I’m a 55-yr old digital immigrant, which basically means that I did not grow up with a computer in my house like a digital native, a millennial. How I came to be so comfortable with technology was simply diving into it, secure in the knowledge that I was unlikely to blow something up or launch a rocket from a silo simply by playing around with a little internet or platform coding. It hasn’t necessarily been easy though. I like to consider myself a smart cookie, possessing pretty good intuitive skills, but self-teaching comes with certain hurdles that require more than a high IQ and/or grit; it also requires a relentless passion to figure out the puzzle. I have that in spades, and perhaps more than a healthy share of O.C.D.

I have a title for all of my charts that I keep at stockcharts.com that reads: “Proprietary? What a joke.” Several years ago, when I first started trading I came across more than a few charts that traders would share that had lines and moving averages drawn on them. It wasn’t always obvious how these lines were derived and inevitably the host would say something like, “it’s my proprietary moving average.” On many occasion I set out to figure how those lines were drawn, i.e. – the basis for them. Since almost all indicators that you can put on a chart are in some form derived from the price itself, it was usually just a matter of time before I figured out the puzzle. I no longer read posts from these people, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that once I see the word “proprietary” I immediately lose interest as the person is probably trying to sell their readers something. Proprietary? Get over yourself!

In the spirit of wanting to share with other traders what I have learned, I have started a new category in this blog that currently has more than 1 reader but probably less than 5. Without further ado, this is the first post.

Sometime back in 2008 (guessing) I saw a post from the blog, Vix and More, in which the author mentioned that when a certain ratio of the three-month volatility index ($VXV) relative to the current volatility index ($VIX) was less than 1.0, it was a good time to start initiating positions in the S&P500 stock market index ($SPX). I’ve been tracking this ratio ever since and I have used it with success using exchange-traded funds that track the $SPX.

I keep a spreadsheet with market data that goes all the way back to April 1987, but this only shows me the results for the S&P500. What if I want to trade futures contracts on the $VIX and see how that would have worked out with those signals? The good news? I have figured out the solution. The bad news? From the perspective of wanting to help other traders flatten their personal learning curves, I can only share the code that I use in my trading platform with TD Ameritrade, which is called thinkorswim. I have only used the thinkorswim platform since 2008 so that is my preferred playground for learning, so to speak. However, if you use another platform and my shared studies help in any way, then copy and paste as you see fit.

The text in the blockquote below is to get you started.

# this strategy sells one contract of /VX when VXVbyVIX ratio is less than 1.0, and holds for 15 trading days.
# BEWARE! – this strategy may come with a very large drawdown as it uses a futures contract.

def VXVbyVIX = close(“VXV”) / close(“VIX”);
plot bullish = VXVbyVIX < 1;
input units = 1;
input days = 15;
def go = bullish is true;
def cover = bullish[days];
AddOrder(OrderType.SELL_TO_OPEN, go, close, units, tickcolor = GetColor(2), arrowcolor = GetColor(2), “Short @ ” + close);
AddOrder(OrderType.BUY_TO_CLOSE, cover, close, units, tickcolor = GetColor(1), arrowcolor = GetColor(1), “Cover @ ” + close);

You can add more criteria behind the condition, which is on line 3 and reads:
plot bullish = VXVbyVIX < 1;

For instance, let’s say you only want to see this condition when the $SPX is above its 200-day moving average, then line 3 would read as follows:
plot bullish = VXVbyVIX < 1 and close(“SPX”) > Average(close(“SPX”), 200);

Here are two screenshots of the signals and the report for this strategy in which I only looked at how it performed for the last three years. I kept the prints small on purpose as I merely wanted to show what the results look like instead of perhaps readers getting fixated on the dollar figure in the report.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the show and I will be sharing more as I go.


I do not recall the specific podcast or who the host and interviewee were, but I have a sticky note next to my desk that I want to throw away so I am putting the notes here in this blog. As I listen to future podcasts, mostly related to trading and the markets, I will share my notes.


Apparently we are already in a restaurant recession, which has predated the last two general economic recessions each by approximately one year. I remember the last one very well. My ex-wife and I dined with her parents almost every Friday night shortly after we were married and for the next several years, from 2005 onward until we moved to a different state. When we first started this habit, we had to wait in a line no matter which restaurant we chose. As time passed the lines became shorter and shorter and by the middle of 2007 the host of each restaurant would greet us and say something like, “have a seat where ever you would like.” The next recession was only six months away.

Without further ado, I only jotted down three things on my sticky note, and they are related to what makes a restaurant survivable in good times or bad:

1) They must serve more dinner than lunch.
2) They must serve more dine-in than carry out.
3, and most importantly) They must have more women than men being served.

The sticky note is now in the trash, and more notes to this blog are on the way.