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

In a way I feel fortunate to have passed out quite a few times now. It’s like it’s my body’s way of saying, “Look at you, taking life for granted again — here comes the OFF switch!”

(Fortunately it has just been a Pause switch so far.)

Possibly because of the mast cell disease, I have had a Vitamin D deficiency on and off for many years. Per the latest blood work it’s really low right now, which may be why I have been having muscular weakness, bone pain, and difficulties concentrating. This list of symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency comes from this page.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency offers these “Six rules of mast cells” on their beginners/terms page.

Six rules of mast cells

“Do that thing that will charm you, that will make you say, ‘Yes, it’s the real me.’ Do that, and you’re alive.”

In Game 1 of the NLCS, Javier Baez “steals” home against the Dodgers (after being caught too far off of third base). Jon Lester and the home plate umpire both call him safe.

Javier Baez steals home

All the news that’s fit to print ... and then a little more.

Man on LSD saves dog from imaginary fire

A human-size squirrel? No, apparently it’s a wombat. (Image from this Twitter page.)

Squirrel? Wombat?

The Andromium Superbook is a cool multi-million dollar Kickstarter project. From their website: “The Superbook is a shell that turns your Android smartphone into a complete laptop.”

Superbook: Use your Android phone as a Desktop PC

I had a phone conversation yesterday that reminded me of human behavior. A woman called from a local doctor’s office, and the essence of her conversation was, “You have very limited options for seeing the doctor I work for ... I don’t even know if you’re worthy of seeing him ... I’m in control of this situation ... yada yada yada.”

After I responded to her, “Yeah, about that ... I don’t need to see your doctor any more, I’m going to the Mayo Clinic,” her tone changed dramatically. She quickly switched to, “You want to cancel your appointment? Are you sure? Maybe I can get you in sooner.”

I didn’t do anything intentionally here, I just stated the facts, but it was a reminder that when someone feels like they have power over you, you can often gain control by turning the tables on them, especially if they’re bluffing.

Presumably because my immune system is weakened, my tongue turned green this week. Here’s a self-portrait.

Green tongue with mast cell activation disease

Yesterday a bear cub was seen wandering around Boulder, Colorado, with the police following shortly behind him (or her).

Bear cub wandering around Boulder, Colorado

If you like cartoon guides to Zen and philosophy, Zen Speaks and Wisdom of the Zen Masters are two of my favorites. I don’t remember which book this story comes from, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of those two. (It’s definitely the work of Tsai Chih Chung.)

Zen - Being Your Own Master

People who haven’t been seriously sick before have a different set of priorities than I do. I remember eight years when I went on a yoga retreat in Mexico, a young girl boasted that she had read one book a day while we were on retreat. I didn’t say anything to her, but I thought, “Well, I laid on the beach, swam in the ocean, walked through a cemetery, went off the grid and ate some funky food at some out of the way restaurants, drank tequila in the town square every night with the locals, and learned a little Spanish.”

Neither way is necessarily good or bad, just different.

The book, The Old Zen Master, by Trevor Leggett isn’t one of my personal favorites, but this quote seems appropriate for this time of year:

We sweep up the fallen leaves in the garden,
But we don’t hate the trees for dropping them.

I don’t know too much about salting, hashing, and encryption, but it always upsets me when I see a “Your password is too similar to a previous one” message like this, because I assumed that whoever was showing this message was storing my passwords as plain text somewhere. This thread on Twitter, started by Anna Filina, addresses this topic.

Your password is too similar to a previous one

The Chicago Cubs beats the San Francisco Giants in the 2016 NLDS last night by scoring four runs in the top of the ninth inning. Some Cubs fans at the game in S.F. flew the Cubs victory flag immediately after the win. One of my neighbors was flying the same flag off their balcony this morning, which was pretty neat to see.

Cubs 'W' flag

Although a small woman physically, Dipa Ma was a giant of a meditation teacher.

While reading a book about her, it’s neat to see that while people use different practices and words, those who “go deep” all come to the same conclusion. This is a quote from her in the book, Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master:

“At each stage of enlightenment the fetters (hindrances) are extinguished, until (one day) they are gone. The fetters are related to birth in the same way that oil feeds the light of a lamp. As the oil becomes less and less, the light from the wick becomes less and less. When the oil is gone, the light is gone. Similarly, once the fetters are extinguished, the cycle of rebirth ends. From this, you can understand that birth and rebirth are in your hands.”

Five years ago I moved to Colorado and was living in two hotels, one on the south side of Denver and another on the north side, trying to decide where I wanted to live. On this day (October 11th) I moved into my first apartment in Broomfield, and made this post on Facebook:

“Day one in the new apartment, slept on the floor, and there’s nothing to eat. Planning skills are still questionable. But the fireplace is nice.”