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

In case you need a gift for the mom that has everything, here you go. :)

Dear mom

(From time to time I write little stories that have nothing to do with programming or technology; this is one of those stories. So, if you’re only here for the technology stuff, you’ll want to skip this one.)

I’m standing in the kitchen of a friend’s house at a Christmas party, making myself a drink while talking to a friend named Angie. This was nothing unusual; she and I were always talking about something. We became friends during our last year in high school, and we’ve been talking every since.

In retrospect it’s obvious that I have feelings for her, but I guess you could say that I didn’t appreciate her back then. After high school my ambition took me away to college, and then to a series of jobs in different states. By the time I decided to move back home, she was married and had two young children.

While we talked all the time, this kitchen conversation was unusual. I don’t remember how it started, but Angie did ask me about something I rarely talk about: my parents getting divorced in high school.

Here’s a link to the latest holiday “gifts for geeks” from ThinkGeek:

They also have these geek gift ideas for under $20:

Gifts Under $20

“Years ago I knew little, but was comfortable using things I didn’t understand. Now I’m experienced, I fear things unless I understand them.”

~ A good quote from Jon Pretty

“You and me together, right?”

This is most of a story from a book called, “Turning the Mind Into an Ally.” When Zeus was sick and I’d stop petting him, he’d turn and look at me like this.

I don't know much about rap/hip-hop, but thanks to Ghost Dog I do know about RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan.

From Ghost Dog:

“Our bodies are given life
from the midst of nothingness.

Existing where there is nothing
is the meaning of the phrase,
Form is emptiness.

That all things are provided for
by nothingness
is the meaning of the phrase,
Emptiness is form.

One should not think that
these are two separate things.”

This is the front of one of the postcards I designed for my Zen Foundation business back in 2012. I liked it, but not enough other people liked it, so I closed that business for the time being.

Zen Foundation postcard (What is your original face?)

Had an unexpected reorganization at the company today.

Moved the desk around, re-positioned some lamps. (I work from home.)

So the woman who told me to “suck it up” when I complained about doing the laundry in the winter moved out of the apartment complex. Facta non verba, baby.

(I posted this on December 1, 2010, when I lived in an apartment in Wasilla, Alaska, and had a 75-yard outdoor commute to the laundry facility.)

We now enter that time of year where Amazon Prime’s “Two Day Free Shipping” really means “Three Days, Maybe Four.” I just ordered something at 7:30am on Wednesday morning, and it will be delivered on Saturday (rather than Friday). They did the same thing on my previous order.

If you’ve never heard of The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia states that it’s a “common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.” The concept was originally introduced by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in 1949. This image comes from

The Hero's Journey

The history of the Earth in a 24-hour clock, from

The history of the Earth in a 24-hour clock

“Find your way through your insanity. Find the order in the chaos. Otherwise, how will you ever find me?” ~ River

“During Zazen the ego-subject can look at the ego-object, and vice-versa. We can realize that we are not so wonderful, sometimes we’re even worse than other people, because in deep zazen our true desires are revealed and we can see them fully.”

~ Taisen Deshimaru, in the book, Questions to a Zen Master

A strange thing about the illness I’ve gone through is that I don’t have any memory of certain events.

For example — from what I can gather — during my worst time(s) I wrote this Collection of ScalaTest BDD examples using FunSpec tutorial, but I have no memory of writing it. I know that I wrote it because (a) it’s my writing style and (b) it’s on my website, but other than that, I have no recall of it. None. Zilch.

For a little while that bothered me, but now I look at it as something that’s interesting. I think it’s weird/amazing that I could write a tutorial and have no memory of writing it (or the process of researching it), but I guess that’s how the brain can work when things are screwed up. During the same time I also wrote this note to “buy some december at the grocery store,” so I know my brain was definitely going out to lunch at times.

I can see how this can be frustrating for people with chronic memory problems, but at the moment I look at it more as a mystery, like, “Huh, well, I wonder what else I did during that time?”

Besides having a bad memory, I haven’t been able to work with Scala much recently, so I’ve been putting together this list of for loop examples.

This page is currently a work in progress, and as of tonight I haven’t tested some of the examples, but ... if you’re looking for some Scala for loop examples — technically called a for comprehension — I hope these examples are helpful.

“I’m just a guy ... a guy who saw a crack in a chair that no one else could see. I’m that dog who saw a rainbow. Only none of the other dogs believed me.”

(A quote from the movie Kate & Leopold.)

I don’t know about you, but the only thing I’m interested in getting for Cyber Monday is a Raspberry Pi 3 starter kit:

Raspberry Pi 3 starter kit