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

To make the online reading a little easier, I’ve put a free preview version of Functional Programming, Simplified on That website contains ~40 lessons from the book. For more complete previews, see my original Functional Programming, Simplified page.

It feels like I’ve been on the road for eight weeks, but this is a photo of the sunrise in Missouri yesterday morning during the drive back to Colorado.

Sunrise in Missouri, finally back in Colorado

I’ll guess that nobody in the U.S. Congress has read it, but the Scala Cookbook is in the Library of Congress, which is kinda cool.

Scala Cookbook in Library of Congress

“I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

~ James Baldwin (via this page)

Recent events remind me that people often have two reasons for doing something: a reason that they’ll tell you, and the real reason.

(I initially learned that when I read the 1947 version of this book by Frank Bettger.)

“You're the man now, dog!”

~ From the movie, Finding Forrester

When editing my own writing I like to write “constipated thinking” or just “constipated” on some of my text that clearly deserves it (as an homage to the movie, Finding Forrester).

Back when I owned my own business I had a philosophy of recruiting employees after we hired them. You know how it is, when a company recruits you they put on their best face, they buy you lunch, buy you gifts, they tell you why they want you, etc. My idea was to keep doing that after we hired you, to let you know how much we appreciated you. This was kindness/gratitude and also good business sense: it’s hard to find good employees.

I think marriage should be the same way. Rather than thinking, “You married me, now you’re stuck with me” — which is a dangerous thought — I think it’s important to keep recruiting your marriage partner in the same way.

Just a thought.

September 26, 2010: I went down to Seward, Alaska for a short vacation this week, and woke up to a 5.5 magnitude earthquake one morning. True story: I was in the middle of a dream when I suddenly heard the song "Rock The Boat" playing as someone grabbed my left wrist. I then woke up to hear something rattling in the hotel room, and before I could think of who I was, where I was, or what to do, the earthquake stopped.

Alaska earthquake - September 25, 2010 - Talkeetna, Cantwell, Wasilla, Seward

A friend of mine is an honest reviewer of apps. When I asked her to use the AAA iOS app while we were driving back from Florida, she said, “OMG, please don’t make me use that piece of crap again.”

Sunrise from a road trip this morning, September 10, 2018.

Road trip sunrise

The paperback version of “Hello, Scala” is now available. The regular price of the book will be $25, but it’s introductory price is $17.76. Click here to view the book information on Amazon.

The PDF version of Hello, Scala is now available here on The regular price will be $20, but it’s currently on sale for just $10.

Here’s some information about the Boulder, Colorado Chautauqua, courtesy of the menu at the Chautauqua dining hall.

Boulder, Colorado Chautaqua information

“I didn’t understand it at first,” Jack says. “As I got older I understood. It’s so enriching to your life to have a brotherhood of guys that you know have your back.”

~ that quote comes from this article about football, but i find the same to be true when you’re working with a great team of men and women

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

~ Socrates

Before doctors figured out that I have a rare blood disease called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), I went unconscious seven times, typically vomiting while I was unconscious.

Right before the first event I was stumbling around my apartment like I had been poisoned, splashing cold water on my face, and generally just trying not to die. Despite my efforts, I went unconscious.

Right before the second event I thought, “If I live through this one, I need to update my will.”

Right before the third event I thought, “Apparently I’m going to die soon. I just want other people to be happy, and if I live, I want to help them however I can.”

After that, for events #4 through #7, along with three subsequent cases of allergic angina — what I call “fake heart attacks” — I had no significant thoughts in my mind, just peace.

These days when something bad happens I recall those 7-10 events, and know that I could have died during any of them. When I think that way, all of today’s little problems seem insignificant.

A cow driving an old Volkswagen van, as seen in an ice cream shop somewhere on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.

A cow driving an old Volkswagen van

Sorry, it's a quiet week here on I have family in town this week on vacation, and they're keeping me pretty busy.