clean things up for PDF generation

Amolith 11 months ago
parent bb8c7c15af
commit 3e2913ea8d
Signed by: Amolith
GPG Key ID: 5548AD9930655715
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@ -154,7 +154,7 @@ These are books and series I have read and highly recommend. I will likely only
## Academic reading
My end career goal is to be a university professor. A PhD is all but *required* to teach at a university and obtaining one will be a rigorous endeavour. One of the requirements for that will be reading and writing a lot of academic papers. In addition to the normal books above, I'm going to keep a record of the academic works I've consumed, possibly with some blog posts and notes on them; we'll see where that goes though 😉
My end career goal is to be a university professor. A PhD is all but *required* to teach at a university and obtaining one will be a rigorous endeavour. One of the requirements for that will be reading and writing a lot of academic papers. In addition to the normal books above, I'm going to keep a record of the academic works I've consumed, possibly with some blog posts and notes on them; we'll see where that goes though :wink:
### Currently reading

@ -33,7 +33,7 @@ We're pretty loose about rules but a few *are* necessary. They're simple
and we do expect them to be followed.
1. No griefing
* There's a … *fun* punishment lined up for any offenders 😏
* There's a … *fun* punishment lined up for any offenders :smirk:
2. No excessively vulgar language or slurs
3. PvP is only allowed in the designated area
4. No milking cows within 10 metres of spawn

@ -12,7 +12,7 @@ tags:
- Smoking
- Personal
This is intended to be a sort of journal documenting the tobaccos and pipes I've tried along with my opinions. At first, the links will lead to the store page. Eventually, I hope to have them lead to reviews 😉 If you're curious about why I smoke a pipe or how I got started, check the [category.](/categories/pipe-smoking/)
This is intended to be a sort of journal documenting the tobaccos and pipes I've tried along with my opinions. At first, the links will lead to the store page. Eventually, I hope to have them lead to reviews :wink: If you're curious about why I smoke a pipe or how I got started, check the [category.](/categories/pipe-smoking/)
## Pipes
* [The Emerald]( (in-transit)

@ -1,71 +0,0 @@
title: "School..."
description: "I'm starting a new challenge where I'll write a blog post every day."
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
- Personal
- School
- 100 Days To Offload
date: 2020-04-25T22:12:40-04:00
A friend of mine, [Kev Quirk,]( issued [a
challenge]( yesterday and
I decided to take him up on it. In the time between then and now, he's
actually set up a website for participants to submit their posts; it's
called (quite fittingly) *[100 Days To
Offload.](* I'm going to attempt to keep
up with it for the next 100 days and see where it takes me. Because I'll
be using this blog every day, expect a lot of changes and improvements.
With that out of the way, here goes!
Part of this challenge is "offloading" and one of the ways that word can
be meant is to lay out everything that's on your mind. Today, that's
school. I'm generally an *incredibly* laid-back person; I don't really
ever get stressed about anything. That is simultaneously a good thing
and a very bad thing. Because I don't really get stressed, I don't feel
the urgency of getting homework done, communicating with professors
about late assignments, studying, the works. In the past, I've enjoyed
the content I was learning so the fear of making a bad grade was never a
motivator---it was interest in the subject and a natural curiosity.
Right now, I'm not interested in any of my subjects except for German.
It's very unlikely that I will be dealing with Java in the workforce,
Discrete Math is boring, and Calculus II is *killing* me.[^1] I don't
even know if I'll pass it this semester.
And yet...I'm still not stressed. My university implemented an optional
pass-fail grading system in light of the pandemic and the physical
campus shutting down. If a student is making an A, they will definitely
opt out. If a student is making a C, the minimum required to move on,
they will opt in. This mean the C will remain on their transcript *but*
it won't affect their GPA. For those wanting to get into grad school
(me), it is a god send. I have been so lax this semester about doing
*anything* for my classes that I will very likely end up opting in for
all of courses except German. As I said above, I don't even know if I'll
make a C in Calculus though that isn't just because I haven't done all
of the work; I have one of the most difficult professors in the math
department.I am worried but I'm *very* good at keeping that in the back
of my mind under many many layers of keeping myself busy. It's a bit
like that meme of the dog saying "this is fine" while the house burns
around him except I'm not looking at the fire. My head is craned towards
my monitor, my fingers on the keyboard, and my mind is somewhere in a
server in Germany ignoring every bit of it.
This is very much a badly-written ramble and I'm not even going to read
through it before posting. I don't like talking about this kind of thing
but it feels good to get it off my chest, even if it is garbled and
likely hard to read. I will try to only have a single "downer" post like
this in the series; I have a few ideas for much better content.
This is published as part of *100 Days To Offload* and is not indicative
of the rest of the content there; most of it is much more positive 😅 To
join in, simply write a post, submit it
[here,]( and use `#100DaysToOffload`
somewhere on your social media 😉
[^1]: I actually took the course last semester and ended up dropping it
because my grade was so bad right out of the gate.

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "100 Days To Read"
description: "Switching gears a little and reading for an hour every day"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/book.png
date: 2020-07-23T00:48:16-04:00
toc: true
@ -26,7 +27,7 @@ Quotes are used because they're not solid rules; it can be hard to learn
something significant from fiction, you might miss a day here and there,
what you learned could be a bit personal and not really suitable for
social media, any number of things might result in "breaking" one or all
of them. Just do your best. 🙂
of them. Just do your best. :simple_smile:
### Read for an hour a day
I recommend using some kind of timer or stopwatch to track how long

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "A (Mostly) Google-Free Android"
description: "My experience running Android without any Google Services or even a compatibility layer"
author: Amolith
date: 2020-05-18T15:28:02-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/android.png
toc: true

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Adding A (Better) Scroll To Top Button Without JavaScript"
description: "The title is very self-explanatory"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/code.png
date: 2020-05-11T20:39:00-04:00
@ -20,7 +21,7 @@ thought I would write about implementing one in pure HTML and CSS. The
title is just a playful poke at [Kev Quirk]( who
recently posted about [exactly the same
but with different styling 😉
but with different styling :wink:
There's only one attribute to add to an existing HTML tag near the top

@ -1,58 +0,0 @@
title: "Arch Spin pt. 1 — The perfect bootable"
subtitle: "There's no such thing . . . yet"
description: "I started trying to think of a distro that fit all my daily needs that I could take on a flash drive with me wherever I went and I couldn't"
date: 2018-08-15T10:38:00-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/arch-spin/pt-1.png
- Technology
- Arch Linux
- Arch Spin
Today I had an orthodontist appointment and a voice lesson. The
appointment was at 15:00 and the voice lesson at 16:00. I got to the
orthodontist's office 10 minutes early, was told to right to the back
(like always), I sat down in the seat, and the orthodontist came over
after a few minutes with another patient. He looked at my teeth, had me
put my retainers in, checked how they fit, then said I don't ever need
to come back (unless I do need to). That all took about 7 or 8 minutes.
My voice lesson was ~5 minutes away so I had an hour to kill. I drove to
the college (where the lesson was), went into the computer lab, and
booted my [multibootable]( bootable.
I went through the distros I had and chose the [i3 spin of
forgetting that it hadn't written correctly and was corrupt. I went
through a couple of other distros that were as well and settled on
[Parrot Home.]( While I love
Parrot Home for security reasons, it wasn't what I was looking for. I
started trying to think of a distro that fit all my daily needs that I
could take on a flash drive with me wherever I went and . . . I
I would boot it, try to install some app I'm missing (Telegram, for
instance), find that I need to first update everything then upgrade some
packages then have no space left to install Telegram. There isn't one
distro I can think of that I wouldn't have to do that with. So I thought
I'd try my hand at installing Arch on a flash drive.
As I was reading, I decided I would rather make a *live* system. This
way, I can log into whatever I need to and, as soon as I turn it off,
whatever I did disappears. I asked around in the Arch [Telegram
channel]( and was given a few pages to read
up on the wiki as well as a youtube video. First is [building the arch
iso,]( [making a custom
for installing AUR packages, building them in a
so you don't mess with your current setup, and the [YouTube
videos]( that help tie it
all together:
## Summary
That'll be it for this post. It was originally a lot longer but I think
I want to keep them to a quick read so it's easier to pick up where you
left off. I'm not sure what the next post will contain but I am sure
that it talks about setting up your dev environment 😉

@ -1,25 +0,0 @@
title: Arch Spin pt. 2 — Initial setup
subtitle: First steps to rolling your own spin
description: Setting up the basics for build your own Arch-based spin with archiso, the official development tool
cover: /assets/spin/arch-spin/pt-2.png
date: 2018-08-17T14:11:07-04:00
- Technology
- Arch Linux
- Arch Spin
*I **think** I'm going to call it a spin . . .*
* Install the package `archiso` from the official repos or `archiso-git`
from the AUR
* `$ mkdir ~/<build-directory>`
* Replace `<build-directory>` with wherever you want the iso build
to be stored. This is where we'll be spending all of our time
configuring. Mine is at `~/liveiso/` and that's the path I'll be
using in this and future posts
* `$ sudo cp -r /usr/share/archiso/configs/releng/ ~/liveiso`
* Edit `~/liveiso/packages.x86_64` to install desired software
* This will be addressed in the next post, `packages.x86_64`, where
I also give some quick ways to install everything you might want.

@ -1,41 +0,0 @@
title: Arch Spin pt. 3 - packages.x86_64
description: Getting all the packages you currently have installed from the Arch repos installed to your Arch ISO
cover: /assets/pngs/arch-spin/pt-3.png
date: 2018-08-18T16:52:42-04:00
- Technology
- Arch Linux
- Arch Spin
## Package configuration
As I said in the last post, this is the file in which you list the
applications you wish to install. I won't list the defaults because
there a lot. *However*, this basic setup only builds to a total of ~440
MB so you can add *many* more applications.
I want the setup on this bootable to be exactly the same as what I
currently have on my system. I did not want to manually enter every
single package though. Thankfully, pacman is a feature-complete tool and
it lets you get a *lot* of information about installed packages. `pacman
-Qne` lists all the currently installed packages that you explicitly
installed. It does not list dependencies of those applications. What I
did was run `pacman -Qne >> ~/liveiso/packages.x86_64` to add all the
apps I have installed from the official Arch repos to the end of the
file so nothing was overwritten.
After, I ran `pacman -Qni >> official.txt` so I could get information
about all those packages and decide whether or not I wanted to keep
them. For example, I removed some stuff from deepin that I no longer
used, SuperTuxKart, and a lot of other stuff. This shrunk my iso from
3.6 GB to 2.5. Now I have a lot of space to use for installing my
applications from the AUR. This includes [making a custom
for the packages and [building them in a
so you make *sure* you have all the needed dependencies while keeping
your system from being messed up while building.
All of this will be discussed in the next blog post (when I get to it).

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Bluegrass Music"
description: "My thoughts on old time and bluegrass music"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/guitar.png
- Music

@ -1,6 +0,0 @@
title: "Building a Desktop"
date: 2020-04-27T21:03:46-04:00
draft: true

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Calcurse Notifications"
description: "Configuring descriptive and attractive notifications for calcurse"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
date: 2020-05-13T22:23:25-04:00
@ -37,7 +38,7 @@ The output of running `calcurse -n`, for me and at the moment, looks
like this:
``` text
calcurse -n
$ calcurse -n
next appointment:
[17:25] DnD on Mumble

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Consuming News"
subtitle: "My setup for quickly getting news I want and discarding news I don't"
author: Amolith
description: "My setup for quickly getting news I want and discarding news I don't"
date: 2020-03-31T14:08:14-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/news.png
@ -32,10 +33,10 @@ My feed reader of choice is TT-RSS. It's one of the most advanced
readers I've ever used and can be tailored for any workflow. My basic
preferences are below:
* Enable categories
* Combined mode
* Always expand articles[^1]
* Show content preview in headlines
* :white_check_mark: Enable categories
* :white_check_mark: Combined mode
* :white_check_mark: Always expand articles[^1]
* :white_check_mark: Show content preview in headlines
Making use of the categories is *very* important; if you have a lot of
feeds, getting through them is much easier when you can go topic by
@ -49,7 +50,7 @@ particularly long ones) and `o` opens the source in a new tab. This
would be great except that most browsers automatically switch to that
new tab. If you're just wanting to get it up there to deal with later as
I do, this diversion is *incredibly* annoying. Thankfully, it can be
disabled in Firefox 😏
disabled in Firefox :smirk:
## Firefox
This setting is pretty damn easy; open `about:config`, search for
@ -64,14 +65,14 @@ in the background leaving your current tab focused.
## wallabag
My read-it-later application is [wallabag,]( a
libre alternative to Mozilla's Pocket (which they still haven't made
open source 👀). I use the [Firefox
open source :eyes:) I use the [Firefox
Add-on]( so
simply clicking the icon will send the URL to my server for download. I
also have an application on [my
called [Wallabako.]( It downloads
articles from wallabag as ePubs so I can read online articles while I'm
offline as if they were books. A dream come true 😉
offline as if they were books. A dream come true :wink:
## Entire workflow
With all that out of the way, here's my entire workflow.

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Custom Streaming Setup"
description: "My second post of 100 Days To Offload details my custom streaming setup"
author: Amolith
date: 2020-04-26T20:24:38-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/stream.png
@ -178,7 +179,7 @@ Finally, I landed on [qwebirc]( and it was pretty
much *exactly* what I wanted. When the iframe loads, you're prompted to
enter a nick, you click connect, wait a minute, and done! My one
complaint is that the theme is very bright but I'll work on that later
on. It's good enough for now 😉
on. It's good enough for now :wink:
**EDIT:** Since the time of writing, I have switched to hosting
[KiwiIRC]( on

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Day 3"
description: "Day 3 out of 100"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
- Technology
@ -24,7 +25,7 @@ it on [my Gitea
Anyway, this is my anti-climactic third day out of 100! Prepare for some
music tomorrow 😉
music tomorrow :wink:

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Day 6 Updates"
description: "I don't really have much to say today so here are just a few things I've been working on"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png
date: 2020-05-03T01:57:03-04:00
toc: true
@ -52,7 +53,7 @@ A friend of mine convinced my to try [Doom
Emacs]( and, so far, I am very
impressed. Emacs itself is very powerful but, from what I can tell, this
configuration adds a *lot* of value. The main one being Vim keybindings
😉 I'm looking forward to learning [org-mode]( and
:wink: I'm looking forward to learning [org-mode]( and
seeing what it can do for my productivity. As a text editor and
programming tool, I plan to stick with [Neovim]( on
desktop/laptop, [Vim]( on Debian-based systems,

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Documenting With MediaWiki"
description: "Setting up MediaWiki to efficiently write quality documentation"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/mediawiki.png
date: 2020-06-04T12:23:34-04:00

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: Downloading courses from Linux Academy
subtitle: youtube-dl is a phenomenal tool
author: Amolith
description: Using youtube-dl to pull Linux Academy courses for offline viewing
date: 2019-10-19T01:35:00-0400
cover: /assets/pngs/youtube-dl.png
@ -39,13 +40,13 @@ download a course or two every month using
* You'll want to select `Media` as shown in the screenshot below
*In moving my posts around, this screenshot has disappeared* :shrug:
* Click the video you want to start with
* Watch the network logs
* You'll see an entry that starts with `playlist` (screenshot below)
*In moving my posts around, this screenshot has disappeared* :shrug:
* Right click it
* Copy the URL
@ -82,36 +83,36 @@ it's easier to script the process. Here's an example of one of mine:
``` bash
amolith@poseidon:~/Videos/Courses/Ansible - Playbooks Deep Dive $ tree
├── 01 - Course Overview
   ├── 01 - About the Course.mp4
   ├── 02 - About the Training Architect.mp4
   ├── 03 - Course Features and Tools.mp4
   ├── 04 - About Ansible Playbooks.mp4
   └── 05 - Advanced Inventory Configuration.mp4
├── 02 - Playbook Basics
   ├── 01 - Using YAML for Ansible Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 02 - Creating an Ansible Play.mp4
   ├── 03 - The ansible-playbook Command.mp4
   └── 04 - Understanding Playbook Tasks.mp4
├── 03 - Essential Playbook Syntax
   ├── 01 - Using Variables in Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 02 - Working with Templates.mp4
   ├── 03 - Using Ansible Facts.mp4
   ├── 04 - Conditional Execution in Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 05 - Using Loops in Ansible.mp4
   └── 06 - Working with Handlers in Ansible.mp4
├── 04 - Advanced Playbook Syntax
   ├── 01 - Executing Selective Parts of a Playbook.mp4
   ├── 02 - Working with Sensitive Data Using Ansible Vault.mp4
   ├── 03 - Error Handling in a Playbook: limit, ignore_errors, changed_when, and failed_when.mp4
   ├── 04 - Error Handling in a Playbook: Block Groups and The Debug Module.mp4
   ├── 05 - Asynchronous Tasks within a Playbook.mp4
   ├── 06 - Delegating Playbook Execution with delegate_to and local_action.mp4
   ├── 07 - Parallelism in Playbooks.mp4
   ├── 08 - Using run_once.mp4
   ├── 09 - Overview of Ansible Roles.mp4
   └── 10 - Ansible Role Demo.mp4
└── 05 - Conclusion and Next Steps.mp4
+-- 01 - Course Overview
|   +-- 01 - About the Course.mp4
|   +-- 02 - About the Training Architect.mp4
|   +-- 03 - Course Features and Tools.mp4
|   +-- 04 - About Ansible Playbooks.mp4
|   \-- 05 - Advanced Inventory Configuration.mp4
+-- 02 - Playbook Basics
|   +-- 01 - Using YAML for Ansible Playbooks.mp4
|   +-- 02 - Creating an Ansible Play.mp4
|   +-- 03 - The ansible-playbook Command.mp4
|   \-- 04 - Understanding Playbook Tasks.mp4
+-- 03 - Essential Playbook Syntax
|   +-- 01 - Using Variables in Playbooks.mp4
|   +-- 02 - Working with Templates.mp4
|   +-- 03 - Using Ansible Facts.mp4
|   +-- 04 - Conditional Execution in Playbooks.mp4
|   +-- 05 - Using Loops in Ansible.mp4
|   \-- 06 - Working with Handlers in Ansible.mp4
+-- 04 - Advanced Playbook Syntax
|   +-- 01 - Executing Selective Parts of a Playbook.mp4
|   +-- 02 - Working with Sensitive Data Using Ansible Vault.mp4
|   +-- 03 - Error Handling in a Playbook: limit, ignore_errors, changed_when, and failed_when.mp4
|   +-- 04 - Error Handling in a Playbook: Block Groups and The Debug Module.mp4
|   +-- 05 - Asynchronous Tasks within a Playbook.mp4
|   +-- 06 - Delegating Playbook Execution with delegate_to and local_action.mp4
|   +-- 07 - Parallelism in Playbooks.mp4
|   +-- 08 - Using run_once.mp4
|   +-- 09 - Overview of Ansible Roles.mp4
|   \-- 10 - Ansible Role Demo.mp4
\-- 05 - Conclusion and Next Steps.mp4
4 directories, 26 files
amolith@poseidon:~/Videos/Courses/Ansible - Playbooks Deep Dive $

@ -1,85 +0,0 @@
title: Removing your site from the Wayback Machine (Keybase)
subtitle: A quick and easy guide
description: Quick guide on removing and excluding your content from's Wayback Machine with Keybase
cover: /assets/pngs/archive.png
date: 2019-06-03T12:08:00-0400
- Technology
- Privacy
- Sysadmin
toc: true
## Preface
There may be a myriad of reasons you want to do this, from removing
sensitive information to regaining a measure of control over your
content. Whatever your purpose, below should be a quick and easy way to
achieve it.
## For domains you own
The easiest way to verify you own a domain is to put a text file in an
easily accessible location and email
[]( asking for removal and link
to it. Mine is at
[removal-request.txt.]( It
would be better if you didn't copy mine word-for-word and wrote your own
instead though 😉
If that's all you intend to do, this should be sufficient and there's no
need to read any further. If you want to exclude your *profiles* as well
(for example, all your GitHub repos, Twitter, Mastodon, etc.) read on.
## For domains you *don't* own
There are a few things I used that worked in harmony to verify my other
accounts. [Keybase]( was the most useful for this
purpose. It is a proprietary service but I deem the level of proof it
facilitates worth compromising for.
The other tool I used was [GPG.]( For the sake of
keeping it simple, *this* guide will just deal with GPG from within
Keybase. I ***really*** recommend actually learning to use GPG on its
own; it's wonderful for protecting your privacy and verifying your
identity in a multitude of situations. The next post will be on using
GPG *outside* of Keybase for this so [stay tuned.](/posts/index.xml)
### Generating your key
After creating your Keybase account, click "add a PGP key", "I need a
public key", then enter the requisite information. You should use
whatever name is associated with the account you'll be emailing from as well as that address. Wait a bit while it generates
the key...
### Verifying some accounts
This is where you verify whatever accounts you want removed. Just click
the option and go through the steps! Aside from personal websites,
Twitter, GitHub, Reddit, etc., you can also prove accounts on a lot of
other services (including Mastodon). More are being added every day so
check back if there's something specific you want to address.
Once this is done, you'll be ready to contact about getting
your stuff removed.
### Signing some messages
In the top right of Keybase, you'll see a pencil. Click it and you'll be
taken to a page with a text box. This is where you'll type your email
and the text file for your website proof. For the text file, copy the
signed message and paste it into your text editor, save, and put it at
the root of your website. For example, mine is at
[removal-request.txt.]( It
would be better if you didn't copy mine word for word and wrote your own
😉 For the email, you'll do the same thing but paste the signed message
into your email client, whether that's Thunderbird, ProtonMail,
Tutanota, etc. The text file only needs to contain the request for the
(sub)domain removal. The email needs to contain the request for
everything along with links to the text file, you Keybase account, and
whatever you want removed.
Before sending it, you should also go back to your profile, click your
key, and copy everything in the text box that starts with `-----BEGIN
PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----`. Paste that into another text file but save
it with the `.asc` extension. For example, `key.asc`. Attach this to the
email, send it to [,]( wait a
couple days, and you're done!

@ -1,7 +1,8 @@
title: "Forecasting with a command"
description: "Using a single command to get the week's weather forecast"
cover: /assets/pngs/weather.png
author: Amolith
cover: ../../static/assets/pngs/weather.png
date: 2018-12-14T21:41:00-04:00
- Technology

@ -1,16 +0,0 @@
title: "Site changes"
description: "Update about the RSS feed and plans for the website"
date: 2020-04-13T19:50:25-04:00
- Meta
- Site update
cover: /assets/pngs/site.png
I just created a new category called [Meta](/categories/meta) and it'll be used for updates about this website and about me. The first thing is that I didn't realise until a few minutes ago that the RSS feeds only had summaries of my posts; that issue has been fixed and the full content is available in each one now. The second thing is some of my plans for this site. Until now, [NixNet]( has been my online "home". I'm in the process of making this my home instead. As NixNet grows, it needs to become less personal and more . . . "official" I guess. Sometime tomorrow, I plan to move all of the blog posts from there to here and make the `Blog` menu item lead to ``. I'll also put redirect in place so links to the old posts will lead to their new home over here.
Another one of my plans is the make the `READ OTHER POSTS` section at the bottom a bit more intuitive. Right now, clicking on the right arrow opens the chronologically previous post and the left arrow opens the next one out of the *global* list. That's fine for now but it will be an annoyance when some of my [D&D campaigns](/categories/dungeons-dragons) get longer or when I do a series of posts on some topic. It might end up being next week or something but I'm going to set up some better logic for determining what's "next" and what's "previous" as well as better visual indicators of which is which.
I don't have *any* idea how I would set it up but it would also be nice to let readers pick combinations of feeds rather than having separate feeds for each one or a single feed for *everything*. The reason why I set up individual feeds is the same as why I'm wanting to give the option for combining them; I know the [Pipe Smoking](/categories/pipe-smoking/) category is something few people will want to read but it's a passion of mine and I plan to write about it anyway. The reading experience of the site as a whole shouldn't be lessened because of it though.

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: Lossless screen recording
subtitle: Never waste resources with OBS again
author: Amolith
description: Recording your screen (or monitors) with ffmpeg for a high-quality lossless video that uses very few system resources
date: 2018-08-12T17:15:20-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/ffmpeg-lossless.png

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "LWN Theming"
description: "Giving LWN a nice dark theme"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/code.png
date: 2020-06-19T16:41:16-04:00
toc: true
@ -33,26 +34,26 @@ After [subscribing](, navigate to [your account page]
| Visited link colour | `#d0738f` |
| Quoted text (in email) colour | `#7ec699` |
| Old (seen) comment background colour | `#cccccc` |
| Navigation box on printable page | |
| Navigation box on printable page | :white_check_mark: |
| Minimum width of main text column (em) | `40` |
| Maximum width of main text column (em) | `50` |
| Display old parent in unread comments screen | 🟩 (unchecked) |
| Display old parent in unread comments screen | :large-green-square: (unchecked) |
## New page engine preferences
| Option | Value |
| Use the new page engine | |
| Use the new page engine | :white_check_mark: |
| Left column color | `#292a2d` |
| Maximum width for handset presentation (em) | `48` |
| Fixed navigation menu on small screens | |
| Font family to use| `🔘 sans-serif`
| Fixed navigation menu on small screens | :white_check_mark: |
| Font family to use| `:white_check_mark: sans-serif`
## Quoted text preferences
| Option | Value |
| Quoted text style | `🔘 normal` |
| Quoted text weight | `🔘 bolder` |
| Quoted text style | `:white_check_mark: normal` |
| Quoted text weight | `:white_check_mark: bolder` |
| Quoted text colour | `#a9a9b3` |
| Quoted text background | `#292a2d` |

@ -1,174 +0,0 @@
title: "Part of my cellar"
description: "Quick tour of my pipes and accessories"
date: 2020-04-17T20:18:01-04:00
cover: /assets/jpgs/porch.jpg
- Pipe Smoking
- Nørding
- Churchwarden
- Cellar
- Pipes
- Missouri Meerschaum
- Mauro Armellini
Continuing with my journey into the world of pipe smoking, I thought I
would show what my *cellar*[^1] looks like. It's not much—just some jars
and a pipe stand on my dresser—but it's more than what I've seen some
other people have[^2]. I'll talk about tobacco in another post; this one
is just about what's on the left of the picture below. The paper is
something I saw in a YouTube video and I thought it was a really cool
idea; rather than pinching your tobacco out of the jar, sprinkling it
into the bowl, and inevitably spilling some, simply dump it onto a sheet
of paper. From there, you can pull apart any clumps that may have
formed, fill the bowl, then fold the paper in half lengthwise and pour
what's left back into to the jar.
![Picture of my dresser with some pipes, accessories, and tobacco. To
the right, there are 12 big jars of tobacco along with a smaller one. On
the left is my half-full pipe stand with three pipes in it, my lighter,
a pipe tool, a wind cap, a smaller single stand to the right, and a
sheet of paper in the front.](/assets/jpgs/dresser.jpg)
The small stand to the right of the big one is the [Single Pipe Stand
I do like it but it's really only suitable for pipes with straight[^3]
stems; with bent stems, the mouthpiece ends up resting on the table. I
haven't tried it but I would recommend going with the [solid
if you're wanting a stand for a single pipe because it's more versatile.
The larger one, below, is the [Woodmere 6 Pipe
from the same website. It has the same problem as the first but it's not
as pronounced; pipes with bent stems need to be pushed forward in the
divot in the base so they can lean back against the bar. Otherwise, the
weight of the stem and shank[^4] will cause them to fall forward.
Pipes will be described further down so the next thing is the metal
object that looks like a sink drain. It's a [wind cap from The Country
Squire]( (which
also has [a great
podcast]( I've
found it to be very handy at my university when it's windy. The next
item is just a simple "Czech pipe tool" that can be purchased from
pretty much any store that sells pipes, both brick-and-mortar and online
retailers. The last thing is a Zippo *pipe* lighter. These are entirely
different from normal Zippo lighters because they're meant to be held
sideways over the bowl of a pipe. This design lets you put the flame
directly to the tobacco rather than drawing it over the side of the bowl
and scorching the rim. I ordered mine from Amazon a year or so ago but
have since stopped using Amazon due to ethical and privacy concerns. I
can't find the same product on [Zippo's
website]( so here's a
link to it from
I also dislike using Wal-mart but it's marginally better than Amazon.
![This picture is pretty much the same as the earlier one but without
the tobacco and paper.](/assets/jpgs/pipes.jpg)
Now the fun part 😉 The first pipe I got was the [Missouri Pride from
An *excellent* starter pipe, I ended up giving it to my room mate after
he showed an interest in the hobby. However, a close friend of mine had
given me one of his old pipes and I fell in love with it. Unfortunately,
I know absolutely *nothing* about it other than it was made by [Mauro
Armellini](, an Italian craftsman who
died several years ago. I'm considering sending an email to the company
and seeing if they can tell me anything about it. On one side of the
shank is the name *Mauro Armellini*, the bottom has the number *705*,
and the other side says *Verona* with the word *ARCOBALENO* below it. If
anyone reading this knows something about the pipe, please let me know.
![A picture of my pipe from Mauro Armellini. It's sitting on my porch
rail with the yard in the background; the grass is a light green and the
leaves of the woods further on are darker. The pipe is a rich brown with
a cream-coloured opalescent stem. There is a mother-of-pearl inlay on
top of the stem.](/assets/jpgs/armellini.jpg)
The first "real" pipe I bought myself was a churchwarden[^5] from
[Nørding Pipes.]( If you're curious about
the company or the founder, Erik Nørding, listen to this episode of the
[Country Squire Radio.](
After I heard it, I decided to make one of their pipes my first
purchase. What I ended up getting was a Partially Rusticated[^6]
Churchwarden from
I've been using it for a month or so now and absolutely love it,
especially when I'm sitting on the porch reading or going lunting[^7].
![This is also a picture of a pipe on my porch rail. It is significantly
longer at about 10.5 inches or 265 millimetres. The stem has a gentle
curve. The bowl is the same deep brown as the Armellini pipe but the
finish is newer so it shines more. The rustication will be hard to
describe. The rest of the pipe is brown but the rusticated part is
black. The texture is rough but smooth—the edges that might have been
jagged were sanded down. The bottom of the bowl is what's rusticated;
the top is normal. When held upside down, it almost looks as if the
rusticated part is dripping onto the normal part and the same for the
My latest acquisition is [The
Emerald]( from
[Missouri Meerschaum.]( It is a corn cob pipe
but not like the Missouri Pride; this model has very obviously been
sanded smooth and sealed so that it *almost* feels like finished wood.
The stem is a higher quality acrylic than their other models and much
more pleasant to look at as well. This is the model they released for
Saint Patrick's Day in 2019 but, due to popular demand, they started
producing it again. I'm hoping to purchase this year's as well and start
building a collection.
![This pipe is a light cream colour. The bowl looks like the cob of an
ear of corn (that's what it is) with a short wooden tube sticking out of
it. The bent stem is a deep marbled green.](/assets/jpgs/emerald.jpg)
This last picture is of me sitting on my porch with a book, my
churchwarden, my lighter, and my pipe tool. It was a warm and peaceful
afternoon and I had a strong urge to capture the moment because this is
one of the *big* reasons I enjoy smoking a pipe. In the rigorous life of
a university student, musician, and systems administrator, this is my
rare chance to just slow down and simply be in the moment without
worrying over anything else.
![In this picture, you can see the top edge of the book I'm reading, my
crossed legs resting on the porch rail, my churchwarden to the left, and
my light and pipe tool to the right. This is the same "warm" scene as
described in the picture of Armellini's pipe; it's very
[^1]: In this context, a cellar is simply a place to store pipes and
pipe tobacco. When someone says they're going to *cellar* their
tobacco, they mean they're going to prepare it for long-term
[^2]: One was literally just a cardboard box with some jars inside and a
few pipes laying on top. There's nothing wrong with that but I
prefer to have a little more space.
[^3]: The stem is the part of the pipe where the mouthpiece is. In these
pictures, it's opalescent for the first, marbled for the second, and
solid black for the third.
[^4]: The shank is where the stem is inserted; it's in between that and
the bowl and made from the same material as the bowl.
[^5]: *Churchwarden* refers to the length of the pipe. There are many
theories about why it's named so but one I find interesting is that
it's after real
[churchwardens.]( They
would have to stay up all night guarding the church and couldn't be
expected to go that long without smoking. However, the smoke from a
traditional pipe would often obscure their vision because it was so
close to their face. The churchwarden was invented so the bowl was
significantly further away and wouldn't get in their line of sight.
[^6]: Rustication is the process of adding texture to the bowl (or
shank) of a pipe. Generally, this is done to hide imperfections in
the briar so the pipe still looks good. Personally, I stay away from
*fully* rusticated pipes not just because I don't like the
aesthetics but because the wood is likely poor quality. This is
certainly not *always* the case, however.
[^7]: Lunting is *the act of taking a leisurely stroll whilst smoking a
tobacco pipe ([](* When I go
hiking, I'll often take my pipe with me; it's a calm and
contemplative time to simply think and enjoy a good tobacco.

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Pausing 100 Days to Offload"
description: "Finals week is exhausting so I'm going to take a break and resume once it's finished"
author: Amolith
date: 2020-05-04T21:57:27-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/calendar.png

@ -1,13 +0,0 @@
title: "Krozn'ik"
description: The first entry in our journey
date: 2020-02-09T01:03:03-05:00
cover: /assets/pngs/axe.png
- Dungeons & Dragons
Today was, quite honestly, average for this band. Before I get into what happened, however, I had better introduce myself. I am Krozn'ik, a half-orc. I know not where I was born save that the entirety of my village was slaughtered and I was raised by one of the knights party to the massacre. I was incredibly young at the time so he is the only father I have ever really known. We never had much but it was enough: a modest house near the centre of a small town, clothes without holes, enough food that we didn't starve, and so on. Though Father tried to teach me the ways of the sword, shield, and spear, it wasn't until I picked up a greataxe that he felt I had "found it". Within a couple short years, I was wielding the weapon as an extension of my body, able to make it sing as it sliced through the air, turned on a dime, and darted through the wooden poles we set up for practice.
Once I grew to be 17 or so, father started sending me to deal with minor issues in the neighbouring villages in his stead, fending off small groups of bandits, protecting towns from parties of goblins, things like that. Eventually, our lord sent me a few hundred kilometres West to care for another village. While there, a large band of orcs raided my father's city and slew him along with every one else. I left my people in the care of another knight and began a quest for vengeance. That is a story for another time, however.
This tale follows Angus, a dwarvish giant, a human ranger, Ryu, a barbarian called Tyler2, Valthos the Fighter, and, of course, me. It's an odd story, taking place in the caverns of Purgatorus, but one well worth reading. I didn't think to record our journey until the third encounter so I will do my best to recap it in the following entries. For now, this brief and inadequate introduction will have to suffice; we have just made camp and are resting for our journey back to Byron in the Cathedral of Thyatira.

@ -1,22 +0,0 @@
title: "(Temporary?) Death of the Campaign"
description: Unfortunately, we had to end the campaign before we got further than five sessions
date: 2020-04-03T09:13:20-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/axe.png
- Dungeons & Dragons
With the emergence of COVID-19, our university shutting down, and
everything going remote, this campaign has ended. Our DM and a few of
the other guys don't like playing without face-to-face interaction. It's
unfortunate but I do understand; half of our sessions consisted of us
being complete dumbasses and dying laughing at something stupid one of
us did. I did have half-finished notes that were going to be made into
stories like [the first]({{< relref "" >}}) but I don't remember
enough of what else happened to complete them.
We might pick things up in the Fall once the university opens and we can
move back in or we might just start a new one; it remains to be seen.
Whatever happens, there will be a new post in [the

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Reading Methods & RSVP"
date: 2020-02-13T21:57:28-05:00
author: Amolith
description: Methods we unconsciously use when reading and ways to increase both speed and comprehension
cover: /assets/pngs/book.png
@ -63,7 +64,7 @@ remains in a fixed position so you never have to move your eyes. Because
of that, Stutter is able to display new words much more quickly; the
average reader can usually comfortably start at 500 WPM but it is
possible to reach speeds of over 1200 WPM with regular practise. I
haven't gotten that far yet 😉
haven't gotten that far yet :wink:
For more information on speed reading, the [Wikipedia
page]( (where I got most of my

@ -1,117 +0,0 @@
title: Removing your site from the Wayback Machine (GPG)
subtitle: A quick-ish and easy-ish guide
description: Quick-ish and easy-ish guide on removing and excluding your domain from's Wayback Machine using GPG keys
cover: /assets/pngs/archive.png
date: 2019-06-04T21:57:00-04:00
- Technology
- Privacy
- Sysadmin
toc: true
## Preface
If you simply want to remove your website and nothing else, read through
the setup and verifying identities sections then continue from the [For
domains you
section of the previous post. If you're wanting to address
accounts/profiles on websites you don't own, read on.
In addition to dealing with the Wayback Machine, this article is also
supposed to help you get started using GPG in every-day life for general
security and privacy.
## Getting set up
### Installation & Generating Keys
First of all, you'll want to install GPG. The package on most
distributions should be just be `gnupg`.
- Debian: `sudo apt install gnupg`
- Arch: `sudo pacman -S gnupg`
- Fedora: `sudo dnf install gnupg`
The next step is generating your key. While it will take a bit longer to
generate, a stronger key will be more secure. Also make sure you read
this excerpt from the `man` page as it contains a useful warning.
>Use a *good* password for your user account and a *good* passphrase to
>protect your secret key. This passphrase is the weakest part of the
>whole system. Programs to do dictionary attacks on your secret keyring
>are very easy to write and so you should protect your `~/.gnupg/`
>directory very well.
With that said, use `gpg --full-gen-key` to get started. Keep in mind
that you don't actually have to use your real name or personal email
address. If you *want* a personal key, go ahead and create one but you
can also use a pseudonym and fake address if you'd like.
1. I would use the default (1) of "RSA and RSA".
2. Again, you can use default but I would recommend 4096 bits because
it's much more secure. This does mean, however, that it will take
longer to generate the key.
3. An expiry date is recommended but you don't necessarily have to set
4. You *don't* have to use your real name. You can use a pseudonym if
you wish.
5. You *don't* have to use your personal email. You can use a
pseudonymous one if you wish.
6. You don't need a comment
7. Confirm
8. Come up with a ***secure*** password or, even better, a pass*phrase*.
9. Move your mouse around a bit, type, something like that while it's
generating the key.
### Email
I use [Thunderbird]( for email and there is
a great addon for it called [Enigmail]( It's
quite easy to set up and use but there is a really annoying bug that
you'll experience when replying in threaded mode. If you want to encrypt
a reply, simply open the editor in a new window.
## Verifying Identities
In general, all you'll have to do is type something along the lines of:
> I am \<your-name-here\> and I own the following accounts:
> - Account 1 - \<link\>
> - Account 2 - \<link\>
> - Etc.
You'll save that in a text file, run `gpg --clearsign file.txt`, copy
the output, then paste it wherever it needs to go, whether that's a
blog, a GitHub gist, etc. With Twitter/Mastodon and their character
limit, this won't quite work. The best solution there is probably to
post a link to a gpg-signed message on your website that links back to
the post.
Really, all you have to do is tie all of your accounts together in as
close-knit a web as you can and sign with your GPG key wherever
possible. Linking everything to everything else would definitely work
but it should also be enough to link everything to a single document on
your website (or a gist in GitHub etc.) that links back to all of those.
I'm probably not explaining very well so here's a diagram showing it.
![a diagram illustrating the text
Note that the email links to everything else but nothing links back to
the email. It's the main document that's at the centre of it all. Make
sure both it and the email are signed. If you toot, link to the toot in
the main document. If you make a gist, link to the gist in the main
## Sending the email
Once you have all the groundwork laid out, you'll be ready to send the
email; the address is [](
Explain what you would like done and link to the document requesting
your domain exclusion first as that's the easiest to verify. In the next
paragraph, I would explain a little bit about what you've set up with
signing messages and creating the "Web of Verification" (lol). Under
that, I would link to the posts asking for the accounts to be removed.
Make sure those posts also link back to the main document. Be polite,
say thank you, then send the email!

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Replacing YouTube & Invidious"
description: "Simple script I created to download YouTube videos"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/download-video.png
date: 2020-08-03T05:43:37-04:00
toc: true
@ -189,10 +190,10 @@ dl linustechtips
The result would be this directory structure:
├── .archives
   └── linustechtips.txt
└── Linus Tech Tips
└── They still make MP3 players.mkv
|-- .archives
|   \-- linustechtips.txt
\-- Linus Tech Tips
\-- They still make MP3 players.mkv
The last line is the notification command:

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: Running an IRC server
description: Easy guide on setting up a modern IRC server
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/irc.png
date: 2020-12-05T16:55:00-04:00
toc: true

@ -1,98 +0,0 @@
title: "New fonts & site changes"
description: "New fonts, more interesting typography, "
cover: /assets/pngs/editor.png
date: 2020-07-19T01:43:11-04:00
- Meta
- Fonts
- Typography
I just got a couple of new (and rather expensive) fonts. So far, I'm
incredibly happy with them and think it was money well-spent for a few
reasons. Created by [Matthew
[Valkyrie]( and
[Concourse]( are simply beautiful. I
don't know which I like more but they both have their places on this
website and will find their way onto others in the future. Because
Concourse is a [sans-serif,](
it will be the default used all across Secluded.Site. Valkyrie is a
[serif font]( and, though the type
seems to be losing its place on the web, I think it adds a lot when
reading content that's focused on a narrative rather than simply being
informative. Because of that, it will be used for my posts about [pipe
smoking](/categories/pipe-smoking/) and [Dungeons &
Dragons.](/categories/dungeons-dragons/) I might come up with other
categories where Valkyrie fits as well but it will likely remain limited
to those two.
In addition to simply changing the fonts, I've also modified some styles
on the site. Headers (such as the title of this post) are now in proper
small caps[^1] and I did some work to improve font size relative to the
content width. Previously, the text was smaller than I would have liked
which meant longer lines; there are some studies[^2] indicating that
lines with a lower character count, while decreasing reading speed,[^3]
are generally more comfortable and hold the reader's attention more
effectively. The width hasn't changed but the size has increased and
thus decreased the number of characters per line.
One of the reasons I decided to buy the fonts was simply that I love the
way they look and they have a lot of
[features]( I wanted.
In addition to that, however, I also wanted to support Matthew. His
book, *[Practical Typography](* is an
amazing resource for anyone that does anything with text. He has put a
massive amount of work into it and simply [asks readers to
pay.]( There is
no pay*wall* and no ads either; it's completely supported by readers.
There are a few [ways to
and one of them is buying his fonts. Interestingly enough, if you read
his [first,](
and [third](
year summaries, more people bought his fonts for a higher price than
simply paid him directly:
> What’s most interesting to me, however, is that so many more readers
> were willing to buy a font license (at $59–299) than to make a direct
> payment (at $5–10). Don’t get me wrong—I’m utterly grateful. But it’s
> counterintuitive: I never expected that the cheaper option would be so
> much less popular. Economists, I invite your explanations.
> — *[The Economics of a Web-based Book: Year
> One](*
I won't speculate as to why but it is thought-provoking. Regardless, his
approach is very similar to that of any developer who creates open
source software. They pour their time and energy into projects they
might get no compensation for and rely on the community to fund their
efforts. I have a *great* deal of respect for these people and try to
support them whenever I'm able. $200 is a small price for two incredible
fonts in addition to *Practical Typography*!
[^1]: Small caps are a font style where the letters that would otherwise
be lower case are a shorter version of the upper case form. Many
people simulate small caps by reducing the font size of regular
capital letters to that of lower case characters but the results are
too tall and their vertical lines too thin; they've only been scaled
down. *Proper* small caps are an additional set of letters added to
a font file as [OpenType
For a comparison, see the related page on *[Practical
[^2]: I took mental note when reading an article about it but have since
forgotten what it was and can't find it again. There are, however,
various other sources, such as *[The Elements of Typographic Style
Applied to the Web](* and
*[Readability: the Optimal Line
[^3]: A [rather short
from Wichita State University found that increased line length
resulted in greater reading efficiency. However, there were no
significant effects on comprehension and the preference for longer
or shorter lines was fairly evenly distributed.

@ -1,39 +0,0 @@
title: "The Guilded Mouse"
description: "Our adventurers launch right into the campaign after meeting with two prospective employers at The Guilded Mouse."
date: 2020-04-07T12:53:05-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/axe.png
- Dungeons & Dragons
A few days ago, [@klaatu]( asked [if anyone was up for a game of D&D 5e.]( I didn't notice it until I saw [@ShellOwl's]( reply in my local timeline and simply had to join in; my last D&D campaign has been [put on hold](/temporary-death-of-the-campaign/) for the foreseeable future but of course I still want to play. We met up last Thursday, had our first session, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself; I'm looking forward to the next few weeks!
My companions and I have been adventuring together for some time but, until now, I never thought to record our journeys. As I had the strange feeling I should do so now, on our way to the Guilded Mouse, I picked up a spare book and additional ink. Today has been largely uneventful, however I'll document it regardless.
A few days ago, we were invited to meet with a man named Sarus at a tavern known as *The Guilded Mouse*. Upon arriving in the city, we found that it was a small hole-in-the-wall place and didn't look like much at all. Its slight appearance gave the impression of being wedged between the two much larger buildings on either side. I led the way with Doctor Reed following a few paces behind and Iliris trailing further back, not wanting to be seen as our companion quite yet.
On entering the tavern, we found two men that could have been Sarus; one with a silver cloak on the left and one clad in grey on the right. The fellow in silver looked rather out of place and uncomfortable, as if he had never hired mercenaries before. However, his garb implied a great deal of wealth and I was rather intrigued. Doctor Reed and I crossed the tavern to speak with the man as Iliris leaned against the bar and ordered a mug of ale. A roguish character, I assumed he had some plan to eavesdrop on our conversation and join in when he felt the time was right.
We walked up to the man and, peering at us amiably, he asked if there was anything he could do for us. I replied asking him if he went by the name of Sarus. He said he did not but he was looking for a band of adventurers who might help with a problem his organisation was facing. Based on his garb, I assumed he could pay well so I was certainly interested, however we had already arranged to meet with someone else. I explained this and offered to return and hear him out once we concluded our other business and he, with a very relieved expression, accepted. I turned to Doctor Reed, gave a questioning look, and received a nod in confirmation.
I crossed to the man with the grey cloak and asked if *he* went by the name Sarus. He replied with a question of his own and asked if we were the adventurers he was waiting for and, sitting down, I said yes. From this vantage point, I was able to get a closer look at the man; from head to toe, his garb was quite the opposite of the man in silver, favouring function over form. He wore sturdy, leather boots instead of cloth shoes, breeches with bulging pockets, a nondescript vest, and that thick, grey cloak. He introduced himself as Something Sarus—I've forgotten his forename—and said he was a tenured professor of History at the University of Subtleties. He went on to explain that, in his research, he had discovered what might be a very notable temple not far away, approximately two days journey, and he would like to hire some adventurers to retrieve some artefacts. Specifically, he wanted items of importance to the civilisation he was studying, the Jaundools.
Pausing for a moment, Sarus fumbled around in his pack and retrieved what appeared to be a very intricate and complex magnifying glass. He held it up and said that it would detect the kind of artefacts he wanted us to collect. Being rather scholarly, I was curious how it worked on a more fundamental level. Hesitating as if gauging my intelligence and whether or not I would actually understand him, he said that it was a device of his own creation and tuned to a very specific god. He never had the chance to actually test it in the field so he requested that we monitor it carefully and apprise him of its behaviour when we returned. Satisfied that I could be trusted with it, Sarus handed the device to me and said to turn the knob on the handle left or right to adjust it; it was rather finicky and I would have to play with it. When looking at something related to the Jaundools, the band should emit a faint green glow. As Sarus sat back, indicating he had nothing further to say, Doctor Reed leaned forward and asked a few questions of his own.
The first thing on his mind was whether or not the temple was inhabited; he wanted to know if we would be stealing from anyone. Sarus said that, as far as he knew, the temple was completely abandoned and had been for centuries. He expected that the only creatures we would encounter would be on the road there. He would go himself but the way was too dangerous and he had students to instruct. The university had graciously offered to finance the expedition and he would be able to pay us 200 gold pieces each. This was a meagre sum and, seeing both of us hesitate, Sarus quickly added that we would be able to keep *any* artefacts we found that were *not* related to the Jaundools.
At this point, Iliris came over from the bar, pulled up a chair, sat down, and got right to business. He asked what *exactly* we could expect at the temple and on the way there: would there just be a few small creatures easily taken care of, was there something larger awaiting us, what? A little taken aback at this blunt intruder, Sarus said that, based on the research he had conducted, the temple was *completely* empty. It had been lost for centuries and no one but he and the university knew it existed. Iliris peered suspiciously at the man and said, considering that he didn't actually know for *sure* what was awaiting them at the temple, they should really be paid 250 gold pieces each. Uncertainty about the dangers would increase the price. Sarus quickly agreed and said that the university had a small amount set aside and he would be able to draw from it to pay us; 250 each would be fine.
Iliris then asked if there was a minimum number of artefacts we should bring back and Sarus said there was no *hard* minimum but he would be extremely disappointed if we returned with fewer than six small items or something of equivalent value: one large statue, a few medium-size pieces, something like that. He also said that there was no urgency in completing the expedition. He wanted us to take our time and examine everything thoroughly so we could make the most of the journey. Satisfied, Iliris rose and stepped back to the bar to finish his drink. With a covert gesture to Doctor Reed, he indicated that we had yet to decide on a meeting place once the job was completed. The Doctor asked and Sarus suggested simply seeking his office at the university.
After draining his glass, Iliris walked to the wealthy man we first met with. I was not within earshot but, from what I could see, it looked as if he took on the same attitude as with Sarus; incredibly blunt and business-like. Doctor Reed and I were content to stay where we were so we both got a drink and I ordered some food. After a short period of time, Iliris got up and simply left without so much as a nod us. We finished our food and strode outside after him. Summing up the conversation, Iliris said that the man would pay each of us 300 gold pieces if we would investigate a manor in a neighbouring town. The locals say it's haunted by its previous owner but the city council he represents believes it to be nothing more than superstition. Regardless, they still need to put on a show for the townspeople's benefit so he wants us to take a look and rid the place of any creatures or ghosts that may be there, however unlikely that may be.
Iliris took out a slip of paper he said the man gave him; it had a name and address on it where we could reach him once the job was complete. When I saw it, I felt a slight gust of cold air on the nape of my neck. I motioned for him to give it to me and, as soon as my fingers touched the rough scrap of paper, I got the odd feeling that whoever wrote the words was not from Baldur's Gate—indeed, was not even from the Forgotten Realms. My mind whirled with the implication as I passed it back to Iliris and commented on the impression. Unable to investigate further, we simply let it go for now.
After a few minutes of discussion, it was decided that we would venture to the house. We travelled cautiously and chose to rest for the night by a river. Rather unfortunately, some crocodiles happened to live there. I was nearest to the water and so was attacked first and promptly knocked unconscious. I woke a few seconds later as Doctor Reed cast *Healing Word* and revived me. Iliris had jumped from his position further away to a tree branch and then onto the beast attacking me. Rising, I drew my crossbow and fired a bolt at the one Doctor Reed was charging; it thudded into the crocodile's flesh and sank in. Nonetheless, when he met the animal, it snapped at him and he quickly went down, as well. Neither Iliris nor I had anything that could revive him so we focused first on slaying the beasts.
Just as I loosed another bolt at the crocodile chewing on Doctor Reed, I heard a groan and saw Iliris sink to the ground, slammed into unconsciousness by the beast he had been riding. Still determined to minimise the damage done to Doctor Reed, I took a third shot in his direction and that crocodile let out a sharp hiss just before it slunk off toward the river and died halfway there. As I made ready to cast *Misty Step*, Doctor Reed rose and—still reeling—tried to regain his bearings. A moment later, I appeared approximately 15 feet away from the remaining crocodile and quickly fired. The bolt sailed past and into the water. Fortunately, Doctor Reed had recovered enough to loose a bolt of his own and slay the creature.
We dragged the bodies away from the camp, returned, bandaged our wounds, ate a hearty dinner, and decided who would take first watch. Doctor Reed volunteered so I'm using a portion of this time to write. He should wake me in about an hour. In the morning, we'll be off to Saltmarsh.

@ -1,28 +0,0 @@
title: "The House of San Balay"
date: 2020-05-14T16:04:05-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/axe.png
- Dungeons & Dragons
Today, our primary purpose was to gather information. We rose, ate a quick breakfast, and then headed into the city. Saltmarsh is a very busy, bustling little town. Ships were loading and unloading at the docks, there were taverns, historical centres, statues, restaurants, people going about their day and hurrying off in this direction or that, etc. In the distance and to the right, we noticed a little house on a cliff overlooking the ocean. That was the house we were to inspect.
As a sage, I'm generally knowledgeable about academic locations. That includes museums and there was just such a place in Saltmarsh. It's run by a few of the more … experienced village elders who have been around for some time. I headed in that direction with Iliris and Doctor Reed following further behind. However, Doctor Reed focused more on finding other villagers he could glean some information from. As we ventured closer to the Historical Society, he did find one and asked about the "fancy house on the hill". The man's response was that it would soon be torn down; the council spent quite a lot of money to commission some warships and that cliff was where they planned to provision them with weaponry. After cautioning us to avoid it, he bade us farewell and continued on his way.
At the historical society, I inquired about the house on the hill as well. One of the elders said that the former owner of the residence, San Balay, was haunting it and most people wouldn't go near the house anyway; there were monsters living in the garden who attacked anyone that attempted entry. Another said that it was a relatively small troll and that she had seen it with her own eyes. Yet another said it was not a troll, just a rather large rodent. The last elder dismissed the others with a wave of his hand saying it was just the town bum rummaging in the trash and he didn't even live near the house. The conflicting reports in mind, I turned to Iliris to see if he had anything further to add.
He walked up to the oldest man and asked if he could point him to someone able to sell him an estate in town. The old man said that Iliris wanted the Dock Master, Anders Solnar, as he was in charge of most things. At that, Iliris simply left and waited by the building entry.
I was unsatisfied with the information we had been given so I stayed and asked a few more questions about San Balay himself. He came into the town and took up residence in an apartment for a *long* time. No one knew anything about him, he never talked to anyone, and no one could figure out what he did for a living. One day, he plopped down a ton of money to buy the house in the hill, moved in, and no one ever heard from him after. He occasionally came into town for food but nothing else. He hadn't been seen in five years so everyone assumes he is dead. Thanking the old ones for their help Dr. Reed and I join Iliris outside the building.
By that time, it was midday and the town was still busy. Iliris suggested that Dr Reed hide his armour and I hide my quarterstaff. After doing so, he cryptically bade us follow him, fluffing up his coat and donning an air of importance. He took off in the direction of the dock where we were directed to a fancy, very ornamental ship that looked as if it had been repurposed for an office.
Remaining puffed up, Iliris approached Solnar saying that he wanted to buy property here and he already owned estates in Neverwinter, Waterdeep, and a number of other cities. The Dockmaster stroked his beard, eyed Iliris's gilded coat, and said that they had previously planned to demolish it but they were open for negotiation. Iliris replied by saying that his company was looking to expand their business to the city, to which said that things can be negotiated and that the house is available for a price; they could part with it for 30,000 gold pieces. Iliris asked if there was anything he should know about it before making his counteroffer. Solnar replied saying that there were local children's stories about it but brushed the question off. Negotiations continued as they discussed prices, local opinion, what would be required for it to be liveable, and so on. Iliris concluded the discussion by saying that he and his two associates (Dr. Reed and I) would go by the estate to determine its value for themselves. In the ensuing discussion, the dock master said that there was a back door and that we should be wary of the garden; a group of weasels had taken up residence in the vicinity. Thanking him for his time, we took our leave.
We set off for the residence and, on the way, came upon another house inhabited by a Minotaur. Dr. Reed and I entered, intending to inquire a bit more about the house; he lived closer than anyone else so he surely must have had some good information. As we went to walk through the doorway, an old friend of mine, Arrod the Silent, appeared beside me. There was no sound so, having already turned back inside, the Minotaur didn't notice. The rest of us, however, were startled but we didn't want to alarm our host and acted as if he had been with us the whole time. The whole encounter was rather awkward and we didn't learn much. After leaving, Iliris roughly confronted Arrod and demanded to know who he was. I hadn't seen him for many years and wasn't sure myself so I did my best to explain.
Arrod hailed from the Town of Old Host, a hub for adventurers in the Kingdom of Dugall. He and his friends grew up seeing brave men and women set out on their journeys and witnessed them returning to a comfortable life of wealth and fame. Fuelled by these tales of renown, they made a pact to do the same once they came of age. As the oldest, Arrod set off as soon as he turned 16, promising to return with enough experience to show the rest how things were done and keep them same. It was during these early adventures that he and I met and we quickly formed a bond. The others slowly joined Arrod and I as they grew and, on the day the youngest turned 16, we parted ways. I continued on my way and Arrod and his friends on theirs. The rest of what I know is simply hearsay; Arrod hasn't spoken a word in many years.
The party now complete, he was unanimously appointed leader. Confident in his own skill and that of his companions, they set out to slay a strange beast. Rumours were that is was either a giant with dwarf-ism or a dwarf with giant-ism and that it was terrorizing a village to the north. They travelled several days until they came to said village. As they were making camp, the creature came back into the village and, immediately seeing them, charged. They thought it would be an easy fight but it turned out to be exactly the opposite; the beast was a *towering* goliath. Arrod was forced to watch as it slaughtered every member of the party. Before it had the chance to turn its attention to him, the young man fled. He spent the next few years seeking a way to bring them back and ended up finding a necromancer that agreed to assist him. Unfortunately, that assistance took a malicious form; at random times, Arrod was teleported to the Underworld where he would sift through the dead, searching for his friends. The necromancer also took his voice and that's when he became known as Arrod the Silent.
That's all I have time to write this evening. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a bit more calm and I'll be able to finish recording everything that has transpired.

@ -1,71 +0,0 @@
title: "Stop Using Gmail"
description: Email was meant to be decentralised. Thanks, Google, for fucking that up.
date: 2020-02-20T01:09:10-05:00
draft: true
cover: /assets/pngs/gmail.png
toc: true
- Technology
- Email
- Privacy
- Decentralisation
Much like XMPP[^1], email was designed to be fully decentralised.
Individuals can run servers for themselves and maybe some friends and
family. As long as they have a public address, they can be contacted.
## History
## The fundamental problem
First and foremost, over all else, Google is an advertising company;
their entire business model depends on harvesting user data to more
accurately serve you personalised ads. Emails sent and received with
Gmail are stored unencrypted on Google's servers[^2]. This allows them
to scan the text for keywords and extract data that can be used to build
a detailed profile on you. If you've ever gotten an email from someone
mentioning something about a mechanical keyboard and, a day or two
later, you start seeing ads[^3] about them, that's why.
This is generally pretty well-known and doesn't bother those who aren't
really concerned with privacy. However, these people don't think about
how their decision affects people who *do*. In choosing to remain with
Gmail, they give it more and more power over the world of this
distributed-by-design technology. *It is in Google's interest* to make
it difficult for others to interact with the platform.
Consider this. An individual decides he wants to run his own mail
server. He sets everything up properly,
etc., sets the website and webmail client up with
implements some form of [email
antivirus]( and [spam
filtration system,]( basically uses all the
standard components for a good email server. He tests it, it works, it's
fast, and it's reliable. In his spam testing, his system gets a negative
score[^4] and passes all the requirments with flying colours. He decides
it's time to reconfigure his web applications to send mail using it
rather than his domain registrar's servers. Everything works well for a
bit, approximately two weeks.
**Enter Google.**
Sayonara sucker. The email giant decides that his services are sending
spam and blocks the domain.
[^1]: *XMPP* stands for the e*X*tensible *M*essaging & *P*resence
*P*rotocol. You can be more information about it in [NixNet's
[^2]: For more information on how insecure email is, [read
[^3]: I recommend
for blocking ads
[^4]: A positive score means emails from there are likely to be marked
as spam. A negative score is *good*.

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Typing International Characters"
description: "Setting up your keyboard so you can type international characters such as ß, ñ, and ü in addition to a myriad of others (™, ©, ¢, €, ∵, ∞, §, ¶, etc.)"
author: Amolith
date: 2020-04-08T13:21:39-04:00
- Keyboard

@ -1,6 +1,7 @@
title: "Vim as a Markdown Editor"
description: "Configuring Vim to act as a first-class markdown editor for various purposes"
author: Amolith
cover: /assets/pngs/editor.png
date: 2020-04-30T23:06:59-04:00

@ -1,102 +0,0 @@
title: "On smoking a pipe"
description: Why I started smoking a pipe, what my first experience was like, and why I continue to
date: 2020-04-05T21:38:07-04:00
cover: /assets/pngs/pipe.png
- Pipe Smoking
- Personal
- Missouri Meerschaum
- Indian Summer
- Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is one the greatest book series I have ever read
as well as one of my favourite movie trilogies; when I was younger, I
watched them so often that I knew *almost* exactly where all the scenes
were in the timeline and could quote a fair few of the lines verbatim 😉
Pipe smoking was very prominent throughout, from the hobbits to the
humans to the dwarves, and I was always intrigued by it. In my second
year of high school/college,[^1] I took a public speaking course and
decided to do my persuasive speech on the topic; my purpose was not to
convince people *to* smoke a pipe, rather that they shouldn't judge pipe
smokers as harshly. In conducting my research, I ended up wanting to try
it for myself.
Another influence was likely my grandfather. I don't remember it
*particularly* well other than a few scattered images here and there but
I do know he smoked everything from cigarettes to cigars, cigarillos,
and pipes. A few days ago, my grandmother commented on my pipe stand and
said he had had one very similar before his stroke.[^2]