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

“Cookie dough is the sushi of desserts” ~ Cookie Monster. (As heard on this video.)

Presumably as a result of the MCAS I always feel sick (groggy with flu-like symptoms) when I don’t get enough rest, and I just read this comment from a nurse on the Mastocytosis Society page on Facebook: “Extra fatigue can cause a histamine release.” That seems to confirm what I have been feeling.

April 24, 2015: I don’t know how you spend your mornings, but these days I spend 40 minutes each morning administering intravenous medicine to myself via a PICC Line that has been inserted/installed in my arm and chest. You can read about the whole experience in my diverticulitis diary if you’d like.

(April 24, 2017: Today marks the 11th consecutive month that I haven’t required a trip to the ER, which is pretty much a record for my last four years.)

PICC Line in my arm

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found residual amounts of weed killer in 30% of the foods they tested. The story is here on

Dateline April 23, 2017: I’ve decided to name my new book, Learning Functional Programming in Scala. I hope to have a first release of the book available by the end of May. Read below for more details.

Here’s a link to Jeff Bezos’ letter to Amazon shareholders, circa April, 2017. Possibly one of the most important phrases to me personally is his concept of, “Disagree and commit.”

This is a great quote from my favorite book on spirituality about trying to change other people.

Create a space for people to grow, live in your soul

I was driving in western Kentucky around four o’clock on Friday morning, and I was able to get in radio stations from Arkansas, Iowa, Chicago, Cleveland, and Atlanta. That was pretty cool.

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

I call it, “Up With the Sun, Gone With the Wind.”

Up With the Sun, Gone With the Wind

I have no statistical proof of it, but my eyes (and sinuses) tell me that a lot of people smoke in Virginia, many more than where I live in Colorado. I had forgotten how much I dislike the smell of cigarette smoke.

Per this tweet, this is what the gas prices look like on Alaska’s north slope on April 10, 2015.

Gas prices on Alaska's north slope

Here’s another photo of the Moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Moonrise over the ocean, Virginia Beach (#2)

If you ever need to copy text (or a text file) from the MacOS Terminal to the Mac clipboard, I can confirm that the Mac pbcopy command works. It reads from STDIN and copies the text to the clipboard, so commands like these work:

$ echo "foo bar baz" | pbcopy

$ cat /etc/passwd | pbcopy

I don’t have a camera to do it justice, but the moonrise is pretty tonight.

Moonrise over the ocean, Virginia Beach

I just counted, and the latest version of my book on Scala and Functional Programming currently contains 90 short lessons and another 25 appendices. It’s going to grow a little more, but that’s where it is right now. I hope to have a first draft of it publicly available by the end of April.

I like this description of the proper mindfulness technique: “Not judging what you see, not considering it good or bad, just seeing what you see, with interest and curiosity. Staking out your inner experience, like a wildlife photographer in an exotic location, waiting for the moment to snap.” It comes from the “Base” recording under the “Waiting Around” category of the Buddhify app. (Sorry, I don’t know the name of the speaker.)

Finally got a picture of a seagull this morning. :)

Ocean sunrise

Joey Votto is a terrific hitter on a horrible baseball team, and in this article he says, “I think if I let the team’s performance dictate how I behave,” says Votto, “or how I perceive my performance, or whether or not there’s value, or whether or not anyone even cares, it’s a dangerous and slippery slope.”

That reminds me of my brother-in-law, who is a tremendous chef currently working in a bad situation, and how you can’t let your current situation get you down.