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

When real and unreal both
Are absent from before the mind,
Nothing else remains for mind to do
But rest in perfect peace,
From concept free.

~ Shantideva

I’ve heard the song Hurt, performed by Johnny Cash several times lately, so I’ll make it today’s song of the day. I first heard it when I lived in the little cabin in Alaska in 2007, so along with a handful of other great songs I first heard there, it holds a special place in my heart.

The cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska

“To do the best design you have to live and breathe the product.”

~ from the book, Jony Ive, The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products

The Andreessen Horowitz website has a blog post titled The Crypto Canon which has links to good resources on what a blockchain is, how bitcoin and others work, Ethereum, and much more.

“There’s a philosopher who says, ‘As you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos, and random events, non-related events, smashing into each other and causing this situation, and then … then this happens, and it’s overwhelming, and it just looks like ... what in the world is going on? And later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely crafted novel. But at the time, it don’t.’ And a lot of The Eagles story is like that.”

~ Joe Walsh, in the History of The Eagles

A favorite sign in Alaska. Anchorage to the right, Fairbanks to the left. Keep it simple.

A favorite Alaska sign (Anchorage/Fairbanks)

“I’m going to be the best Zach LaVine you guys can get,” he said. “That’s who I am. I’m not here to replace anybody. I’m here to become the next young guy coming in for the Chicago Bulls, work my butt off and take this back to where it should be. You can’t replace a guy when you’re not that person. I’m Zach LaVine. I’m going to play like me. I’m going to act like me and that’s just how I carry myself. I’m me.”

In celebration of 2/11 tomorrow: 2 + 11 = 1 + 12 and “two plus eleven” is an anagram of “one plus twelve.”

With two or three weeks left in the regular season, the Broncos were facing possible elimination from the playoffs. (A lot of people were saying it was “probable,” not “possible.”) But they kept working hard — “grinding,” as they like to call it — and won the Super Bowl. Never give up.

My favorite line from this “Bear Safety” sign in Alaska:

“Play dead unless it starts to eat you, then fight back.

bear safety sign in Alaska

When you hear mindfulness people say something like, “Life is like a dream,” one thing they mean is that more than 99.99% of the stuff going on in our minds are thoughts about the past and the future. (Past happiness or regrets, and future hopes and concerns.) Because the only thing that’s real in the present moment is what’s actually happening in *only this moment*, anything that’s outside of this moment is in a strict sense no longer real.

Along this line of thinking I like Eckhart Tolle’s two quotes, “The present moment is all you ever have” — you know that to be true for sure if you’ve ever lost consciousness, not knowing if you’d ever open your eyes again — and, “The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor’s edge of Now.”

This quote/image about our “propensity” for certain behaviors comes from Pema Chodron’s book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. Ms. Chodron oftens writes and speaks about “shenpa,” which I’ll describe as some combination of “things that trigger us,” along with how we react to those triggers.

Pema Chodron and our propensity for certain behaviors

I like this tweet by the Dalai Lama. One of my favorite phrases is facta non verba — deeds, not words.

Dalai Lama: Prayers are not enough

(I originally wrote this blog post in 2012, and it seems like it has held up well over time.)

One great thing I’ve learned from Scala and functional programming over the last few months is this: 

Make your variables immutable, unless there’s a good reason not to.

“Immutable” means that you can’t change (mutate) your variables; you mark them as final in Java, or use the val keyword in Scala. More important than you not changing your variables is that other programmers can’t change your variables, and you can’t change theirs.

“I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail. I think in our society today, Instagram, Twitter, it’s a highlight reel. It’s all the good things. And then when you look at it, you think like, wow, when you have a rough day or your life’s not as good as that, like, you’re failing.”

“Failure is a part of life. That’s a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times. Made mistakes.”

“We all are human, we all have weaknesses, and I think throughout this, just being able to share that and be transparent. I know when I listen to people speak and they share their weaknesses, I’m listening. Because I can resonate.”

“So I’m not perfect. I’m not Superman. I might be in the NFL, and we might have just won the Super Bowl, but, hey, we still have daily struggles, I still have daily struggles. So that's where my faith comes in, that’s where my family comes in.”

“I think when you look at a struggle in your life, just know that’s just an opportunity for your character to grow. And that’s really just been the message. Simple. If something’s going on in your life and you’re struggling? Embrace it. Because you’re growing.”

~ Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, and Super Bowl champion

I usually just encourage people to meditate so they can learn to relax, but there’s another good reason to meditate: It helps you find out who you are. Since you were born, you’ve been programmed by your parents, siblings, other relatives, friends, and teachers; meditation is a way undoing all of that programming. Once you shed that programming, what remains is your true self.

Hmm, someone is trying to sell a copy of Functional Programming, Simplified for $84.67 plus $6.99 shipping on Amazon. Not sure what that’s all about ... I recommend buying a new one from Amazon.

Functional Programming, Simplified at Amazon

“I love you so much that I want you to be happy, even if that happiness no longer includes me.”

A quote from the movie, The Longest Ride. (Which, thanks to my illness, I have no memory of watching. I only know that I wrote this quote down on a piece of paper.)

I use index cards for “To-Do List” items all the time, and I thought it would be really nice to get some sort of index card holder/stand for the times when I’m working off multiple cards, which is pretty much all the time. I love this Note Card Bleacher idea, except for the $99 price tag. I think I need a 3d printer, or maybe some carving balsa foam to make what I want.

Index card holder/stand