So after Nate threw a hissy fit and broke this thing, holding his breath until it was fixed, I threw in an exception wrapper.
try: story = file(filename).readlines() except: return current_date
I submitted that fix upstream, so life should be good.
I have made a madness/ directory, and it is world-writable, with the tmp bit on. This means that anyone can make a new file and play with it, but you can't futz with other peoples' entries. I'll prime it in a moment.
I dunno how I'd manage the colored entries, really. This system doesn't pay much attention to a file before slurping it up, so I'm not sure what styles I could throw on in a per-directory fashion.