Infopost | 2020.12.25

PUBG buggy C4 kill explosion

Whether it's the fireplace, the geforce, or sunny surf sessions, xmas vacation has been about staying warm.

Furnace adventure

furance switch wiring diagram fan motor power supply transformer limit

Last year I did a rewire of the furnace and expected everything to be good to go upon relighting the pilot this year. No such luck; the heat wouldn't turn on. After shorting the thermostat to ensure the 24v equipment was functional, reconnecting the thermostat improved things a bit - the heat would turn on but not off unless I used the physical switch.

Two wire thermostat diagram heater furnace transformer

There were two things to chase down: the 120v -> 24v transformer that runs the gas valve and the thermostat itself.

Old electronics transformer heater furnace weimaraner

The 50-year old transformer was putting out something like 26v and I had no idea if that was within spec.

Heater furnace transformer wires

A new transformer was cheap, a new thermostat was a bit pricier. I replaced both, thinking that maybe a hot transformer output blew up the thermostat electronics (which would explain the hard shut off working but not the electronic switch). All is well now.
Meme strats

The bomb car

PUBG meme strat C4 gold Mirado suicide bomb Miramar

PUBG (80%) bot league has opened the door to some slightly looser play. We've gone from meme drops (Hacienda Heist, Ferry Pier, Cave, Train) to meme strategies - mostly involving C4.

Being the only wall-penetrating, large-AOE weapon in PUBG, C4 is great for clearing out players that are holed up in buildings. But you can also stick it to a vehicle and thereby surprise your opponents... just as long as you're not particularly attached to your own fate.

PUBG gold Mirado C4 suicide bomb stategy final circle

The holy grail is to get a chicken dinner using this tactic. Shane almost pulled it off using the Gold Mirado, but alas he was thrown off track by the moguls.

The bridge ambush

PUBG bridge ambush spike strip motorcycle ghillie suit Miramar

In the early days of PUBG you could set up a roadblock on a mil base bridge and catch teams trying to cross. It was rarely worthwhile since your backside would be easy pickings for teams already on the in-circle side. Still, the addition of spike strips has makes this play worthwhile simply for the lulz.

We managed to set up an ambush that was so intimidating it had our victims jumping over the side. Funny, but not as good as the sparks from blown tires.


I've moved on from chronicling lengthy chicken dinner runs to compiling all the best of the shenanigans - good and bad. It's way to much effort for a single chuckle from just the people that were there, but pandemic.

PUBG shananigans jumps package Gold Mirado buggy vehicle kill Miramar

I picked back up on autoencoder-related Keras stuff. I had previously thought that various image processing applications could benefit from having a larger patch of the input image than it was expected to generate.

My early attempts would convolve and max pool, then transpose convolve back up to the output size. Sometimes they would pass through a flattening layer - I've seen both ways in the examples. Frustratingly, the output guesses seemed to always resemble the full input image. It's like the network wouldn't learn to ignore the fringe input that I was providing to be helpful.

In retrospect, the solution was pretty obvious; do some convolutions on the whole thing, but eventually just crop the feature maps down to the output size. My hope was that the cropped part would benefit from the hints provided by the framing in the convolution layers before the cropping layer.

Layer (type)                 Output Shape              Param #
conv2d (Conv2D)              (None, 192, 192, 32)      896
batch_normalization (BatchNo (None, 192, 192, 32)      128
gaussian_noise (GaussianNois (None, 192, 192, 32)      0
conv2d_1 (Conv2D)            (None, 192, 192, 32)      9248
dropout (Dropout)            (None, 192, 192, 32)      0
cropping2d (Cropping2D)      (None, 64, 64, 32)        0
conv2d_2 (Conv2D)            (None, 64, 64, 32)        4128
batch_normalization_1 (Batch (None, 64, 64, 32)        128
dropout_1 (Dropout)          (None, 64, 64, 32)        0
conv2d_3 (Conv2D)            (None, 64, 64, 64)        8256
conv2d_4 (Conv2D)            (None, 64, 64, 64)        36928
dense (Dense)                (None, 64, 64, 3)         195
Total params: 59,907
Trainable params: 59,779
Non-trainable params: 128

Autoencoders were used for noise reduction and image repair before GANs and other, better models were developed. I decided to train my not-really-autoencoder to try to fill in a 64-pixel patch of noise in the semi-consistent input set of mtg cards.

Iterating on the model a few times, the best I could come up with was a network that would make a pretty good guess for the edge of the noisy patch that seemed to benefit from knowing the frame input.

Layer (type)                 Output Shape              Param #
conv2d_4 (Conv2D)            (None, 64, 64, 64)        36928
conv2d_5 (Conv2D)            (None, 64, 64, 3)         195
Total params: 59,907
Trainable params: 59,779
Non-trainable params: 128

I also satisfied my curiosity about output layers - dense vs a 1x1 convolution. The results seemed to be indistinguishable.

I don't think there's any interesting place to take this, but it was neat to see the framing idea validated.

Stock company valuations rug pull crash tweet Sven Henrich

Another month in wheels and yolos.

I sold a couple calls on the Ericsson I already owned. They exercised and made some modest gains on the premium and sale price. An MJ CSP expired, but I wouldn't mind having the shares. After jumping to $30 on meme energy, PLTR has fluctuated in the mid 20s. This wheeled from exercised put to exercised call in about a week. We will eventually get volatility and it will likely be when I'm not still in it, but I've been keeping a position in VXX and/or UVXY.

High yield bonds have again shown they are strangely not bad short term investments - at least right now. I don't think I got into bond until March-ish. Abbvie was rumored to have a covid treatment way back and so I was sitting on shares, it made sense to sell a call above my purchase price. Premiums on AMD have been pretty high for a $90-ish stock so I sold a CSP there.

Back in November it wasn't clear who would be first to market with a covid vaccine, so I bought a few calls on the leading candidates. They didn't go much of anywhere because the anticipation was pretty well priced in. Sitting on the underperforming RKT and volatility indexes, I've managed to sell a few calls that would still keep me in the black if they exercised.

UPS has done a good job, but I think I'm over owning shares in volumes that don't end in -00. The first week of December I pocketed the premiums of a weekly MSFT and TSM cash-secured puts as well as the sale of some PFE that I had from the week before.

I expected a market pullback by November or December and had some longer-dated puts on SPY and JETS. But the market keeps on keeping on. The bearishness was balanced by my faith in CLX, PLTR, RKT, and XLE.

Nordstrom bonds rallied from $89 to $99 so it seemed sensible to cash out of a position with a mere 4% return. I happily broke even on longstanding small investments in Activision and Nvidia and saw some MJ calls exercise a few bucks higher than what I paid.

Storypost | 2020.12.12

PUBG dino suit ambush
December surge

COVID19 health order mobile alert

The covid surge that everyone expected after Thanksgiving has hit. Jes is busy at work. I can get by with games, streaming, jogging, and taking the dog out.

Weimaraner grass park palm tree
Bot league

80% bots is a bit too much, but the final circle makes for some good team-on-team battles now that skill levels are balanced.
Fantasy playoffs

Fantasy football bye covid 20 Yahoo math so youre saying theres a chance

Kind of worried that I have a 1% chance of losing vs a bye.
Week d'san andreas da bears
- Medieval Gridiron -
- Password is Taco -
- Siren -
1 Danville Isotopes
110.8 - 72.5 W (1-0)
Black Cat Cowboys
155.66 - 78.36 W (1-0)
136.24 - 107.50 W (1-0)
2 Screaming Goat Battering Rams
119.9 - 105.9 W (2-0)
[Random UTF characters resembling an EQ]
115.50 - 115.74 L (1-1)
Dem' Arby's Boyz
94.28 - 102.02 L (1-1)
3 Nogales Chicle
106.5 - 117.8 L (2-1)
Circle the Wagons
100.42 - 90.02 W (2-1)
127.90 - 69.70 W (2-1)
4 Britons Longbowmen
122.9 - 105.1 W (3-1)
Staying at Mahomes
123.28 - 72.90 W (3-1)
138.10 - 108.00 W (3-1)
5 Toronto Tanto
105.0 - 108.2 L (3-2)
Robocop's Posse
111.32 - 134.26 L (3-2)
Alpha Males
86.20 - 76.12 W (4-1)
6 Only Those Who Stand
108.2 - 66.7 W (4-2)
65.10 - 84.02 L (3-3)
SlideCode #Jab
71.60 - 53.32 W (5-1)
7 San Francisco Seduction
121.7 - 126.4 L (4-3)
Ma ma ma my Corona
118.22 - 84.20 W (4-3)
G's Unit
109.20 - 92.46 W (6-1)
8 LA Boiling Hot Tar
116.2 - 59.4 W (5-3)
118.34 - 109.94 W (5-3)
113.14 - 85.40 W (7-1)
9 SD The Rapier
135.0 - 90.8 W (6-3)
117.80 - 90.16 W (6-3)
Chu Fast Chu Furious
128.28 - 59.06 W (8-1)
10 West Grove Wankers
72.9 - 122.8 L (6-4)
Pug Runners
98.90 - 77.46 W (7-3)
NY Giants LARP
75.24 - 75.06 W (9-1)
11 SF Lokovirus
127.9 - 87.1 W (7-4)
Bravo Zulus
116.34 - 45.50 W (8-3)
107.42 - 89.22 W (10-1)
12 Danville Isotopes
154.7 - 98.9 W (8-4)
Forget the Titans
92.84 - 125.14 L (8-4)
132.78 - 140.84 L (10-2)
13 Screaming Goat Battering Rams
136.9 - 84.5 W (9-4)
[Random UTF characters resembling an EQ]
135.20 - 72.52 W (9-4)
Dem Arby's Boyz
97.62 - 63.52 W (11-2)

Gallerypost | 2020.12.06

surf surfing San Diego Blacks Beach focus
December swell

Surfing San Diego Blacks Beach 500mm Nikon telephoto crowds

The first week of December almost always brings one of the biggest swells of the year. This one wasn't epic, but good enough to take a vacation Friday for some 0730 shooting and 0930 surfing. The lead image is a pretty good depiction of the difference between pre-sunrise shots and early-sunrise shots. The Black's cliffs make for a pretty tight window for good lighting.

San Diego Blacks Beach surfing surfers big day overhead crowds

All those dots in the lens photo aren't misleading, Black's was a zoo from road to path. This - combined with the crazy closeouts - made the photography actually quite difficult; it was hard to tell who would make the drop and the waves didn't hold shape for long.

surf surfing San Diego Blacks Beach La Jolla Scripps Pier

I wanted to use Scripps Pier on an earlier shoot to get some background features. Turns out the field of view on the 500 is so tight I could get La Jolla as a backdrop if I shot down the line.

surf surfing San Diego Blacks Beach overhead takeoff
Neural style transfer

Last month I experimented some with the Tensorflow neural style transfer sample. Changes included tiling the content image and randomly sampling the style image(s).

I addressed the tile/seam issues by generating A/B outputs that have overlapped tiles that can be automatically or manually blended as a final step.

Compared to hard tile edges, even a straight overlay shows more style cohesion. With a little feathering, they stitch together nicely.

Last time I postulated that enough sampling would find an ideal tile from the style image. My implementation came up somewhat short as it didn't retain the last iteration's work - it would choose the best tile from a random sampling but then start over on the next full-image iteration. The previous work would be incorporated in the output, but the ideal(?) approach would be to continuously optimize the current best while still sampling other options.

Valentino Rossi Ducati Laguna Seca Hunter S Thompson Ralph Steadman neural style transfer tiling stitch style alignment

Rather than track coordinates and loss, I decided to save off style squares containing the best style sample for a given content tile. Each pass of a given tile would start with the saved image and optimize it further, then see if other samples can achieve a lower loss value. Conceptually, this isn't too far off of standard error descent methods; I'm optimizing my best guess while checking random samples in case I'm not at the global minimum.
Cautious theta gang

I'm hesitant to write any puts that are longer than a week out. Still, 20k to make 200 in a week is better than a muni. It's a weird time:
Bot league

PUBG stats report bots bot count

Between being terrible, having a new squadmate, and low player counts, MMR has put us in bot league. At least the final circles have a few human players, but we've hit a bit of a goldilocks situation between unfairly hard and unfairly easy. Maybe that will change when the season rolls over.

Kshot linked a few cool things. There's a site to watch yourself get killed by streamers or, less frequently, enjoy their disgust when you knock them. And PUBG Lookup has a lot of cool match metrics, including show how many real players were fighting for that chicken dinner.

Jon put together quick clips of a physics corner case (that really isn't a corner case).

Cat eyes

Cat photography catch lights

Koko sent me a cat photo. I'm not sure if it was an iphone effect or her lights or her camera case, but it had a neat catch light effect.
Updated style transfer code

'''Neural style transfer with Keras.  Modified as an experiment.
# References
    - [A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style](

from __future__ import print_function
from keras.preprocessing.image import load_img, save_img, img_to_array, array_to_img
import numpy as np
from scipy.optimize import fmin_l_bfgs_b
import time
import random
import glob
import argparse
import os.path
from os import path

from keras.applications import vgg19
from keras import backend as K

def preprocess_image(img):
    img = img_to_array(img)
    img = np.expand_dims(img, axis=0)
    img = vgg19.preprocess_input(img)
    return img    

def deprocess_image(x):
    if K.image_data_format() == 'channels_first':
        x = x.reshape((3, side_length, side_length))
        x = x.transpose((1, 2, 0))
        x = x.reshape((side_length, side_length, 3))
    # Remove zero-center by mean pixel
    x[:, :, 0] += 103.939
    x[:, :, 1] += 116.779
    x[:, :, 2] += 123.68
    # 'BGR'->'RGB'
    x = x[:, :, ::-1]
    x = np.clip(x, 0, 255).astype('uint8')
    return x

def gram_matrix(x):
    assert K.ndim(x) == 3
    if K.image_data_format() == 'channels_first':
        features = K.batch_flatten(x)
        features = K.batch_flatten(K.permute_dimensions(x, (2, 0, 1)))
    gram =, K.transpose(features))
    return gram

# the "style loss" is designed to maintain
# the style of the reference image in the generated image.
# It is based on the gram matrices (which capture style) of
# feature maps from the style reference image
# and from the generated image

def style_loss(style, combination):
    assert K.ndim(style) == 3
    assert K.ndim(combination) == 3
    S = gram_matrix(style)
    C = gram_matrix(combination)
    channels = 3
    size = side_length * side_length
    return K.sum(K.square(S - C)) / (4.0 * (channels ** 2) * (size ** 2))

# an auxiliary loss function
# designed to maintain the "content" of the
# base image in the generated image

def content_loss(base, combination):
    return K.sum(K.square(combination - base))

# edge detector - sum edges will be how busy it will look
def total_variation_loss(x):
    assert K.ndim(x) == 4
    if K.image_data_format() == 'channels_first':
        a = K.square(
            x[:, :, :side_length - 1, :side_length - 1] - x[:, :, 1:, :side_length - 1])
        b = K.square(
            x[:, :, :side_length - 1, :side_length - 1] - x[:, :, :side_length - 1, 1:])
        a = K.square(
            x[:, :side_length - 1, :side_length - 1, :] - x[:, 1:, :side_length - 1, :])
        b = K.square(
            x[:, :side_length - 1, :side_length - 1, :] - x[:, :side_length - 1, 1:, :])

    return K.sum(K.pow(a + b, 1.25))

def fidelity_loss(x, y):
    assert K.ndim(x) == 3
    assert K.ndim(y) == 3
    if K.image_data_format() == 'channels_first':
        x_g = K.sum(x[:3, :, :])
        y_g = K.sum(y[:3, :, :])
        return K.square(x_g - y_g)
        x_g = K.sum(x[:, :, :3])
        y_g = K.sum(y[:, :, :3])
        return K.square(x_g - y_g)

    # Experiment with luminance
    #if K.image_data_format() == 'channels_first':
    #    x_g =[0, :3, :, :], [0.2989, 0.5870, 0.1140])
    #    y_g =[0, :3, :, :], [0.2989, 0.5870, 0.1140])
    #    return K.square(x_g - y_g)
    #    x_g =[0, :, :, :3], [0.2989, 0.5870, 0.1140])
    #    y_g =[0, :, :, :3], [0.2989, 0.5870, 0.1140])
    #    return K.square(x_g - y_g)

# Returns style layers - this is the default (all), I experimented with dropping random ones
def get_random_style_layers():
    return ['block1_conv1', 'block2_conv1', 'block3_conv1', 'block4_conv1', 'block5_conv1']

def get_random_crop(image, width, height):
    '''Returns a random subimage with the given width and height.'''    
    if (image is None or
        width is None or width > image.width or
        height is None or height > image.height):

    x_vals = image.width - width
    y_vals = image.height - height
    if (x_vals < 0 or y_vals < 0):
    # Crop to width and height, if specified.
    x = 0
    if (x_vals > 0):
        x = int(random.randrange(x_vals))
    y = 0
    if (y_vals > 0):
        y = int(random.randrange(y_vals))

    print('Rand: ',str(x),', ',str(y),' from ',str(x_vals),' by ',str(y_vals))
    box = (x, y, x + width, y + width)
    crop = image.crop(box)

    return crop
def eval_loss_and_grads(x):
    if K.image_data_format() == 'channels_first':
        x = x.reshape((1, 3, side_length, side_length))
        x = x.reshape((1, side_length, side_length, 3))
    outs = f_outputs([x])
    loss_value = outs[0]
    if len(outs[1:]) == 1:
        grad_values = outs[1].flatten().astype('float64')
        grad_values = np.array(outs[1:]).flatten().astype('float64')
    return loss_value, grad_values

def random_style_tile():
    image = style_images[random.randrange(len(style_images))]
    return get_random_crop(image, side_length, side_length)

class Evaluator(object):

    def __init__(self):
        self.loss_value = None
        self.grads_values = None

    def loss(self, x):
        assert self.loss_value is None
        loss_value, grad_values = eval_loss_and_grads(x)
        self.loss_value = loss_value
        self.grad_values = grad_values
        return self.loss_value

    def grads(self, x):
        assert self.loss_value is not None
        grad_values = np.copy(self.grad_values)
        self.loss_value = None
        self.grad_values = None
        return grad_values

side_length = 224           # VGG19 is 224x224x3
step = 168

# Iteration hyperparameters (modify these)
iterations_per_image = 32   # Number of image traversals
samples_per_tile = 5        # Number of style tiles to try per iteration
iterations_per_sample = 16  # Number of style transfer iterations per sample

# Use all png files from the style subdirectory, random 224 squares will be used
# from these files to perform style transfer - so image size should be
# approximately the dimensions of the content.
style_files = glob.glob('style/*.png')

file_id = random.randrange(696969)

# Load content.png, the size of this image will significantly impact run time.
content_image = load_img('content.png')
content_width, content_height = content_image.size

# Load style images.
style_images = []
for style_name in style_files:
    style_image = load_img(style_name)

# If this setup was run previously, use the existing output image.
if (os.path.isfile('last.png')):
    output_image_a = load_img('last_a.png')
    output_image_b = load_img('last_b.png')
    output_image_a = load_img('content.png')
    output_image_b = load_img('content.png')

# Compute the tile count/step size.  There will be overlap and it should
# be a good thing.
x_tiles = int(content_width / step)
y_tiles = int(content_height / step)

# Add iterleaved tiles
tiles = []
x_start = 0
for i in range(x_tiles):
    y_start = 0
    for j in range(y_tiles):
        if (i + j) % 2 == 0:
            tiles += [(x_start, y_start, True)]
            tiles += [(x_start, y_start, False)]
        y_start = y_start + step       
    x_start = x_start + step

feature_layers = get_random_style_layers()
print('Style layers: ' + str(feature_layers))

total_variation_weight = random.uniform(0.001, 0.1)
style_weight = random.uniform(0.001, 0.1)
content_weight = random.uniform(0.0001, 0.1)
fidelity_weight = random.uniform(0.001, 0.1)

# Number of times to cover the entire image (optimize each tile)
for image_iteration in range(iterations_per_image):
    print('Iteration: ', image_iteration)

    # Randomize hyperparameters because I don't know what good values are.
    # Modify these/make them fixed.
    fidelity_weight *= 2
    content_weight *= 2

    # Bump the tile a random value to do a smoother stitch.
    fname_a = 'output_' + str(file_id) + '_%d_a.png' % image_iteration
    fname_b = 'output_' + str(file_id) + '_%d_b.png' % image_iteration

    # Iterate over each image tile.
    for tile in tiles:
        x_start = tile[0]
        y_start = tile[1]
        is_a = tile[2]
        print('   Processing tile: (', x_start, ', ', y_start, ')')
        style_file = 'style_' + str(x_start) + '_' + str(y_start) + '.png'
        box = (x_start, y_start, x_start + side_length, y_start + side_length)
        tile_content = content_image.crop(box)
        base_image = K.variable(preprocess_image(tile_content))

        best_loss = -1

        # For each tile, sample the random portions of the style image(s) and choose
        # the best of the lot.
        for sample_index in range(samples_per_tile):
            # Set baseline error with current best style sample
            if (sample_index == 0 and os.path.isfile(style_file)):
                print('      Using existing style: ',style_file)
                tile_style = load_img(style_file)
                using_best = True
                print('      Using random tile')
                tile_style = random_style_tile()
                using_best = False
            evaluator = Evaluator()

            if (is_a):
                tile_output = output_image_a.crop(box)
                tile_output = output_image_b.crop(box)
            x = preprocess_image(tile_output)

            style_reference_image = K.variable(preprocess_image(tile_style))

            if K.image_data_format() == 'channels_first':
                combination_image = K.placeholder((1, 3, side_length, side_length))
                combination_image = K.placeholder((1, side_length, side_length, 3))
            # combine the 3 images into a single Keras tensor
            input_tensor = K.concatenate([base_image,
                                          combination_image], axis=0)

            # Reinitialize VGG19.  There's probably a way to do this once and
            # improve performance.
            model = vgg19.VGG19(input_tensor=input_tensor, weights='imagenet', include_top=False)

            outputs_dict = dict([(, layer.output) for layer in model.layers])

            # combine these loss functions into a single scalar
            loss = K.variable(0.0)
            layer_features = outputs_dict['block5_conv2']
            base_image_features = layer_features[0, :, :, :]
            combination_features = layer_features[2, :, :, :]
            loss = loss + content_weight * content_loss(base_image_features, combination_features)

            for layer_name in feature_layers:
                layer_features = outputs_dict[layer_name]
                style_reference_features = layer_features[1, :, :, :]
                combination_features = layer_features[2, :, :, :]
                loss = loss + (style_weight / len(feature_layers)) * style_loss(style_reference_features, combination_features)
            loss = loss + total_variation_weight * total_variation_loss(combination_image)

            loss = loss + fidelity_weight * fidelity_loss(combination_features, base_image_features)

            # get the gradients of the generated image wrt the loss
            grads = K.gradients(loss, combination_image)

            outputs = [loss]
            if isinstance(grads, (list, tuple)):
                outputs += grads

            f_outputs = K.function([combination_image], outputs)

            # Use optimization iterations hyperparameter, for the current best,
            # just do half as many.
            iterations = iterations_per_sample
            if (using_best == True):
                iterations = int(iterations / 2)
            # With this content/style combo, use the style transfer algorithm.
            for iteration in range(iterations):
                x, min_val, info = fmin_l_bfgs_b(evaluator.loss, x.flatten(),
                                                    fprime=evaluator.grads, maxfun=20)
                if (min_val > 1000000):
                    min_str = str(int(min_val / 1000000)) + 'M'
                elif (min_val > 1000):
                    min_str = str(int(min_val / 1000)) + 'k'
                    min_str = str(int(min_val))
                print('        Loss[', iteration, ']: ', min_str)

            # If this is the first style sample or it's better than the last
            # use this output.
            if (best_loss == -1 or min_val < best_loss):
                print('      Updating from prev: ', min_val / 1000000, 'M < ', best_loss / 1000000, 'M')
                img = array_to_img(deprocess_image(x.copy()))
                best_loss = min_val

                if (is_a):
                    output_image_a.paste(img, (x_start, y_start))
                    output_image_b.paste(img, (x_start, y_start))
                save_img(style_file, tile_style)
                print('      Updated style file: ', style_file)
                print('      Skipping update: ', min_val / 1000000, 'M > ', best_loss / 1000000, 'M')                    

            # Reset the back end

        # Save per-tile progress for long runs
        if (samples_per_tile * iterations_per_sample > 64):
            save_img(fname_a, output_image_a)
            save_img(fname_b, output_image_b)
            save_img('last_a.png', output_image_a)
            save_img('last_b.png', output_image_b)
    save_img(fname_a, output_image_a)
    save_img(fname_b, output_image_b)
    save_img('last_a.png', output_image_a)
    save_img('last_b.png', output_image_b)