Keep Calm and Don't Move Your Stops.....

A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning!

The Purpose of Life is Joy!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Reflections 2018

This year's reflection will be a bit different from prior years. I won't be doing a deep dive into the top ten things that most reflects the accomplishments of the last year.

Instead, even in the middle of a higher level of success in all areas, in the last four months of the year I discovered something about myself.

Through meditation and being aware coupled with a specific series of events, I discovered a hidden arrogant streak in myself I long suspected was there but presented in a very ugly way for me this last year.

I won't go into details but just when you think you have something figured out and start bragging about it, the universe conspires to take you down a few notches.

Whilst 2018 has been a wonderful year in all areas and much progress has been made, there are two areas that will be a focus for me in the coming year.



This one is difficult. If you recognize the need for a bit more humility in your life, how do you express it when you achieve it or worse, how do you pursue humility without looking like a complete ass? The very act of trying is the exact wrong thing to do. It is or it isn't. And right now it isn't. Maybe my awareness is enough? I don't know. Just going with it for now.

I am doing my annual review and my 2019 planning. Something I have been doing now for about two weeks. My normal advance planning has always revolved around achievements, goals, material acquisitions, etc. Last year, the advance planning began to shift toward more esoteric things and this year is no different.

I've discovered I just want to be a better person and that other stuff will naturally fall into place when its the appropriate time. So more journaling, more meditation, better health, less worry, more faith, etc. These are the kinds of things on my advance plan.

If you want to get a copy of my advance planner and comprehensive journal tool, just click here

Its designed to record plans and goals, new habits, quarterly action steps, ideas for the following year, etc. It can be printed double sided and folded small enough to fit in your pocket and read every day. Ideally you print on 11x17 paper for maximum readability but I have printed on 8x11 and while small can still be read. Someone with better editing skills than me could turn this into a full bleed document and it would be beautiful. If you want some help with it, just email me and we can chat. The form is editable so  you can change the categories to suit your needs. There area couple of religious overtones but those come from my journey and while yours might not include this component, the concept are valid and will serve you I think.

One side is all about mental stuff and the other side is mostly tactical stuff.

Anyway, use it if you like it.

My last trading day was last Thursday. I have been in a slump lately. Mostly due to the lack of patience. Patience wins the day, every day. The drunken monkey that is my frontal cortex seems to have been on a bit of drinking binge of late and getting him to shut up has been more difficult than earlier in the year. As a result, I gave back some of my earlier profits. I am not real happy about that but I think I finally became aware of how drunk he actually was and have taken some steps to quiet him down a bit more.

I won't trade again until the second week of January and then it will be single lots on a single chart. Every time I think I have multiple time frames mastered, I get schooled by the market. If I stick to a single chart, regardless of the time frame, I do much better. I look at Sandy's charts and I love the simplicity of how they look and the obvious turning points they seem to contain but every time I have those open, I just seem to be overwhelmed with it. This means I must stay my single chart course.

Tradeovate has been my platform of choice this year since it can be accessed via browser on any device. I like this functionality but the platform does not have a ton of advanced features. That said, I don't really require many advanced features so it serves me well and I intend to keep using it for the foreseeable future.

Till next year.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Chart because I am bored

Its getting late, I'm bored and thinking about I decided to post a chart of today's trading. 

I am mostly trading RTY now along with CL once in a while depending on what it looks like during my trading hours. I made the move to RTY after a friend suggested I take a look and I watched it for a couple of weeks. So far its a lot friendlier than CL and the tick value is only $5 which makes it easier to have larger stops if needed. Further, once it open, it moves like crazy which reminds me of how CL used to move. I like that particular characteristic of the instrument!!

Still, a losing day today. However, most of the days have been pretty decent winning days. Usually around 2:1 in terms of RR. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Everything is Spiritual

A few weeks ago, we went to the central California coast where I spent a lot of time as a child. We lived just over the mountains in the San Joaquin Valley, also known as the bread basket of the world. We lived about 90 minutes from the coast and my parents took us often. I have fond memories of those times running the dunes with my cousins and bumping around the little coastal towns that are up and down the coast.

This trip was a re-connection for me. I've only been back once in the last 30 years and that was when my wife and I honeymooned up and down the coast. We stayed in a small town just south of Hearst Castle and put a lot of miles on the little Honda Civic hatchback seeing the coast line. Some of it was lost on my wife as she had severe gall bladder issues the entire trip but it was still memorable. I must have shifted that thing a thousand times driving up and down the PCH between Pismo Beach and Monterrey!

Fast forward 30 years and we have a 16 year old that knows nothing of my history and so we decided to do a road trip to celebrate 30 years of marriage, reconnect with my past and connect her with my past.

The trip was wonderful. We stayed in the same hotel we stayed in 30 years ago. It was just as nice as it was then. Its right on the coast line and I spent 6 hours a day sitting in a wonderful Adirondack chair overlooking the Pacific ocean. Three in the morning and three at night. The sunsets were staggeringly beautiful, the mornings were brisk and overcast. Nothing could have made it better.

In the middle of the week, we jumped across the mountains through Paso Robles CA through wine country and into the San Joaquin Valley to see the little town I grew up in. Even though I had not been back for 37 years, I remembered how to get around just fine. We went to see the house I was born in and oddly enough, its still there and in the same colors I remembered. The house across the street was exactly as it was back then. White picket fences, pomegranate trees growing over the fence and just like then, I stole one to take home! We even ate breakfast in the same diner we used to go to when I was a kid. My daughter said she really enjoyed seeing where I grew up and how glad she was that we did that.

We did the Hearst Castle tour again. Much better this time around as my wife wasn't sick and we marveled at the vision and tenacity of William Randolph Hearst. If you are ever in that area of the California coast, you should spend a few hours there. Its worth it.

Upon our return, I began to reflect on the beauty of the ocean and the sunsets that often times were so beautiful that I would tear up just a bit. The mornings were times of deep reflection and gratitude. I began wondering how to keep those feelings of beauty and sense of awe around me all the time. To be fair, I guess that's why we do vacations, to escape "reality" and the daily grind and reconnect with nature or get some rest. But as I thought about it, I realized the feelings of awe, appreciation and significance were feelings I could experience every day if only I became aware of myself and the incredible things going on around me and to take time every day to dig deep.

To that end, I started getting up just a bit earlier to meditate a bit longer than normal. I've been meditating now every day for the last 18 months and my life has changed dramatically for the better since I began this practice but I wanted to see if a bit longer each day would change things. The getting up earlier lasted only about a week before I couldn't do it any longer and nothing remarkable happened.

Then I decided to see if once a week 60 minute session would do anything and today is the second of those sessions. The first one produced a feeling of rightness and harmony but not much beyond that. Today's session was unremarkable as well. I could not quiet the monkey mind for more than a few seconds at a time and even then the monkey was screaming at me for attention. I even used a HemiSync meditation track that helps with focusing the mind. It just wasn't happening for me in a meaningful way, or at least that's what I thought.

Once the session was over, I had things to do and my wife ruined my morning by washing down the porch while I was finishing my coffee and before I ready to get into the day. But as the day went on, little things started happening that showed the universe and I were in sync. Christmas trees are never on sale before Christmas and we bought a new one today with 50% off! The car repair that was supposed to take a few days took a couple of hours and didn't cost anything and then something peculiar happened when I got home from all this around 9:30AM.

I have never been a huge U2 fan but today an interview with Bono and Eugene Peterson popped up in my Youtube feed. I decided to watch it and it was moving for me in many ways. Then I decided to listen to a song that was referenced in the interview and it brought me to tears both in its message and its incredible passion. Once that song was over, a Queen video popped up, Live Aid at Wembly stadium. Lots of close ups of Freddie Mercury. His passion for the music and energy made me start looking for other people whose dedication to their craft and passion for their art elevated them to superstar status. Every time I would see something new in a performance I had seen previously. Some new twist of genius and I began to appreciate the art all over again.

I spent some time just thinking about passion, beauty and genius. These three things are closely linked together. They produce and inspire each other. And once again, I realized that everything is spiritual.

The work we do, the art we produce, the people we love, the animals that we care for, the causes we care deeply about. Its all spiritual....or to be more specific, its all energy and we are all connected to it.

This entire day has been spent in wonderful connection to the divine in a way I have never before experienced. As I write, I am listening to the best of U2 on Youtube, it's 90 minutes of genius and I had no idea. The soaring vocals, the driving music influenced by the band's Irish folk song heritage gathers one up in its arms and carries you to a new place if only you surrender to it.

I think this something one can maintain if desired. It just takes listening to the universe. That means quieting the storm that rages around us long enough to hear the still small voice whispering all is love and you are invited to participate to the fullest measure if your heart hungers for it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


After nearly 5 years without an extended vacation due to illness and then financial issues, my family finally got the opportunity to get away for a full week. Extended is not a month for us, its a week as we have only been able to swing 2-4 weekends for the last few years. But this time we scored a win and took a family vacation to Maui Hawaii.

My daughter wanted a trip for her 16th birthday instead of gifts and requested Maui, so the stars aligned and we did it. I have to say it was one of the nicest vacations I’ve ever had. I literally laid on the beach for nearly 6 hours a day. Three in the morning and three in the evening. Shear bliss!!

I also traded while I was away. 4:30AM Hawaii Time, sounds silly but it was no problem getting up. The mornings were quiet and beautiful and I loved it. I traded on an iPad using tradeovate and I had 4 winning days and one losing day. I think I netted around 72-75 ticks after commissions. I have to say, simplifying to the degree that I can trade on an IPad has been liberating. I am not tied to multiple screens and massive processing power. It’s been nearly a week since I got back and my laptop is still in the closet gathering dust. I’m still trading on the iPad and I’m writing this post on it as well with the Bluetooth keyboard I bought along with the new IPad.

My mortgage business continues to win big for me and while at some point I’d like to retire from that, for now it is just what the doctor ordered and allows me to trade free from the need to win every day. That too is liberating. I’m winning way more than I am losing which is all I’ve ever wanted from my trading.

Here is a pic of my view most days in Maui. Almost nothing better in life than time by the beach. For some reason, this is my happy place. I feel at total peace and completely satisfied with myself, with life and with circumstances in general when I am in this place. It’s where I get my mind right. I am blessed!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Failed Experiment

I had about a week of a wacky schedule in the mornings so I decided to not trade live and instead, try an experiment and marry short term scalping with some attempts at slightly larger trades. I thought about looking at higher time frame support and resistance and then looking at my lower time frame for a reversal trade at those levels and then looking for bigger wins with smaller size. Put the order in during the morning or the night before and perhaps let it run all day with a stop in, etc....

There is only one thing to say about this.

Absolute 100% failure rate. I tried this on sim for one week. I did not have a single winning trade. Not one. Not even close.

Conclusion, after all these years, I am not good at higher time frame analysis. Ok, it's worse than that, I apparently suck at it. BUT the shorter time frames, 5 minutes or less I seem to be pretty good at figuring it out. So I wasted a week of sim trades.

However, the real valuable take away for me is this, just stick with what you are good at and let someone else do the rest.

Tomorrow and forward for about a month, my schedule goes back to more or less normal then its vacation time. This year we are headed for Hawaii or more specifically, Lahina on Maui. Its a combination birthday present to my wife and I along with my daughters 16th birthday present. She picked the destination and the activities and we are going along with it. Its been a long time since we had a proper vacation and I think we all needed it really bad. We've been to Maui a couple of times and really enjoyed it. I just hope the weather is not hot and humid this time around. Its always been cool and breezy when we were there but I see its supposed to be warm with lots of humidity in July.


Friday, May 4, 2018

A quick post

I finished early today and have time for a quick post before I am off to the next thing.

Counter trend on the 5M chart but trend on the 6 range chart. Chart tells the story. Half size due to counter trend on the higher time frames. Four winning days in a row now. Longest streak in a while. Lots of 2 or three day streaks but 4 has been elusive. Thankfully my losses are quite small, less than half my winning days so the math is in my it should be.

Short term momentum, don't be greedy, don't move the stops....although this time that wasn't an issue since it just went straight to my target zone pretty quick....which is the way I like it, like it yes I do!!

Cheers, all the best and happy trading.

On a side note, I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in my lower back a few years ago. I had two years of cortisone shots which really helped but they accelerate the degeneration over time so I was looking for a different solution which I think I have found. Its called prolotherapy I think and they shoot a mixture of lidacaine and dextrose into the affected areas. Its been used in Germany for 50+ years with good results. It stops the pain instantly and the dextrose irritates the ligament causing more blood flow to the area which apparently helps it heal. So far so good. My second treatment and it feels better than it has in a long time for which I am grateful. We will see about the longer term affects though. There is another solution called stem cell therapy but its quite expensive but apparently it causes a reversal and healing of the actual tissue that has degenerated. That might be a couple of years from now after the cost has gone down. Its not covered by insurance so I need to see more data plus raise the 5-10K it will cost to do the full round of treatment.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A small sample

Here's a chart of what I look for each day. Some indication a given direction will continue at least for 10-20 ticks.

Just follow the short term momentum and don't be greedy.

1st trade, full size, second trade, single lot.

Same chart as before, just the dark theme at trade o vate. They have two themes, light and dark. If you don't like those themes, you are out of luck! I like both. The dark one seems to focus my attention better at least for right now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Small Update

It's been a raucous couple of months. We moved, my mortgage business is getting steadily better and I started trading again about 2 months ago I think but from a different mindset.

I started this trading journey with the idea I would capture 4-8 ticks a day on the ES and had I stayed with the premise, I think my journey would have been much shorter. Instead, I got involved with Big Mikes forum somehow and ended up on a catastrophic journey to find the holy grail. Mind you I am not blaming Big Mike, just that I got sucked into the indicator/trading method hunt for trading methods that never lose and that was a suckers bet for sure!

I left BMT a couple of years ago and its taken all this time to get my mind right I think. During that time I have watched a trading friend just kill it in the markets using VP and price action and watching that has kept me hopeful I would find my muse just as he did. His approach has been to work very hard, find the inflection points and hold on for the bigger win and most of the time he is quite successful at that.

I gave that approach a trial as well and as it turns out, something I have known all along but refused to make peace with reared its ugly head again and again. I am too impatient for that style. Still, I was pretty jealous of his wins but eventually realized that what works for him might work for me IF I was wired the same as him.

So I finally made peace with who I am, my emotional hang ups and habits and accepted that I need to trade differently than he or any one else does. The end result is I am much happier. I am a short term trader and I feel very good about it. One thing that has happened is that as a result of my acceptance, my patience has gotten better about waiting for that moment when I feel I am most likely to get what I want out of the market and then being willing to wait for that to fulfill itself.

The end result is this, I have come full circle back to my roots except I won't be trading ES again. Instead, I am just scalping CL and so far so good. Using a short term chart, going with the momentum that currently exists and taking smaller bites. I have enough time in the mornings to get 2-3 shots at it and most days I only need 1 or 2 attempts to get my ticks and be done. With some size, I can turn the 8-10 ticks a day into a decent income or wealth accumulation tool.

In the meantime, I decided to stop worrying about most things platform related. I decided I didn't need the tools I used in Ninja even though some of them do make things easier for me. Instead, I decided to trial an online platform called Tradovate. I have to say, it feels nice. The DOM is fast, the tools are minimalist and it works across all operating systems including mobile.

I liked the trial enough that I decided to do a combine with it at TST to see how well I did with it under a little bit of pressure. I just started that a couple of days ago and I have to say, for a short term trader I think it's going to be my new platform for sure. Once the combine is over, I will be moving most of my money to Tradovate (not all as they are new and I don't want all of it at risk for right now) but enough to open the account and be able to trade 2-3 CL lots comfortably.

Over all, I'm quite pleased where I am on the journey.

A chart from Tradovate.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Blog changes

Hello all,

Even though I am not publishing that much, the amount of spam has begun to escalate beyond what I would consider normal. Therefore it has become necessary to enable comment moderation. Going forward, all comments will be moderated prior to publishing. I am sorry that those of you who follow and occasionally comment will be forced to go through the extra step of moderation but to reduce the spam, it is necessary.

Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Find the sacred

This last weekend, we went to a mountain community in Northeastern Arizona. It is a cowboy town for sure and I am a big city (sort of) kind of guy. My brother in law lives there and recently purchased a new home with an incredible view from the side of a mountain.

We got there Saturday around noon and spent the afternoon just chilling on the front deck doing nothing. It was magical.

Sunday morning I got up at my regular time around 5AM, made some keto coffee and sat in the front room to watch the sunrise through the panoramic windows facing the view. The moon was up in the night sky but it was in the east and around 7AM the sun began to come up and it was behind the moon. The picture of the moon illuminated by the sun was just incredible.

Watching this in the dead quiet of the morning is a wonderful reminder to just stop and be in the moment and experience the wonder of the world around us. I did the same thing Monday morning and its just awe inspiring.

It was a deeply moving reminder to find the sacred in everything....because everything is sacred.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Reflections 2017

I like the process of planning, or reviewing what went well and what went badly throughout the year. It appeals to my logical brain while at the same time, my emotional side connects easily with the losses and the successes. This year is no different and 2017 was a very different type of year for our family.

This year marked a new season in our life. As I wrote in last years reflection post, 2017 did in fact, produce new and exciting changes for us.

In no particular order;

1. I FINALLY graduated college at age 48. I have spent 30 years pursuing this and it finally happened.

2. As noted in last years post, I began working at a national bank as a mortgage lender. That process took longer than expected but the results were exactly as expected. I've made more money in the few months I've been working there than I did my entire trading career.

3. We started our own Christmas tradition for our little family of three. We took a Christmas trip and had a very wonderful time. We spent three days in San Diego which is only three hours from us but feels like the other side of the world sometimes.

4. 2017 was the year of for lack of a better description, spiritual awakening. I discovered so much more about my spiritual side that I can't really even put it in words. Nevertheless, I'm tremendously excited about the possibilities going forward.

5. A side effect of the spiritual thing is improvement in some of our relationships. Over the last few years, a couple of long standing friendships had soured for some reason. We are not real sure why but over the last few months, those relationships have begun to normalize and we are very grateful for that.

6. Over the last 90 days, I have begun to return to my roots as a trader. That is, a scalper. With employment income to pay the bills, this has become not easy but easier for sure. I really only have time for about 60-90 minutes in the morning at the most for trading and on the days I trade, I'm really only looking for 10-20 ticks a day at the most and I'm happy if I leave with 5-10. The purpose is not to hit home runs but try to hit singles every day that I trade. I don't have time for longer holds or to wait around for the big move of the day to set up which often happens long after I've left the trading screens.

7. My health has improved. I began intermittent fasting in July and lost 10 pounds almost immediately. Since then the wait loss has slowed to about half a pound a week and I don't exercise or anything like that. In total, I've lost about 20 pounds, +/- a bit. More importantly, I gained only 2 pounds over the holiday season and I've already lost those. This year I intend to create a work out space in my garage and spend at least 30 minutes a day in there if possible.

8. The last half of the year, I developed a meditation habit. Slowly at first but nearly every day now as I have come to rely on it for the quiet time I need and to develop the inner strength for the things I wish to accomplish. In truth I've almost become addicted to it. This will be a major theme for 2018.

9. We've been looking for a house now for over 6 months. Nothing in the neighborhood we wanted has been in our price range that entire time. We did find one in November but they sold it out from under us at the last minute. In December, the perfect house became available, I called immediately and the house is ours and we move in mid February. We are quite pleased about that.

10. In 2017 as a result of focusing on the good and having a positive expectation and as a result of #4 above, I've become very sensitive to negative inputs in my daily life. So much so that I spent a fair amount of time eliminating toxicity from my daily experience. Its harder than you think. We are surrounded every day by negativity and it takes daily effort to remain in the place of positivity. But as I have learned, we choose the reality we live in. And I have chosen to live with a positive expectation of good. This means I watch very carefully what I look at on tv, the books I read, the content I allow on facebook, etc. Once you become aware of these things, you see them everywhere. Of course you can't eliminate them entirely but you can minimize the effect they have on you and that is what I have done and will continue to do in 2018.

Cheers and here is to a fabulous 2018!