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

On June 26, 2012, there were several fires in the mountains near Boulder, Colorado.

Fires in the mountains near Boulder, Colorado

For anyone interested in the radioactive iodine treatment instructions I received from the hospital back in 2014 (for the post-surgical treatment of thyroid cancer)(which I’ll be going through again), here you go. As I note in the image, as a writer I appreciate the strong finish. :)

Radioactive iodine treatment instructions (for thyroid cancer)

I first saw this Senility Prayer at my wife’s grandparents’ house many moons ago, and it still makes me smile.

Senility Prayer

“When we look up at night and view the stars, everything we see is shining because of distant nuclear fusion.”

~ Carl Sagan

This article on When to use Web Workers had this good chart that shows that smartphone CPUs aren’t hitting a performance wall in the same way that PC CPUs did in 2005.

Smartphone CPUs are still getting significantly faster

It’s great to see wealthy people trying to save the environment. Per this CNN.com story, “Pink Floyd's David Gilmour auctioned 126 of his guitars for a record-breaking $21 million at a New York charity auction Thursday to fight against climate change.” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay bought the “Black Strat” for ~$4M, and apparently he’s going to make it available to the public.

Had a fun dream overnight. At first I was laying here in my bed and having a hard time falling asleep, but at some point it switched to me laying on the floor, in the living room area but near the kitchen. Someone was in the kitchen, but it’s twelve hours later now and I can’t remember who. For a long time I laid there uncomfortably, thinking I was awake, but I was only awake in a lucid dream.

Then I felt the usual sensation that’s hard to describe — like you can feel that something is about to happen — and I was pulled away and out through the front wall of the apartment. I was flying, or at least levitating, looking up at the night sky. It was beautiful, and I could have stayed there for a long time.

Then I was pulled away again, eventually approached a tree, and then landed. Wherever this was, there was a building, and a number of other people were also arriving at the same time. We went inside, and a slightly older woman was trying to usher us into a room. It felt like it was some sort of classroom and she was going to teach us something.

Unfortunately I was rapidly whisked away and woke up in my bed. It was all a good time, but seeing the night sky like that was particularly amazing.

TechCrunch has a nice, full quote from Bill Gates on what he considers his greatest mistake. I include part of the quote in this image because his “winner-take-all” comment is so important.

Bill Gates greatest mistake

I saw this slide from ScalaDays 2019, and it now looks like Scala 3.0 (Dotty) is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2020.

Scala 3.0 (Dotty) scheduled for release, Fall, 2020

I was writing with a friend about Facebook, and realized how much I dislike facebook.com because (a) they don’t let me control my own timeline — not surprisingly, humans don’t like to be controlled by algorithms — and (b) you definitely get the feeling that you’re a piece of meat and they’re trying to sell you. If they were perceived as a kind, benevolent company that didn’t constantly force their version of “what’s important” on people, people might use it more.

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. (Here’s a link to the original post, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

I can’t write a book

For many years I struggled with how to combine two of my main interests, Zen and work. I have read that the Zen mind is the mind before thinking, so it seems like Zen and work must be totally unrelated. Over time I came to understand phrases like, “When working, just work.”

This article contains a collection of quotes that have been helpful to me in understanding the relationship between Zen and work. Please note that I don’t wrap each quote in double quotes, and I also try to attribute each quote to the correct author/speaker. If you’re interested in how to combine Zen and work, I hope you’ll find them helpful.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years,
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

“Spirits are very fragile. Easy to break, but not impossible to repair.”

~ from a Monk episode

“To complain is (your) nonacceptance of what is. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in power. So change the situation by taking action or speaking out. Leave the situation or accept it; all else is madness.

If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options:

  • Remove yourself from the situation
  • Change it
  • Accept it totally

If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now (slightly edited by me)

There are many nice cartoons/illustrations in Eckhart Tolle’s book Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs and Cats, and this “Shtop Thinking” cartoon is one of my current favorites. (The book is a collaborative effort between Mr. Tolle and Patrick McDonnell, artist/illustrator/cartoonist who may be most well known for his “Mutts” cartoons.)

Shtop Thinking - Guardians of Being

I learned today that you can use JavaScript for “scripting” on macOS. These docs say that has been the case since Mac OS X 10.10.

This images comes from this good Seeking Alpha article on investing in “dividend” stocks. There are some good nuggets in that article, but (except for the formatting) I like these words and that chart.

Where stock dividends come from

These days I generally feel very good, but as I go through some of these medical treatments they can make me feel pretty miserable, especially when combined with the effects of the MCAS. During times like that I usually just meditate in bed or in a recliner, generally not thinking about anything, just breathing, letting the inside and outside become one. I do this almost all of the time.

But other times when I can’t do that for one reason or another, I started to create a little “feel good” list to reflect on. This is something that when I’m not feeling well and I can’t meditate, it helps to remind me that life has generally been very good to me. I think about various things, all of the favorite times I’ve had in my life, meeting my wife, playing baseball, all of the dogs, good vacations, fun with friends, etc.

One thing I hadn’t thought about in a long time that came to mind recently was that when I was 32 years old I worked for a company I called the Evil Empire, and something good happened on my last day there. (That wasn’t their real name, but some of the owners of that company inspired me to give it that name.)

Found a note today that I wrote on December 24, 2005. I noted that a friend went out of their way to wish me a Merry Christmas, and it was the nicest thing to happen recently and I never wanted to forget it. Reading it tonight made me smile again. Never underestimate the potential effect of the simplest kind word or act.