Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Notes - Keep the Feet Moving

For those who have asked, I'm here ... and trading.

It's just that I'm struggling a bit with what to talk about these days.

I also just got up from my post-MATD late afternoon/early evening nap.

Oh, we could talk about today's monster MATD ... which I chose to get up at 3am to trade both the Europe and early U.S. sessions.

Or we could talk about the need to always be flexible and alert ... as was the case when the Spain news broke just before noon.

But I settled on sharing one particular bugaboo I have from time to time in my trading, which is the tendency to get a bit sloppy and out of rhythm whenever interrupted and needing to leave my trading station, resulting in my needing to scramble a bit at times to find it again.

And today's time-based P&L (below ... click to enlarge) says it all as my trading -- and rhythm -- were both interrupted by a 7am ET chiropractor appointment, after which time I found myself on the retail (a.k.a. "stupid" or "losing") side of a few sequences ... which is clearly reflected in the extremely unusual 3 consecutive bars of losing 30 minute intervals.

As I mentioned recently, the bars reflect profit or loss incurred during each 30 minute interval that begins with the time noted in the chart.

In today's case, I went to bed early last night as I felt the Europe session would provide some of the better oscillation reads & opportunities (trading both the DAX and Globex ES), and planned on pretty much being done by noon -- in part because the afternoon of MATDs are often coin flips, and in part because of the FOMC trade wild card.

It's funny ... the sequence actually started with my being on the right side of the bull move that began just before 7am ET, which I entered via my remote Vaio and inappropriately scratched (error #1) before then settling down at my trading station and being far too early on a couple of short sequences (error #2).

Yet as always, trading isn't about one trade, trade sequence, day, hour, or 30-minute interval.  Rather, it's about the entire collection of work over one's lifetime.  To put the latter in perspective, there are approximately 6,500 30-minute intervals in a year, assuming 13 tradable hours between Europe's open and the U.S. close & 250 trading days a year, so each interval is 0.015% of the year. 

Or said another way, trading -- like life -- is about simply keeping the feet moving.

So as you can tell, I'm having some fun using the automatically generated time-based P&L to analyze the day.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

And today, it likely tells the story better than I can.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Notes - Remembering Who We Are

First, my congratulations and best wishes to our good friend Dr. Brett, who announced while I was gone that he'll be ending both his blogging and part-time trading efforts to focus on the growth of other traders in a private environment, and in turn, further growth in himself. 

Brett is one of the good guys in this industry, and I wish him well as he goes off the grid.  I can personally relate to the challenge of balancing various interests, including the tremendous time and effort it takes to blog in a no-B.S. manner for the trading community in a free forum, and I wish him Godspeed on his new journey.

#  #  #

Now, for what I consider one of my more difficult posts -- in terms of what to say -- on the heels of three days and four nights of full spiritual immersion and intense reflection.

Frankly, I've thought long and hard about what I'd publicly say about this past weekend, including seeking counsel from those with whom I spent considerable time over the last 72 hours before I hit the post button. 

One reason for my apprehension, is that I'm aware that there are many risks in "speaking" after a personal emotional or spiritual event, including coming across as holier-than-thou, better-than-the-rest, acting in snap-judgment fashion, or having the words and thoughts misinterpreted as a way to try to market one's business or sell services.

I'm also aware that the vast number of onlookers who visit these virtual pages follow various faiths.

So I considered several options, ranging from saying nothing to saying everything, before settling on something in-between ... although it's probably the longest post I've ever done.

Is this the right approach?  I don't know. But I do believe that saying nothing would have clearly been the wrong choice and defeated much of the weekend's intent, so I'll simply speak from the heart and let it be what it is.

And as you read the following thoughts, I ask that you forget for the moment that I have a trading education business.  Similarly, at this end, I've purposely refrained from adding any of the usual cute graphics, pictures, or linked text, and have turned off the comments for this one post so we don't turn this personal diary entry into the "great faith debate".

So with that said, here are the highlights of my story:

As I've hinted in the last few entries, parts of the last few weeks have been difficult from a personal and energy perspective, with the events of my family being blocked from reconnecting in London three times -- by of all things, a volcano in Iceland -- resulting in tears and cursing on both sides of the Atlantic.  No one certainly died or was sick, yet the series of events was still extremely frustrating ... especially on the heels of other personal issues.

I've also been bored and restless at times, which I'm sure has also been reflected in various diary entries referencing block trading goals, continued dissatisfaction with trading education in general, starting a formal trading university, etc.

At the same time, I've been tangling (a nice way to say "fighting") with God.  Arm-wrestling would be polite ... picture spiritual kick-boxing.  And while I won't go into all of the details, we all know who wins those battles.

And then, while certainly not a calamity, after having traded successfully Thursday morning and purposely shutting down at 2pm so as not to know how the market closed (to keep any opening trading sequence thoughts completely out of my head on Friday), my weekend sponsor's car radio -- which was only on to get the traffic report as we were in a one-hour back-up to get off Cape Cod due to bridge construction -- happened to announce the closing Dow figure.

Of course the minute I heard it, I knew that it meant that the day had ended in a strong trend fashion off the early lows, which would in turn set up several classic MATD (Morning after Trend Day) sequences for Friday's Europe and U.S. sessions.  Call it a very likely monthly income-producing trading bonanza.  And for a few moments, I felt like asking Bob to turn the car around, and run back for my Vaio.  After all, I'd have time to at least trade the Europe session and still not miss any of the key Friday morning events.

But the weekend rules were clear. No PCs, internet access, cell phones, or watches.  For this was to be a rare opportunity to participate in a wonderful program offered only twice a year to help people reconnect with God and rededicate one's life to Christ, and my only job was to do whatever I could to simply shut down my small portion of the world for three days.  And here I was struggling with even doing just that.

Not a great start.

I said little as I continued to sit in the back of my sponsor's Jeep Cherokee ... feeling completely frustrated and helpless. Sitting in traffic. And more traffic.  (Ever try to sit in the back of  Jeep for two hours with a bad back?)  And then the skies opened up.  It poured.  Buckets. And the jeep just crawled along as walkers -- yes walkers -- were passing us.  Frankly, this impatient Type A would have felt more comfortable in the dentist's chair.

I felt, well ... "caged" would be a pretty good description.

Yet I continued to proceed on faith that recent events were "leading" me to where we were headed.

What I didn't know would be the impact the next 72 hours would have on me.

For as we turned onto the highway leading to the retreat center, the rains ended and out popped ... you can't make this stuff up ... the largest rainbow I've ever seen that looked infinitely better than Plasma or HDTV.  Vibrant colors and both ends.  Further, as we looked more closely, it wasn't just a single bow.  For next to it, was a second fainter one.  It was sort of like that classic Ocean's 13 scene where George Clooney and Brad Pitt were brought to tears while watching Oprah.

And while I know it wasn't there "just for me", I did have a sense of peace come over me that -- over the next 72 hours -- would become a personal flood beyond anything I have ever experienced.

As I mentioned, the event was called "Walk to Emmaus", which is taken from the biblical journey Jesus took with two of His disciples after He had been crucified.  The "walks" reflect spiritual reconnection weekends that are periodically held throughout the world.  And while you can search the web for more info, words will never be able to describe the incredible depth and breadth of God's love that four people in southern New England and hundreds of people throughout the world -- backed by literally thousands of prayers -- experienced this weekend.

At this end, of all the many lessons, light bulbs, and other powerful reminders we received during the three days, perhaps the greatest one was provided by our table leader -- a wonderful older tough-as-nails Christian man (Bill) who had spent years in the Navy and as a commercial fisherman. (btw, he gave me enough fishing/trading analogies for the next year!)  For he explained one time he was also in a major battle with God before he had his prayers answered far beyond his limited human expectations.

As he told the story, the end result was God reminding him, "Remember you're Bill and I'm God.  And please never get the two confused again."

Lesson tucked away for this impatient, control driven Type A.

At the end of the effort, we all had a chance to speak during the closing service.  Now I've spoken before hundreds of audiences over the years, including on highly emotional or energized issues to various legislative bodies, commissions, state regulatory agencies, town meetings, trading audiences ... you name it.  And I've never "lost it".

Well, that evening I lost it ... at least for a few minutes before composing myself enough to share the full extent of my weekend experience.  For I was both humbled and overwhelmed by the combination of grace, power, and love that God had shared with us -- and through absolutely no doing of my own.

And while I could go on for days, I guess I'll leave it at that in terms of details and will close with the following.

I went into the weekend seeking a brief rest.  Instead, I was renewed and refreshed beyond understanding.

I missed a short-term income producing opportunity.  Instead I was rewarded with riches beyond measure.

And I certainly didn't expect a rainbow. Instead, the grace of God provided two.

Yet this isn't the end of the story.  Nor is it the end of the task.

It's just a renewed beginning.

As always, it's how we share the gifts that's important.

It also helps to remember that we're who we are, and God is God.

We should never overestimate our own power or strength.

And certainly never underestimate His.

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
they will soar as with Eagles' wings.
  -- Isiah 40:31

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

  -- Excerpt from Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

As always, this 49 year old's journey remains a work in progress.

And so much work remains.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Through Sunday Notes - Hearts on Fire

As I head out on my retreat, I'll leave you with a visual of my weekend expectations.

Call it "Hearts on Fire" for the soul, and simply replace the physical aspects of the video with that of the spirit.

I'm the guy in the barn.

See you Monday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Notes - Rebooting the Soul

It's been about two years now since I chose to open up my life & trading journey via this online journal to those who happened to stumble across these virtual pages. 

In doing so, I made a commitment to use this journal to document my innermost personal thoughts, as well as share them openly to try to provide inspiration, while trying to tear down some of the hidden curtains of an industry which is all too often clouded by smoke and mirrors.

And so it's in such continuing "diary" mode that I share my preparations -- and admittedly some trepidation -- for this coming weekend.

btw, disinterested onlookers can change the channel now.  As always, this remains my personal diary and no one is forced to read it :-).

As I've referenced lately, from this Thursday at 4:30pm to Sunday at 7:30pm, I'll be escaping most of the tangible aspects of this world to strengthen and renew my spiritual walk.  During this time, I'll be without access to a car, computer (including my Sony Vaio!), phone, the internet, my family (except for an emergency if needed), and even a clock.

It's called the "Walk to Emmaus", with which I imagine many of you are familiar.  I'll spare the details of the effort, which you can check out via this link if you're so inclined.

Anyway, this 49 year old Type A trader/educator/parent/husband is about to shut himself down in many ways for the first time in -- well, his adult life.

And I admit I'm a bit apprehensive about it.

But there's no doubt -- no doubt at all -- that I need it.

Why?  Let me count the ways.

First, I stink at shutting down, and this will force me to do it.

Second, I'm tired. Like many of you, the last few years of balancing a family, preparing two children for college, and working (in my case, trading & teaching) has zapped some energy.  And I never did fully recharge after the fifth Jellie effort.

Although I find it interesting and highly ironic that the lack of complete phsyical/mental/spriritual energy isn't reflected in my trading results, as to use a baseball analogy, all of the pitches currently look the size of watermelons.  That's not usually the case, although I have let a few trades slip that I don't normally miss.

And given the last few weeks of intense college searching and this last week of repeated London flight cancellations/rescheduling and mentoring two devasated daughters, it's clear I need to recharge.

btw, Deb & Chelsea never made it to London to visit Courtney -- after having planned the trip for months, so they're going to West Palm Beach for four days on the beach to at least try to salvage some of the vacation week.  Call it improvised Plan D after A through C failed.  Remember, I'm a trader, and thus the words "Give Up" aren't in my vocabulary.

Third, I need to recenter myself spiritually.  I've never been a "going through the motions" type of guy, and that's how I feel I've been living the last few months.  And like many, I fall into the trap of seeing and thinking only from an earthly perspective, and inappropriately focusing on things that will be someday be gone in the blink of an eye.  Lest we forget the Svithjod Rock post! 

And as I rapidly approach the half-century mark, it's time to recapture the energy and passion I had for Christ that I had that one summer some 36 years ago.

So there it is.  Many of you have been screaming at me since late 2008 -- and some as early as 2003! -- to completely shut down for a bit to restore the soul.  And while I admit it will only be for four days, those that have been through the experience tell me it will feel like weeks ... in a good way.

So I'm finally listening.

And as I take this brief break, I'd like to remind everyone that there are two years worth of trading babbling contained in these virtual pages, including the key posts listed in the lower left.  Frankly, there's probably not much more that can be said that hasn't already been said.

Consider it reruns ... until next Monday.

And in the words of Arnold ... I'll be back.

Please note that between Thursday and Monday, I won't be able to respond to emails or blog comments, or process Webinar orders, but will respond either before I leave or when I play catch-up early next week.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Notes - Blog Break

Posts will resume on Tuesday.

P.S. At the request of several folks, I've added Sunday's post to the key post list in the lower left.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Weekend Trader - Focusing on the Comma

Here's an excerpt from today's Boston Globe following the Bruins' 5-3 victory over Buffalo in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night:

Did the Bruins make mistakes yesterday? Plenty, including the kind that end up in the back of your net. But you know what? Mistakes happen. All the time, even to the best teams. It’s how a team responds that determines its fate.  “Hockey’s about mistakes,’’ David Krejci said. “There’s always going to be mistakes. If there’s no mistakes, then hockey would be 0-0.’’
   --  Fluto Shinzawa of the
Boston Globe on 4-18-10

It's so true in hockey ... and trading.

So let's change a few words and apply it to trading.

Did I make mistakes on Friday? Plenty, including the kind that end up cutting into your equity. But you know what? Mistakes happen. All the time, even to the best traders. It’s how a trader responds that determines his/her fate. “Trading is about mistakes,’’ Trader Don said. “There are always going to be mistakes. If there were no mistakes, then the market would never move.’’

Frankly, if I had to summarize my beliefs about trading in a single word, it would be "perseverance".

As I've often said, I make mistakes every day (here's a classic blast from the past on that topic). Lots. Mistakes of judgment; Mistakes of omission; Mistakes of suboptimal sizing; Mistakes of entering or exiting too soon; Mistakes of being a perfectionist; Mistakes of allowed distractions; Mistakes of self-doubt; and the list goes on.

As I mentioned on Friday, I had a strong day -- and by P&L standards, it was the best of the year.  btw, as is normally the case in an emotional market which I tend to trade well, I made most of my money on the long side during the GS barf by buying several blood-on-the-floor points hard.  Yet I awoke Saturday with a pit in my stomach knowing there was one particular trade sequence after the final capitulation that I should have pressed as hard as I've ever pressed a trade.

It was one of my favorites, and should have made the month right then and there.  Yet I lost focus for a single moment, didn't have the Tom Cruise / A Few Good Men / "Going for the Jack Nicholson Code Red Admission Kill" feeling, and by the time I realized I'd missed the prime spot, price rebounded so quickly that I couldn't chase the entry.

And while not real financial loss, it was a costly opportunity loss ... amounting in the tens of thousands.

So I decided to clear the mind via a 12-hour poker marathon yesterday which started in Foxwoods among strangers and finished with a small local game until about 2am this morning amidst friends who regularly play together.

And wouldn't you know it, I made several mistakes at the table yesterday, including letting up and folding pre-flop after winning a big hand (I had pot odds & would have flopped a straight even with a sick 10-8), simply not going with my instincts a few times, as well as ever so slightly suboptimizing a straight flush in which I couldn't induce a call from my opponent.

On the plus side, I correctly played pocket aces in one particular hand both pre- and post-flop, and took down the largest pot of the night just after midnight by going all in and getting called post flop ... after which time it held up.  And by the end of the day, I came out ahead.

And the net result is all that matters.

I've often said that if I ever wrote a book (and to those who keep asking, I still feel the blog is more beneficial as I can keep the content up-to-date), that it would be titled "How to Make a Million by Making a Million Mistakes".

For feedback from the 2009-10 Jellie training efforts -- as well as direct involvement in a decade of trader educational efforts at this end  -- would clearly show that one of the greatest "light bulb" moments for participants is when they see the amount of mistakes I make as I share trades and thoughts on a moment-by-moment basis -- and the subsequent actions taken to overcome them.

As I've stated dozens of times in this journal, I'll never understand why so many in this business refuse to acknowledge their -- no, make that "our" -- humanity ... instead of embracing it.

For hockey, trading, poker, and life are ALL about making mistakes.

And from a trading perspective, as I stated above, “There are always going to be trading mistakes. If there were no mistakes, then the market would never move.’’

You just have to make fewer than the other guy, as well as make sure the mistake ends with a comma -- instead of a period.
At this end, I don't believe in periods.

For it's the comma that allows us to continue.

And profit.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend ,

P.S. Life continues on Monday.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Notes - Change in the Air

Today I discuss today's change in market rhythm & liquidity, a tweak I've made to better segregate my entry & exit traders, why I think you can feel very good about your trading if you nailed BOTH yesterday and today, and some experimenting I'm doing with an Excel program that autoplots time of day performance. Thanks to "Jellie John" who helped me with this.

Here's a link to today's time of day graph I reference in the clip.  Each bar represents the net gain or loss realized during the 30 minute interval beginning at the time stamp at the bottom of each bar.  Please note it's strictly coincidence that the graph reflects a good day, and I'll be sure to post a different type of day to keep everything -- as FOX News says -- "fair and balanced."  And yes, I squeezed in one last teeny trade after 3:30pm after I completed the video.

As I mention in the video, the program isn't ready for release and requires use of the Trading Technologies (TT) platform that automatically feeds Excel, so consider it a continuing beta test for now.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Notes - Volcano'd!

Call it "life-us interrupt-us" as I've been spending most of today trying to rebook my family's trip to London this weekend to visit my older daughter.

This once-in-a-lifetime eruption (sort of like the 2008 VIX over 80) has closed European airspace and is creating transportation havoc all over the world.  Not to mention interrupting my trading focus on a MATD!

So now, we're trying for a not-so-cute Cape Cod-Boston-New York-Raleigh/Durham-London over the next two days ... ASSUMING the airspace opens up so they can land on Saturday AM.

Got some MATD trading in, but it was minimal given the circumstances.

And 'twas an early bird day with the classic setup kicking in around 5:30am ET.

I'll need that massage tonight ... as trading is simple compared to dealing with air travel.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Notes - Standing Your Ground

There's an old saying that if you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing.

Trading is an interesting life exercise in that in every moment of every day, there are always two conflicting opinions as to the expected market direction.  ALWAYS.

Yet as more evidence is provided, one side will ultimately win.  And predominantly, it's the same group over time ... just like it's typically the same group of people at final tables across the poker landscape.

And so it is with life.  Given the gift of free will, and especially the gift of freedom and liberty we have in this country, there are differing opinions on almost every issue on the planet.  Lest we forget the lesson of the blue wall (and we should all watch that Jimmy V speech at least once a month).

Now bear with me as I have some fun tearing apart one longstanding trading belief ... the belief that there's no such thing as "right" or "wrong".

So I'll turn the tables for the moment and say that ultimately, like life, trading is all about right vs. wrong.  And if you really think about it from an objective perspective -- it's as clear as black vs. white.

Unfortunately, in this day of "political correctness", we too often use the color -- and excuse -- of grays.  Which also happens to relate to another particular term I hate, which is part of society's current tendency to end every discussion with the term "whatever".

Well, I say let's ditch the "grays" and "whatevers".

For I firmly believe that to be successful in trading AND life, you HAVE to take a stand.  A stand that is Rock solid and unwavering at that very moment where it's critical to stand up for what you believe ... scratch that ... make that "for what is right."

In trading, you have to have conviction to buy and buy hard when the panic selling wanes, or sell and sell hard after the panic buyers are done ... even with it goes against trading's version of "immediate political correctness".  Simply put, at the right time, you have to stand your ground.

And of course in life, you have to have the conviction to stand by your principles despite whatever obstacles may be tossed in your path -- and there will be obstacles which are sometimes disguised as illness, setbacks, or even "popular opinion" ... which if you really think about it, is usually in reality unpopular and held by a few who go through life being tossed in the wind or simply prefer gray.

Last night, I had the wonderful privilege of seeing firsthand the type of good our ADA donations were doing at the worldwide center for diabetes research -- the Joslin Center in Boston.  And it wasn't about receiving the pin on behalf of many of you for the extent of our $16K donation (I have a new goal of $50K which I'll discuss at another time), rather it was about the work that everyone is doing across the globe to fight this and other deadly diseases.

We have one shot at life.

May your trading and living reflect the convictions that withstand those who choose to live life surrounded with the color of gray.

And remember that every majestic oak tree started with a nut that stood its ground.

... not to mention Bamboos.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday AM Notes - Traveling to Boston

I'll be representing the Jellies at today's American Diabetes Association board meeting in Boston.

Look for a post on the importance of "changing gears" in both trading and poker later in the week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Weekend Trader Part 3 - Lessons From the Masters

What a great scene to see Phil Mickelson once again on his game and standing atop his industry peers at the end of the most prestigious tournament in golf. 

And what an even better scene to see his wife Amy -- who continues to fight breast cancer -- smiling as the radiant sun shone on both of them at the end.

Phil and Amy have done so much for the causes of education and breast cancer awareness as they fight through their personal life battles, that they continue to be role models for this trader.

Personally, it's pushing me to step up efforts on both the diabetes and educational fronts.  And I'll be presenting another check to the ADA at Tuesday's board meeting for the Q1 Jellie proceeds which will bring the cumulative donated tally to over $16,000.

Kudos also go to Fred Couples who shot the lowest Masters score ever for a golfer 50 or over. Just goes to show that there's something to be said for the gray hairs of experience, and that life only gets better with age. 

Between watching Fred -- who has a terribly bad back -- and having one of the greatest personal weekends at this end in recent years, it makes this 49 year-old feel young and energized as we start the new week.

Have a great trading week!

The Weekend Trader Part 2 - Educational Beginnings

Following up on yesterday's video post, here are some interesting tidbits on the founding of Tufts University from their historical archives:

In the 1840s, the Universalist Church wanted to open a college in New England. Boston businessman Charles Tufts gave the church a gift of 20 acres of land, valued at $20,000, on the condition it be used for establishing a college. With that, the location was decided. Tufts' land, which he inherited, was located on one of the highest hills in the Boston area, Walnut Hill, straddling Medford and Somerville.

As local lore has it, when a relative asked Charles Tufts what he would do with his land, and more specifically with "that bleak hill over in Medford," Tufts replied, "I will put a light on it." In 1855, a toast to the new Tufts College was offered at a Universalist gathering in Faneuil Hall. Hosea Ballou 2nd, a Universalist clergyman and the college's first president, remarked, "For if Tufts College is to be a source of illumination, as a beacon standing on a hill, where its light cannot be hidden, its influence will naturally work like all light; it will be diffusive."

In Tufts' early days, the main college building that would eventually bear Ballou's name served as both home and classroom for seven students, who were taught by four professors. By the time of Ballou's death in 1861, Tufts had 36 alumni, and 53 students enrolled.

 -- Source

Interesting concepts ... light transforming bleakness, diffusive influence, starting with only seven students, and grown from an initial spiritual seed to become one of the world's most respected and influential institutions.

And so the wheels of trading education thought continue to spin.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Weekend Trader - The Search for Quality Education

My thoughts on our family's visit to Tufts University today, as well as inferences to the continuing search to provide similar quality education for those pursuing trading careers.

So as one personal search comes to an end, the ongoing search and refinement of bona-fide trading education in this industry continues.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Notes - My Six Figure Day

As some know, one of my goals this year was a six-figure day.

Well, today was it. 

Not in a trading sense, but in a financial sense as we learned this morning that Chelsea has been offered a two-thirds academic scholarship to Tufts University.

As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and from a financial perspective, the bottom line is all that matters.

It's huge.

And lifts a burden off our collective shoulders.

As I mentioned last night, I was prepared to pay the full amount.

Isn't it funny how the Master plan is often to see what you're WILLING to do, before the gift of grace shines its radiant light??

So it will be a weekend of celebrating, followed by 100% focus on trading beginning on Monday.

P.S. Oh, and we of course had the classic MATD trading day today.  Does life get better than this??

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Notes - Where's Don

Don asked me to write this post.

First, let's dispel a few rumors circulating around the web as to what's going on during his first extended blog break since he launched this public diary a few years ago.

Here are responses to a few theories floating around the web:

Don crashed his Escolade into the hydrant next door.
Nope, he doesn't own a Cadillac.

Don is pursuing his dream to play at the Masters.
Only if the trophy goes to the high score, or if there's a side poker game.

Don had an incredible trading blow-up.
Ummm, the April 1st post was fictional.

Don had a death in the family.
No, although that one will some day be true as his parents are approaching their latter years.

No, Don just needed some privacy to focus on some key personal and family issues, while regaining perspective on a few fronts.

Having a high public profile is quite a challenge.  For non-stop since July 2008, he's been sharing his intimate views with thousands of traders on a daily basis.  And for the last nine months, he's always been accompanied by other traders during the day, as he first taught (five teams), and then traded alongside the Jellies.

And so he just needed to "get away" from the public profile for a bit, and didn't feel it necessary to share details with the world.

So what has he been doing?

Well, he's been spending much of the last week helping his daughter Chelsea navigate through her final college choices.  Among her current top choices are Tufts (THE most expensive school in Massachusetts, and that's saying a lot given the Harvards, etc.) and Northeastern University. 

It's a substantial decision that also includes a $250K educational investment -- and yes, we're talking real dollars with zero financial aid.

# # #

btw, over the last two months, Don has had multiple requests for educational handouts in the form of (1) giving away the 16-Hour Jellie Webinars, (2) a trade of the full live Jellie training program for a useless database, (3) 100% "guarantee" of success, (4) someone asking him to give up multiple weeks of his trading income to spend with them on a one-on-one basis, (5) multiple people trying to learn to trade via email question after email question (sort of like that M*A*S*H episode where the guy was trying to mail a jeep home --- part by part), and more that are too silly to even bother giving them the light of day.

And for a moment, he envisioned himself asking Tufts if Chelsea could get just ONE course by any of the above. His side still hurts from laughing.

And therein lies the problem in this "corner" of good old "USA" ... which he firmly believes is starting to stand for "Usually Sitting on one's Ass".

News Flash for those unwilling to take a trading career and its required education seriously: "You get what you pay for", and "Work" is named that way for a reason.

And if Don is willing to invest a quarter of a million dollars over five years for a substantial education to launch a career, do you really want to fret over spending $750 or $1,500 to assist in building a trading career???

But I digress.

# # #

He also learned an interesting tidbit that might help explain his physical and focus challenge that struck suddenly in the spring of 2009, ended his $2.0M 15-month run, and was driving him crazy.  For at the request of his doctor, he had another Lyme test taken a week ago and there was some residual evidence that that infamous spider bite in early 2009 may have actually been a tick bite. 

And if that's indeed true, he was told that trying to trade through that would have been like a sprinter trying to run while dragging a ball and chain, and its affects can last for months.  Well, that explains a lot.

Anyway, Don asked me to pass along this update to put some rumors to rest and ease any blog withdrawal symptoms.

And yes, he's been trading.

Who am I?

You can call me Don3.

Don should be back after this weekend's college visits to Boston and New York.

P.S. Next Tuesday, the American Diabetes Association will be formally recognizing the Jellie donations and presenting Don with a special pin at their quarterly board meeting. Thanks again to all participating in this worthwhile cause.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blog Update - ETA 4/12

I expect to resume normal posts on Monday 4/12.

In the meantime, there's an abundance of info in the key posts in the lower left hand margin -- as well as two years of babbling -- to keep newer onlookers occupied.

Thanks for your understanding.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Special Post - Blog Break

Please note posts are currently on hold in light of some personal matters. 

I hope to resume shortly.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Weekend Trader - A New Season

This trader's Easter perspective.

Please note my reference to "Friday's post" meant "Thursday's post". 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

The blog will be dark until the glory of Easter shines its everlasting light on Sunday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday Notes - Slaughtered **

Well, it happened.

I was heavy on the retail side of every single trade sequence entry this morning and went 0 for 16, losing $36K in the process.

You name it, I screwed it up.

I was short heavy overnight, added at the open, and then barfed it out at the 10:02 AM high when I simply couldn't take the pain any further.

I then proceded to buy every high TICK confirmation as it told me the market was moving up.  After all, the market was up strong on the day, and high TICKs were the further proof that I needed of continuation.

Yet every time, I ended up entering on the high of the pattern, and when TICK and price both weakened beyond my 1 point concrete stop, I ended up getting stopped out right at the bottom before the market turned back up again.

It was a pattern that repeated itself throughout the day, time after time and sequence after sequence.

Then, whenever I DID have a good entry, I was stopped out by a one-tick probe of the last swing high or low before ES continued in the direction I thought it would.

It repeated again and again and again.

Talk about a head-banging day.

How can anyone ever make any money in this business?

It has to be luck.

Continued ....

** 3:30PM Note ... At the risk of stating the ridiculously obvious, apparently a few need me to tell them to CLICK ON THE "Continued" LINK!  Geesh.