anything about going into thanks to seeing Leslie McManus, one of the actresses in the film twitter about it.

If you missed it last night the Sex, Death and God Shorts Program is playing again Saturday March 7 at the Abbey Theater at 9am. There’s also plenty of other promising films playing through Sunday. Check the schedule here.

The Economic Downturn

I listen to a lot of NPR, it seems like every other story is about the “economic downturn” going on these days. California isn’t in good shape. I’m not holding my breath awaiting my state tax rebate check. But I’ve been told that the Four Corners Region, and Southwest Colorado specifically are weathering the storm much better than the rest of the country.

While reading the Durango Telegraph, the alt-weekly here in Durango yesterday I saw the headline “Colorado foreclosures tumble in ’08” and read about how the percentage of home foreclosures last year were down in the region which is an indicator that the economy isn’t suffering as bad as other parts of the country. You can read the full story here (about halfway down the page).

A few hours later I picked up the Durango Herald, the local daily and saw a very different headline: “Foreclosures in county hit record highs” talking about how home foreclosures last year were at an all time high. Here’s a link to the full story.

Two stories published just a day apart reporting on the same area with very different headlines. The Herald article appears to be talking in absolute numbers while the Telegraph article is talking in percentages. I haven’t figured out if one of the papers is misinterpreting the data or if the Telegraph thinks the glass is half full while the Herald thinks the same glass is half empty.

I wrote a letter to the editors of each paper, hopefully they can clarify things.

Anyone out there have any insight? If so leave a comment.

UPDATE: I heard back from the columnists of each story and it looks like in my confusion between the headlines I wasn’t reading the articles properly. The Telegraph story is talking about the state doing better than the rest of the country while the Herald article is talking about the county setting a record for forclosures. Two different ways to look at the same data.

Welcome to Colorado!

If you haven’t heard, Kinsee and I moved to Bayfield, Colorado! Kinsee grew up here and I’ve been anxious to get out of California for a while now. I don’t know when I fell in love with the Four Corners Region (probably around the time I discovered Edward Abbey) but Durango (the “big” city nearby) seems like the perfect place for me. Four breweries in Durango, one with a location in Bayfield, lots of cyclists and plenty of other outdoor enthusiasts, Durango seems like a good place.

I’m just getting settled in, but Kinsee’s already been blogging about what’s going on in Durango at her new blog, Durango Dirt.

The weather has been beautiful ever since we got here, I’ve heard that we’ll get more days of sun per year than San Diego (330 vs 300).

We went to Ska Brewing for the release of their new IPA Modus Hoperandi, not quite a West Coast IPA but not bad at all. Kinsee wrote about it here. One of my new favorite blogs, Beer at 6512 (the elevation in Durango) also was there. Turns out Durango has quite the blogger community because Hank at Songs From the Wood was there also.

I just got back from my first Colorado bike ride. I rode from our house in Bayfield to Ignacio and back. It was about 19 miles, mostly flat, but my sea-level-lungs need some adjustment to the altitude up here (we live at 6900 feet). When I left it was about 22F, I averaged 17.5mph and it had warmed up to almost 40F by the time I got back. And I did that on my fixed gear because my road bike is still in the shop getting assembled and tuned.

We’ve been here less than a week but so far so good. Once I get a little more settled in expect a lot more blog posts from me.

New Years Resolution: Training for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

Last Sunday afternoon, while most people in San Diego were watching the Chargers lose to the Steelers I was out enjoying an unseasonably hot day in January with a bike ride through La Mesa and up Mount Helix. One of my new years resolutions this year is to train for, and ultimately ride in, The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. The Iron Horse is a 47 mile race/ride from Durango to Silverton Colorado. The idea behind it is the race the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train from the start in Durango to the finish in Silverton.

I’ve never ridden 50 miles, but I have no doubt that I can do a 50 mile ride. The part that starts to worry me is the two 10,000 foot mountain passes between Durango and Silverton. Living in coastal-California all my life, I’ve only been above 10,000 feet a few times, and never ridden a bike up that high. It’s going to take a lot of exercise and training to get ready for this.

So Sunday I donned my new lyrca shorts (those padded spandex like shorts road bikers wear), bike jersey shirt and rode off in the 85F+ heat. I only rode about 15 miles, just warming up, my first time riding in quite a while but it felt good. I was huffing and puffing as I got to the top of Mount Helix, which isn’t a good sign seeing as its only 1000ft or so above sea level, but I’ve got time to work on that.

Unfortunately toward the end of my ride the freewheel on my maintenance-neglected bike siezed up, so I need to do some serious cleanup on it, and probably take it into the shop for a tune-up. Luckily I’ve got my fixed gear I can ride for a while.

I’ll be posting periodic updates here on my training progress and hopefully come the end of May some pictures and my results.

My First Ever White Christmas

Photo by Kinsee Morlan

As close as I came to a Snowman. Photo by Kinsee Morlan

I spent my first ever white Christmas in Bayfield, CO with my fiance and future family-in-law.

It snowed quite a bit before we got there, and kept snowing for almost two days straight after we arrived. Even though it was about 25F outside most of the time, it didn’t feel like what I expected that to feel like. It was cold but I thought it would feel colder.

We spent some time in downtown Durango, which has a nice main street that reminds me a lot of Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. I also got my first taste of one of the many Durango craft breweries, we had lunch at Carver Brewing Co. Quite fine beers indeed. I got to meet a ton of Kinsee’s old high school friends and spend time with her family.

I also acted like a small child playing in the snow much of the weekend. I think I had only seen snow fall once before this. I shoveled the driveway quite a bit (I’m told the novelty wears off soon), made a snow angel, went sleding and tobaganing and even made a face print in the snow (that was cold!).

I really wanted to build a snowman and have a snowball fight, but the snow was far too powdery and soft, it crumbled in your hand as you tried to ball it up, it was nothing like the icey hard snow I’ve played in before.

Kinsee shot some video of my playing in the snow, I’ll post some of that soon.