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

I don’t know how legitimate they are, but National Popular Vote, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation whose specific purpose is to study, analyze and educate the public regarding its proposal to implement a nationwide popular election of the President of the United States.

National Popular Vote website

I haven’t done any HTML5-specific web programming in a while, so although I know many of the HTML5 tags, I don’t know them all. Here’s a link to the HTML Element Reference page on

HTML element reference

In a lucid dream last night I knew I was dreaming/asleep, but I couldn’t prove it. I kept counting five fingers on each hand (instead of the usual 6 or even 7), and everything in the apartment was right, yet I couldn’t turn on the lights in the kitchen or bathroom, which is a giveaway. (I don’t know why, but light switches usually don’t work in dreams.) I also couldn’t wake myself up. I finally decided that I need another totem for occasions like this and just went along with the experience, then woke up instantly when I found someone sleeping in my bed.

Slid sideways through an icy intersection just in time to see a helicopter lift off from the ground with a sunlit mountain range as its backdrop ... pretty awesome.

(A Facebook post from December 19, 2010, when I lived in Alaska.)

Taking care of others can be done with two very different motivations. With one, we care for others in an unhealthy way, seemingly sacrificing ourselves, but really acting out of fear or attachment.

People who are attached to praise, reputation, relationships, and as forth and who fear losing these may seemingly neglect their own needs to take care of others. But in fact they are protecting themselves in an unproductive way. Their care comes not from genuine love, but from a self-centered attempt to be happy that is actually making them more unhappy.

~ A quote from Buddhism for Beginners, by Thubten Chodron

“If she’s in it, she must be getting something out of it.”

That’s a quote from a favorite tv series, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. It’s about women who stay in marriages when people outside of the marriage can’t understand why the woman stays married to the man.

In my own life I know a fair number of seemingly independent women who either appear to be unhappy, or openly say they’re unhappy, yet they stay married to the same guy, something I still don’t understand.

A Facebook post from when I lived in Alaska in 2010.

-31 reasons not to live in Fairbanks, Alaska in the winter

Clear skies tonight, bitter cold, with a chance of Northern Lights.

~ weather in wasilla, alaska, december 13, 2010

December 8th is recognized as the day of Buddha’s enlightenment. Tonight that makes me think of this scene from Haven. :) (I’ll meditate more tomorrow.)

Quoting the Buddha

Dateline December 7, 2016: I just released 21 new lessons of my book, Functional Programming, Simplified. See that link for more information.

Thompson Pass is the snowiest place in Alaska. It averages 551” of snow per year, and received 974” one year.

(Image from this Twitter page.)

Thompson Pass, Alaska

Hopefully at some point this will come out as an article, but right now it’s this tweet with some Q&A afterwards.

Scala/Akka scalability

Northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, they recorded -52 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. Brrr...

(Image from this Twitter page)

-52 degrees in Alaska

Ender’s Game isn’t a “feel good” movie, but for what it is — a science fiction war movie — it’s one of the smartest movies of the last five years, with terrific special effects.

Ender's Game

“The power of karma is strong in everyone, stupid or clever. When that force is broken, it becomes possible to understand Zen.”

From the book, The Way of True Zen, by Taisen Deshimaru (pictured).

(A lot of Buddhist quotes remind me of Star Wars, and vice-versa.)

The power of karma is strong in everyone

Here’s a photo of three ravens surrounding a car in the snow in Wasilla, Alaska, on December 7, 2010. As I’ve written before, in many places they don’t plow the snow too hard in Alaska.

Ravens in the snow, Wasilla, Alaska

Kroger clerk: Can I help you sir? You look lost.

Me: Good morning. Yes, my aunt has terminal cancer and would like some marijuana. I was wondering where you keep it?

Clerk: Um ...

Me: I thought the raw product might be in Produce, but I didn’t see it there. I’d prefer organic if you have it.

Clerk: Um ...

Me: Then I didn’t know if the edibles would be in the Candy aisle, or maybe by the ibuprofen.

Clerk: Um, sir, we don’t sell marijuana here.

Me: OMG, why not? You could put it on the same aisle as the munchies, and revenue would go up immediately! Do you have a suggestion box? Or maybe I should talk to the store manager ...

(Note: The Kroger stores in Colorado are called King Soopers, but I figure that most people know the Kroger franchise, so I used that name here.)

An article titled The Best Way to Learn Anything: The Feynman Technique shares these steps about how to learn a topic really well. (Where Feynman refers to Richard Feynman.)

The Feynman Technique