Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X

This short video on Twitter shows the depth of the “front range” of the Rocky Mountains here around Denver and Boulder, Colorado. When you look at them from the ground you can’t get that depth perspective, so this is really a great view.

Depth of the Rocky Mountains front range

I watched a Monk episode yesterday where he goes to see a hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapist: Mr. Monk, you have to make a leap here. If you leap, a net will appear!

Monk: Who’s Annette?

If you leap, Annette will appear

The Rolling Stone article, The Oral History of Santana and Rob Thomas’ ‘Smooth’, is probably the best Pocket reference I’ve ever followed. It’s a good story about a great song. It struck me that Carlos Santana seems to have had the least involvement in the creation of the song out of all the players.

Here’s another view of Denali from the rivers in Talkeetna in mid-September. As I always add, Denali is at least 60-70 miles away in this photo.

When I lived in Alaska I was told that you can only see Denali one day out of every eight, so visitors only have ~12.5% chance of seeing it. I was fortunate to live there and see it many times.

(Not to be doubly morbid this morning, but that’s the river I’d like my ashes thrown into.)

A view of Denali from Talkeetna

A few September colors from Talkeetna, Alaska. If you take a left at that red bush and go ~100-200 yards, that’s where I’d like to have my ashes scattered when my number comes up. (That thought is brought to you by this morning’s chest pain.)

September colors, Talkeetna, Alaska

Never stayed in a roadhouse before, pretty interesting. You can walk in off the street and buy a shower for $4. Setup is communal, like a hostel.

Here’s a photo of three ravens surrounding a car in the snow in Wasilla, Alaska, on December 7, 2010. As I’ve written before, in many places they don’t plow the snow too hard in Alaska.

Ravens in the snow, Wasilla, Alaska

Dear diary: Filed under the category of “transparent dangling carrots,” today I realized that there is a surface reason the Dalai Lama talks about practicing compassion, and also a much deeper reason. It’s really quite a trip, though with my limited knowledge, for all I know it’s turtles stacked on turtles stacked on turtles.

(A diary entry from January 21, 2015. Dalai Lama quote: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Image from this link.)

Dalai Lama quote: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion

What happens at the motor home stays at the motor home. (I don’t think I want to know what happens in the motor home.)

Sign in a store window, Palmer, Alaska.

What happens at the motor home stays at the motor home

“Parhelions, more commonly known as sun dogs or mock suns, appear as fuzzy rainbows or bright spots in the sky ‘dogging’ the Sun. You are most likely to see a sun dog in the morning or afternoon during the winter. Records of this phenomena date all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Famous Ancient Greek philosophers Cicero and Aristotle even made mention of sun dogs.”

(I’m pretty sure I made the photo from Google image search results, but I don’t remember where I got that text. I posted this on Facebook on November 23, 2013.)

Photos of Parhelions (sun dogs)

The funny thing about writing the Scala Cookbook is that it started as a whim. I was just about to leave for a vacation at the beach, and right before I turned off the computer a thought flashed in my mind, “I should contact the people at O’Reilly about writing a cookbook for Scala.” I then had a doubt that they would actually do it, but I applied the “What the heck” rule — i.e., “What the heck, what do I have to lose?” — and sent the email.

I dug around the internet for a few minutes, found the correct O’Reilly email address, sent them a message, turned off the computer, and drove to the beach. While I was at the beach the publisher wrote and said, “Love it, send me a full proposal!”

So if you’re thinking about doing something, but are afraid or uncertain about doing it ... apply the “What the heck” rule, and give it a shot. :)

“Ever notice that 'What the heck?" is always the right choice?”

Quote from Nancy Davis, design by Robin Williams, in the book, The Non-Designer's Design Book.

Ever notice that ‘What the heck?’ is always the right choice? (Nancy Davis)

As a little mini-project I wanted to count the number of lines of source code in the Second Edition of the Scala Cookbook as compared to the First Edition. To do this I wrote the following Scala program/script to count the lines between the ---- and .... sections in the AsciiDoc files that represent the old and new versions of the book:

I like this quote from Leo Buscaglia: Take responsibility and grasp it. Don’t be a victim.

I’ve written it before, but Mr. Buscaglia was a significant, positive influence on my life. There was a lot of negative and downright mean programming going on in our household when I grew up — negative role models on both sides of the family — and Mr. Buscaglia was an extremely helpful antidote to that, helping me to see that not everybody was like my relatives.

Leo Buscaglia: Take responsibility

This is THE speed limit sign on the Dalton Highway in Alaska. If I remember right, this is the only speed limit sign you’ll see when headed north from Fairbanks heading towards Prudhoe Bay.

I started off driving about 50 mph, but then after realizing I was the only person on the road — an almost-entirely entirely dirt road — I drove as fast as conditions allowed, typically a little over 90 mph.

The speed limit sign on the Dalton Highway, Alaska

This tweet shows that the traffic jam trying to get to the outdoor hockey game at the Air Force Academy last night was a disaster. And in this tweet, a young woman demonstrates a Babe Ruthian swing.

“The meaning of ‘Hatha Yoga’ is Sun (Ha) and Moon (Tha), Yoga in which Sun is the soul and Moon is consciousness. Consciousness can be compared to a lens. Its inner surface faces the soul itself, and its outer surface comes in contact with the world. Inevitably a degree of grime attaches itself to that outer surface and obscures our vision. In fact it prevents us from seeing clearly what is outside, and it equally prevents the light of our soul from shining out. If our house is gloomy because the windows are dirty, we don’t say there is problem with the Sun; we clean the windows. Yoga cleans the lens of consciousness in order to admit the Sun.”

~ probably from the book, Light on Life, by B.K.S. Iyengar

Back on the first day of June, 2007, I moved to Talkeetna, Alaska, and just a few days after I moved into my cabin, a huge fire that was larger than cities like Louisville, Kentucky or Denver, Colorado, started to the west of Talkeetna. I took this photo at the top of the hill that overlooks Talkeetna.

Huge fire in Alaska (June, 2007)

“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of consciousness. The still mind is by definition, pure.”

“Is this the end? Are we there yet? No. There remains the ego, the self, the known self, the impersonator of the Soul. He is the last actor to leave the stage. He lingers even for the very final hand clap of applause. What forces him off the stage? Silence, and retention of the breath.”

~ From the book, Light on Life, by B.K.S. Iyengar