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

A nurse that I see all the time suggested that I get Snapchat. I responded, “Oh, so you can text me my lab results more easily?” Which eventually reminded me of this image.

Relationships for dummies

“Romeo and Juliet, the dyslexic version.”

The dialog between Timothy Hutton and Natalie Portman is my favorite part about the underrated movie, Beautiful Girls.

Beautiful Girls: Romeo and Juliet, the dyslexic version

I became a fan of Mike Barr’s paintings back in 2016. This one is called Autumn Rain, but I actually like his darker, evening paintings even more.

Mike Barr’s paintings

A wedding cartoon from Herman comics. :)

Herman wedding cartoon

“Anything beautiful is worth getting hurt for.”

~ Prince (on New Girl)

For the zillionth time yesterday a doctor said, “This (medical condition you have) is very rare, but, well, there it is.” Mast cell disease continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Filed in the “FWIW” category ... I wrote the following Dart/Flutter code as an attempt to create a Flutter file logger using Dart isolates, but as it turns out, at the time of this writing the Flutter platform won’t let you do that. So I thought I’d share/save my code here in case I can use it in the future.

First, here’s my Flutter file logging code that uses Dart isolates:

November 19, 2019: Version 1.1 of my Back To Now “mindfulness reminders” app for iOS was just released on Apple’s App Store. Since it’s officially a Valley Programming product, you can read more about it on my Back To Now v1.1 support page on

I’ll guess that I’ve spent at least two or three months of my life living in a particular hotel in Virginia Beach (including finishing the Scala Cookbook there), and this photo/painting is an ode to that place.

Ode to the hotel in Virginia Beach

This tweet shows a terrific view of ice skating in Chickaloon, Alaska.

Ice skating in Alaska

The image here shows two photos of the Pedersen Glacier in Alaska. The black and white image is from 1917, and the open green field is from 2005. I found those photos in this YouTube video after viewing a short video about how warm it is in the Arctic Circle this year, where glaciers are melting during the winter instead of forming new ice.

For more information, the USGS has this page which shows many more examples of disappearing glaciers in Alaska.

The disappearing Pedersen Glacier in Alaska

“A month ago I went on a juice cleanse. You know what it cleans out of you best? The will to live.”

One thing I learned in Alaska is that when you see green water in it, that means there’s protein in the water, which means there will be fish, and also bears. I took this photo in the Kenai Peninsula in southern-ish Alaska (southwest-ish, not southeast).

Green water in southern Alaska

Back on November 18, 1999, twelve students were killed and 27 were injured in the bonfire collapse at Texas A&M University.

As I get back into “book writing” mode, it’s funny to find notes like this that I left for myself:

TODO: Edit this text ruthlessly when you’re feeling better.

I was so sick during the last few months, I have no memory of writing that.

~ a note from september, 2016

Something I just realized when writing a friend is that after my parents were divorced — after my dad divorced my mom — everyone but my dad was much happier.

During my senior year of high school my parents were still married and my dad had a child with a woman who wasn’t my mother, which led to the divorce. He could be verbally abusive at times — extremely so — and in our high school photos we often looked like the most depressed family in the world. But after he left, everyone felt more free to be themselves without fear of reprisal.

Continuing my olde-tyme movie theme this week, in the movie Vision Quest, Matthew Modine — also known as Eleven’s father in Stranger Things — was 25 years old when the movie was filmed, though his character was supposed to be an 18 year old high school senior. And Linda Fiorentino was 26, when her character was 21 (“I’ve been 21 since I was 14”). I probably first saw this movie at a theatre in College Station, Texas.

Whenever I think of Madonna’s song Crazy For You, I think of this movie. Here’s the official video release of her song on YouTube, which is composed of scenes from the movie.

Vision Quest - 1

Vision Quest - 2

It looks like I have notifications working in the iOS version of my Back To Now app, so I’ll be releasing that during this coming week.

Notifications in Back To Now