Background: Despite my moniker I am not much of a Trader currently. I used to be a trader for a passive investment management company and as such was more of a facilitation gig than applying any of the most important principles to active trading. Prior to this year I did a handful of speculative trades a year and were driven mostly by tertiary fundamental analysis and an extremely light technical view. I began actively trading stocks recently and have had some relatively good successes but much larger lessons. I found that I was most comfortable when I was trading intraday but due to capital restraints quickly discovered the pattern day trader rule. I began to swing trade but used to wide of stops and in this choppy market my winners turned into losers and everything got stopped on my already wide stops. The futures markets have always interested me and I believe it is the best suited for my risk profile and trading goals. I work full-time in a salaried position which at this time does not require much attention. I have a lot of idle time so being able to trade during market hours will not be an issue. I have my Bachelors in Finance and an MBA. I would be still working in the Investment Management field if the option to move out of state were on the table but due to family constraints it is not. I chose to switch my focus and moved into the Corporate realm. I am a Strategic Analyst for the President of a regional Energy firm. While I don't believe that education = success I think it's important to point out that I am not a gun-slinging poker player looking for his next fix or an overly-creative engineer looking to create the perfect system to make an ATM. (no offense to either of those who are reading this) Goals: This year I set a goal to reach a Portfolio balance of $50k by December 2008. This includes my IRAs and does not back out any deposits. It sounds like cheating but I suppose savings is a part of my system. I of course back it out when calculating performance. I am still driving toward that goal despite that this Journal will focus on my taxable account. I do not have a firm line to draw for a what type of gain I'd like to see but I think a reasonable target is breakeven by Spring and at least a couple points on the ES a month. I like to set my goals low and revise them upward as I get into it. Strategy: I really embraced the writings of Van Tharp and believe that the most important aspect of any system is the position sizing mechanism and risk control. Being that I am only trading the ES I will use this to determine the number of cars and stops. (which will be some function of ATR) I have attached a spreadsheet which I used to position size my swing trades. I will modify it for this. My technical analysis skills are improving and recently had an 'AH HA" moment while listening to a Podcast from Moneyshow.com. The speaker (cannot remember his name) turned out to be a scheister but something about what he said just clarified how to read to chart and I believe I am ready to move into the next phase of my 'training.' I will paper trade through TOS until I am comfortable enough to go live. I have a little more than 15k but will likely stick to one car from the outset and ramp up as I gain confidence. I like many of the ideas that Anekdoten speaks to in his thread (http://www.elitetrader.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=99283) and will derive much of my initial strategy from this thread. I'll start with 2 minute bars, look for meaningful trends and enter for a retracement. My stop will depend on the ATR but I am not sure if it will exceed 1.5-2 points as that is more than 1% of my equity. This is an area of research for me. I am going to try and keep it simple. Once I go live I will not be living off of this income and will do trades when I can. If I am successful I will scale up as I move along and see where it goes from there. Feel free to chime in and discuss along with me but I am not looking for naysayers and hecklers. I have done a significant amount of research and am well aware of the risks, pitfalls and even that there is much I DO NOT KNOW. I am extremely receptive to criticism and input but as long as it's respectful. This journal will follow the journey to figuring out what works for me and what does not.