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

Back on January, 20, 2011 I came across this moose statue inside Krazy Moose Subs, Wasilla, Alaska. Seems fitting to go along with my previous moose in Rocky Mountain National Park.

A moose statue inside Krazy Moose Subs, Wasilla, Alaska

The Washington Post has a touching story titled, What schizophrenia does to families.

What schizophrenia does to families

Now this mountain I must climb,
Feels like the world upon my shoulders.

Through the clouds I see love shine,
It keeps me warm as life grows colder.

~ from the song, I Want to Know What Love Is, by Foreigner

I don’t remember where I saw this photo — it may have been the Fireside Books account on Twitter or Facebook — but it shows that they don’t worry about cleaning the snow off the streets too much in the winter in Alaska. This photo was taken about three blocks from my old apartment in Palmer, Alaska. (My apartment was one block down this road in the direction shown, and one or two blocks to the right.)

They don’t clean the snow off the streets in Alaska (much)

If you’re into streaks and records, last night (January 17-18, 2020), was the first time I slept without pain since November 3, 2019 (thanks to the pericarditis and subsequent angiogram). I have no doubt that I snored a good snore. :)

In 2011 I was living in Palmer, Alaska, and I just started to look into renting this small brown building to be a home for my software-consulting business when some family issues came up and I moved back to the Lower-48.

There probably wasn’t enough work in the Palmer/Wasilla area — also known as the Mat-Su Valley — but I loved the area so much I wanted to give it a try.

Little office building in Palmer, Alaska

Back in March, 2010, I drove up to Alaska. This is the office of a little motel in Canada ... at the moment I can’t remember the name of the town, but I could find it again. :)

Cute motel in Canada in the winter

Slid sideways through an icy intersection just in time to see a helicopter lift off from the ground with a sunlit mountain range as its backdrop ... pretty awesome.

(A Facebook post from December 19, 2010, when I lived in Alaska.)

Day 3: Yesterday I had way too much energy, but today’s mood is frustration, agitation, and impatience. Like this meeting tonight, I am not in the mood to be here. The part I hate is that I can’t be comfortable and happy with the people here. We’re all interested in the same thing (finally, people I can relate to!), and they’re all open and supportive. I hate that about myself.

Day 4: Arghh. I have way too much anger (rage!) right now. Everything here is so damn vague and the answers are #!$@ elusive. I just need to get out of this gathering and hit something. What am I really angry at? Where is this coming from?

Day 5: I would have left yesterday if it wasn’t for C stopping me at my car. I don’t know if she knew that she stopped me, but she did. Evening: Long talk with P. She spoke of giving fifteen years to her family, and while she doesn’t regret it, she expressed some remorse at giving up her career. But tonight she was dancing, and said I looked much happier.

Day 6: Last day. Long goodbyes with everyone, including C, I, F, J, N, and more. Asked N about something that happened last night at the rock, and she said I was very fortunate, it’s very rare. Leaving here is hard, it feels like graduating high school, knowing you’ll never see these people again who have been friends through all of this. I’m so grateful that C stopped me from leaving. Lots of tears all around.

(A few notes from a retreat I went on in 2006. I wrote a lot that week, and some of the notes get very personal, and it’s time to shred those, but I thought I’d share a few here.)

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but Sri Argala Stotram by Krishna Das is the prettiest song I’ve heard in a long time, and I didn’t even understand the first two-thirds of it.

Just when Margaret thought Frank was going to say something else ...

Have you got any cookies?

Back on November 12, 2019, a Twitter user named Jomboy demonstrates how the Houston Astros were stealing signs against the lowly Chicago White Sox in a 2017 game. The interesting part here is that nobody was on second base, this video seems to show that they were stealing the signs from the catcher to the pitcher using the center field video feed.

I’ve written this before, but when I saw this “pseudocode to Scala code” example in the book Functional Thinking, I thought it was worth mentioning again: If you have trouble grokking the Scala map method, think of it as being named transform instead. It transforms an input collection to an output collection, based on the algorithm you supply.

For those coming from the OOP world, I think “transform” is a better word because it is more meaningful, at least initially.

Think of Scala 'map' method as being 'transform'

“Thoughts are not facts.”

~ A quote from a local psychologist on the radio.

It seems that people who worry, worry about thoughts, not reality. I remember worrying a few years ago about doing a dance at a wedding, and in the end the reality was that I never had the chance to dance. What a waste of time that worry was.

I wasn’t able to take any pictures of them, but last week we had some beautiful full Moon sunsets over the Rocky Mountains. Then I just came across this photo of the Moon and some mountains, with this “true emptiness” quote by Zen Master Seung Sahn. (The image comes from this link.)

True emptiness is before thinking

While this photo looks like a sunset, it was actually a sunrise. I took it in Virginia Beach on April 17, 2017.

Dark sunrise, Virginia Beach

“Live the life you love.” As seen in Estes Park, Colorado, many moons ago.

Live the life you love shirt

“A lot of people think that, if you’re writing about something, it’s because you’re an expert on the topic and want to impart your expertise. But sometimes you’re writing about it as part of your attempt to immerse yourself in it and understand it.”

~ Sharon Salzberg, in this discussion with Rosanne Cash