It always takes me a few days after vacation to get back up to speed. So, to ease my transition -- and, I suppose yours -- here's a potpourri of things that have been going through my head over the past week...

Many of you have read

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre. This fictionalized account of Jesse Livermore's life is at the top of nearly every trader's must-read list, and rightly so.

However, I just finished a new biography of Livermore,

The Amazing Life Of Jesse Livermore by Richard Smitten. In many respects I enjoyed it even more than

Reminiscences

, as the details of Livermore's triumphs and tragedies are clearly laid out throughout the book. There are some soap opera-ish scenes that might have been deleted, but overall you'll get a lot out of Smitten's work if you have any interest in trading and particularly if you're a momentum trader who rarely looks at fundamentals. (Kind of like someone I know!)

While I'm on a book theme, I'd also encourage every parent out there to read

Champions Are Raised, Not Born by Summer Sanders. Sanders was an Olympic champion and one of the finest female swimmers the U.S. has ever produced.

However, what I didn't realize is that she's also a fine person and has some great insights not only on raising swimmers (the reason I bought the book), but on raising kids, period. Neat stuff and it's already caused me to make a few changes in how I treat my little athletes.

Oh, one other thing I picked up from the book. Sanders says that most great athletes emerge at about age 15. Now assuming most swimmers (as well as soccer players, etc.) start at about age 8, that means "good or great" takes about seven years to achieve. Ironic, because that's about the same time frame I think it takes to become a reasonably good trader...

Was yesterday a follow-through day from the nice up day of May 24? Maybe, but again: Watch the volume. If the volume is strong (and at noon on Tuesday, it appears to be about average), then it might -- emphasis on might -- mark a bottom on the

Nasdaq

.

Speaking of bottoms and such, one thing to look for in deciding when to keep a long in your portfolio is how it acts when the market performs badly. I've now had

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

in my portfolio for about a week and it wasn't until yesterday that it perked up. It not going up, though, didn't concern me. Instead, what I found helpful was that it didn't go down.

In that regard, I also picked up

Power-One

(PWER)

the other day, as well as

Oxford Health

(OXHP)

. Let me show you all three charts, so you can see my exact thoughts.

Now, will all three trades work? I don't know. No one knows. But I like the odds of each trade working and so even if these don't work, as long as I keep making this same type of trade, I will eventually make money. Consistency and odds. Those are the things to key on.

Regarding Disney, I just got back from four nice days there. Yes, it was hot. Yes, the lines can be long. (They even closed the two water parks one day because those parks couldn't handle any more people!) Yes, you still have trouble getting dinner reservations to eat so-so food.

But, I didn't mind a bit. My family was smiling and the Rockin Roller Coaster was worth the wait. Made me glad I'm long the stock.

Think I only make good trades? Or rather that I only tell you about good trades? OK, I'm still long

GoAmerica

(GOAM)

(my wireless ISP) ... from $16! I just refuse to give up on these guys!! Fortunately, I never bought a ton of it, so it isn't killing me. But, boy, talk about a lousy stock and an even lousier trade. Pathetic in every regard.

Finally, talk about your rude awakenings: Diana just turned 11, meaning she goes from being the King of the Hill among 10-and-unders, to living at the bottom-to-middle of the pack in the 11-to-12 age group. I mean some of the older 12-year-olds are 5 feet 6 inches tall and have enough muscle to rip me in two! In her last meet as a 10-year-old, she swam seven events in two days, because she qualified for nearly everything. In her first meet as an 11-year-old, she swims three events in three days (all breast stroke!). Oh well, guess I'll have a lot more free time on the weekends.

Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer who trades for his own account from his Maryland home using technical analysis. At time of publication, he was long Disney, Power-One, Oxford Health and Go America, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Smith writes five technical analysis columns for TheStreet.com each week, including Technician's Take, Charted Territory and TSC Technical Forum. While he cannot provide Investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback at

gbsmith@attglobal.net.

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