I live on the central California coast, way out in a rural area. I work as a senior electronics engineer for a major scientific instruments company, designing control and instrumentation circuitry for certain types of industrial and medical X-ray equipment. I've worked as an engineer for about 35 years. Aside from instrumentation, I also worked about 16 years doing hard disk drive design for several major companies. During my career I have collected 6 patents for various arcane bits of technology, none of which I care to describe here. I studied engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
I am strictly an amateur stock trader, but an avid one. I enjoy the challenge of spotting transient strategies and stock plays and turning them into a bit of money. I have traded since the late 70's, so I have been through several severe business cycles. When I was trading in the 70's-80's I traded lightly because it was not as easy to trade as it is now. I did not begin computer trading until the dot-com boom. Trading has not made me rich, but it has given me some extra money, most of which I just put into savings.
In the 70's and 80's I tried my hand in trading commodities, even including obscure contracts on things such as eggs and lumber. This was the only kind of trading which did not work well for me, though I did come close to breaking even at it. It was a bit stressful, and required too much time on the phone.
I have become more active in trading options recently. I tend to limit myself to simple strategies: puts, calls, covered puts and calls, short term hedging, and straddles.
My typical method of working is to decide on a long term strategy, then a short term strategy which is compatible with the long term one, then a day strategy to exploit the short term strategy. I am biased to seeking out bullish plays, but I will play what I see, and I use shorts frequently as part of hedges and pair trades. One of my favorite techniques is to play concurrent bull and bear strategies, for example rising oil in a falling market. I have a fairly good sense of timing. Although I often look for small cap stocks to invest in, I often do so in a fairly conservative manner, trying to not take unneeded risks. I work a lot with dividend stocks, trading around the dividend date either long or short depending on the circumstances.
The market sectors I work most with are shipping, real estate, and oil & gas.
I'm enjoying the Happy Trading site and hope to be of help to other traders here.