A Plan to Restore the “Xanga Style” Community on “Free” WordPress

(Note: This is a “Pinned Blog” – newer blogs below this one)

Soullfire is Bringing Sexy Community Back ** Former Xangans – Like and Reblog if you support this idea ** It’s been close to a month OVER SIX MONTHS A YEAR TWO YEARS since Xanga has launched it’s “updated” “Xanga 2.0”, driven with the WordPress engine, and it’s still operating well below the “free” WordPress state. The “community” that was, disappeared with the end of Xanga 1.0 with the loss of free blogging, along with all of “1.0’s” community centric features like having a front page, ring groups, and general areas where users could find each other and congregate. Xanga has given no updates – so no one over there knows how long the “non community” condition will last. Many former Xangans like myself have moved their general blogging over to “free” WordPress but are also feeling a general loss of overall community that “Xanga 1.0” had. After using my WordPress site more often, I realized that it has certain features that will allow the former Xanga community to reconnect.  The answer lies in the “Reader” section, which is accessed by the top menu bar: Top_WP_menu In the Reader section, on the right hand side, there’s a “Topics” exploration search column underneath “Find Friends”: Side_WP_menu The topics search works by searching all the “Tag” keywords put in a blog and displays the blogs that have a match. Below shows an example of the Tag area in a new blog: blog_WP_menu Tag words go on the bottom line separated by commas. So once you’ve published a blog with certain tag words, it can be searched by others using the “Topics” search function. Now here’s where the Xanga community restoration comes into the picture. All that’s needed are some common “key words” used as tags that will allow users to find posts by former Xangans. Searching on a particular keyword will be similar to using the Xanga “Blog Rings” to find a group of posts related to a similar interest. Okay, to set this up, Xangans need to do the following: Post a blog stating what your Xanga name was and what your current name is now. In this blog use the tag word “ID_Xanga“. This will let people search for other former Xanga users using “ID_Xanga” as well as identify the Xangans who have changed their usernames. The beauty of this is it will only pull up the blogs that use this tag, so you will have an exclusive Xanga search feature. Next, when blogging, include the tag word “FreeXanga“. This will allow folks to find the latest blogs of former Xangans. Following this format, we can now use keywords to group blogs by interest or subject, just like the former “Xanga 1.0” Blog Ring or “Ish” sites. I’ve created a few tag words to get us started: QOTD_Xan  – Use this tag word to post with a question of the day Dollarish_Xan – Use this tag word to post with a money/savings/economic blog Politicish_Xan – Use this tag to post with a political related blog Rant_Xan – Use this tag to post with a rant type of blog Drama_Xan – Use this tag for drama blogs – for the drama lovers, haha. =) Townhall_Xan – Use this tag for general community info. This would be the tag to use when introducing new tag words to create a new search group. FreeXanga – Use this tag in all your blogs to make them “Xangan” searchable. I added “Xan” to the tag word topics to make it unique to Xangans, and it provides the general format for creating new search terms/groups. “ID_Xanga” need only to be used once for identification and to create a search list. I think this should work to help restore the “Xanga 1.0” style of community on WP, with the super bonus of now having a new world of people available to meet as well! Note: The max number of searchable tag words is 9, so don’t add too many tags words to your blog. ** Like and Reblog this and pass the word around if you support this idea – the “FREE” solution to bringing back community “Xanga 1.0” style! =)  **

Trading Update: July Performance Stats – The Ugly, The Bad, and The Good Part 4 of 4

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After what seemed like uncountable days of being in the loop of getting stopped out of trades, analyzing what went wrong, making adjustments to my trading system and placing new trades, I experienced new illumination on how to fit the pieces of the puzzle together.

My newfound enlightenment helped me make the necessary adjustments to correctly capture the action/reaction moves I had been focusing on. I’ve said before that understanding market moves is all about correctly reading its nuances. The problem is these “nuanced” moves can be extremely difficult to detect even when you’ve managed to narrow down the area of focus. It’s at the point of being non intuitive so it comes down to being able to figure out the action/reaction by recognizing the repeating pattern that doesn’t “repeat” identically in terms of extent or frequency, but in behavior of sequence of events. Even using the best analytical methods, making the leap to finding a true solution may not be possible via just direct application/brute force in trying varied adjustments until you meet with success- this is what makes finding the holy grail of consistent trading so difficult.

My solution didn’t come from “brute force” analysis, but rather a mental subconscious to conscious leap in interpreting the data. The brain is a great computing device that can work on processing problems even when we are not consciously focused on them. This is why it’s recommended that you should break up concentrated study with less strenuous mental endeavors/pastimes. Blogging is one such activity for me. Taking breaks gives your mind a chance to regroup and process data. Since trading solutions are mostly non intuitive, you’re far more likely to find solutions from your subconscious mind processing data than a direct conscious approach because of built in “past data” contamination- we try to apply what we already know rather than learn and understand things from new perspectives.

Once I made the connection, I was able to employ a method of precise entries and targets with a level of consistency and accuracy not experienced before (The Good).

 

July 2015 Performance

July 2015 Perf

This is easily my best monthly return since my banner year in 2012, but a key difference is 2012 was by intuition and general approximation versus much more exacting methods used today.

Trading for the month seemed surreal in its consistent accuracy. I would place trade entries that my gut would scream as being absolutely wrong but would wind up matching the plan and being correct. My conscious mind did not trust the solution provided by my unconscious and it made me doubt trade after trade, and market drift prior to the move had me feel sure I would get stopped out time and time again, but successful results proved my conscious mind wrong.

 

July 2015 Performance Vs Indices

 

I’m happy to see that all my research efforts and time commitment into learning to trade are continuing to progress and show highly promising results. Once fully mastered, my methods should be able to be applied to any type of market, ranging or trending with the same consistent results.

 

Mathematics and Sex

Dr Clio Cresswell provides a Tedx Talk on how complex mathematics can be used to describe all facets of our lives and isn’t just relegated to the hard sciences like math or physics. It really comes down to innate pattern recognition, and then coming up with equations that can explain that type of behavior.

What I find surprising is that in our modern age of mathematics branching out into more and more areas, when it comes to  short term trading, the prevailing consensus is the short term market is random with no discernible order and therefore can’t be “timed”, or “predicted”. The irony is a good portion of these folks who say the market isn’t predictable in the short term will then try to make the case that the market becomes predictable in the long term, which is contradictory when you think about it. The whole is comprised of the sum of its parts, so if the market has a structure for the long term, it should have one for the short term. Conversely, if the market is random in the short term, extending it out won’t change anything and it will remain random in the long term as well.

The key to successful Day Trading lies in finding these elusive complex market patterns and understanding them so one can project future movement, which is the essence of market timing.

Market Takes a Breather and Drops over 9% in 4 Days

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What a difference a week makes! Last Tuesday, the Dow closed around 17500. Today the Dow closed at 15781, about 9.3% lower – erasing all its gains for the year.

Of course all the market talking heads have plenty to say about it after the fact, but what were they saying before it happened? If they don’t have the ability to warn of impending market reversals, then how much weight should you put in their “after market” analysis?

Mega moves like this is a great illustration of why one should always employ stop losses and risk management when in the market. The only absolute control you have is when you enter the market and when you exit.

It’s a guaranteed fact that there were traders who were long in this market without employing any stop losses. It’s also a near guarantee that those traders had their accounts wiped out.

It’s also likely that there are traders who were short without using stops, and those who didn’t blow up their accounts with the market’s move up during this year likely made a killing these last few days, but these type of traders are doomed to give their returns back to the market because eventually they will be on the wrong side of a massive move and suffer the same fate as the traders who wiped out their accounts. Trading without using stop losses is equivalent to engaging in Russian Roulette on a continual basis- it’s not a question of if you will suffer devastating losses, but when.

The true professionals love downdrafts like this as they look for some good bargains that were oversold due to excessive fear. Of course low prices can head even lower, so risk management and stop losses are still needed.

Those like myself, analyzing market price behavior, have been given a golden year of data. The market spent several months in a pretty narrow trading range that heavily favored a delta neutral style of trading. The big drops now favor trending and momentum players. Seeing how the market behaves in both a tight range and trending environment provides great insight opportunities.

 

Trading Update: 2nd Qtr Performance Stats – The Ugly, The Bad, and The Good Part 3 of 4

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More humble pie was to be served during the second quarter. Results were still in the dumpster (Bad), just not as ugly as the 1st quarter…

 

April 2015 Performance

Apr 2015 Perf

April 2015 Performance Vs Indices

 

May 2015 Performance

May 2015 perf

May 2015 Performance Vs Indices

June 2015 Performance

June 2015 perf

June 2015 Performance Vs Indices

As you can see, it’s been a tough slog with working on my trading system. Working with relatively narrow stop losses  leaves little room for  error. Either my entry is accurate or I’m getting stopped out.

With month after month of bad results during this time, the question may arise as to why not trade on a sim during this time until the trading “kinks” are worked out? The answer is I am switching back and forth between the two. I test my refinements on the sim and also via back test tracing, then try it on my real account. I likely should stay on the sim account longer, but even though the sim is identical to the real account, the critical difference is risk of loss. It’s very hard to duplicate the fear of loss on a sim account. That fear of loss, when correctly channeled can give you a much higher level of clarity during a real trade – it’s similar to “battle awareness” where your focus becomes extra sharp.

Nuance is everything in trading- all the seemingly minor moves or zig zags add up in setting up for bigger moves, and clarity of insight is key in how to properly group and interpret market price action. Being able to identify, prepare, and act on trading set ups is the separator between gains and losses. Understanding proper nuance can only come with time, practice, and after trade analysis. This is where perseverance comes in  – to keep refining the process to account for these nuances inside one’s trading system.

The charts don’t show it, but R&D is telling me my system is almost there, save for these minor nuances. The tight stops are forcing me to come to terms with resolving the issues rather than try to guess with wider stops. Allowing those unknown nuances to remain in my system only increases uncertainty and risk of loss. Every trading loss gives me another opportunity to locate and resolve these errors with proper post trade analysis.

 

2nd Quarter 2015 Performance

 

2015 2nd Qtr

2nd Quarter 2015 Performance Vs Indices

 

Looking at these results makes me long for the days of 2012 when I was posting all those months of double digit gains, haha! =)  One of the key differences between now and then is it was more “instinct” and a rough trading model than precision back then and I wasn’t using stops. My instincts proved to be correct, but there were times when I had to also endure gut wrenching negative double digit swings in volatility due to a bad entry with no stops.

I knew that to establish long term consistency, instinct would have to be replaced by more precision and a better mastery of market entries and my trading model would need to be updated accordingly.  July’s results begin to show the fruition of the improvements made.

 

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“We chose to fight:” How three Americans prevented a French train terror attack

Originally posted on Quartz:

A man with an AK-47 on a high-speed train between Amsterdam and Paris was subdued on Friday (Aug. 21) by three Americans on holiday. A 26-year-old man of Moroccan origin, reportedly known to French security services, was arrested at the station in the town of Arras, near the border between France and Belgium.

The aftermath. The aftermath.

The Americans are Anthony Sadler, a student at Sacramento State University, and his friends, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, who are members of Air Force and the National Guard, respectively. Here’s what we know about what happened:

  • The incident started around 5:45 p.m. local time in the last carriage of the TGV train (link in French). The man walked out of the toilets with a Kalashnikov, an automatic pistol, and razor blades, and started walking through the carriages, shooting. “I heard gunshots, probably two, and a guy collapsed,” Cathleen Christina Coons, a New Yorker on holiday in Europe, told Le Monde. “There was…

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Trading Update: 1st Qtr Performance Stats – The Ugly, The Bad, and The Good Part 2 of 4

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Anyone who has ever invested knows taking on a market position is synonymous with risk. The market sword cuts both ways with either profits or losses.

The first quarter was some rough sledding (Ugly)…

 

Feb 2015 Performance

Feb 2015 Perf

 

Feb 2015 Performance Vs Indices

Feb 2015 Vs Ind

 

March 2015 Performance

March 2015 Performance Vs Indices

Mar 2015 Vs Ind

One word- ouch. Posting losing months is no fun – it feels like taking a failing grade and parading it around at a social gathering. there are very few blogging traders that post ALL their monthly trading results rain or shine as it can really do a number of your ego as well as attract lots of critical feedback. I salute traders who continue to diligently post despite having a string of big losses- that’s true transparency. Trading is after all, a risky business and people should be made aware of the risk that is involved by seeing actual losses.

So performance was awful, and the “after trade analysis” is where you can convert losses into future gains by figuring out what the trading system problems are. In my case, I was working on refining my trading system that was now incorporating what I observed to be a great pattern reaction. I thought I had implemented in the system correctly with prior results – and I did based on early trades. But looking back, I realize it was a partial implementation where I had yet to fully understand the patterns I had noted. This caused me to get stopped out of my trades time and time again being just a little off before the market would reverse and go in the direction I had anticipated. Then on one or two occasions I made some wide stops to try to mitigate these reversals and Murphy’s Law went into effect with me being wrong and the market still stopping me out with a big stop loss.

Trying to find a working trading system can be frustrating, but when you know you have the keys to a great system and you are still messing up only adds to that frustration. Trading is a lesson in self discipline since you have to solve all your own problems. Having no boss means the freedom to keep making the same mistakes if you choose. Losing performance was the price I paid for trying to take the “fuzziness” out of my trade system.

1st Quarter Performance

2015 1st Qtr

1st Quarter Performance Vs Indices

2015 1st Qtr Vs Ind

As I stated in part 1, the account size is smaller, so losses or gains will project out as bigger swings. The initial gains were under the “fuzzy” system where I was looking at a complex set of patterns that took time to develop, but worked. While the system worked, there was still too much uncertainty in terms of target estimation once a trade was entered. If I had stayed with it, I likely would have developed losing performance anyway over time due to those uncertainties.

The lesson here is even if you are certain of a winning pattern, you may still need more time than expected to figure out all the details.

 

 

Featured Image -- 2004

Chick-Fil-A Franchise Owner Pays Employees During 5-Month Renovation

soullfire:

Now this is how you build employee loyalty and then some- what a bonus!

 

Originally posted on Consumerist:

chick-fil-a-reopeningThe owner of a Chick-Fil-A franchise in Austin, Texas needed to expand his restaurant, which required closing it for a few months. Instead of letting his workers go and wishing them luck finding work elsewhere, he decided to just keep paying them for the four months that the restaurant was under renovation. Wait, really?

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Donald Trump- Not an Aberration, but the Culmination of Modern American Politics

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Ever since Donald Trump has entered the 2016 US Presidential Race as a Republican candidate, he has been running a clinic on grabbing and maintaining the main spotlight as well as superior ratings.

It’s a fair estimate that when Trump entered the race, very few media pundits or politicians took him seriously, thinking he’d grab his allotted 15 minutes of candidate fame as another means of marketing his brand, and then depart soon after. But things took an unexpected turn when his bombastic statements about illegal immigration along with his refusal to tone down his rhetoric only served to boost his ratings in the polls rather than cause any negative consequences.

On a roll from that initial fiery blast, when Senator McCain criticized him, he let loose with his now infamous “I like war heroes who weren’t captured.” line that was as hilarious as it was outrageous. In another time long past, a statement like that would have effectively ended the campaign immediately, but in the current age, there was little fallout.

Next up, Senator Graham went to McCain’s defense and called Trump a “Jackass”. Trump responded by doxing Graham by revealing his private cell number to the public. Graham responded by making videos of himself destroying his phone. Again, there was no negative fallout on Trump.

When an online tabloid returned the favor and published Trump’s cell number, Trump masterfully replaced his voice mail greeting with information about his presidential campaign, making it another source of free publicity.

During this time, Trump effectively cornered the market on grabbing all the media’s and public’s attention, leaving little air for the other competing candidates as he dominated the polls as the top choice.

Then came the 1st televised debate ran by Fox News- and it was clear Fox had an agenda to take some air out of Trump’s sails, as was revealed with their sand bag lead off question of asking who would dare to run as an independent candidate if they didn’t get the Republican nomination – a question squarely aimed at Trump.

During the debate, only Rand Paul was willing to take on Trump with direct attacks and looked like he lost in the exchange.  It was clear that neither the other candidates nor Fox were willing to start a head to head Trump match up. His main attacks came from the debate hosts themselves, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelley.

After the debate, media pundits declared Trump a loser, and his criticizing of Fox debate host Megyn Kelly was elevated to make it an example of his misogyny. He was written off, but that epitaph was premature as the latest polls still has him solidly leading the pack. Much to the dismay of Fox and the RNC as well as the other GOP candidates, Trump’s momentum isn’t slowing down or showing any signs of fading.

The media and GOP/RNC continue to scratch their heads as to why all this negative publicity that would have severely weakened other candidates in the past seems to be only making Trump stronger.

Most of these folks must have amnesia of what’s been happening to American politics over the last few decades, which have been growing more and more negative. Civility and decorum have taken a back seat to bombshell statements and theatrics and rather than attempt to tone it down or ignore such behavior, the media glorified it with extra coverage since it meant higher broadcast ratings.

Fox News is only now concerned with Trump’s “off script” behavior since it is being targeted at the GOP, but they had no issues whatsoever when attacks of this level or greater were being hurled at Democrats.

While Democrats may be laughing at the GOP’s frustrations now, they likely won’t be if Trump continues to increase in strength. If you think he’s punching hard now, just wait until it’s the Dems turn to be on the receiving end.

The 2014 elections were the lowest since WWII – people have grown apathetic with the current state of politics. Fewer people believe in what the candidates say or promise.  They attack each other viciously in side statements, but never own those comments when called out on them, and go back to being “on script” when the main cameras are on. Trump is using that to his advantage by ignoring all the old rules and running as a straight out populist who doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his “off script” statements. He has positioned himself perfectly to run as an outsider. The conundrum presented to the GOP and other candidates is how do they successfully attack him without alienating his base of supporters? Each attack so far has only validated his “outside” status.

Meanwhile, no major media outlets seem to care that most if not all of the candidates including Trump dodged their questions and change the subject rather than give out meaningful answers. But that’s to be expected in the carnival like “game show” atmosphere of the debate rules where you are only given a minute to answer serious questions- hilarious in itself.

The truth is American Politics has devolved into just another “Reality Show”, so is it any surprise that a reality show star is leading the race?

Canada was hosting their own political debates as well, and it’s quite revealing to see a comparison between us and them to see how much our politics have changed.

 

 

 

 

Trading Update: Performance Stats Preface – The Ugly, The Bad, and The Good Part 1 of 4

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My last trading performance update was for January, so I’m 6 months behind in updates. I was thinking of the best way to group the data that made the most sense. It didn’t seem practical to just post separate entries for each month missed since all the data is now available. So I think I will group them by quarters- meaning I will post February and March performance data along with a 1st Quarter summary, and do the same with April – June performance data. July will be posted separately and stats should be updated monthly going forward.

They also fit nicely into three general categories: the “ugly”, “bad”, and “good”.

The 1st quarter saw the biggest losses where I took some extra risks (The Ugly). The 2nd quarter wasn’t as bad as the 1st quarter, but it was still a losing quarter (The Bad). July turned in solid positive returns.

I’m trading with a smaller account, so expect to see some big percentage swings.

The interesting thing I realized is how dramatic performance results can change based on an altered interpretation/analysis  of the given price data. Some minor system modifications based on an updated understanding can make all the difference between a trade working out to near perfection, or not working at all.

 

Canadian Hitchhiking Robot Travels Throughout Canada/Europe – Meets its Doom in U.S.

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Okay, so I had no idea that there was a Canadian project created  hitchhiking robot depending on the kindness of strangers to travel across the globe.

I fault my newsfeed for not sharing this info with me (Google News, I’m looking at YOU).

Apparently, after Hitchbot had successfully travelled across Canada and parts of Europe, it was determined that the next trip should be a trek in the US starting in the east coast and heading out to California.

The trip started well enough in Boston and Hitchbot made its way to NYC. However, poor Hitchbot fell victim to possible anti-Robot criminal activity in Philadelphia. Details about what went down here, and here.

 

This certainly doesn’t make the US look good or safe for vulnerable travelers to 1st world countries. We better hope some superior alien race doesn’t send a cute robotic emissary as a test of our integrity anytime soon if we don’t want an intergalactic war on our hands.