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

Surprise of the day: If you do the math, you’ll find that “baby” (Jennifer Grey) was 27 years old when the movie Dirty Dancing was released (probably 26 during filming).

Jennifer Grey was 27 years old when the movie Dirty Dancing was released

If you’re feeling charitable, my niece is running a Make-A-Wish fundraiser.

As a brief “note to self,” when you need to get access to Flutter widget events that you normally can’t access, override the widget to access lifecycle-related events like initState() and dispose() so you can access them. For example, this image (that comes from this URL) shows how to gain access to those lifecycle methods for a Flutter Drawer. You can do this with any component/widget — and you can also make the code more generic by passing in child widgets — and you can also mix in WidgetsBindingObserver and then use didChangeAppLifecycleState to gain access to more events.

Flutter: Override widgets/components to get access to events

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

As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t see an image these days without wanting to do something with it in the Gimp. This is a Gimp “sketch” of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars movie #7. It would probably be better in plain black and white with a little less realism, but I have to get to work now. ;)

A Luke Skywalker sketch with Gimp

Some interesting comments from former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in this article:

“We’re in a hell of a mess in every direction,” Volcker told the Times. “Respect for government, respect for the Supreme Court, respect for the president, it’s all gone. Even respect for the Federal Reserve. And it’s really bad. At least the military still has all the respect. But I don’t know, how can you run a democracy when nobody believes in the leadership of the country?”

Table of Contents1 - Significant indentation syntax with traits and classes2 - match expressions3 - for loops and if/else (and `do` and `then`)4 - try/catch syntax5 - A couple of braces not removed6 - More Dotty/Scala 3 changes

With the Dotty compiler you can convert Scala 2 code to the new Scala 3 syntax, and with the Dotty 0.20.0-RC1 release on November 4, 2019, I thought I’d see how some of the conversions work. Almost all of the changes shown below have to do with the elimination of curly braces and the use of “significant indentation” syntax, but in one example I also show the then and do keywords.

Just a few months before he died, a nice man who worked at the local Walmart shared this story this morning while I was checking out:

“You know, I’ve been married 54 years.”

[long pause. you can tell he’s thinking about something.]

“One time, a long time ago, I was sitting on the couch, watching tv, and I could feel her staring at me. I mean I could just feel it. So I turned and looked at her and said, ‘What?’”

“She said, ‘You know what.’ I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ She just got up and walked away.”

“You know, to this day I still have no idea what I did.”

[long pause]

“I think sometimes in a relationship you just have to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ even if you don’t know exactly what you did or didn’t do.”

In the ancient Sanskrit language, the word “dakini” can be interpreted as a female embodiment of enlightenment, an outstanding female practitioner in yoga and meditation.

In Tibet, the word for dakini is “khadroma,” and it literally means “female sky-traveler.”

This is a good espn.com article about John Elway. This is my favorite quote regarding programming and running a business: “He based his approach to scouting on Jack’s golden rule: ‘Look for heart first.’”

While driving back from Golden, Colorado on November 10, 2016, I happened to be listening to Lady Cab Driver by the artist formerly known as Prince, and wondered if these days he would have called it Lady Uber Driver. I thought it was interesting how society in the present moment has an effect on music and writing.

And here’s a gratuitous photo of some cattle on the right and wrong side of the fence near Golden, a big field, and some mountains.

Drive back from Golden, Colorado (and Lady Cab Driver)

Whenever I have a bad allergic reaction to something, I’m glad that my throat doesn’t close. It did that one time in Alaska before anyone knew anything about mast cell disease, and I was fortunate to survive that one. It’s a strange feeling to feel your neck/throat rapidly swelling and closing around your trachea. (I always keep at least one bottle of liquid Benadryl around for times like this.)

Table of Contents1 - Initial signs and symptoms of my pericarditis2 - At the hospital emergency department3 - In the cardiac wing4 - Pericarditis diagnosis5 - Pericarditis treatment6 - Pericarditis hospital discharge information7 - Pericarditis recovery8 - More on the pericarditis symptoms9 - More on the pericarditis treatment

WARNING: Chest pain is a serious life or death matter. If you’re experiencing chest pain right now, don’t waste any time reading this article — get yourself to a hospital.

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Initial signs and symptoms of my pericarditis

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, I had just finished lunch, looked at the clock, and saw that I could fit in about an hour of work before the Denver Broncos game started. Despite Denver’s 2-6 record, I was looking forward to see how Broncos’ quarterback Brandon Allen would do in his first career start following Joe Flacco’s neck injury.

A minute later I had severe chest pain. It wasn’t in the middle of my chest, but it was on the left side of the left chest/breast area. To the best of my memory, I went from feeling perfectly fine to having severe pain in a matter of moments.

If you’re interested, you can listen to one of my favorite songs, Temporal Dominoes, by Marian Call, at this bandcamp.com link. I first heard of Ms. Call when I lived in Alaska, and she performed at Vagabond Blues in Palmer, Alaska. This song and another one she created called Anchorage are two of my favorite songs that I first heard in 2014. (Temporal Dominoes is very upbeat, Anchorage is more mellow, but I like them both.)

Temporal Dominoes, by Marian Call

“Programming is like this amazing puzzle game, where the puzzles are created by your own stupidity.” It feels like that sometimes. (Image from Rich Rogers on Twitter. Quote attributed to BradOFarrell.)

Programming is like this amazing puzzle game

These “You are sweeter than bee vomit” cards are one of my all-time favorites.

You are sweeter than bee vomit

“Treat your code like poetry and take it to the edge of the bare minimum.”
~ ILYO

“I have learned magnitudes more from code I have maintained over code I have written from scratch.”
~ Viktor Klang, in this tweet

I have no idea who or what ILYO is, but I like the “poetry” part, and dislike the “bare minimum” part. As the second quote implies, code should be written so you can read it a year or two from now.

“Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, to make friends with yourself, to not run away from yourself, to return to the bare bones, no matter what’s going on. Fear of death is the background of the whole thing. It’s why we feel restless, why we panic, why there’s anxiety. But if we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship, one that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death.”

~ from the Pema Chodron book, When Things Fall Apart

I have gone through some health issues, for sure, but I always feel much worse when I see little children in the hospital fighting some illness or disease. Seeing that breaks my heart, and I have nothing but love and respect for those kids and all of the medical professionals that help them.

And as I was writing that, I received an email about Marybeth Hoffman, who has gone through 132 rounds of chemo to fight pancreatic cancer. Anything I have gone through pales in comparison to what many other people have to deal with.

132 rounds of chemo