This is a place for me to post live trade calls, musings, opinions, and the lessons I learn in real time. I've branched out a little bit from my go-to instrument (options), so it seemed like a good time to start a new one. I want this journal to be more approachable; and inclusive place where all are welcome. You'll notice my trading is more about risk management than anything else, and I'll try to highlight some of the specific risk concerns I have and how to hedge against them. I'll also do my best to give the rationale behind a given trade or sentiment. Currently, I have a small account to perform live testing of strategies. My former journal (Beer & Options) is me working out the kinks in one strategy (credit spreads)--and that one is ready to go live when market conditions favor it. Three consecutive weeks of short weeks for me (because of a vacation and the 4th) provided a break in my trading activity with that strategy. That strategy was also based on an unclear market outlook. Having a clearer view of where we're headed, I'll be moving to more profitable diagonals--I'll try to give a solid run down of that strategy in the coming days. Today's positions, Diagonal (all previously opened): JPM - Long $95 Oct Call, Short 8/4 $92.50 call. I paid 0.98 debit MSFT - Long $75 Oct Call, Short 8/4 $74 call. Paid 1.23--more than I should have, trying to leg-in. PM - Long $120 Sept Calls, Short 8/4 $118 calls for .60 VIX - Ratio spread. Short 1x 9 call, long 2x 10 call as a hedge positions for .45 debit I also have a debit spread open on AAPL on 145-150 for the 8/18 calls. I may or may not run this one through their earnings. I got a good early read on PM today, and bought $115 8/4 calls for $1.10, then dumped the short side of my diagonal spread, then sold the $115s for 1.80, and then dumped the long call on the high volatility for an awesome day there (real time calls on this one preserved in @Max E.'s STHH). For some fun, look at the self doubt on full display as I went from thinking I'd blown my whole trading account to having a amazing day in the span of just 23 mins. At the moment, both JPM and MSFT are pretty close to even, so I won't hesitate on Monday to close them out for a small loss if we see a big jump on the VIX. Oddly, in spite of being bullish (which I almost always am), a jump in volatility will serve me better than a good day of earnings. I'll lay out the diagonal strategy soon when I have more time to devote to it--I'll also make a post fairly shortly about how I do position sizing and certain risk management techniques that aren't specific to one strategy. I hope others can learn here from my mistakes. But it's always been my style to learn the hard way. ====================================================== My background (This isn't that relevant to trading, so feel free to stop reading here): I definitely take an investor's view of the market. But I work in insurance, and because of the specific type of insurance I write, the knowledge translates very naturally to options. My dad pushed me into investing when I was young and I bought a mutual fund in 1999, and then opened my retirement account in 2006 while I was working and going to school. Needless to say, I don't care for mutual funds or ETFs. I started managing my own portfolio in 2008, and trading in options in 2010 (and I have my retirement account still). My degree is International Relations. I intended to go further into grad school or law school with it, but I graduated in 2008, and I was pretty good at my job in insurance, so they offered me a job. By the time I could give consideration to taking my education further, I was making too much in insurance to give it up. That's how insurance murders your dreams. Now my goal is to get to the point where I can retire from insurance, and trade and invest for income while I do stuff I enjoy, like travel and learning. I've always been really good in math (as in, finished calc 3 as a junior in high school). I'm conceptually proficient with just about anything I've come across. I'll never forget the day I was sitting in calc 3 and realized if I ever needed to use this stuff, I'd have to learn it again anyway and just gave up on trying--but followed along conceptually (and proceeded to get my first and only D in high school). That was the moment I moved from pursuing an engineering degree to something I enjoyed more. I have a tough time explaining the way I look at numbers, but it's less rigid than most traders. Working insurance has kept the basic arrhythmic sharp; but I visualize number more than handle them 'digitally'. I'm not sure how else to say that. It manifests itself in a number of ways. For example, I don't use the greeks because I can see these with the raw prices (this is the part that I brought over from insurance). I don't really try to quantify my strategy in rigid terms either--I firmly believe that increasing a model's precision can decrease it's accuracy. No prizes for figuring out I like beer. Mostly IPAs and Pale Ales are my go to. I also enjoy wine (bold reds and pinot noirs) and cocktails (not sweet). I usually don't drink while trading (as my name might suggest), but that has more to do with trading overlapping with my day job. I'll leave there for now--and bring other stuff up as it becomes relevant.