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

When I fell asleep last night I had Amazon Prime Video running on my tablet. Then when I woke up at some time during the night, there was a squirrel talking in a kitchen, and then I saw that he was talking to Robert Downey, Jr. Turns out it was this fun Alexa/Doolittle ad, supporting Toys For Tots.

(And on the Dolittle front, this Dolittle “Auditions” video provides even more fun.)

I was working on some new code for my functional programming in Scala book today. At one point I thought everything looked okay, so I decided to generate some Scaladoc to see what certain things looked like. Admittedly I’m a bit tired today, but when I saw that Scaladoc I thought, “Good grief, Al, what sort of ugly API have you created?”

For some reason, seeing the Scaladoc helped me easily see the errors of my way. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be promoting a “Scaladoc-driven API design” process, but seeing the Scaladoc generated from my code sure helped today.

~ a note from August 30, 2017

A Scaladoc-driven design process

Here’s another photo from my drive from Fairbanks, Alaska to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay.

The drive from Fairbanks, Alaska to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay (photo #1)

“While his brain was probed by the fMRI, Mingyur (a Buddhist monk) followed the instruction to engage compassion. Once again the minds of everyone watching in the control room felt as though they had stopped. The reason: Mingyur’s brain circuitry for empathy rose to an activity level 700 to 800 times greater than it had been in the rest period just before.”

“Such an extreme increase befuddles science; the intensity with which those states were activated in Mingyur’s brain far exceeds any that had ever been seen in ‘normal’ people. The closest resemblance is for epileptic seizures, but those episodes last brief seconds, not for a full minute. And besides, brains are controlled by seizures, in contrast to Mingyur’s display of intentionally controlling his brain activity.”

~ from a story about brainwave tests of a monk in 2002

This is a photo from the drive I once took from Fairbanks, Alaska all the way up to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay.

The drive from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

One of my nieces got me this “Straight Outta Cookies” Cookie Monster t-shirt for Christmas one year. For a guy like me who once got paid in cookies to build a website, it’s a great gift. :)

Straight Outta Cookies - Cookie Monster t-shirt

“Today I will live in the moment ... unless it’s unpleasant, in which case I’ll eat a cookie.”

~ Cookie Monster

[From time to time I write little stories that have nothing to do with programming or technology; this is one of those stories. So, if you’re only here for the technology stuff, you’ll want to skip this one.]

I’m standing in the kitchen of a friend’s house at a Christmas party, making myself a drink while talking to a friend named Angie. This was nothing unusual; she and I were always talking about something. We became friends during our last year in high school, and we’ve been talking every since.

In retrospect it’s obvious that I have feelings for her, but I guess you could say that I didn’t appreciate her back then. After high school my ambition took me away to college, and then to a series of jobs in different states. By the time I decided to move back home, she was married and had two young children.

While we talked all the time, this kitchen conversation was unusual. I don’t remember how it started, but Angie did ask me about something I rarely talk about: my parents getting divorced in high school.

Acting lessons, by Steven Seagal. :)

Steven Seagal

“Don’t worry, it’s just marketers collecting our personal data so they can create more relevant advertising for us.”

~ from @marketoonist

Don't worry, it's just marketers collecting our personal data

In one of my ongoing dream series I’m a young man who works at a restaurant at night. Two nights ago I was working there when a female co-worker told me she bought a Christmas gift for me, and wanted to see if we could do a gift exchange. I hadn’t gotten her anything yet, so I said something like, “I, I ... I can’t do it right now because <insert excuse here>. How about tomorrow?”

After work I went out to buy something for her. “Think, think,” I said to myself, probing my dream memory, “what would be a nice gift?” Then I remembered that a few weeks ago she told me about something she always wanted when she was younger, so I went out and found that item, and wrapped it up.

Last night we exchanged gifts during a break at work. She opened hers first, and when she saw it she began to cry. “Uh-oh,” I thought, “now you’ve gone and made her cry. This might not be good.” But then she said it was beautiful and thoughtful, and said her gift to me was nothing compared to it.

Tonight I think I’m going to call in sick to work, or maybe just stay up all night and binge-watch Stranger Things.

~ December 13, 2017

I forgot all about this, but at some point I posted large photos of my 2007 drive from Fairbanks, Alaska to Prudhoe Bay. As you can see in those photos, it’s dirt roads all the way.

Photos from Fairbanks, Alaska to Prudhoe Bay

“Gonna have that song stuck in my head”

~ from the Tundra Comics 2019 calendar

Gonna have that song stuck in my head

“They say dreams are the windows of the soul. Take a peek and you can see the inner workings, the nuts and bolts.”

A “Northern Exposure” coffee mug, with a Tundra Comics design.

Northern Exposure coffee mug (Tundra Comics design)

“Sometimes the mind ... for reasons we don’t fully understand, just goes to the store for a quart of milk.”

(Or for ‘december,’ in my case.)

“I don’t know what this is, or why this is Amy, but I’m tumbling for you in a big way. You know what I mean? I’m plummeting off the edge of the Earth ...”

~ from the Northern Exposure “Pi” episode.