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

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

~ possibly by Thomas Jefferson

Seeing that we had another snow storm here in Colorado, I thought I'd share another photo of El Sanctuario de Chimayo in the winter. (El Sanctuario de Chimayo, near Santa Fe, New Mexico)

El Sanctuario de Chimayo, candlelights in winter

Last week I did some research on whether Colorado judges were appointed by a Democrat or Republican, and I’ve been pleased to see that over 27,000 people have visited that page. Personally, I was never too concerned about judges in previous elections, but I think the current hostile political atmosphere in the U.S. and everything related to the Supreme Court nominees over the last 2-3 years makes people see how “political” the judge nomination process is (IMHO).

I was just reminded of a “funny” event from the worst of the mast cell activation disease days (before doctors knew what I had). I was just released from the hospital for something — maybe from my second fake heart attack, I don’t remember for sure — and I thought, “If I’m going to die before they figure out what’s wrong with me, I’d like to have a chocolate milk shake.”

So I drove to a placed called Sweet Cow in Louisville, Colorado, ordered a milkshake, and then began going unconscious before the order could even be completed. While the poor guy was making my shake I walked out of the store, sat on a bench outside, and put my head between my legs, hoping I wouldn’t pass out. The guy who was making my shake was probably only in high school, and he eventually brought the shake out to me while I sat there with my head between my legs. We had some sort of conversation, the gist of which was I was trying not to pass out and him saying that the milkshake was free.

With the help of a few people I eventually stumbled out of there and made it home. Such was life with the worst of the mast cell disease.

P.S. — These days I’m much better, thank you.

Per its website, Fury is an experimental dependency manager and build tool for Scala. It is still under active development, and is in private beta. You can learn more about it by checking out that website, or following Jon Pretty (@propensive) on Twitter.

I found these Lazy One “Beware of the Force” boxers at a local store recently. Might be a good Christmas/holiday gift idea for the Star Wars geek in your life. :) They don’t currently list this specific item on Amazon, but they do have a collection of other Lazy One boxers for sale, and they also have this design available on Lazy One pajamas.

Beware of the Force (Star Wars gift idea)

I just read this quote by J.K. Rowling, and it’s quite good: “Believe me, neither @RGalbraith nor I walk around thinking we’re fab. We just shoot for ‘writing better than yesterday’”.

(Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym she used for some of her other novels.)

Just days after two domestic terror attacks, here are two quotes I saw today:

Donald Trump: “There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame...”

Dalai Lama: “Violence derives from anger and anger clouds our ability to think straight and properly assess what is happening. Anger in turn is related to fear and anxiety. What we need to learn is how to cultivate the positive emotions that counter destructive emotions like anger and fear. Compassion, for example, brings self-confidence and the ability to act transparently. It strengthens trust which is the ground for friendship.”

I just read a short chapter in the book Effective Java, and realized I was doing something pretty dumb in my own code by always creating my own custom exceptions instead of using other exceptions already intended to be reused in the Java API.

Here’s the view of Denali from Talkeetna, Alaska, courtesy of Sheldon Air Service in Talkeetna.

The view in Talkeetna this morning

As I was reading a blog post titled, What Makes Us Red Hat, I came across the article summary shown in the image where Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer refers to Linux as a cancer. Note that his description of open source license agreements is about as honest as today’s politicians.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer: Linux is a cancer

The best stories of the weekend are IBM buying Red Hat, and a dog that pretends to be a stray to get food outside a McDonald’s. Oh, and the Red Sox beat the Dodgers to win the World Series last night.

I started reading the book Walking Each Other Home by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush a few nights ago, and if you like Ram Dass, you’ll like this book. This is an image from early in the book about a “pretty fierce journey.”

Ram Dass - Pretty fierce journey

A new Kindle version of my book, Hello, Scala, is now available. This update includes new chapters, new content within chapters, and small corrections to the previous version.

“I view spiritual practice as the freeing of awareness from identification with anything.”

~ Ram Dass (from this page on his website)

Some day I might write a book called, Random Conversations with Strangers While Aimlessly Wandering Around, and it will include stories like this:

Many years ago I walked into a favorite bakery in Alaska. Nobody was there, no customers or employees, so I took a few minutes to look over the cookies and donuts to decide what I wanted.

Finally a young woman came out of the back room. I knew from previous donut/cookie runs that she was born in Ohio, moved here about five years ago, was nineteen years old, and would be twenty in a few months. As she brought out a tray of something new, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”

I replied it was no problem, it gave me a chance to think about what I wanted. We chatted for another minute or two and then she looked around and said, “Can I be honest with you?”

Apparently I can’t sleep tonight so I’ll tell one of those stories.

A couple of weeks ago I’m enjoying the darkness of some quiet sleep, just kind of meditating in the darkness with nothing going on in my brain. Then as I’m laying there an image of a toilet in a closet appears. It’s a small closet that feels cramped, and the toilet/commode is sitting sideways in it. My brain isn’t in “just observe and report” mode – it starts thinking too much – so right away I crank my virtual head from one side to the other like a little puppy, trying to figure out this perplexing image, and wondering how you’re supposed to go to the bathroom with this toilet sitting sideways in this small closet. So my brain tries to grok that for a while, but it can’t figure out why the heck the toilet is the way it is.

“Only open your mouth if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.”

~ Zen quote

Microsoft has a nice interview with FP researcher and Haskell co-creator Simon Peyton Jones.

Simon Peyton Jones interview

When I first started learning Zen I didn’t understand the quote shown in this image, and I truly was a carpet to walk on. Then I woke up and thought, “You need to run your business. You need to find the middle way between accepting ‘just this’ and what you need to do to be successful at work.”

It would have been helpful if I had seen this quote then, but the book, Making Zen Your Own, wasn’t available then.

Zen: Accepting 'just this'