I thought I was doing OK.

I was wrong.

I wrote a rather lengthy post. Then I deleted all of it, except for those two lines above.

Please. If you’re going to end a relationship with someone, particularly a serious partner where time, emotion, and energy were greatly invested, give them closure if they ask for it.

Leaving someone to feel tossed away, or that they didn’t matter, is hurtful and damaging. And if you have done that, I would venture to say that it is never too late to give them peace. It’s a generous gift that costs nothing, and yet has immeasurable value.


“I’m so close to success – what are some words of motivation?”


The following question was recently posted on Quora:

This was my answer:


The paths of failure and success are uncomfortably close. While they might seem miles away from each other, they really aren’t.

Talk to those that have succeeded in their own fields or endeavors. They will likely tell you the reason they succeeded while others did not, is not because they were brighter, faster, or luckier; but that they chose to continue, while the rest simply stopped.

I have no way of knowing if you will ultimately be successful. What I can tell you is that you have to try. And no, trying doesn’t necessarily mean you will be victorious. Maybe you won’t. Don’t judge yourself by whether or not you reach your intended goal; judge yourself by your determination to try – that you had the courage to leave your comfort zone, and that you didn’t choose the easy path.

Let’s say for a moment this doesn’t end the way you intended it to. Build on that, and realize that we do tend to learn far more from our mistakes and failures, than we do from our successes. That’s how we grow, and become better.

And it’s a cliche, but true: whether you think you can, or you think you can’t…you’re right.

Good luck!



Here’s the link to the original Quora post:


How to follow someone else into their trade (…and bank large currency)


life-is-hardTo be clear, I’m not advocating that you center your trading plan around the trades of others. Because, let’s face it, that’s not a plan. It’s just stupid. And lazy. And you’re not stupid, or lazy, right? Of course not!

While I do my own scans to find stocks, I also don’t live in a vacuum. I chat with people on Stocktwits and Twitter, and there are no shortage of shared ideas. Because I’m a curious person, I’ll often pull up the chart on stocks that get mentioned. Most of the time it ends there, and I move on. Sometimes though, it’s an idea that I think is worth a second look.

nobody-everHere’s the thing: an idea shared, is just that – it’s only an idea. Ultimately, before pressing the ‘buy’ button, there’s still work to be done.

1. Make the idea your own. What does that mean? Well, it means, does it fit your own criteria? If you had just come across this stock on your own, why would you be interested in it? And if your only reason for buying it is “because that super smart, handsome, successful Howard Lindzon TraderVancouver guy is buying it”, you’re sunk.

Speaking of Howard, he recently posted this:

howard 1Which, I think was a great share. And I’m seriously looked at some of these ideas. But I can’t just follow Howard blindly into a trade, because that’s just stupid (pay attention, we’ve already covered this); I’ve still got work to do. And that brings us to…

2. Have a plan for the idea. What does that mean? It means:

  • What’s your time frame? (hint: It might not be the same as the poster’s)
  • What’s your entry price?
  • What’s your stop?
  • How much of your account are you risking?
  • How much are you buying?
  • If you’re buying options and not stock, what expiration, delta, among a plethora of other questions.
  • Are you trailing a stop if it works, or will you trim and trail?
  • What kind of stop are you using – hard or mental?
  • What’s your stop based on?
  • Will you add if it works?
  • How will you know when to add? How much? At what price?

Isn’t this just so exhausting? Sheesh. And don’t think the questions stop there, because they don’t.

My point is, the idea itself really is only the starting point. There’s still a crap load of work to do.


Timeframe…and liquid crack


NFP (non farm payroll) numbers were released this morning, and they were, well, let’s just say they were less than expected. By about half. I could go on here about why trying to anticipate and trade nonsense like this is futile, or the worth of so-called professionals that “forecast” (read: weathermen) this stuff, but that’s for another post.

With the release of the numbers, the futures market wet the bed, soiled their undergarments, crapped their pants, however you wish to phrase it.

But let’s talk about whether or not this even matters to you. If you trade off the 5 minute, it probably will. Here’s the 5 minute chart:

nfp 5min

Well, THAT’S disconcerting….


…And here’s the weekly, taken at the same time:

nfp weekly

Hmm, what? Oh. yes, I think I see the disastrous news there…that speck on the top right…


So, know your timeframe, and stop worrying about things that you cannot possibly control, or even trade.

As for me, I’m off to make a border run for Trader Joe’s; my only worry this morning is whether or not they will have any grapefruit juice in stock; it’s always hit and miss. It’s good to be Canadian, it’s better to be a Canadian that lives near the US border. #merica.

Oh, and yes, their grapefruit juice really is THAT good. Liquid crack.



“Why is trading so hard?”


This was a recent question posted on

Here was my answer:

For the majority of traders, it isn’t the trading that’s hard, it’s managing their emotions, and sticking to a plan, that’s hard.

                                     Trading is:

 (please excuse my crappy pyramid. You don’t want to know how long I struggled to make this damned thing)

Ever been driving somewhere that you’re not completely familiar with, and start to wonder if maybe you made a wrong turn? As the miles start to tick by, your uncertainty grows, and you ease off the gas. Maybe you consult google maps on your iDevice. It says you’re on the right course, so with that, you happily steam forward. Nothing has changed – the road is the same, the cars around you are the same, the plan is the same, but now you’ve got renewed confidence that you are indeed going the right way.

And it’s the same with trading.

Without a plan, a plan that you can refer to and rely upon, confidence diminishes.

Where traders frequently falter, is in their ability to follow their plan, or their map, if you will. Questions of self-doubt might start to creep in, if the trade goes against them. Thoughts of,

Why isn’t this working?
How much money have I lost?
Why can’t I do this?
How come I keep screwing up?
What’s wrong with me?
Why am I so stupid?

None of those questions, by the way, are remotely helpful.

Your job as a trader is to come up with your plan during non-stressful times, so that it can be thoughtfully and prudently constructed…and then executed when it needs be, in the heat of the moment. You don’t see the captains of ships frantically putting together evacuation plans as they’re taking on water. Nor do military commanders scramble to devise retreat plans when they come under unexpectedly heavy fire. Because that would be foolish. And stupid. And most likely, those plans would really suck.

Instead, come up with a thorough plan before you set sail, attack an enemy, or put on a trade.

The good news is, coming up with a solid plan is the relatively straightforward part (and an entirely different conversation).

The bad news is, managing your emotions when those unhelpful questions like the ones above start surfacing, well, that’s the hard part of trading. However, once we recognize that, we can address the issue, and learn to manage not just our trades, but our emotions. And from that, comes confidence, and trading becomes less hard. That’s terrible English, but you get the point.

Final thought: Pros focus on limiting risk and protecting capital. Amateurs focus on on how much money they can make.



Weird Stuff in the News…This Week 03/28/15

Crowd-funding your kid’s birthday party

Yale concludes that this Computer Science thing may be not be a fad, after all

Prison sucks. It just does.

Race cars…without race car drivers (video)

Four stories that caught my eye. Maybe not entirely new’ish, but definitely read-worthy.


Because birthday parties for eleven year olds are expensive…

Parents Are Crowd-Funding Their Kids’ Birthday Parties

PHOTO: Parenting experts say crowd funding is growing in popularity as a way to pay for kids birthday parties.

Depending on who you ask, it’s either the smartest way to throw a birthday party on a budget or it’s the worst possible representation of keeping up with the Joneses.

Either way, it’s a real thing: Parents are using crowd funding to pay for kids’ birthday parties.

One such fundraiser on GoFundMe reads: “My pumpkins 2nd birthday is coming around faster than i could ever imagine. I managed to throw an amazing 1st birthday for [name omitted] and would like to follow through with an amazing 2nd birthday for my blue eyed princess!!. . due to a series of unfourtunate [sic] events in our lives recently money is tight. . every dollar helps!! thank you in advance for any donations made <3″

“Crowd funding is in the air and on the news, so moms — along with everyone else — are more aware of the idea,” said Rebecca Michals, director of BabyCenter’s global community. BabyCenter‘s parenting experts spotted the trend of crowd-funding kids’ parties.

The number of birthday-related campaigns within the “Celebrations & Special Events” category on GoFundMe has “skyrocketed,” according to a site official. Since the company launch in 2010, nearly $1 million has been raised for birthday celebrations from more than 20,000 donors. There was a 330 percent increase in donation volume for birthday campaigns between 2013 and 2014.

“Social media has an influence,” said Michals. “Some moms see photos of their friends giving their children amazing birthdays and holidays and just want that for their own child. While it’s not a sure thing that donations will come rolling in, moms feel that it can’t hurt to try. There is also some sense of what goes around, comes around. … If you give to my child’s birthday party, I’ll give back to yours.”

The idea of crowd-funded birthday parties has it’s critics.

“It ridiculous,” said Lyss Stern, CEO and founder of “There is no reason to put yourself in debt or ask other people to pay for a birthday party.”

Children want to be surrounded with their friends and family, smiling and laughing on their birthday,” said Stern. “They don’t care if the party had all the bells and whistles. They will cherish the happy memories not the excessiveness.”

Is it me, or does this sort of suck all the fun out of motorsports?

Driverless Car Takes to the Racetrack

NBC News Stanford University researcher Chris Gerdes showcases Shelley, Stanford’s autonomous race car.

(Click da link. I spent 25 minutes of my life trying to figure out how to imbed/embed/put the video here, without success. I give up. You win, computer.) :


If you’re contemplating a prison stay, here are 8, um, suggestions: 


Different nations take very different approaches to the convicts they deem the most dangerous. From Russia’s prison island to Saudi Arabia’s unexpectedly cushy cellblocks, here are some of the most notable.

1. San Pedro Prison, Bolivia

The prison’s only goal is to prevent escape. There are no guards inside the walls. Its 1,500 inmates must purchase or rent their cells, according to their means; they govern their own community, complete with markets for food, clothes and drugs. Wives and children often stay inside, and there are two nurseries within the prison.

2. Ezeiza Penitentiary Complex, Argentina

Despite underground movement-detection cables, remotely controlled doors and extensive video surveillance, 13 inmates managed to escape at once from the maximum-security facility in August 2013 through a tunnel. In all, roughly 100 inmates escaped from Argentine prisons in 2013, most likely aided by corrupt staff.

3. Pollsmoor Prison, South Africa

An elaborately structured prison gang called the Numbers Gang — and its subgangs, the 26s, 27s and 28s — plagues the overcrowded Pollsmoor. The Numbers have operated for decades throughout South African prisons, with baroque hierarchies and rituals; its power is so widespread that years of attempts to eradicate the gang have failed.

4. Al-Ha’ir Prison, Saudi Arabia

Though Saudi Arabia is routinely criticized for public floggings, executions and suspected use of torture, this high-security prison for inmates under terrorism charges is known for its high level of comfort. It offers welfare payments for families and a hotel for extended family visits — all intended to entice dissidents to recommit to society.

5. Tihar Jail, India

The largest prison complex in South Asia, Tihar encompasses nine high-security facilities with more than 11,000 inmates, despite an official capacity of 5,200. Nearly 25 percent are in for murder charges or convictions. Rehabilitation programs include art and music therapy, meditation and workshops for carpentry, baking and textiles.

6. Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand

Known as Big Tiger or the Bangkok Hilton, Bang Kwang holds death-row inmates and those with sentences longer than 25 years. Until 2013, it was common practice to weld metal shackles onto the legs of prisoners for years at a time; permanently for those condemned to death.

7. Petak Island Prison, Russia

Here, in total isolation on an island in Novozero Lake, 193 prisoners serve life sentences. Only two small wooden bridges connect the island to the mainland. Prisoners spend 22.5 hours a day in a small-group or single cell and the other 1.5 hours in an outdoor cage.

8. Qincheng Prison, China

This maximum-security prison holds many political prisoners who are accused of crimes against the state. According to several memoirs, prisoners are largely isolated from one another and identified only by number. More recently, it has become home to corrupt politicians, who are held in more luxurious conditions.

Yale caves, and concedes that maybe computer science is worth a look after all. Progress!

Yale Stepping Up Computer Science After Students Demand Better Tech Training
by John Lauerman

1200x-1Students line up for commencement on campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn. on May 20, 2013.
Photographer: Jessica Hill/AP Photo

(Bloomberg) — Yale University said it will expand its computer science department after years of student and faculty complaints that the Ivy League school had fallen behind rivals.

Yale will add seven professors over the next few years, bringing the size of the department to 26, the school said. Two anonymous donors will partly fund the new positions.

Colleges across the U.S. are competing to excel in the fast-growing and lucrative field and are eager to replicate the success of schools such as Stanford University, birthplace of search company Google Inc. Even the wealthiest colleges, such as Yale, with an endowment of $23.9 billion, are struggling to retool.

“Increasingly, the skills at the heart of computer science are the means by which we move ideas forward in today’s world,” Yale President Peter Salovey said in a statement. “We are acknowledging the vital importance of those skills.”

More than 1,000 Yale students and alumni signed a petition over the past month complaining its computer science “faculty shortage” is holding back teaching and research at the New Haven, Connecticut, school. The college’s computer-science faculty is about the same size as it was three decades ago, yet it has 181 undergraduate majors — about four times as many as in 2010, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.
Harvard Import

This fall Yale will import Harvard’s most popular course, an introductory programming class called CS50 — a move the department called innovative while students have characterized it as humiliating.

The expansion “comes as a huge relief to a lot of CS students,” said Mohan Yin, a junior majoring in computer science who signed the petition. “It seemed like the program was kind of in dire straits until this announcement.”

Tamar Gendler, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences since July, said the expansion is among her top priorities.

“This is a great first step,” Joan Feigenbaum, who heads the school’s department and has been calling publicly for more faculty, said in an e-mail. “Yale’s CS department will still be small after this initial growth spurt, and it will be important to sustain growth.”

Computer science will also become part of Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. Yale will build an underground concourse that will connect the computer science department with other engineering buildings.

Computer programing is among the fastest growing careers in the U.S. and students are demanding more and better computer science classes.

Last year, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Steve Ballmer gave his alma mater Harvard University a gift estimated at $60 million to increase the school’s computer science faculty to 36 from 24. Princeton University, which already has 30 professors in the discipline, has said it will also expand.