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Mind's Forge

Welcome. If you're looking for something from my old project site, check the Internet Archive snapshot. I'll work on making pages for my old projects (maybe) or I may just continue ripping through this illusion of space-time without looking back.



The first of September! Feels like I hit it just on time. Maybe I'll get into the groove of writing an update every first of the month. It's funny the first thing I think of is this unidentified zooplankton I've been watching for a few weeks now. I made a macro video with some funny editing of the plankton in a Falcon tube and posted it on Odysee and it ended up getting over 200 views! I didn't expect that, but made me curious about seeing what they were now that I had a crowd wondering as well.


I did a stream looking at the zooplankton and some other specimens, like a worm. I've still been making food in the solar evacuated tube cooker. The garden has been fully cleared besides 3 verdolagas plants I started from seed. They're supposed to be a variety that likes to grow vertically. Been thinking about ways to stay involved in the finance world without trading the size I was earlier this year, I was considering doing a show with trading a live smaller account. With the CME's new smaller contracts and a lot of new traders curious about possibilities, I thought it might be fun.

I've also ordered some parts from electronic goldmine to make some solar robot/BEAM/sculptures -- I'm not exactly sure, but they were running a deal on components that should be able to be used to make solar engines. A voltage supervisor (that triggers at 2.9v), small 3v motors and these little solar sensors/panels that could be arranged like flower pedals (8 of them to make >3v). Also going to experiment with tritium capsules, so hopefully I'll have some cool pictures of that for next time.


Another late one, 3 months. I wish I had great news on the trading front, but I don't. I just added everything up last night and either there was a something being mismarked or this last week has (total) brought me down to the lowest draw down of the year. It's hard to face it, let alone write about, the Ostrich Effect is real. I felt like leaning into more speculative trades, and still do honestly, but when the market goes against larger speculative (I should say directional, since vol trading alone could be considered some form of speculation)... anyway, it's sort of rough, but I'm used to it, there is a tolerance that can be built for the variance.


What else, the garden has basically given up the ghost, all the beans and squash are looking dead to dim. One of the corn plants put out some seed stalk looking things, but I don't think it's looking like it'll flesh out into actual corn cobs. The monsoons are here and should be dropping a bunch of rain, which should help make wild amaranth pop up again this year, we may have had enough rain to get them going already. I was learning about the local flora last year trying to find out what's edible/herbal around here and was curious about the amaranth, it was only after they were all eaten by the local grazers that I learned it's possible to make micro popcorn with the seeds from Cahlen's channel on Odysee so I will definitely have to go try and collect some of the dry seed this year and try that! This was the only harvest from the garden this year:

beans1 beans2

I also popped onto Cahlen's interview show "Modern Day Wizards" and talked a bit about crypto, doom, economics and what not. It was fun to chat since I've been following him living outdoors in the high NM desert for a few months now, inspirational.

I was also inspired by another home-free (123HomeFree) individual who's been "guerilla grazing" for years. He showed off his GoSun solar oven and I was impressed enough to pick up a "sport" model during GoSun's 4th of July sale, and it worked pretty good the few times I've cooked with it. I've made bratwurts and chile rellenos, roasting fresh poblano chilis in the solar tube, next time I'm going to try canned whole chiles. Mixing the batter in a protein shaker also helps make clean up easier (easy for cooking in the field too).

solar-bratwurst solar-rellenos

I also experimented with making Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke) chips:


I've started diving deeper into BSD operating systems. I've installed OpenBSD on my IBM T42 thinkpad and made a funny script to take the accelerometer data and move the active window (video). And I've installed FreeBSD on a couple computers, an ITX computer I'm hoping to turn into the media/CCTV server and a refurbed T480 I picked up when I thought the T42 had HW issues -- it may have hardware issues, but I was able to get OpenBSD running finally even after memtest reported a ton of errors. I should also mention I've been experimenting a lot with PKT announcement mining too and thinking about bandwidth, servers, colocation and all that... we'll see where that goes.

Replaced some bathroom sinks, still have a 3rd one to do. I've got a ton of CAT6 cable for PoE camera setup, but I haven't completely decided on what to do, originally I was going to house the PoE switch on the roof and just have ethernet run on the (flat) roof and through/over the stucco to the cameras (I haven't even picked the cameras out besides one to watch the front).

Things aren't bad, riding the wave


Where to start, it's been 2 months since the last update. I've been working on the garden:


Spent time converting a sprinkler system to drip, designed the layout in librecad, I've been making changes to suit reality, like adding more emitters to water between the rows. It turned out the red spot drippers didn't spread the water far enough into the center.

garden garden-row bean-flower yellow-spider

The market making project was on hold for a couple long weeks, I rearchitected the system to use something like a game clock and got stuck trying to figure out how I was going to update the charts. I was reacting to every update being sent by the exchange, but now it's limited to once every .3 seconds, which really helps the CPU and actually makes the system snappier. I'm right at the brink of getting the charts working with the new architecture with the next step being showing where I have outstanding orders on the charts. After that I'll port the old trading system to the new paradigm and start tweaking things live, it's just how I roll.

Besides the garden, I've been (re)-learning a trading platform, Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation. It's alright, but I think I'll try and make an interface to trade there too. I won't do it yet... but a part of me wants to immediately start that project since I feel like it wouldn't take more than a day or two. Especially to just start it and get something simple and useful for my manual trading working. I might write that rant out in the next Wren's Warble. I haven't updated over there in a while and I've got a backlog of interesting finance things to write about.

Might as well make a mention of the current trading strategy that's been working the past few months using some big words to sound smart, or obfuscate the strategy... or maybe it's revealing, a sort of qabbalah of Moloch... sorry, that's terrible. The most concise way to describe it is: Dynamically delta hedged long volatility in futures options, buying full sized contracts of vol, while hedging with micros/mini futures. I also add/remove/roll the options themselves to neutralize after gaining deltas. Oil, natural gas, ES(S&P500), ZB, JPY... all over the place right now, but it seems to be the place with the best rate of success. I feel like retail has the most level playing field on CME/NYMEX etc... CBOE, NYSE Arca, not so much.

Crazy how long it's taken me to "learn that" or really it's a gem hidden by fear mongering. Yes, you can take on extremely leveraged positions... but these days so can Robinhood users w/that dirty (pfof) equity vol.

I guess that's about it. Just made a stir fry, so I'll sign off until next update, good luck and God bless in these seemingly apocalyptic times!


It's the last day of February and I don't want to miss writing an update here this month. Node-RED has been a great tool to use. I've got to the point where I can place orders, but have decided I need to create another subsystem to maintain orderbook depth locally (where the standing limit orders are, I was just using the 'top of the book', the best bid and ask at the time). I was able to fit the IV curve in both the strike and expiration dimensions, but want to add the ability to manually weight expirations to try and get more sane theoretical prices. I am glad that I've been able to make progress after almost giving up again. I have been a bit tired of working on the project though and haven't made much progress there the past few days. I have been trying to keep up on other things, like selling my 'old' laptop, setting up my new one (another open box deal from Best Buy). Also had to deal with a leak from the water lines going into the washing machine, I guess the town water pressure has gone up... one of my poor neighbors had a line burst erroding quite a bit of dirt, glad that didn't happen here (yet), so I should get on the phone with a plumber and get a regulator installed before tragedy strikes.



Check out that gopher I spotted while wandering around the local baseball field. Never seen a live one before, didn't know they popped in and out like that, I can see the inspiration for the wack-a-mole game now.

Also did some video art using some footage from the microscope, made a Green Sun.

Until next time, peace


A new year, in a new town, playing with new tools. After fixing up the old volatility plotting software a bit, I felt like trying to integrate any sort of live trading logic would be beyond my skill level, or the codebase was just not clean enough to make it worthwhile (I would end up pulling my hair out). I looked for visual programming frameworks to make editing algorithms and data flows easy, and checked out Ryven before settling on Node-RED to re-write the IV plotting software. Most recently I've been figuring out the easiest/best way to fit a curve to the IV data from the market prices and ran across this paper Curve-Fitting Method for Implied Volatility which exposed me to methods beyond splines and I think I've found something good using LOESS. In my initial implementation I fit a curve to each expiration, but discovered I really need to fit an entire surface (both across the strikes and expirations) due to the wide spreads, plus it's just the right way to do it. Here's a screenshot of the new charts with the per-expiry fitted curve in black:

new charts

I also added a Mind's Forge channel to my Odysee account (sign up for an account there to follow, plenty of other good channels are there including Louis Rossmann, EEVBlog, ElectroBOOM, and more). I've been streaming work on the IV plotting -> automated trading software as well as some microscopy, finally picked up a compound microscope and was able to see an amoeba when doing a test stream.


I've got some interesting experiments in mind involving the x-ray mutagenesis setup and the microscope. One is to irradiate samples of the stagnant water (control sample, then increase the time exposed to other samples), another is to germinate some control Wisconsin Fast Plant seeds and some from the mutant line and check the cellular morphology. It's been a while since doing any experiments, I was struggling with a lot (spiritually and dealing with the worldly) in 2019 -> 2020 and 2021 was busy with cleaning my dad's old house out to sell and moving out of the city. If you pray, please pray for me, I'm sure the kinds of works I do are spiritually dangerous. Thanks, until next time, peace!


I took about a week long road trip through California up to the Redwoods and back, visiting family and checking a few things off the bucket list. I visited the Orthodox monastery in Platina, the ocean and the Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno. Before leaving I "finished" (it's still a WIP-backburner) the NFT redeemer. I also did some work on the implied volatility chart software after getting back, mostly bug fixes and updating the README to include what Redis wanted in order for it to be eligible for inclusion in their Redis Launchpad. I've still been trading, selling XSP and MRUT index options, occasional delta hedging and dispersion into long individual stock vol. Realized vol picked up for a bit (along with an IV spike, VIX hit around 30) which was a bit stressful. Trading other CME futures/options too, like oil and lumber -- only currently open position on CME is 10yr treasury futures options.

I'm feeling an urge to start experimenting/building away from the screen again. I really feel like screens can impede the human imagination (especially visual). It would be interesting to do a study with fMRI where you take people with high daily screen time vs. people with less and see how their brain lights up when asked to visualize something.

I also spent a day with family helping make tamales and remembered how much real work it is! I hope everyone reading this has a blessed holiday, staying healthy both spiritually and physically. God bless.


The UFO watch party was sort of neat, didn't see any flying saucers, but I did see a bright light appear then fade out in the middle of the sky all within about 5 seconds, also met the guy who owned the ghost town where the convention was being held. Ended up he worked with Emanuel Derman at Goldman Sachs (I'm a big fan of Derman), pretty cool connection to make. I've also been working on making an app to allow people to easily redeem NFTs for things like stickers:


They turned out pretty nice. The app is almost in it's most basic usable form and I'm excited to finally show it off, even though I'm not sure if anyone will actually use it. There is another artist on that's made redeemable NFTs, but he requires the purchaser to return the NFT and send an email. My app will allow the NFT holder to just sign a message declaring the NFT they wish to redeem, along with other information like shipping address, and then the system verifies they are the owners of the NFT and passes the information along to the creator. Eventually the status of NFTs as being redeemed or not will be "on chain", but for now I think just having the message/signature verification -> notification system will be good enough to see if anyone is interested in using it.

I've also done a couple trips out to the wash to metal detect. Nothing besides cans, rusty nails, ferrous rocks, bits of barbed wire... that kind of stuff. I thought this might be a meteorite:


Expand then "right click and open in new tab" to see full resolution picture of the suspect rock/slag

.... but I'm pretty sure it's a meteorWRONG, maybe some slag? I ground a bit away with a diamond wheel and had some hope when I saw the yellowish specks, but there's too many indicators that it's not anything extraterrestrial.

Selling vol without delta hedging has been brutal (what a surprise) as we've torn to new all time highs. Maybe I'll take a position in SPY to hedge deltas, or just sell the put side until portfolio delta neutralizes.

Logged back into Veloren recently, it's really becoming a great game. I'm looking forward to exploring the new things they've added.

I've got some ideas of what to write about for the next Wren's Warble, but have just been dealing with other things (and the NFT redeemer project). Slowly, but surely, things will come together.

... News Archive

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Page last modified on September 01, 2022, at 07:12 PM