Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Notes - Old Man Flu

4:00pm OK, where's that chapter in Trading for Dummies that addresses trading with the flu?

Yup, for the first time in a couple of years, old man flu hit me which put my head (and other not-to-be-named parts) in a mental funk not unlike the Bulls at the end of last night's give-away loss to the Celtics.

So despite a debatable "Morning after Trend Day" (we have to be careful with the term "trend" describing yesterday as ES pretty much gapped, dribbled, and was stagnant for 3 hours ... not really a trend), I never could find my morning speculative game as I slept through most of the Eurex oscillations which again provided a much more consistent and readable oscillation flow (for this trader anyway) than the U.S. session as it traded down, then up, then down hard.

The U.S. session on the other hand didn't react back down in response to the late morning climb, apparently having exhausted resistance sellers in the overnight trade (plus, the daily trend is of course still up), which combined with my mental & physical state that couldn't interpret moment-by-moment signals as quickly as usual, left me scampering the rest of the day to instead provide liquidity ... and not all that cleanly at times. Ironically, had I traded the same way in the overnight session, I probably would have cleaned up. But as they say, "you have to be present to win".

And while the scorecard shows light green and thus still keeps me out of the dreaded two-day funk in '09, it took a lot of work (& ginger ale) and right up until 3:40pm ET to tip the scale green by a whopping $636. I suppose I could be pi$$ed at a less than optimal day, yet it's frankly hard to get too bothered as the gain was limited due to commissions on heavy volume and I worked my way back from an earlier draw. (Yup, I purposely overtraded a bit trying to work out the cobwebs ... always has been and will be my style as I will never lose for lack of trying. I suppose if I had a coach, he'd have taken me out of the game, but I actually found "some" rhythm late in the day and executed a couple of decent sequences. Sort of like Ray Allen going bonkers in the 4th quarter last night after being dreadful for the previous seven.)

btw, someone asked me in yesterday's comments how I keep from getting frustrated on given days. I reminded him of the Svithjod Rock post, and want to be really clear about my response in reinforcing the fact that I really don't care about a given day ... it's so damn tiny in the scheme of things. And while I could get all upset about not being able to mentally deliver today within the context of my favorite market backdrop (again though, the backdrop was debatable), you just have to realize there will be times like this completely out of your control.

Digressing for a moment, have the chatrooms and gurus really brainwashed people into thinking winning traders don't have losing trades, days, weeks, etc??? Arrrrrgggg! I'll say it again ... it's about the long run, period. And if you ever needed to reinforce that notion, never forget last October's single day -$90K loss which was a speed bump in what turned out to be a profitable week and subsequent $700K 3-month run. (btw, I only reference this part of the past for shock value ... some need the shock.)

And while some still ask why I share my thoughts, bumps, successes, etc. outside of my private little world via this ridiculous constant babbling, consider this Exhibit A. Kill the smoke and mirrors gang ... you gotta look behind the curtain.
As I tried to preach throughout early '09 when my win/loss was unrealistically high at close to 100%, you have to expect to get slammed or run dry occasionally. Doesn't mean we have to like it ... I sure don't as evidenced by last week's virtual fist through the wall ... just don't let it phase you after the venting. The alternative is to bag groceries at Stop & Shop.

There ... I feel better. Well not really.

Back to today, I suppose I could cower and whine over the morning, yet last I checked that doesn't work.

Hand me the orange juice.

And would someone pleeeeeeze stop the room from spinning??

Don't worry, I covered my face while typing this.


Lord Tedders said...


Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't it Tuesday? I know you are on the east coast and all but I didn't think I spaced out for a whole day :)

BTW hope you feel better.

On another note, what are some tools you use to keep your head in the game when external factors (crummy market, sick, family drama, etc.) crop up as they inevitably do?


Don Miller said...

Hi LT -

Too funny ... I really did think it was Wednesday.

On your last ?, ignorance and short-term memory come in handy. My wife says I excel at the latter (and maybe even the former).


E-Mini Player said...

Trading with the flu...now that's dedication! Don, it's OK to take a day off here and there ;) Get well soon!

Trader's Life said...

Hi Don,

I read your posts everyday. Still ove them.
Maybe a bit personal question, well actually it is :)

How are you in trading with discipline and awaiting chances in the market, does it also reflect how you are in your personal life?
For example, i have a lack of discipline in paying bills or returning phonecalls ie.
This is still a problem in trading for me sometimes (discpline; trades i shouldnt take and should have taken).
Took forever to change that...

IF you want to keep that private i can understand that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Don:

Just came across your site about 3 weeks ago; wanted to mention thanks for all the effort and insight that you have shared via your articles.

The "I really don't care about a given day" message really helped me today; I was on a 2 1/2 month positive string of trading days, up approx +130% YTD as of last Friday, and just had two terrible days in a row.

Was going over what you said in todays article and it helped bring me some relief and healing.

Thanks from Arizona!


Ken said...

I hope you feel better soon.
Thank you for your comments yesterday to my post. They helped put the trading day in perspective,
and to not dwell on the setbacks.
Today I traded with a renewed focus and made back my losses plus some.

Don Miller said...

Dominic - Good to hear. That's why I try not to look at results except at end of month, quarter, and especially on 12/31.

Ken - Nice. Not too high, not to low ... just another day.

TL - As I metioned in my last 2008 post, I'll go to my grave knowing tradng and life are 100% linked and constantly spill over into each other's territory. No magic answers here ... I just keep trying to overcome my constant imperfection.


Julius said...

As a daily reader but rare poster, just wanted to say thanks for being willing to share. I found you thru your Trader Interview with Tim Bourquin, and decided to follow because out of 100 or so I have listened to, you are the ONLY one that was willing to out his P&L out there. Thanks for no smoke & mirrors.

Best of health to you,