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

Season 2, Episode 3 of New Girl is titled “Fluffer,” and without getting into the details, it reminds me that I ended two friendships for the same “fluffer” reason, I just didn’t know there was a name for it.

When watching the Limitless tv series, I always wondered what the CJC was. I know it’s supposed to be some sort of FBI office in New York, but I thought they never explained what “CJC” stands for. Then today, when I had the fourth episode playing while I was doing dishes, I saw that CJC stands for Cross Jurisdictional Command, as shown in this image.

Update: After a little more research, I’ve read that the CJC is a fictional office, meaning that there really is no such thing as a CJC office in New York city.

(In slightly-related news, Limitless is also one of my favorite tv series that lasted only one season.)

Limitless tv series: What is the CJC?

The best advice I’ve gotten for practicing mindfulness meditation while not sitting in meditation – i.e., in active meditation – is to make something of a game of it. When I wash the dishes it’s like, “How deep can I get while I wash these dishes?” Or when talking to another person, you both put down the cellphones and think, “Okay, we’re both here right now, how much can we focus only on each other and be here in this moment while we talk? How deep can we go?”

I was reminded of this when I read this line recently: “Finally, I got it! The menial tasks I had been assigned to around the temple were meant to be an exercise in meditation. Whatever I was doing, my job was to try to stay in samadhi.”

(That quote comes from the book, The Science of Meditation.)

“The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor’s edge of Now.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Having lived with many great dogs (and a couple of cats), I just orded this book by Eckhart Tolle. The few pages I can see on the Amazon preview look great. It looks to be more about “mindfulness” and “spirituality” than “religion,” which suits me well. I’m looking forward to it.

Eckhart Tolle, Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs and Cats

The bad news is that I have the flu. The good news is that I’ve watched the first 25 episodes of New Girl (though I wasn’t conscious for all of them, and I’m not sure what happened to Coach).

I haven’t binge-watched anything like this since I had a bad infection after having my gallbladder removed.

One small step for me, and I don’t know if it will help mankind at all. But Hello, Scala is now called Scala Book, and you can find it here on

“I have never been forced to accept compromises, but I have willingly accepted constraints.”

~ Charles Eames

This is a view of the Rocky Mountains that are west and south of Boulder, Colorado. The apartment I lived in was located in the south/west area of Broomfield. There was actually a sign on the street in front of the apartments that said, “Welcome to Superior,” but somehow my apartment was in Broomfield.

The Rocky Mountains, west and south of Boulder, Colorado

Dart Isolates give you a way to perform real multi-threading in Dart applications, the ability to truly run code on another thread. (For more information on that statement, see Dart futures are NOT run in a separate thread.)

When I first read that Isolates were like actors I was very interested in them, but then I was surprised to see that (IMHO) they are implemented in a more low-level/primitive way than something like the Akka Actors library. (The entrepreneur out there might see this as an opportunity to create an Akka-like port for Dart and Flutter.)

For a long time I thought it was enough to know about something spiritual, but it wasn’t necessary to feel it. For instance, I’ve known about impermanence on an intellectual level, but to experience it in your bones, that’s the difference between a finger pointing at the Moon and the Moon itself. Robin Williams spoke eloquently about this difference on the park bench in Good Will Hunting.

Another topic is desire. There’s a Buddhist monk vow that says, “Desires are endless, I vow to conquer them all.” I’m not a Buddhist monk — I dropped out of monk school because of things like cookies, margaritas, sex, and love (not to mention pain) — but recently I had the very direct feeling of desire, and it finally occurred to me that if I don’t get past it, it will still be affecting my life in 2020, 2024, and if you believe in multiple lifetimes, I’ll still be dealing with it then.

It blew me away that this feeling is thousands of miles beyond simply knowing that I have that desire. For me it’s like the distance between (a) knowing that there are glaciers in Alaska vs (b) being right there and seeing and hearing the calving.

Editor’s note: “Desire” can be cookies, margaritas, etc. — anything where there is “want” with attachment.

As a brief note, if you need a Dart function to get the current date/time in a “seconds since the epoch” format, I can confirm that this function works:

/// the current time, in “seconds since the epoch”
static int currentTimeInSeconds() {
    var ms = (new;
    return (ms / 1000).round();

Today, October 10, 2019, we’re having our first snowfall of the season. I’m going to have to bake some cookies.

First snow, fall, 2019

Here’s an example of Union Types in Scala 3 (Dotty). This image comes from this Martin Odersky video.

An example of Union Types in Scala 3 (Dotty)

A Wolf Called Romeo is “the true story of the exceptional black wolf who spent seven years interacting with the people and dogs of Juneau, Alaska, living on the edges of their community, engaging in an improbable, awe-inspiring interspecies dance, and bringing the wild into sharp focus.” You can check it out here on

A Wolf Called Romeo

For whatever reason, I get back into yoga every fall, and a favorite book during this time is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

(When I studied by myself I thought his name was pronounced like “pat and jolly,” but when I studied with Judi Rice she taught me it was “pa-tan-ja-lee.”)

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

“If you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion and respect, then you can do any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively with less fear or worry, not being afraid of what others think or whether you will ultimately reach your goal.”

~ the Dalai Lama, in this tweet

I don’t know the original source of this image of Darth Vader and Yoda balloons, but I post it here because I’ve been seeing many photos from the Albuquerque Balloon Festival the last few days.

Albuquerque Balloon Festival

As far as I know, there’s no built-in way to remove spaces from a multiline string in Dart, but you can write your own function to do this. For example, I just dug into the splitMapJoin method of the Dart String class, and wrote a stripMargin function like this:

String stripMargin(String s) {
    return s.splitMapJoin(
        RegExp(r'^', multiLine: true),
        onMatch: (_) => '\n',
        onNonMatch: (n) => n.trim(),