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

I don’t recall hearing of the words “reify” or “reification” in my OOP years, but that may be because I studied aerospace engineering in college, not computer science. Since learning FP I often see those words, so I thought I’d try to understand their meaning.

The short answer is that the main definition seems to be:

“Taking an abstract concept and making it concrete.”

For the longer answer, I found the following definitions and examples of reification.

“When you see a plum blossom, or hear the sound of a small stone hitting bamboo, that is a letter from the world of emptiness.”

A quote from a Lion’s Roar article, Shikantaza is Understanding Emptiness.

Over time I’ve discovered a number of things that I have no memory of from the years 2014 to 2016, when I was at my sickest with the mast cell disease. Apparently I created this image and wrote these words on August 24, 2015.

I can’t write a book

While I’m sharing photos of Siberian Huskies I’ve known and loved, here’s one of Rocky working on a bone. My wife originally found him stuck in a cinder block in Virginia when he was probably about 18” long, and he became the first husky we’d know. He became famous for destroying furniture, howling, and running around saying words like “Oprah” and “Geraldo.”

Rocky and a bone

One of my nieces (and/or her friends) seems to be interested in Siberian Huskies, which last night led me to dig out this old photo from a business newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky, in April, 2004.

Me and the dogs in a business magazine

“Books are the training weights of the mind.”

~ Epictetus

One of the many things I like about Scala is that you can make it as complicated as you want to, but you can also write a little code like this and show it to someone who has never written a line of code in their life, and they can pretty much tell you what’s going on.

Making Scala simple for beginners

Just saw that Guns n’ Roses will be playing at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky this fall.

Guns n’ Roses in Louisville, Kentucky

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

Lyrics from the Genesis song Undertow, which just came across my random playlist:

Better think awhile
Or I may never think again.
If this were the last day of your life, my friend,
Tell me, what do you think you would do then?

Stand up to the blow that fate has struck upon you,
Make the most of all you still have coming to you,
Lay down on the ground and let the tears run from you,
Crying to the grass and trees and heaven finally on your knees.

Let me live again, let life come find me wanting.
Spring must strike again, against the shield of winter.
Let me feel once more the arms of love surround me,
Telling me the dangers past, I need not fear the icy blast again.

“Write shy code — modules that don’t reveal anything unnecessary to other modules and that don’t rely on other modules’ implementations.”

~ Dave Thomas

I can’t remember the history of this image, but the metadata tells me that I created it on May 13, 2014. It looks like I might have applied some artistic effects to it using Gimp, but I think what I actually did was just take a slightly zoomed-in photo with an iPhone 5s, because that also appears in the metadata. Either way, it was the view I had from my previous residence on the west side of Broomfield, Colorado.

Snow on the Rocky Mountains, southeast of Boulder

I get to be radioactive again in a couple of weeks. I heard them say “gamma,” so I’m hoping this has to do with a childhood Christmas wish regarding The Incredible Hulk.

Going to be radioactive again soon

This is a cartoonize’d version of Yoda on Luke Skywalker’s back during Luke’s initial training in the swamp. To create it, I found the original movie image with a Google search, opened the image in Gimp, then worked back and forth with a Cartoonized plugin effect, the Beautify options, and the Artistic/Oilify effect. I can do a lot better than this, but for the purposes of this example, I created this cartoon image in less than five minutes. Given more time, I would clean up Yoda quite a bit before using the Cartoonize effect.

I’ve used Gimp to create almost 2,000 images that I use with the Mac screensaver “rotate images” feature, and this is the latest addition.

(Click the image to see the full-size, 1200x600 pixel image.)

Cartoon of Yoda on Luke Skywalker's back

This is a note that I originally posted here in 2014:

I learned yesterday that my endocrinologist wants me to take a dose of radioactive iodine in about two weeks as a followup treatment for the total thyroidectomy surgery I had two weeks ago. I did some research before and after my meeting with her, and was surprised/amazed to read things like this.

Radioactive iodine warnings remains my favorite website of late. This pre-SIP discussion looking for better ways to define a `main` method is a fun read that demonstrates a collaborative process.

Scala/Dotty SIP process: A better `main` approach?

“The limits of what we know, that’s something you can get lost in.”

~ from the tv series Limitless

Today’s song of the day is When You’re Gone, by the Cranberries.

Last year Friend #1 died, so I ended up staying at Friend #2’s house. When I woke up she was already out of the house, so I started to walk to the coffee maker to make some coffee. At that moment Friend #3 called. I looked at the coffee maker for a moment, then thought, “It will wait a few moments,” so I turned around, picked up the phone, and found a quiet spot to sit down.

At one point I started talking about something and #3 said, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I just woke up, so I kinda cleared my throat and started talking louder. We had a good, honest conversation, the kind you only have when it’s late at night and people are tired and maybe have a little liquid courage and speak from the heart, or in this case that raw time right after someone has died.

When I was watching a show just now with two dead guys talking to each other I remembered that conversation, and also remembered that I never did get that cup of coffee.