Quarantine & DnD

Quarantine life has been weird, but it’s not like I ever went outside to begin with. Besides going to work and the occasional band practice for my new band (more info on that, and hopefully a demo too, coming soon), I’ve been a real homebody since graduating from Uni. Eventually, I’ll emerge as the epitome of Linux SysAdmins and never leave my house again. I just have to be able to grow a beard first, which will probably never happen with my genetics.

I’m glad I’ve been able to work from home throughout all of this mess though. Some of my friends in food service haven’t been as lucky, and my heart goes out to them. I really do enjoy working from home, being in my own environment and able to walk around to think about things, and also so I don’t get sick. I really just need to get a third vertical monitor to complete my desktop setup. One major downside of all of this is I had actually had plans to leave the house and head up to DC for Damaged City Fest this week until it got cancelled. My fiancée, who works as a cashier and who I’m glad did not get sick in all of her daily public interactions, even took her vacation this (and some of next) week to go, so we’re both stuck in the house together.

Even though I definitely had the time before, I no longer have any excuses, for lack of a better phrase, to put off consuming some media I’ve wanted to get through. I’ve started Frank Herbert’s Dune in preparation for the movie coming later this year, I’ve read through some of Sartre’s Nausea, and I have a stack of books on my desk from Dante to Kropotkin to read. I even sat down and re-watched Wilfred, finished up Yu Yu Hakasho, and burned through all of Ranma 1/2. Although I’d consider myself somewhat of an fan of anime (although not to the excess of some people I’ve known who reached pretty obnoxious levels), my horizons were limited to Naruto and a handful of weird animes Netflix used to carry (Chaos;Head was great), I really enjoyed Yu Yu Hakasho and absolutely loved Ranma 1/2 to the point where I bought all of the latter’s OVAs because I didn’t want it to end. I’m still listening to the first opening theme on repeat.

Besides my growing desire to go to Japan which already existed because of The Stalin, I’ve also been trying to get a DnD-like tabletop game going between my friends and I. Covid definitely put a damper on that, seeing as how we won’t be able to get together for the foreseeable future. We could always play online via some chat program, but no one else outside of the circle of weird Linux people I went to Uni with use Telegram, and no one in my circle of close friends even knows what IRC is, so we almost hit a dead end. Almost.

Enter Mattermost, the Free-and-Open-Source alternative to Slack. And enter me, someone with time and the occasional ability to follow instructions to set up software. They had a pre-built image for DigitalOcean (where all of my personal cloud servers live), but I decided I could probably gain some experience by setting it up by hand following their instructions for Ubuntu 18x. For the initial setup, I followed most of the initial instruction from my post about setting up a Tor Hidden Service; spinning up a droplet, configuring ufw and fail2ban, hardening ssh, and so on. Just some basic server setup stuff. Next was just going through the instructions from Mattermost to set up databases (I went Postgres instead of MySQL), the software itself, and Nginx as a reverse proxy to serve the application. I even got some experience issuing a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate from the command line (which is very different from my usual experience issuing them on a cPanel server) and setting up ClamAV to scan uploads.

Hopefully this chat server will provide us a place to play my home-brew DnD-like tabletop and give us a small escape from quarantine induced boredom. Assuming I can get everyone to coordinate long enough to join, let alone hold a session.

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