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

An Alutiiq petroglyph tattoo. From this Alutiiq Facebook page.

An Alutiiq petroglyph tattoo

“Sometimes I think of Frank as the catcher in the rye, standing at the edge of the cliff, trying to save the world.”

~ Catherine talking about Frank, in Millennium

(Holden: “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”)

I haven’t bought too many statues in my life, but I did buy some of these howling dog/coyote/wolf statues while I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They remind me of Zeus and some other Siberian Huskies I have known.

Howling wolf/coyote statues, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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

I think one should hear bells. :)

(“Jones” in this story eventually heard bells himself.)

One should hear bells

As a guy who’s been unconscious seven times and had ten operations, I like this, “You have one life” quote. Take it from me, when your lights go out, one of the main thoughts you’ll have is, “I wish I had done <fill in the blank>.”

(The quote appears to be by Beardsley Jones, and the image was put together by

You have this one life

December 5, 2018: After the operation in July I just got back to a 160 pound bench press and practicing yoga every night. After operation #8 tomorrow I won’t be able to exercise for six weeks. You just gotta keep coming back, keep fighting.

(I share the full quote from the movie Rocky Balboa at this link.)

Just gotta keep fighting

January 8, 2020: I met with my cardiologist yesterday and long story short, he said it’s dangerous to keep taking indomethacin for a long time. He said it’s like a very strong aspirin, and besides causing blurry vision (which I have already experience), it can also damage your stomach and kidneys. So he wants me to reduce the dose I’ve been taking, and eventually stop taking it altogether.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is to note that when you stop taking indomethacin after you’ve been taking 100-150mg per day for a while — and I’ve been taking that since November 4, 2019 — you can get a horrible rebound headache/migraine. This is the second time they’ve tried to reduce my indomethacin dosage after the pericarditis, and both times I’ve had horrible migraines and a very uncomfortable feeling in my eyes, and the first time I also vomited twice because of the severity of the migraine.

That feeling lasts for a while — maybe six to twelve hours — and as I write this later in the day I feel much better. I just wanted to note that in my experience, indomethacin withdrawal can lead to those symptoms.

With a little downtime following the pericarditis and subsequent angiogram, I’ve been working on my Grandma’s cookies recipe. They’re not there yet, but they’re getting closer. :)

Grandma’s cookies

The last two nights — January 6 and 7, 2020 — the moon shine has woken me up during the middle of the night.

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes

And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low

And all the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance ...

Awakened by the moon shine

Back in the day, high school was boring for me, and probably even before my parents were separated I decided to take as many days off from school as I could. A few days ago when I was rearranging my furniture I ran across my high school yearbook, where I found several inscriptions like this one, alluding to the fact that I wasn’t there very often, but I made class interesting when I was there. ;)

January, 2020 update: I read that the girl who wrote this passed away a few weeks ago.

Had a little problem getting to school

This is a photo from the drive from Santa Fe, New Mexico north to Colorado, taking the back roads (Route 285) rather than the expressway. I took this photo in March, 2015.

Road from Santa Fe, New Mexico north to Colorado

February 24, 2018: After a long hiatus, during the last week I finally got back into a consistent meditation routine. As usual, this helps me remember my dreams better, and to also have lucid dreams. Last night that combined with something else I had thought about casually recently: Wouldn’t it be nice to be young again, and if I was young again, what would I do differently?

After falling asleep, I wake up in strange apartment. Looking around I can’t figure out what’s going on, but having been in this situation dozens of times before, I find the bathroom, turn on the light, and look in the mirror. I’m pleasantly surprised to see a much younger version of myself. My face is young again, and my hair is longer, soft, and as dark as ever, with no touches of gray. Realizing I’ve been given a second chance, I vow to make the most of it.

After I figure out the apartment situation, I decide to go for a walk and see what the neighborhood looks like. As I walk down the road and enjoy the new scenery, a speeding car comes around a turn. I try to get out of its way, but it hits me hard. My body flies through the air and crashes hard on someone’s lawn as the car speeds away. Lying on the ground, my face pushed into the lawn, I look at the blades of green grass in front of me. I try to hold onto it in my mind because I know that my second chance at living a younger life is coming to an abrupt halt. The green grass fades into darkness.

Back in 2008 I went on a meditation retreat where speaking was allowed. The teacher at the retreat was a psychotherapist, and as I learned during the week, one of the students was his patient.

The patient came from a wealthy family, and he went to see the therapist because he had always “lived from his wallet” as he told me, meaning that money was the primary concern in every decision he made in life. He was obsessed with making money and not spending money, and it was causing a lot of problems in his life, including creating stress and ruining relationships.

I noticed that from time to time he would tap himself on his chest, or otherwise place his hand on his chest in the area of his heart. One day at lunch I asked him about this, and he told me that the therapist taught him that every time he thought about money, he should tap himself on the chest as a reminder that he needed to learn to make decisions based on his heart rather than on his wallet. His slogan had become, “Live from the heart, not the wallet.”

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.”

If you ever wondered what life was about, here you go. From Leo (Michael Clark Duncan) in The Finder.

Leo, on The Finder

Besides books on sports, the first book I remember reading that wasn’t assigned to me by a teacher is Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl.

Viktor Frankl: Man's Search for Meaning

January 5, 2011, Wasilla, Alaska: This is a photo of our parking lot, a half-inch or more of ice, and black gravel they’ll sweep up and re-use come March or April.

A thick layer of ice in the parking lot, Wasilla, Alaska