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

Belinda Carlisle, who sang songs like Mad About You (my favorite) and Our Lips Are Sealed (with the Go-Go’s), was addicted to cocaine for thirty years. She’s now a Buddhist and living in Thailand. In a rare appearance in the U.S., she’ll be sharing her story in Denver on January 17, 2019.

Why, I ask, do so many men (and women), whether they’re sixty-five or twenty-five, refuse to take responsibility for their actions?

Springsteen sighs. “I would go back to DNA. If you grow up in a household where people are refusing to take responsibility for their lives, chances are you’re gonna refuse. You’re gonna see yourself as a professional victim. And once that’s locked into you, it takes a lotta self-awareness, a lotta work to come out from under it. I’m shocked at the number of people that I know who fall into this category. And it has nothing to do with whether you’re successful or not. It’s just your baggage. So that’s important to communicate to your children: They have to take responsibility for who they are, their actions, what they do. They’ve got to own their lives.”

~ this quote, which reminds me of some people in the Alexander clan, is from this interview with Bruce Springsteen

Phew, I’m glad to be back from the Land of the Dead. Just took some chocolates to the nurses who helped me recover. Looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend.

~ A Facebook post from November 30, 2010. I was living in Wasilla, Alaska at the time, had my gallbladder removed, then got an infection that made for ten of the worst days of my life. But the nurses were very helpful.

From their website: “The 2018 Engineering Gift Guide from Purdue University is filled with fun toys, games, books, and applications to engage girls and boys ages 3-18 in engineering thinking and design. Researchers looked for toys that would promote engineering practices ranging from coding and spatial reasoning to problem solving and critical thinking.”

Purdue University 2018 engineering gift guide

Back in my day, aerospace engineering undergrad students had very little time to work in the wind tunnels at Texas A&M, but in the limited time I had I tried to look at what makes a knuckleball move erratically. Barton Smith at Utah State University did the same thing (presumably with much more wind tunnel time) looking at a baseball’s spin rate, spin axis, and orientation of the ball.

I just released a large-font version of the Functional Programming, Simplified PDF. My hope is that it will help those people who want to read it in a Kindle reader. If you’ve bought the PDF, you can find the new file in your Gumroad.com account.

If I manage to send any cards out for Christmas this year, they’ll be these “Starry Night over the Rocky Mountains” cards, which I found in a store on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado yesterday.

Starry Night over the Rocky Mountains

For Cyber Monday I reduced the price of the PDF version of “Functional Programming, Simplified” to $22.50. (Price good on November 25 and 26, 2018 only.) Click here to buy the book!

In gratitude,
You have watered seeds of love in me.

In gratitude,
I will water seeds of love in someone too.

I need a new tablet, and I just might bite the bullet on the Amazon Fire 10 HD today (Black Friday, 2018). For my Android development I don’t like that it’s based on Android 5, but $100 (33% off its regular price) for a tablet with decent performance is hard to pass up for my current needs.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread,
air, light, spring,
but never your laughter,
for I would die.

~ Pablo Neruda

CBS is reportedly working on a reboot of the Northern Exposure television series. The series had more of an impact on my life than any other tv series — I ended up living in Alaska — so more power to them.

This is a picture of me as a pitcher in high school. I don’t want to say that we were poor growing up, but I wore a large outfielder’s glove while pitching because I was afraid to ask my dad for a new glove, and the shoe on my right foot — the one way up in the air — was cracked in the middle.

(Many thanks to Dwayne Heidtbrink for the photo way back when.)

Alvin Alexander pitching in high school

Some people come into your life and even if they don’t stay in it for long, they make an impact that changes you forever. Happy birthday to two people this month, one who made my life miserable, and another who made it wonderful.

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

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 haven’t tried it yet, but from all of the images I’ve seen, Elementary OS looks like the prettiest desktop Linux distribution I’ve ever seen. I hope to install it this weekend and take it for a spin.

Elementary OS: The prettiest Linux desktop yet