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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets


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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets

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  #1361 (permalink)
 GaryD 
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bluemele View Post
I would think that most would select #1, due to compounding and leverage.

But, for some reason, that doesn't appeal to me as much as it could.. Interesting.


On a weekly basis they all bring you to the same place...

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 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
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Back in another hotel, this time in Houston, I am looking at crude at a price of 99.50. On Thursday night I sold at 99.50, and now on Sunday, if I had to choose a direction right this moment, I would buy at 99.50. It seems insane, but price does not matter. Position matters. Chart pattern matters. Previous waves matter.

I have a friend who recently said to me, "If crude gets down to 96.00, buy me one contract and hold it". I asked how he knew 96.00, and he mentioned something about Iran. I said, "Forget the price, if you want to buy, let's find support first."



On a large scale, crude has now pulled back to the prior 618 and found immense support. I would LOVE to see it retest that area and then give a reversal. Why? Because then it would have told me where to buy.

Right now, at 99.50, I believe higher prices are in the future, but the support is so far below... But IF it gets back to a good area, we will buy, and we will hold

And, if we are wrong, it was a good trade anyway.

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 GaryD 
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 zt379 
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Wanted to say thx with a bit more "umph" than the thanks button...
Continue to enjoy hearing/reading your thoughts.
Thank you for taking the time to express them here.

If I may these are just as observations from my own perspective,
on some of what you've said.


GaryD View Post
Over and over again I spend hours and days marking my charts, then erase a few days later and start over. As the maket moves forward it leaves new points of interest behind. The higher the timeframe analysis, the longer the markings have significance. Those attempts at analysis may last for weeks or months. Shorter timeframe chart markings, like 30 minute, can lose their meaning in a day's time. It's like building sand castles too close to the surf, having them washed away by the rising tide. The tide goes back out, and I start building again.

I don't know why, but I enjoy the whole process. Typing this, it doesn't sound like any fun. But it's almost like an artist with a new canvas, and I get lost in the process until the next painting is completed. There was a discussion recently about which chart background color was best, and I think I prefer black because it lets all of the other items stand out with such vibrant contrast.

I'll start with a single line somewhere, and soon there are lines everywhere. Then I will increase the time range and do it again, then decrease the time range and do it again. Lines everywhere. Then, I zoom back out and start to remove them again, making tough decisions about which really have to go, which have the most strength. And it's really somewhat of a guessing game that improves over time.

I feel my chart analysis is stronger than my trading ability, and it has been my main source of frustration in my trading over the past year or more. As much as I believe in the power of chart patterns I almost refuse to trade them to their full potential. Even though that seems to work for me, I feel like I am failing somehow by not improving my risk to reward. I still dream of making 10 to 1 trades and being right with a lot less frequency, and I don't exactly know why.

I know some reasons that might be it, like the saying "let your winners run and keep your losers small", for example. Or, the studies I have done that show that the risk to reward ratio by itself could in fact be the holy grail. Maybe that is my obsession. Maybe I imagine that if I just set the stop and the profit target and let whatever happens, happen, that I would be in a more peaceful state. Zen. My trading the past few days has been the opposite of peaceful, but maybe in some ways still "Zen".
One definition of zen teaching says, "contemplation of one's essential nature to the exclusion of all else..."

For me "zen" is about BE_ing.
We all know we are alive, but to know life, to know the moment ?
That imo is not about taking out the noise, but the ability to be at peace within it.

I think I may come across like some know it all sometimes.
I don't mean to, and I'm not.

Just that in this space of both opportunity and risk, as you've described, our relationships, as with any, are at their most productive and satisfying, when we come to them from our own nature.
Our struggles, imo, mostly are about finding that true nature from which we are then able to come.

Who is the I that is meeting this moment ?
Our awareness of either one is the realization that they are one of the same.

Sometimes knowing where we've come from helps us in where we are going.
Other times just knowing who we are helps us in knowing that we are already here, now, we are the moment.


Quoting 
I was certainly feeling every pulse of the market to the point where nothing else existed at that moment. Isn't that being "one with the market"?

Perhaps nothing else exists but this present moment ? !


Quoting 
I studied meditation for several years, and the goal back then was to clear the mind of everything. There was a saying, you can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from resting in your hair. Let the thoughts flow though but don't hold onto them.

In one method, I used to sit in a dark room with a candle and stare at the flicker of light until all else faded to black. Nothing but the candle existed at that moment. Replacing the candle with computer monitors, and the flicker with price action, couldn't that be a type of meditation?

I ran an extremely stressful business years ago, and I would go mountain biking or skiing as a form of meditation. In those higher risk activities the rest of the world seemed to disappear, and if I kept the intensity up, the only thing I could think about was staying focused on what I was doing at the time. Trading crude oil sometimes feel similar.

Maybe the whole chart drawing thing is just another form as well. I start with nothing but a black screen and a white flickering price pattern, and study it until nothing else exists. I draw until I can't draw anymore, and it becomes complex. Then contemplate, and finally go back to remove the noise until it becomes simple again.

I don't know really what the point of this post is, other than it is Friday, and I just wiped my charts clean again, ready to do it all over again next week.


I recall a saying:
"we must empty what is full
and fill what is empty"



GaryD View Post
I believe I have sorted out why my trading is not as relaxed lately. It has to do with time.

When I started this thread, I had been trading roughly 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for the majority of several years. While the repitition gave an obvious advantage to my "timing", the bigger element that was in my favor was time. I could watch patiently, quietly, for hours, just to take a single trade. I had enough time to devote that I could watch a single trade set up for more than one day.

In the fall of 2010 I started a new business that would require me to travel occasionally. Once a month maybe. But, since the fall of 2011, I have been on the road more than not, and that has separated me from the ability to relax into a trade. Instead of being free to watch the market for hours or days, I now have small windows of opportunity within which to find and execute a trade. And so, instead of sitting at the computer watching from 7am until 1pm, then finally taking my position, I may only have time in my schedule to be available to trade between 9am until 11am. I am basically requiring the market to move on my schedule.

I find myself feeling rushed, feeling pressured to find a trade. That time crunch has two negative results; 1) I am now scalping for smaller moves (which I believe does not have the best risk to reward), and 2) I am not as relaxed when the best trades do come, so I drop them before they have time to mature.

I want to finish my trading day "up", and so it is best sometimes to quit while I am ahead. If I am 'down" when my personal timer runs out, I am stuck with a losing day, and somtimes that may not just be until tomorrow. It is similar to the concept of banking wins on a Friday, but mine may go for 3, 4, 5, 6 days before I can trade again.

So, my question from myself as of Friday has been answered, but now I have a new set of questions. Should I continue to trade while I have a hectic travel schedule, or should I just watch? Am I willing to accept the additional layers of difficulty? Am I ok with lowering my reward to risk, which means I would need a higher percentage win ratio? Or, do I need to find something in between? Or, something altogether different, like swing trading equities, ETFs or forex?

Monday morning I leave for DC, then to Denver on Thursday or Friday, then possibly Houston next Monday or Tuesday, and Boston is a distant possibility within the next week or two... I may not see home again for a couple weeks. If I am going to continue to trade as I travel, I have some decisions to make, some rules to re-define.


GaryD View Post
Getting back to the crude market trade and chart analysis from last week, I want to document for myself what just occured. My schedule has been insane the past week and so I never really got a chance to enter any commentary as I was in the moment, so I am hoping I can still accurately leave a trail for future reference.

When I was studying with ATW, there was a day, I can't remember when, that the instructor made a comment about (roughly), " I know it seems like the first resistance zone is very far away, but there really isn't anything in between". Of course, that meant nothing more to me than any other support or resistance zone at the time, but I watched crude climb and climb, until it hit that zone $2-$3 above where it was earlier in the day, and then it turned and came back down.

Then the second occurence of that was from my own chart analysis. Again, I did not trade it effectively, but I could not find any significant zones (I can't recall if it was up or down), and the market followed that path, never even really trying to stop until it reached the distant S/R level.

I had a 3rd instance, same thing, and can't recall the direction.

Last week I posted a CL chart with an overhead trendline above and a blue rectangle below, and made some comment about I really did not see anything else. And, during the same time I was frustrated with myself for scalping. So I put the two together, 1) to force myseflf to let either a top or a target get hit, and 2) to follow through on that rare condition of no other obvious potential zones.

Crude formed a potential double top at the only real apparent overhead zone, and the only obvious support zone was far below, so I went short in QM ( I hated the thought of risking $500.00 in CL and not being able to watch), and let it go. I had a flight at 6am from DC to Denver, so had to get up at 4am. I slept with my laptop on the nightstand in my hotel room, volume high enough to wake me if I lost service or had the stop/target hit, and woke up all night just to glance at the screen. When I left my motel the trade was headed my direction. The flight was 4 hours. I watched the price of oil on Bloomberg Mobile until takeoff, then spent the next 4 hours somewhat handcuffed and blindfolded; no contact, no update... I had to let whatever happened, happen. It is amazing to me sometimes how hard that can be when it comes to trading.

That trade worked just as planned, almost perfectly. I set my target just above the only obvious support zone, (had a red dashed line at where it would blow the stops of earlier longs), and the market came to me as if I were directing it that day.

Since the trade was in QM the profit was not mind-blowing for a daily net, but what has been possbly mind- altering;

1) I made a significant step in regaining some faith in holding longer term, even if I can't watch every step of the move. My travel schedule had nearly reprogrammed my level of confidence, and I was almost angry about that. I worked very hard to learn to trust my trades, and then it was slipping away from me again. That one trade felt so satisfying and so much of a mental accomplishment.

2) I have now confirmed 4 occurences of when there are very limited choices of support and resistance, and the market moves accordingly. That is 4 for 4, only one of which I actually traded, but it suggests that at those times (maybe 1x / 2x a year?), maybe that is when the odds are the best on a risk/reward basis. (This trade was I believe 3.5 to 1?)

I do understand that one trade is not career defining, particularly when it is on such a small scale as I trade. I also understand that this one event has nothing to do with the next time this S/R pattern sets up. But I am proud of myself, for trusting myself, and for not being afraid of letting go of control.

Maybe it was the show "Wall Street Warriors" where one of the characters said "the market will give you every opportunity to doubt yourself". That is not only true, but also too kind. The movement of markets will go straight for the heart of any weakness I may have, even doing it with ease when I am completely conscious of it. The way I learned to deal with it was to feel every pulse, and as long as I was breathing calmly, and not seeing it go too far against me, I relaxed and waited for it to give up with the scare tactics and go in the "correct" direction. But, once my schedule did not let me find any "zen" space, it went for the throat, causing me to wonder what I ever knew to begin with some days. I went from average targets of 50 ticks previously, to pitiful targets of 8 ticks.

Last week's move to hold may have been somewhat dangerous (what if the market revered and took out my opposite order, with no brackets to protect me), but they were so far apart...

I do not expect to find a simliar trade for some time. I may not even trust the next one I do see. But this past week I made a serious push back into the areas of confidence, acceptance, proper risk/reward, emotional calm, chart awareness, and psychological gain.

In hindsight, to reduce risk I should have had my wife turn on my computers in Orlando to keep the OCOs active. I know now, and may use that in the future. Also, I am guessing I could have a broker assisted OCO, but need to call Monday to find out for sure.

I just took a deep breath.

Another phrase I recall, from the film "Let It Ride".....and ain't that serendipitous in view of your thoughts on holding..lol

"you could be walking around lucky and not even know it".

It's easy, I think, to over look our progress.
Similarly, it's easy to limit ourselves.
It can be confusing when we reach that line.
Is it a floor or a ceiling ?

We face, ironically, imo, our own support or resistance and a challenge perhaps between opportunity and risk.
Can we risk what we already know, other than to lose what we no longer need ?
(the freedom in letting go)
And of the opportunity ?
Another level ?
Another space in which to BE alive ?
Perhaps both as a way of growing in peace in amongst what we may even later learn as just more noise ?
Nature is true, yes, and it is ours it is us, but it always grows from something towards something.

Rhetorical questions...and just my ramblings..."and the beat goes on, la di da di da"

Many thx and kind regards

"Every moment I wake up I realize I know nothing, and then I smile..." zt379
 
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 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
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Posts: 6,462 since May 2011




I am finally back home after what felt like the business edition of The Amazing Race. Orlando to DC, to Fredericksburg VA, back to DC, to Denver CO, to Houston TX, to Orlando, in 7 days. Worked every day of it at least 10 hours, plus travel time, plus attempting to keep up with the daily fluctuations of crude.

This is also the first time in that period that I have had multiple and full-sized monitors. My current chart analysis looks like a trainwreck and could use some cleaning up to make it useful. But at first glance, crude is bullish, for the moment. On a 360 minute view, the major lines in the sand cover an 850 tick spread between 95.50 and 104.00. and second tier major defenses are set up at 97.50 and 102.00.

Not sure if I will trade tomorrow or just watch, but looking forward to it either way.

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 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
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GaryD View Post
Back in another hotel, this time in Houston, I am looking at crude at a price of 99.50. On Thursday night I sold at 99.50, and now on Sunday, if I had to choose a direction right this moment, I would buy at 99.50. It seems insane, but price does not matter. Position matters. Chart pattern matters. Previous waves matter.

I have a friend who recently said to me, "If crude gets down to 96.00, buy me one contract and hold it". I asked how he knew 96.00, and he mentioned something about Iran. I said, "Forget the price, if you want to buy, let's find support first."



On a large scale, crude has now pulled back to the prior 618 and found immense support. I would LOVE to see it retest that area and then give a reversal. Why? Because then it would have told me where to buy.

Right now, at 99.50, I believe higher prices are in the future, but the support is so far below...


Sorry we missed that one "M", I did not like the trade without being able to watch it. Had it double bottomed as I wished, the trade could have been entered and walked away from for a few hours or more.

The correct direction was "up" from 99.50 (and from 96.00).

There are plenty of opportunities coming. Patience wins this game.

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 GaryD 
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 GaryD 
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 GaryD 
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If the market is going to see resistance, this red zone is a good candidate. I will take a short if there is a 6 range reversal in this area.

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 GaryD 
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Volume is here, which direction is not clear.

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Last Updated on May 23, 2014


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