Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Goodbye LS400

I finally had to get rid of my Lexus LS400.  It has been 9 years with this car.  I purchased in Oct 2005 for a little over $20K with around 47K miles. It got into a wreck in December 5th, 2014 with around 180K miles on it.  The insurance paid me $7,366 for it.  It depreciated at $1,412 per year or about $118 per month.  It pays to drive a car into the ground, much better than leasing in the long run.  Plus I only purchased liability insurance, so I saved at least $1K per year on that.

Martha was driving the car when a 20 year old girl was trying to make a left turn.  The girl thought she could make it, but obviously she had bad judgement and Martha ran right into her.  Her Dad's insurance was State Farm and they settled the property claim in about one week and even offered a rental car.  We never took the rental care because Martha could not drive for at least a month.  I thought the price was fair.  Martha's claim will take longer as all medical bills need to come in.  The other party have assumed fault and will be paying for all medical, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Personal Weather Station: My New Toy

I recently purchased a Personal Weather Station from Costco for $80.  It is made by AcuRite,  Model 02032C.  It is a Five-In-One sensor that normally sells for $150.  Costco seems to have the best price that I could find on the same model, but it is not listed on Costco's online site, I just happen to see it at my local Austin store.   You can get it on Amazon for about $115, including shipping.  The sensor includes inside and outside temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, clock and calendar.  It also has a ticker on the bottom that gives various weather statistics.  The display unit connects to your PC to download data to the company's website and to Weather Underground.

The data is wirelessly sent from the outside station to a desktop display screen inside your house.  The weather data can be downloaded to your computer via CSV file and uploaded the there website at AcuLink.  The site also has connectivity to Weather Underground, the largest network of personal weather stations.  Weather Underground currently has over 37,000 weather stations, setup by other people, mostly in the back yards.  You can view all the stations in your area here.  My personal station link is here.  Weather Underground also display personal web cameras to show pictures.  You can see that here.

Here is my weather stations current real-time readings:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Portland Trip

We decided to take a site seeing tour of Portland, Oregon.  It has been a few years since I last visited.  I meet up with my brother and Martha got to take some fantastic pictures of the local sites!  Below is a video collection of my shots with my camera.

Monday, November 3, 2014

KVUE News Customer Complain about Uber Surge Pricing

This Halloween night was insane for drivers of Uber and Lyft.  It was a Friday night, Halloween and F1 racing weekend.  It made for the perfect storm and the highest surge rates ever seen 10X the normal pricing during Halloween night.  KVUE did a story about it and asked me to comment on the pricing system.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Formula One Race Day!

Went to check out the main race Formula One race today.  Austin built a brand new track 3 years ago and now the F1 race is back in America after a 10 year hiatus.  Theses tickets are usyally around $400, but I had a driver friend that gave me 4 tickets for free.  I just had to get him out of there and I used my Uber credits to do that.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

KEYE Story During ACL Weekend

KEYE News called me last week before the start of ACL, in Austin.  Melanie wanted to know if any city sting operations happen to let them know.  Friday night was quiet, but Saturday there were some reports of it happening.  I texted Melanie Torre at 512.743.4996 on Saturday night.  She was in Hill country at a reunion and not working that night.  On Sunday I got a call from Rachel Cox at 512.592.2088.  Rachel wanted to interview me for the 10:30PM News on Sunday.  Below is the news story.  One of my driver buddy Raul Perez caught a drunk driver the night before and had a dash cam video of the event.  I asked him to also speak with Rachel and his story and it was the lead story on Sunday night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

KLBJ Talk Radio Talks Ride Share In Austin

My TV News story about my citation and impound was all over talk radio on Tuesday September 23rd.  I called into the Todd and Don show and we had an extended chat.  Apparently, they had been talking about it all morning long.  The clips are linked below.

Previous talk radio hour discussions.

Here is a summary of the Ride Share discussions

Raw audios:

Tuesday Sept 23rd 6:00 AM Audio

Tuesday Sept 23rd 7:00 AM Audio

Tuesday Sept 23rd 9:00 AM Audio

Wednesday Sept 24th 10:AM Audio

Monday, September 22, 2014

KTBC Fox 7 News Austin Showing Dash Cam

It has been four days since my citation and Fox 7 News decided to interview me about the dash cam videos today.  It was one week ago since my first interview with Rudy Koski at Fox at City Hall,  So he was happy to review what had happen over the weekend.  Rudy first called and asked if I felt if I was targeted, but I said no not personally targeted, but you never know...

Here is the story that aired during the 5PM & 9PM News

Here is the 10PM version with a different edit and sound bite.

And here is the entire interview from my dash cam.  Speed up for time purposes.  You really cant hear anything as the doors are closed. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

KVUE News Showing Dash Cam In Action

I put my new Action camera to action on Friday night after APD and the City Transportation department cited me for not having a Chauffeurs permit or operating authority.  Below is a News story that KVUE did at 6PM and 11PM.  Also links to the entire bust is shown below.

KVUE at 11PM

Interesting Snippet.  While taking the undercover agents I see a car going the wrong way down Gaudaulpe St.

All the dash cam videos

Part 1 – http://youtu.be/p2beLLCB-s4  Drive with undercover City Workers

Part 2 - http://youtu.be/KUeuPed0Er0 Being pulled over by the City and Police

Part 3 – http://youtu.be/ilRdvXwGVgc Walk around the car while City writes citation

Part 4 – http://youtu.be/oDAtPDLNoXI Tow Truck Pick up

Part 5 - http://youtu.be/olMe0Int8lM Tow Truck Leaving Hooters

Part 6 – http://youtu.be/NXbQfcnkkQI Pickup up a Southside

Part 7 - http://youtu.be/itwjwyWCTf0 Getting my car back

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Action Camera Review

I recent purchased this new Action Camera SJ4000.  It was $82 on Amazon and competes with the GoPro Hero camera that sells for $400.  I have to say Im very impressed.  The picture can record up to 1080P and has the same wide angle lens as the GoPro.  It even includes a LCD display to help align the camera.  The GoPro has not display, so you have no idea how it will look until you download the videos.

Here is a link to a great review and report of issues.

Here are some videos that I have taken already.  This one is just around my subdivision.

Here is a slowed down video where I caught a lighting strike.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Austin Ride Share Proposal

Today Austin City Council Chris Riley had a press conference where he talked about a temporarily proposal to allow TNCs (Transportaion Network Companys) to be legal within the City Limits of Austin.  I attended the event and was interview by Fox Austin, KVUE and KLBJ talk radio.

Here are the video clips during the 6:00PM Fox News Story.

Fox News Story at 10PM

KVUE 6PM Story
KVUE 10PM Story

Monday, September 8, 2014

Risk Free Rate Of The VIX

Talking about the impact of Interest Rates and the value of the VIX calculation.  Below is the acutal formula for calculating the VIX.  Notice how the VIX is the sum of many variables and a multiple of R, which is the Risk-free interest rate.  So as interest rates go down, the VIX will go down.  As interest rates go up the VIX will go up.  Everything else is based on option pricing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Markets Climbing A Wall of Worry

Decided to talk with Tom and Tony again on TastyTrade.  I have been mostly out of the market since May 2014, as the markets slowly ground higher during the Summer months.  We had a 4% dip in the beginning of August and I decided to buy the dip after falling 3%.  I was a couple days early shorting volatility, but when the bombs starting falling on Iraq on August 7th, it was the bottom and my account started heading back up to its all time highs!  There is a saying that I will never forget.  "You want to sell on war rumors and buy when the bomb start falling!"

Talkin the Markets with Tom and Tony - Aug. 27th 2014:  Tom and Tony have been basically short for the last 3 years.  They keep fighting the market, by shorting futures contacts as we climb higher and higher, even though all 'technicals' show that we are in a bull market.  They are classic Contrainian and never capitulate.  Eventually, they will be right, but for now they are only right for a few days to a week before we grind higher again.  I called them out on there bearish stance.  I tend to not be so dogmatic and believe that the trend is your friend.  Right now the trend is up and best to go with that until it changes.

 I also made a call to Liz & Jenny about rolling my covered call on Aug 21st.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Local News About City Crack Down Of RideShares

I recently made the Local news on KEYE.  I was interviewed by Deeda Payton about the latest citations and impoundments going on in Austin.  I was on the 6:00PM and 10:00PM news.  Deeda actually came to my house to do the interviews and we shoot in front of my home.  The interview took about an hour of time to record and it ended up being about 2 minutes of air time.  I guess that is show business.

6:00PM News on KEYE August 20th, 2014

10:00PM News on KEYE August 20th, 2014

Carma Car Pooling Story August 14th, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Obama in Austin, TX

Obama was in Austin, TX July 10th 2014.  I got tickets on the Tuesday before and the line was around the block.  People were waiting since 8:00pm the piror day.  The doors open at 8:30AM and I got there just when it open.  By 8:50AM I got my tickets and by 9:00AM the line was gone and you could have walked in and received your free ticket.

On Thursday Obama was scheduled to speak around noon.  He did really start speaking until around 12:45PM.  I guess he was held up at Magnolia Cafe.  He was staying at the Sheraton this time and headed out to Franklin Barbecue after the speech.

While waiting to get inside the Paramount Theatre, I was interviewed  by Infowars reporter Lee Ann McAdoo  Here is the video:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Uber Driver Update

Its been 2 weeks since Uber started up in Austin.  They advertised making $600 in one weekend driving your own car.  I averaged $500 a weekend or about $39/hr in my first 2 weekends, only working about 13 hours over 3 days Friday-Sunday.  Uber was giving away 20 free rides for 2 weeks, so it will be interesting to see how well the demand holds up after the promotion ends on June 20th, 2014.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Uber Starts up in Austin, TX

Uber has started offering its ride sharing service in Austin, TX.  Within the Austin city limits there is still some questions weather it is totally legal or not, so Uber is offering the service for free for 2 weeks to any passenger.  Just use promo code ATXFREE or text to 827-222 to get 20 free rides.  The service is about half the cost of a taxi and they use regular people as drivers.  Background checks are done on the drivers and payments are all electronic, so cash is never exchanged.

I signed up as a driver.  I may never use it, but it would be nice to be allowed, in-case I'm bored and want to make a few bucks.  After you complete the application form and submit images of your license, insurance, registration and car, you just wait for a back ground check to be completed and you can start.  The Uber staff came to Austin for a couple of days to hand deliver the gear.  They give you an iPhone4 with the driver app installed, a USB charging cable, cigarette lighter charger, phone holder and air freshener.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Futures Trading Begins

This week I opened a Futures account with E*Trade.  With a  minimum account size of $10K, you get fairly cheap commissions for the first 3 months.  After that you can reduce the size to $2K, but I would not advise it.  Future's contracts are highly leveraged and you can quickly blow through a $2K account in minutes if you don't watch what you are doing.  I have watched on TastyTrade.com how its done have have read many articles about it.  

Now was time to test the waters and why not.  I can commit last month's profits to this endeavor.  I dont want to lose money, but the key seems to be just chart watching and to be very discipline with your entries and exits.  Since a $10K account really wont cover many contracts, I will be strictly day-trading and closing all positions at the end of the day.

My first trade was the ES, short for E-mini S&P.  Since it was trading up and near a 5min Bollinger band I decided to try shorting 1 contract.  Well, it proceeded to pop up a few more ticks, but eventually came back to earth and I covered within 60 mins for a $37.50 profit.  Good thing I did, since it bounce back up again.

Next ,I tried a few NQ contracts, which is the Nasdaq 100 futures.  This future really moves fast, but I told myself I would not chase and would alwasy let the market come to me.  It was Fed meeting day so I was long 4 contracts during the Fed Release and the initial move was down, then a huge spike up.  I quickly made over $500.  I scapled a few more long trades on the NQ and at the end of the day I was up $937.50 for the day.  My futures account was up over 9% in one day!  Do that 10 days in a row and Ill be up over 100%

Maybe I was lucky, maybe I was good or a combination of both.  Time will tell, but that was fun..  Things to keep in mind each ES Contract point is worth $50 and each .25 tick is $12.50.  Each NQ Contract point is worth $20 and each .25 tick is worth $5.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Trading Realization - "Trade Small and Trade Often"

I had a realization today.  My desire to be a 'perfect' trader was holding me back.  I have had a  pretty good run the last 2 months, in trading.  Having no losses on any trades, I thought I finally cracked the markets.  I was trying to be perfect and did not want to lose any money on a single trade.  While I know this is unrealistic, I tried my hardest to achieve this because of my personal ego to always be right.  

The problem with this is I had to take positions that had 'unlimited risk'.   It would only be a matter of time before a blow up.  As a good predictor of price action, I was simply lucky with my results so far.  I know I need to manage my risk, so it was time to try a new strategy.  

I also wanted to build up my IRA accounts and in those accounts you can not enter into naked positions.  All trades need to be covered or cash secured.   So how can I build my retirement accounts?  I have to hedge every options bet and limit or define all unlimited losses. 

I never like the idea of hedging my bets, since the cost of the hedges really eats into your profits, but what I realized is that without these hedges I am subject to huge potential losses and statistics say that it will eventually happen and be order of magnitude than many some gains.  

So while the cost to hedge is high, the probability of profit is also high.  So I have to make up for the hedges by simply trading more and make up any losses in my volume of trades!  Sure, I statistically should lose 20% of the time, but the 80% of the time should be winners.  So my new saying is "Trade small and trade often!"

The 80% win rate should guarantee a profit at the end of the month, even with 20% losers.  The losses should be contained as long as you keep your trade sizes about the same.   The key is to maintain the same level of trading and don't over extend yourself.    As soon as you do, the market will go against you and you will have to start all over.  Stay disciplined!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2014 Trading Update

It has been a hell of a year to start my trading for 2014.  After incurring a net lost in January, I'm off to the races and have surpassed last year's gains at this time.  What is even better, is that I have been able to keep my accounts at all time highs.  Which means that I have been beating the markets, which is not easy to do.  Most professional money managers never beat the averages, but this year might be my year to do just that.

I am averaging $7,735/month and a win rate of 81%.    While my win rate is slightly lower than last year, my average per month is significantly better so far.  They say in trading even the worst stock picker can be a successful trader if they employ risk management and minimize losses.  So that is my goal this year. My goal this year is to minimize my losses and just be consistent.  My target profit is anything six figures.  If I could have contained my huge losses last year, it would have been an amazing year.  I had a few trades really blow up on me and that costed me dearly.  If I can manage to fix that, I should be well on my way.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

US Airways Twitter post on TMZ Live

US Airway tweeted a picture of a naked female with a model 777 plane inserted in her vagina.  TMZ Live talks about the incident and why the employee isn't being fired.  I give my comments at the end of the show.  Warning while the original broadcast was edited for TV, the below video link contains the actual picture and may not be suitable for all views.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is The Stock Market Rigged?

60 Minutes had a show about the stock market being rigged.  It Interviewed Michael Lewis and he discovered that High-frequency trading (HFTwere front running the market by using direct feeds to capture buy and sell orders from Exchanges and would buy or sell ahead of a large order, forcing anyone to have to pay higher for a stock, because the HFT purchased the supply a head of them.  CNBC had Lewis on there show a couple days later and here was the snippet.


The debate centers around direct feeds and the SIP, Securities Information Processor .  Apparently HFT have direct feeds to the major exchanges and they can see market order before anyone else.  Where everyone else only sees orders on the SIP, which is 'slightly' slower.  So using computers, a HFT algorithm can see your order come in via the direct feeds, then buy up all the ask and sell it back to you for a grantee profit.

So are the markets rigged?  I say no.  The slight speed advantage that the direct feeds have over the SIP system is measured in milliseconds.  For a retail investor, they don't care about your tiny lot orders to buy 100-500 shares.  The HFT is really trying to get ahead of the large lot orders that Mutual funds and pension funds have to transact.  The 5000-100,000 share orders, where a one cent profit means $50-$1000.  Do this a few hundred times a day and you made some real money!

So don't worry about the current news story of the week.  The market has never been better.  Spreads are smaller and commissions are lower. So its easy to make a profit then ever before.   It is still tough to trade and make a profit, but that is the trading business.  Don't blame it on the system, blame it on your self.  Once you figure out the system, then you can make money.  I'm living proof.  Problem is that once everyone else figures out the system, the system changes, so you better learn to change with it.

If you are still concern about someone front running your order, then just route your order on the IEX Exchange.  They add 350 microseconds of latency to HFT, by adding a huge spool of fiber in-front of there computers, so the HFT orders arrive at the same time.  The CEO claims that after he setup his own exchange, he found that he could hit any bid price and it would execute, where before the orders would just disappear.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On TMZ again! about Riff Raff and Katy Perry

Got on TMZ again on 3-26-2014.  Riff Raff gets a date with Katy Perry and talks about it in front of a bikini babe, who apparently doesn't understand English.  The bikini babe just stands there as Riff taps her ass and he talks about his date with Katy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tasty Trade Appearance

Got on TastyTrade again 2-21-2014, we talk about Delta, Karen the Supertrader and naked PCLN straddles.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

TMZ Live and TMZ Sports

Got on TMZ live again 2-20-2013.  This was a flash appearance on TMZ.  Christi from TMZ Skyped me asking for a quick opinion about Emma Smith.  I wasn't even watching the show, but someone had dropped out and she they saw me online.  I quickly read the story and gave a 10 second comment.

I was also on TMZ Sports on 2-18-2013, but it looks like they cut my comment.  Probably for the best, but the clip was great and worth a look to see Kate Upton!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Trading Volitility

Last year was my best trading year ever.  I decided to refocus my efforts in trading and have evolved into mainly trading volatility instruments.  I will also play some momentum stocks as they come up, but I'm primarily watching the VIX and sell puts when the VIX gets high, which is now between 18-20 point range.  I will also start shorting the VIX, via selling calls on UVXY, when volatility finally collapses.

Below is a chart of the VIX for the last year.  You can see in 2013 the VIX had 6 spikes above 18, including the 1st day of the year where the VIX was over 23.  After each spike, it quickly fell an average of 40%!

Since you cant directly bet on the VIX you need to use ETFs like VXX, UVXY, XIV and SVXY to make your bets.  UVXY is a 2X leveraged fund and will move 2X the VIX futures, so it will decline twice as fast or increase twice as fast.  UVXY will decline an average of over 50% when the VIX collapses.

Chart of UVXY for 2013, the numbers are huge because UVXY has a few reverse splits during the year.  This is an ETN that can actually go to zero, but it routinely has 10:1 or 4:1 reverse splits to get its nominal value back up.  Just sell this short or sell naked calls, it eventually will go to zero, but can have huge spikes up before it does, but it never lasts for very long.  The spikes up are usually not more than 4 weeks.

The nice thing about trading these instruments is that if you can follow the market direction, you can really out perform the indexes, since they move so much faster than the index you can make up loss ground quickly.  So when the market starts to turn down, go long UVXY.  It usually rises 4X what the decline in the S&P is.  When the market starts to climb back up or stabilizes, then buy the SVXY and short UVXY.  Your gains should be 4X the SandP rate of return.  Usually the problem with these ETFs is staying in them long enough to gain the benefit.  Since they move so quickly, they can scare you out of your position so you need a strong stomach to with stand the volatility.  Trading volatility is volatile, but volatility always reverts back to a mean!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Driving Aston Martin Vantage In Las Vegas

My company Apriso a division of Dassult Systemes had its first ever Winter University for most of its Services Organization employees.  We all had rooms at Bally's Hotel in Las Vegas.  I actually was fortunate to get a suite with a Jacuzzi, Bidet, a King and Queen bed.  Only 3 of 37 guys were lucky enough to get a suite and I was just randomly lucky to get selected.  The days were filled with learning new things within our company and new software enhancements. 

The nights were at really nice restaurants including:

- Center Cut Steak house at Flamingo
- Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace
- Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace

The main attraction was 'team building' at Exotics Racing, where we all got to drive various exotic cars!  I got to drive an Aston Martin Vantage S, a $185,000 car!  Below is a video of me driving 4 laps around the track. You actually are driving with other people on the track and you can actually see me passing a green Lamborghini at the end of the video.  Here is a link with everyone's best lap times.

Here are some pics next to a Lamborghini and Ferrari.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tasty Trade Time Again

Got on Tasty Trade again!  I did a follow-up call with Tom and Tony.  Talked about my $UVXY position and going long the $VIX with his daughter Case.

Friday, January 31, 2014

TMZ again about George Zimmerman

Got on TMZ today.  Topic was about George Zimmerman being on a celebrity boxing event.  Harvey believes that George is a media fame whore and seeking out publicity.  My opinion is that the media made George Zimmerman a story, when there was no story. The media is keeping the spot light on him.  We should just leave the guy alone.  He was found not guilty and nothing happen.  CNN tried to pump up the story hoping to see riots in the streets.  Nothing happen when he verdict came out and we should just give George his privacy back.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Time on Tasty Trade

I had another 10 minutes of fame talking with Tom and Tony.  They host an online network devoted to talking about the markets.  It's nice to talk to people that know what you are talking about.  We first start talking about my latest trade in UVXY.  A 3X levered fund that is long the VIX future's contract.  Then we talk about the market in general and there thoughts about my observation of them being wrong about the markets all last year.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Year in Review

Time to review my 2013 trading results.  It was the best year in trading ever for me.  I made almost as much as I took in from my full time job.  I averaged $4,665/month in profits between my main brokerage account and IRA account.  I had a 82% win rate with 256 completed transactions.  

An 82% win rate is statistically about what you would expect from a strategy of only selling option premium. If you just buy a stock you can statistically expect to win 50% of the time.  Since you only win if the stock goes in your direction.  As an option seller, you generally have a 80% win rate, since the option buyer has to get 3 things right to make a profit.  The direction of the stock, the time frame for the move and an exact price to reach.  This is all statistically very hard to do!  

So I rather take the opposite side of that trade and win 80% of the time.  Of course for that high probability, win rate, the cost is higher risk of capital loss.  I have a higher probability of winning in most of my trades, but the amount of the win is small.  When I lose, I could lose allot more, since I'm taking on more capital risk.  

When reviewing my transactions I have many small wins and very few losers, but a few of the losers were huge!  $3K - $14K, luckily I had many more small winners to make up for the big losses.  My average win per trade was only $218.  But since I had 256 transaction that is still $55978 in total profits.  The moral to this story is to trade often, trade small and minimize your losses!