The Solfest Top 8 List for 2011

Top 8?

That's it?


And, most of them have nothing to do with me.

Actually there would have been 9 but I left out Margaret Thatcher so as not to ruin LW's new years.

The Internet

I Hereby Decree

Atlas Shrugged Part 1


The Ascent of Money

We don't need no stinkin humans

For Immediate Release

'Higher Ground'

Have a happy new year and all the best in 2012.


I have nothing further to say

So read this.


Again and Again, I am Wrong

More proof that governments can create jobs.

When will I stop doubting this?

When will I learn that governments are the best stewards of our money?

How much proof do I need?


Merry Christmas

This is still my favourite "flash mob". You can literally see the effect the song had on people.

If you need something to watch this Christmas you can never go wrong with the classics.

Ever notice the best movies are always about bankers. :)

Merry Christmas everyone.



To bad they missed the part where the cat picks the kid up by the back of the neck and carries him to his crib.


Just in case there is anyone left on the planet who hasn't seen this.

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbor.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you
want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.


Achtung Baby

Proof the Germans have been planning to take over and run Europe ever since they last failed to take over and run Europe.

This time they just had to wait for Europe to form an economic union, a common currency, and then all go broke.


I Had to Take a Stand

So I bought a ugly suit, adopted a fake British accent, and let em have it.


What a Wonderful World

Still talking to IB help. So instead of trading I'll just watch this.



The IB freeze was not an isolated incident, so today was spent chatting with IB tech help.

Actually he was very good and hopefully that's the last time it freezes while in a trade. (happened 3 times) If it isn't, I guess I need to find a new broker.



If Iran ever did close the Strait of Hormuz.

I wonder if a new pipeline from Canada bringing 700,000 barrels of oil a day to the US might be a good idea?


I Was Wrong, Again

Apparently governments can create jobs.

John Lennon has a permanent chill-out session on a park bench in Havana, Cuba, The Park in Vedado district is called Parque John Lennon, and it was Fidel Castro himself who in 2000 unveiled the life-size bronze statue of the Beatle. Unfortunately, John's glasses were stolen immediately afterwards, and then stolen again, and so the Cuban government had to find a Spetacles Man who lurks behind the trees and the bushes with John's glasses in his pocket, and every time someone comes to meet John Lennon the Spectacles Man pops out and puts those famous Lennon glasses on the nose. - Walter de Camp



I've often thought that once I become a rich pompous ass I would like to take a month and really study all the data on climate change.

Then I found this rich pompous ass, so now I don't have to.

I'm bracing for the wrath of LW.


This is Not a Drill, This is Not a Drill

Well isn't this lovely. A trade, a trade with MFE, I'm trailing my stop down counting my profit, what a wonderful day.....wait a sec....what the..

It's not moving, why is it not moving, remain calm, it will come back, it's not coming back, open the browser, yes internet is working, it's still not moving, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, reboot reboot reboot, nothing, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, reboot again, yes, yes I think it's working, open bracket trader, nothing, won't connect, just close it in IB, yes that's it, now how exactly do I do that again, I'm short so buy, yes buy BUY BUY, did that work I don't know, still shows an order open, was that the stop from bracket trader, I dunno, phone IB, where's that number, remain calm on the phone, you're a pro remember, right, hi yes do I have any open positions, no, ok thank you, good bye.

I think I need a nap.



What can I say, the longer time frame chart had not rolled over in time for me to get into this. Then when the LTF finally did get short the tick chart was too far along for me to enter.

So no trade for me.

I did however watch some fascinating video. Based on past behavior most will watch the cute one and ignore the not so cute one.


'With or Without You'

Crude oil, or any market, doesn't care about you. It moves "with or without you".

It doesn't hate you, or love you, it just doesn't care about you at all.

Canadian Commute

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.


Ya Want Fries With That?


Welcome to Wal-Mart.
Yes Sir the chrome package is included in that price.
No Ma'am mutual funds are not the product of the devil.
Hey buddy can you spare a dime?


Suddenly I feel I should do something other than sit in a chair.


The End of Democracy

As we all watch Europe teeter on the edge of solvency one is left to wonder if this does spell the end of democracy. Ok the title has to be catchy so maybe it's just the end of democracy as we know it.

This editorial from Kelly McParland of the National Post demonstrates how elections are won in a democratic state.

This is not an Ontario phenomenon, this happens the world over. This is how the USA winds up with a 1.5 trillion dollar annual deficit.

Politicians borrow money to buy our votes.

We, the huddled and stupid masses, fall for this every election. Actually I'm not sure fall for it is the right wording, we demand it in every municipal, state, provincial, county, and federal election the world over.

For decades and decades.

We are so stuck in our government must provide everything for us even if they have no money that we, being Greece, are willing to riot and die in the streets to try and make sure it doesn't change.

Did I mention humans are stupid?

To stupid to govern themselves?

The evidence would suggest such.

What do we do?

We have a seat belt law in Alberta, if you get caught driving without wearing your seat belt you are fined. If humans were not stupid we would not need such a law.

We have to enact financial stupidity laws in all levels of government. Or should that be anti stupidity laws?

We have to make it against the law for our government to spend more money then they take in.

Maybe a caveat for war and national disasters, but that's it.

I'm not sure what it will take for us to wake up. The Ontario election just ended a few weeks ago. All they talked about was spending money they don't have while Greece was literally burning in the background.

America, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, France, and now Germany, all in a financial mess. Those are just the ones currently in the news, are there any countries that are not "broke"?

The Americans just ended their "super committee" on how to fix it by not fixing it.

I can only assume from the evidence in front of us all that there is nothing that will make us act.

We just won't do it.

So then, what happens?

I guess we're going to find out.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving. LOL



Just ignore the bad exit signal and enjoy the moment with me.

I finally figured out how to link my longer time frame chart to the short (entry) time frame chart. So if there isn't a blue bar on the LTF the signal on the STF does not trigger.

I only have to watch one chart.

Although I do envision me sitting there yelling why isn't this triggering.

One step closer to auto.

Eliminate the stupid human.


Boone Speak

Go Maggie

I think we should let Maggie create, and then tax her to death.


What's This?

A trade?

A actual trade.



Somebody send me another funny Conan video, quick, please.


Relax, watch some Conan


For Immediate Release

News Flash:

-Carbon is heating up the earth.
-This heat will cause the polar ice caps to melt.
-We will die from floods and drought.

Brought to you by the association of failed presidential candidates and Hollywood actors who never studied science in their entire life.

We will now take questions from those who agree with us.

Yes you sir, the good looking bald man.

Is there any solution to this crisis?

Yes, stop using all sources of carbon.

Right....so no coal, oil, or natural gas usage.


Right....won't we get cold and live in the dark?



Because we will use alternate forms of energy.

Right....so you mean nuclear?


Right....and why not?

Nuclear is bad, we decided that in the 1970's.

Right....so we will be cold and live in the dark?

No, are you a stupid good looking bald man? We answered that already.

Right....so what will we use to stay warm and have light?

We will use the sun and the wind.

Right....I live in Alberta and it's dark 18 hours a day in the winter. The wind does blow, sometimes, except when it's really cold, like 40 below cold, the kind of cold that kills you rather quickly. Can we make a fire?


Right....so about this nuclear.


Right....now what if, and I'm just pie in the sky here so bear with me. What if sun and wind don't quite cut it for everyone? People would die right?

Well, maybe. But it's the price we have to pay.

Right....so about this nuclear, what did we decide in the 1970's?

The radioactive waste lasts forever. We don't want that, and if something goes wrong we could all die. You really are a stupid good looking bald man.

Right....so the carbon is killing us, the nukes will kill us, and the lack of sun and wind will kill us. It seems to me we are just choosing the way we want to die.


What if carbon isn't warming the earth?

Oh you stupid good looking bald headed moron, everyone knows it is.

Right....so we're 100% sure on that?


Right....so you do realize that the only real alternative to carbon based energy is nuclear, nothing else can produce enough energy for us to maintain life on earth as we know it.

Well, we know it, but we don't like to bring it up.

Right....but if carbon really was going to kill us and nuclear would stop the carbon then it would make sense to eliminate all carbon based energy and use nuclear as soon as possible.

No, and we're not going to say this again, radioactive waste.

Right....let me put this another way if you collapsed right here due to a heart attack and thought for sure you were going to die and I was a heart surgeon and I said I could cut you open right here and massage your heart until help arrived and this would give you a slight chance to live would your first and only question be, is that going to leave a scar?



Not only am I prepared to be wrong.......

I am wrong.

Yes you heard me right, I Solfest am wrong.

I am wrong about oil.

Oil sucks.

Oil is bad.

Oil is killing us.

Alberta is killing Americans with our bad oil.

You my American neighbors can stop this senseless slaughter.

Just ask Elaine.

She'll tell you how.

So act now.

Circle the White House and demand your President stop this senseless slaughter before it's too late.

Thank You.

Oh, and good bye.



That doesn't look too difficult to learn.

I'm sure the next time America sends it's finest to the Middle East to "promote democracy" Elaine will be the first to sign up.

Although I could, once again, be wrong about that.



"Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger and disappointment, it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction, and the greater the will, the more the frustration is likely to be. Causes of frustration may be internal or external. In people, internal frustration may arise from challenges in fulfilling personal goals and desires, instinctual drives and needs, or dealing with perceived deficiencies, such as a lack of confidence or fear of social situations. Conflict can also be an internal source of frustration; when one has competing goals that interfere with one another, it can create cognitive dissonance. External causes of frustration involve conditions outside an individual, such as a blocked road or a difficult task. While coping with frustration, some individuals may engage in passive–aggressive behavior, making it difficult to identify the original cause(s) of their frustration, as the responses are indirect. A more direct, and common response, is a propensity towards aggression." Wikipedia

I just sit here.


Watch and Weep

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the main union movement in North America (Alberta included) started in the coal mining industry. I've toured some of the historical mine sites in Alberta and read their histories and anyone can see that the working conditions in these mines was deplorable. I also had relatives who died working in them in the early 1900's.

The employers in this sector had all the power so the unions were a necessary step to stop the abuse of workers.

Now we have unions in the public sector. A sector where there is no competition for the most part. Should unions be banned in these sectors? Sectors where the public have no, or limited, options. Sectors where we can be held for ransom by the nurses or teachers unions as they now have all the power.

In the education system something is wrong. People being smart and industrious are going around the blockades by starting and using charter schools.

Maybe in time the public system will simply run out of "clients".


We don't need no stinkin humans

I was watching another series with Robert Kiyosaki talking about education and how it's failing us. He is saying the same things as Ken Robinson, that education is designed to produce educators.

Education should be designed to produce thinkers and doers. Education should enable us to remain brave, note not become brave. The industrial age for North America is over and the information age is here.

You are going to have to get creative to earn income, be bold, as Kiyosaki says.

Sitting quietly in desks in rows for 12 years is not going to cut it. During our "formal" school years we need to find, nurture, and grow every skill, interest, talent, idea, thought, that our children can have.

Can this happen with a unionized work force regulated by governments?

Not so far.


Apocalypse Now




Claudio Barbato (L), a member of the opposition FLI party, fights with Fabio Ranieri (R) from the Northern League in Parliament in Rome October 26, 2011. The Italian deputies exchanged blows in parliament on Wednesday as tensions over a tough economic reform programme came to a head.
By Aris Messinis, AFP/Getty Images
A protester from a rival group, left, beats communist union demonstrators in Athens. Hundreds of masked protesters threw gasoline bombs and stones into a crowd of Communist Party supporters as both sides staged protests against planned government economic cutbacks.

Protesters smashed windows and waved anarchist flags from the roof of the building housing the Conservative party headquarters as the fringe of a vast rally against university funding cuts turned violent.


Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Enjoyed Kiyosaki's first 3 books, after that it just got weird. Enough with the books already.

Other then his rather bizarre comments on the FED and mutual funds take 80% of your return (say what?) this is all good stuff.

Oh and I don't like his don't save message, which really isn't don't save, it's a convert your cash into assets regularly which I agree with. This is in essence saving.

His chosen assets to hold, income producing real estate, oil, gold, and silver all sound good to me.


The Birth of the Speculator?

The time period featured here is most certainly not the birth of the speculator, but anyway he does interview some interesting people.




I worked today, earned income, and will pay taxes.

I could have worked today, lost money, and beat my head on the desk.

I could have not worked today, gone to a Occupy Edmonton protest, and begged the government to steal money from others and give it to me.

But instead I will work again tomorrow, put my earned money at risk, and live with the consequences.

Kelly McParland: I want to join the 1%

Kelly McParland Oct 18, 2011 – 12:48 PM ET | Last Updated: Oct 18, 2011 1:19 PM ET

"I’m thinking of joining the 1%.

I’m not sure they’ll have me, as there may be some financial issues. Most of them paid more in taxes last Wednesday than I made in salary last year, so if they’re going to be picky and stand-offish, I could be in for trouble. But I think I’ll give it a try.

I’ve been reading for a while now about how the 1% own everything and are greedy pigs. Supposedly it’s better to be part of the 99%, the downtrodden masses who are morally superior by dint of being … I don’t know, being downtrodden masses? I assume, since I’m not part of the 1% — yet — I must be part of the 99%, though I don’t feel downtrodden. Actually, I feel pretty good.

I’ve read a lot about Europe and the U.S., which are in a real mess, yet here in Canada we seem to have dodged one gigantic bullet. Last weekend, the roads in and out of Toronto were closed again (Rob Ford, what did I tell you about that?), so that 23,000 people could participate in a charity marathon. So if you wanted to join the 2,000 who were moaning and complaining about how awful everything is, you’d have to take the subway to bypass the 23,000 who had something better to do, like raise some money for the less fortunate.

Besides, I’ve done a little checking and discovered that the 1% aren’t that bad. It’s difficult to calculate exactly, because they run some pretty large operations, but if you took the 1% and deported them all to Jamaica (which I suspect would be glad to have them), you’d be risking a few million jobs. Because it appears (and this is a closely guarded secret, so don’t give it away) that the 1% actually pour huge amounts of money into the economy and employ a lot of people.

I know, I know, they’re parasites, right? They inherited their money, sit around in big houses doing nothing and are rude to their servants. They don’t deserve what they have. They’re flinty, self-absorbed, uncaring. They hate the homeless. They ignore charities. They’re not like us in the 99%. They’re carbuncles on the national nose.

It’s true that quite a few of the wealthiest Canadians got their money from relatives. Thomsons, Irvings, McCains, Richardsons, Westons … the usual families dominate, particularly at the top of the list. Oddly, in many cases the second and third generations haven’t succeeded in blowing the family wad yet (we won’t mention the Eaton boys here, it’s still a bit sensitive) and have actually expanded and added to the empire. Which is good, right? If you figure that bigger empires employ more people and finance more homes, taxes etc.

But there are quite a few who scraped together their billions all on their own. Chip Wilson, who created Lululemon and is not hard up for cash as a result. Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who made so much out of Research in Motion that Balsillie was willing to blow millions of it moving a crappy hockey team from Phoenix to Hamilton. Daryl Katz, who also has a thing about hockey and made his money opening drug stores. Clay Riddell, founder of Paramount Resources and part-owner of the Calgary Flames (is this a trend or what?), Ron Joyce, who doesn’t even make the richest list but did all right with that coffee chain he ran — I forget the name now, they make donuts too, I think. Jim Pattison, who started out selling cars.

These are just the top names in the 1%, but they don’t seem like awful people. Actually, they seem to give an enormous amount of time and money to the community. It’s not like they came from privileged backgrounds, or were left half of Mayfair by some ancient relic of a relative. Ron Joyce started as a Hamilton cop. Daryl Katz went to Jasper Place High School in Edmonton. Balsillie is from Seaforth, Ontario, son of a technician; Lazaridis’s father Nick was a Turkish factory worker. Mostly they’re just smart, hard-working, inventive people.

You don’t even have to be a zillionaire to make it to the 1% in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, anyone with an income over $200,000 qualifies. That includes hospital executives, Bob Rae, university professors, college administrators, Steve Paikin, Toronto’s police chief, museum bosses, school superintendents, lots of middle-level managers across the country. Even some pundits. I’m betting that if you could get a look at their income tax files, you might find Mike Holmes or St. David Suzuki on that list. Ron MacLean and Don Cherry are definitely on it. There are probably a whole pile of bankers and financiers too. Not to mention hockey players — even the poorest player in the NHL makes at least double the entry level salary needed to make the 1%. But not all bankers are evil, most of them are just people who work in banks.

These aren’t plutocrats folks. They’re not evicting starving children from homeless shelters. If I can find an application I’m going to apply. It’s better than camping out in the park."

Kelly McParland National Post


Occupy This

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Margaret Thatcher



A quiet end to a quiet week in a quiet month.


However this is October, and.....



No signals the last two sessions. So plenty of video.

I read Gladwell's book Outliers and the discussion around the 10,000 hours required to achieve expert status is certainly important to traders.

I have been watching charts full time for about 5 years now. So with 52 weeks in a year minus about 10 holiday days that's roughly 250 days a year. At 5.5 hours per day that puts me around 6875 hours of screen time.

3125 more hours and I'll be an expert.


If the 10,000 hours holds true for trading, and I see no reason why it wouldn't, then it does explain the large failure rate in this business.

Traders simply run out of capital before they get the 10,000 hours in.

Sim trade for 10 years?

No but capital preservation is certainly the most important aspect of this business.


I am Geniu............

I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves. I won't get all the moves.

The Vault

I don't know whether I should laugh, cry, or build a bunker. If the gold's all there then show us, if it isn't..... don't ever open the doors.


Steve Jobs


"It's not the price of gold and silver that's changing it's the value of the paper currencies that they're being valued in." John Embry

Is now the time to buy?


The Art of Doing Nothing

I once famously (haha) penned that the number one issue in becoming a successful trader was a complete understanding and acceptance of risk management.

While that is true you could also argue that a close second may be the fine art of doing nothing.

You could also argue that the fine art of doing nothing is part of risk management. But then I would have nothing to write about.

Why is the fine art of doing nothing so important?

Because we don't like to do nothing.

If you are married to a man that may be debatable, but when it come to trading we want to trade.

We are traders.

We trade.

We all know that there is no 100% trading system. No single indicator that is 100% accurate, nor any combination of indicators will have a 100% success rate.

In fact you may argue (and I am) that the more indicators or requirements to trade in your system the more time you will spend flat.

And the more time you spend flat means the more hindsight moves you will have missed.

Every trading requirement in your system should add something to your positive expectancy, but it won't be a 100% expectancy. So the more you add the greater the chance that one of those requirements will not be met and you will miss a nice move.

So.... what do we do?

What we do is curve fit, we go back and change parameters so that the moves we missed become moves we would have taken. This of course screws up hundreds or thousands of stats and we usually do not bother to look at all the failed moves our newly renovated system would have taken.
So.... what should we do?

Make sure each single requirement is net positive to your system of course. Then be prepared to miss moves.

Prepare to be wrong. If you include missed moves with losing trades we are wrong quite often.

Are you prepared to be wrong?

Am I?

We don't like to be wrong, we like to be right. Being wrong makes us angry, or if you're a man it assaults our ego. Ohhhhhh we don't like that, we want to draw pistols at dawn.

We have to be prepared to be wrong. Wrong like a casino.

You will sit and watch price run without you. You have to. If you're not then you really don't have a system and you are just chasing price. Maybe that works for some. Not me.

So the question is can you just sit there and do nothing.

Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't.

Sometimes patience can also make you angry.


Dream On

I Had a Dream

Not quite like this guys dream. (thanks LW)

The alarm went off at 6:00 and I was dreaming of blue bars, all pointing down, I hit snooze and 10 minutes later the alarm goes off again and I'm still dreaming of blue bars, all pointing down. I'm serious, I could see the chart.

I get up, open charts, and yes they are all pointing down, no big surprise based on current issues, I see the signal, (I don't normally trade outside of pit hours) I take the signal and away we go.

I guess the only problem with "dream trading" is it could always turn out to be a nightmare.


A Day's Wage

Tis the weekend.

Rock on.

The man can play.

And the clothes are fantastic. :)


The Ascent of Money

Does anyone learn this in high school?




The Trade

Found a nice little trade that was slowly grinding along my way and then the fed came in and ruined it. :)


The Prize is an amazing book and I can't wait to read Yergin's new book, The Quest.

Oil is the most important commodity in the world and it's history is fascinating. Especially if you sit and stare at it's price all day and live in a country that exports 2 million barrels a day.


Niall Ferguson

An interesting talk as we watch the "west" continue down it's path of economic "reform".

By reform I mean doing the same thing over and over, watching it fail, then doing it again.

If stimulus via borrowing and printing money doesn't work, borrow and print more money.

If govt economic plans don't work add more govt economic plans.

This story is over two years old, how many more govt plans could we add to the list.



My thesaurus offers gauge, calculate, compute, determine, assess, quantify, evaluate, appraise, and rate as alternate words for measure.

All those words work in some way for what we are trying to accomplish by charting, or technically analysing the market we trade.

This begs the question, what exactly can we measure in a bar of data on our chart?

We can measure price, volume, range, and the number of trades.

Am I missing anything?

The price bar will give us bids and asks and the last transaction price as the bar fills. We can see the volume of contracts traded, and we can break down that volume into up tick and down tick volume. We can see how high and how low the price traded during the bar formation (range) and we can see how many trades took place during that bar.

Note that the number of trades and volume are not the same thing. A tick chart (why they call this a tick chart is beyond me) measures how may trades happen and forms the bar when the prescribed number is achieved. So with a tick chart a "trade" can be for 1 contract or 1000 contracts and still only count as one tick. So if I place a trade for 1 contract and LW places a trade for 1000 both only count as 1 tick. With a volume chart they count the total number of contracts traded.

With all these things to measure we can use this data to cut off when the bar is formed rather than just cutting off the bar based on time served. We have range bars, tick bars, and volume bars to quantify when and how our "price" bar is formed.

So if range, price, number of trades, and volume are the only data points we have to measure would it not make sense to try and use all of this data in our trade plan?

I measure the bar's range with ATR, I measure the number of trades by using a tick chart, I use the price data within the bar to measure the angle of ascent or descent of the EMAs and the level of the ADX.

What's missing?



I'd be interested in anyone's ideas on how they use volume in their trading.

Well maybe not just anyone, someone who knows what they're talking about preferably.


Exit Signal

Soon the bot can take over.


Jack Schwager - Market Wizards

It is difficult, it requires skill, it requires hard work, it requires discipline, it requires passion and desire.

But.... it can be done.



How to trade:

Take 10,000 hours or ten years of practice/study (whichever comes first) add a crazed desire to succeed and away you go.

So the next time someone asks or someone tells you how to trade have a good laugh and move on.

There are no short cuts, no holy grail, no magic indicator, just hard work and practice. Of course some of that "practice" is going to be with real money. Real money that you are going to lose. Can you survive that?

If the answer is no then find your element some where else.

How Bad Do You Want It from Greyskale Multimedia on Vimeo.



Four videos, first a demonstration of skill, then some discussion on how we get there. If you think trading is hard watch the bike video then try trading again.


Thrilling Day

Picked a few (very few) ticks out of the 8:40 and 12:20 bars with the one minute chart. Other than that I listened to strange music and came out of and back into the closet so to speak.

Just another day in paradise.

Oh did I miss anything in the gold market? :)


Good Volume, Good Range

If good volume and range mean good trading then bad volume and range should mean no trading.




I guess you could call the 1 minute chart a cross between the 2 minute and the 89 tick.

Ok not really but it seems to fit the current pace.


Quants on Parade

I just want to know where oil is going for a couple of minutes.

Is that so hard?



Still Waters

I was expecting the crude market to run something like this:

Instead I got this:

Note to self: Don't have expectations.


Get to Work

The sun has set on my vacation so it is back to work on Monday.

Crude oil has been wild, equities have tanked, Brits are rioting in the streets, American is bankrupt, (oh wait they can now borrow more so everything is ok) and Tiger can't hit a golf ball.

Looking back at the charts over the past 3 weeks I think I will be trading the 2 minute for entry and exit rather than the 89 tick due to the increased range in CL.

Looking forward to Monday :)

Oh ya and all you lazy trading bloggers get back to work!


But then.......

If you listen your Mommy, stop riding the dog like it's a small horse, and do not change your system, something good may happen.

Like this.

Recency Bias

System trading is hard.

Or did you already know that?

You watch price move in a consistent direction but without triggering your system trade. Or at least without triggering it for what seems like an inappropriate amount of time.

Like this.

Then you watch a trigger on the short term chart move nicely, but against the three other charts. This price action on the short term chart is fast and has only one direction. Just what you want to see. Except the system says you can't take it.

Like this.

All this makes you want to abandon the system, or change the system, or change the time frame, or do something that allows you to take the kind of moves you just missed.

Of course that would be a mistake. A mistake based on the most recent events.
Humans like all recent events to be warm and fuzzy. We borrow money, eat bad food, take drugs, and change our trading system all based on the most recent event.

Humans are stupid.

I'm a human.


Maybe it's just early

But for some reason this had me howling. I guess it reminded me of trying to teach my Grandmother how to use a VCR. :)

Give them an A for even trying.



Here are 3 interviews from Charlie Rose with Lee Kuan Yew. A very smart man, and one who may even appreciate Solfestland. :)

In fact I would hire him and his son to run Solfestland while I'm on holidays.

2004 Interview

2009 Interview

2011 Interview

More wisdom; maybe I should add mandatory military service to Solfestland.


Atlas Shrugged Part 1

No big names in this, but the production looks well done. It isn't playing in many theatres so I will have to wait for the DVD.

Atlas Shrugged Movie


Today is Not Memorial Day (in case you were wondering)

LW Demanding a Chart

Solfest Giving In, Spoiling LW, and Ruining His Life Forever


Kevin Libin: Democracy suffers from politics of the faint-hearted

Kevin Libin May 27, 2011 – 12:30 PM ET | Last Updated: May 27, 2011 2:43 PM ET

Touching down on Canadian soil in the midst of a federal election, Dambisa Moyo comes with something provocative to say about these kinds of democratic exercises—and it’s not good. It’s not that she’s anti-democratic, she hastens to note. It’s just that frequent votes like this have their downside. They create problems. In fact, the major maladies catalogued in Ms. Moyo’s latest book, How the West was Lost, an unsparing critique of U.S. economic and fiscal policy, are ultimately traceable back to one cause: the structural incentive for politicians to think only as far ahead as the next election.

“Policymaking,” she says, “is not incentivized to solve structural problems.” Quite the opposite: it’s incentivized to create them. At least, this is how things appear to have turned out in the U.S. When you look at the origins and outcomes of the last 50 years of vote pandering in America, it’s easy to see what she means. A political promise of home-ownership for all begets, through suppressed interest rates, a bubbling sub-prime mortgage crisis. A political guarantee to secure workers in their golden years begets, when coupled with demographic shifts, a pension plan as tottering as a pyramid scheme. A president’s ambition to serve up cheap health care to all begets…well, we can only speculate. But if history’s any guide, that, too will end up just as costly.

Ms. Moyo, who was visiting Calgary recently as the guest of the Teatro speakers series, last made a splash with her 2009 book, Dead Aid, which laid bare how decades of Western foreign aid to Africa had only made things worse for an already beleaguered continent, entrenching poverty and dependency while perpetuating undemocratic rule and corruption. It wasn’t an entirely novel argument: conservative thinkers and writers had been making that case when Ms. Moyo was still busy building her impressive collection of degrees at Harvard and Oxford, before moving on to the World Bank and Goldman Sachs . But coming from a young woman born and raised in Zambia, even a relatively privileged one (her mother’s a bank chairwoman), she lent the thesis a credibility that greying white men could not.

Much of the ideas in her present book have been aired before, too: anyone who’s been paying attention knows how a political fixation with keeping mortgages accessible fed the housing bubble, and the rise of China’s economic power, the competitive threat that Ms. Moyo believes may succeed in toppling America’s global supremacy, has been the decade’s most inescapable business story. But in How the West was Lost, Ms. Moyo broadens to look at the number of places America has chosen the wrong path: she looks past the elephantine issues to scold the U.S also for giving away drug patents to developing nations, sabotaging its own pharmaceutical industry; for the rise of Wall Street’s unproductive day traders; for screwing up its auto industry; even for its culture of celebrity worship, which, she says, tempts teenagers to pursue long-shot careers in professional sports or hip-hop, and away from training for real world professions.

But when Ms. Moyo takes on what she thinks are America’s most dangerous follies, she advances a theme that also coloured Dead Aid: how soft-hearted political intentions — whether that’s trying to feed Africans, or feed the American Dream — can be hurtful.

If the West has to worry about China, it’s because China has spent so long worrying about only its own interests: not policing the world, not feeding the world, not even caring altogether much about the human rights of its own people, let alone whether they can get a cheap boat loan.

“The notion China would care about religion or democracy or social concern in other countries is mad,” says Ms. Moyo. The country has built its international reach, snapping up businesses and resources abroad with alacrity. But when the Chinese do it, they are, “much more blatant and obvious: they’re there for Chinese interests.” They keep their heads down politically, and focus on maximizing their own benefits. Compare that to a democratic country, where parties are vulnerable to the pressure of special interest groups, international NGOs and, of course, guilty, liberal voters: Our own official opposition party wants to force Canadian firms to indulge first-world environmental and worker rights standards when doing business in the laxer jurisdictions of the developing world. You can be sure the Chinese won’t be doing that.

It’s true China is gradually confronting its own middle-class pressures; its latest five-year plan considers the prospect of a wider social safety net. And its economic trajectory is not to be taken for granted by any means, Ms. Moyo points out. But they can learn from America’s mistakes, while sitting on a cushion of cash—earning $1 billion a day from foreign interest alone—that allows a lot of forgiveness for missteps. The lack of political competition in China, meantime, means there’s no race to the bottom among vote-hungry parties for who can grovel most for public support.

“The political framework that we live in actually encourages western policy makers to choose policies that look short-term-attractive but, longer-term, are detrimental,” says Ms. Moyo.

The situation, writ small, may highlight the paradoxical disadvantage of democracy: freedom, openness and electoral accountability may be the very qualities that bred innovation and prosperity in the West. But they’ve also bred a weakness. Voters demand entitlements, and politicians oblige; special interest groups press for touchy-feely policies — more welfare, environmental standards, foreign aid — and politicians oblige; populists vilify big business and profits, and politicians fall in step. As China, focused on the long-term, unworried about two-year election cycles, emerges more ruthlessly capitalist, America, Ms. Moyo believes, is well on its way to losing its identity and en route becoming a socialist welfare state.

“I think that the fact 45% of Americans don’t pay federal taxes…doesn’t smell like the American dream.” Meanwhile, even Sweden and Denmark offer businesses a vastly more competitive tax environment than the good old U.S. of A. “I mean does this sound like America? Home of the free, land of the brave?” she asks.

The bleakest thing about Ms. Moyo’s thesis is the forbidding challenge of fixing a problem that appears so intrinsically structural. One option she thinks might work, is lengthening the political cycle, giving politicians breathing room to dream up policies more serious and durable than just bribing voters. The fact that Americans last voted in November, and president Barack Obama kicked off his own re-election bid just five months later, is proof, she says, there is “just too much noise around politics.” Where, she asks, “is the time and space to focus on the seemingly intractable issues?” Still, she says, a major constitutional remodeling like that would be “quite difficult” to sell to citizens.

The other, more realistic solution, Ms. Moyo believes may be to redirect the bribery—this time towards positive ends: pay people for the right behaviours; use the tax code to reward them for saving instead of borrowing; pay them to pursue math and science degrees, or to take better care of their health. Above all, stop the incentives to do things that harm the country’s economic strength. But both cases require citizens to want to fix things and to be willing to think of the long-term themselves. Unfortunately, there’s no sign yet from America that that way of thinking will take hold anytime soon.

National Post



The Internet

What am I doing here?

LT wants to talk, Jules wants to talk (I think), LW is still doing his court ordered community work, and then there's me.

Do I want to talk?

I dunno.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. The Internet is a horrible thing.

What do I enjoy the most when blogging? I like bringing things to your attention that you may have not seen, ideas you may not have thought of, and I enjoy when people do the same for me. These little tidbits are something that you may enjoy, or, you may ignore as I am not stuffing your email with them

This use of the Internet may be the best that it can offer.


Anything that links humans, especially humans from all parts of the earth who could not otherwise be linked, is a wonderful thing.

That said it seems that when people try to use the Internet to go beyond this level of connection we humans have a nasty habit of becoming rather ugly. Ever read the comments under a you tube video, or dare go to the elite trader forum?

It is ugly.

The anonymity of the Internet provides a shield to which people feel they can say anything, and they do. Maybe it's just because they know they can't be punched in the face. Would these people talk like this to each other if they were in the same room? Where they could see the pain they cause?

I hope not.

When it comes to trading talk I'm not sure there is much point to using the Internet for discussion.

Traders probably have enough voices in their head telling them conflicting things. Adding more won't help.

I do know that without the Internet I would have to move to New York and trade in a pit with sweaty screaming men. Or I would still be declining loans in a bank. So I do appreciate the opportunities the Internet has provided me.

In spite of that I still sometimes wonder if the Internet is best left to cute laughing baby videos.

Or sometimes we find something that shows the best the Internet can do. Something that links humans from around the world in a common cause for good. Something that is beautiful. Different races, religions, nationalities, ages, all coming together and giving us something that may never have happened without the Internet.

Something like this.

Here is the full version of the song.

Are there nasty comments under this?

I don't know, I didn't look.


The Holy Grail

I have solved Riemann's Hypothesis.

It is now factored into my trading algorithm and produces results like this:

You may kiss my ring now.