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

Back around 4:30am on January 13, 2014, I pulled into a rest area in Virginia after staying in Virginia Beach for a while (and experiencing a tornado warning there), and found this cat waiting for me.

Cat at a rest area

I wrote a long time ago that compassion and forgiveness are important when you get into deep meditation states. As this paragraph from Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha suggests, they’re also helpful for beginning meditation states.

(As an example, a long time ago I went to a Zen center for a meditation retreat, and when I’d start meditating I’d think, “I wish I had done X when I was at home, it really bothers me that I didn’t do that. In fact, it’s driving me nuts.” I was eventually able to meditate, but whenever I lost my concentration, this was always the first thought that came up.

Morality, the first meditation training

Scala 2.13 introduced two new “chaining operations” named pipe and tap. Here’s a quick look at how they work, plus a little extra fun at the end.

I guess I was just naive when I saw politicians lie on one media outlet and then apologize on another. I never realized it was a formula intended to pander to each audience. I miss the days when George Washington couldn’t lie about chopping down a cherry tree.

Politicians: Lie on one channel, apologize on another

“If you meditate correctly, you can perceive that this ‘I’ does not exist.”

~ Zen Master Seung Sahn, from this page

This I does not exist

During a dream last night I got to watch and hear a live performance of a song that Lionel Ritchie and Dionne Warwick have never performed together, and also this song named Romeo’s Tune, from 1979.

Here’s a link to a useful Buddhist Geeks podcast, Six Ways to Meditate.

Six ways to meditate (Vince Horn, Buddhist Geeks)

An Alutiiq petroglyph tattoo. From this Alutiiq Facebook page.

An Alutiiq petroglyph tattoo

“Sometimes I think of Frank as the catcher in the rye, standing at the edge of the cliff, trying to save the world.”

~ Catherine talking about Frank, in Millennium

(Holden: “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”)

I haven’t bought too many statues in my life, but I did buy some of these howling dog/coyote/wolf statues while I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They remind me of Zeus and some other Siberian Huskies I have known.

Howling wolf/coyote statues, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Back in April, 2016, a wolverine bound for Alaska from Norway tried to make its escape in a New Jersey airport. (Reminds me of Honey badger don’t care.) The wolverine story is here on

A wolverine tries to escape at a New Jersey airport

I think one should hear bells. :)

(“Jones” in this story eventually heard bells himself.)

One should hear bells

As a guy who’s been unconscious seven times and had ten operations, I like this, “You have one life” quote. Take it from me, when your lights go out, one of the main thoughts you’ll have is, “I wish I had done <fill in the blank>.”

(The quote appears to be by Beardsley Jones, and the image was put together by

You have this one life

December 5, 2018: After the operation in July I just got back to a 160 pound bench press and practicing yoga every night. After operation #8 tomorrow I won’t be able to exercise for six weeks. You just gotta keep coming back, keep fighting.

(I share the full quote from the movie Rocky Balboa at this link.)

Just gotta keep fighting

January 8, 2020: I met with my cardiologist yesterday and long story short, he said it’s dangerous to keep taking indomethacin for a long time. He said it’s like a very strong aspirin, and besides causing blurry vision (which I have already experience), it can also damage your stomach and kidneys. So he wants me to reduce the dose I’ve been taking, and eventually stop taking it altogether.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is to note that when you stop taking indomethacin after you’ve been taking 100-150mg per day for a while — and I’ve been taking that since November 4, 2019 — you can get a horrible rebound headache/migraine. This is the second time they’ve tried to reduce my indomethacin dosage after the pericarditis, and both times I’ve had horrible migraines and a very uncomfortable feeling in my eyes, and the first time I also vomited twice because of the severity of the migraine.

That feeling lasts for a while — maybe six to twelve hours — and as I write this later in the day I feel much better. I just wanted to note that in my experience, indomethacin withdrawal can lead to those symptoms.

With a little downtime following the pericarditis and subsequent angiogram, I’ve been working on my Grandma’s cookies recipe. They’re not there yet, but they’re getting closer. :)

Grandma’s cookies

The last two nights — January 6 and 7, 2020 — the moon shine has woken me up during the middle of the night.

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes

And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low

And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance ...

Awakened by the moon shine

Back in the day, high school was boring for me, and probably even before my parents were separated I decided to take as many days off from school as I could. A few days ago when I was rearranging my furniture I ran across my high school yearbook, where I found several inscriptions like this one, alluding to the fact that I wasn’t there very often, but I made class interesting when I was there. ;)

January, 2020 update: I read that the girl who wrote this passed away a few weeks ago.

Had a little problem getting to school