The Aptly Named, Sam's Blog


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An out of focus image of blurry blobs of color and bokeh on a black background. A couple of the blobs resemble heart shapes.

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Hey folks, another beta cycle for Mimi Uploader is now commencing. I expect this to be mostly bug fixes. First fix is for that annoying issue in the alt text editor where the text you’re editing goes under the keyboard 😬

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Just how much Mastodon has taken off and continues to grow is quite evident by the fact that I felt compelled to import my mute list from Twitter today.

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Went out for some jazz last night 😊

Jenni skimping and looking at me with a cocktail in front of her on the table. In the background are people and musical instruments and mellow lighting of a jazz club.

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An afternoon walk at Oaks Bottom on a freezing cold (but sunny!) day last weekend.

A woman stands on a rock on the edge of a pond. She’s dressed for a freezing cold day. There’s green grass in parts of the pond and trees behind which are reflected in the pond. Everything is lit with sunlight and shadows.

A fallen tree on the bank of a river, with its top submerged in the water and it’s base in the foreground showing roots. Lit by the low afternoon winter sunlight.

A sailboat in the middle of a river lit by the warm glow of winter sunlight. There’s a US flag on the boat. Fore ground and background river banks have trees without leaves.

A bush without leaves with white berries of some kind on it  scattered sparsely. Trees in the blurred background.

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Did this cycle a couple of times today: Sauna (170 ºF) -> Cold Plunge (40ºF) -> Hot Tub.

Outside! And the sun came out too! My first time at this. It was wonderful. Will definitely do again 👍

An outdoor space with a hot tub, lawn, tree house, trees and a cloudy sky with some blue patches.

An outdoor space with a sauna and two claw foot bathtubs filled with cold water. One of the tubs has a layer of ice too.

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Second, it’s probably possible to use financial engineering to bypass the debt limit. The most famous proposal calls for minting a platinum coin with a face value of, say, $1 trillion, depositing that coin with the Federal Reserve and spending out of the bank account thus created. Believe it or not, this would almost certainly be legal.

I noticed the paragraph above in this article about the debt limit.

A few things came to mind:

  1. WTF?!
  2. It’s amazing the systems and institutions we rely on have such weird foundational stuff as could be dreamed up as a story.
  3. How come Hollywood hasn’t made a heist move about this already?!
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My recent Flickr account stats show huge spikes that go way back in time, so basically 1 or 2 retrievals on a lot of old photos. I feel like someone is scraping, and I wonder if it’s for AI learning.

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Yesterday at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

A black and white photo of wetlands with lots of ground vegetation and trees without leaves. There are hills in the distance and a dramatic cloudy sky above.

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Yard at sunrise on a summer morning.

Black and white photo of a small plant in front of a white lattice fence. The ground is covered with wood mulch and pine cones.

Black and white photo of grapevine leaves hanging down in front of a white lattice fence and a garden bed.

An up close black and white photo of a small plant in front of a white lattice fence.

Film: Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Camera: Voigtländer Bessa R2a


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Looking up from under a tree with a giant trunk, and many big branches going skywards all lit by the warm light of sunset

#ThickTrunkTuesday

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It gets mossy around here.

A muddy lane blocked off by a barrier that says Firelane 8 with a number of mossy tree trunks visible on the side of its path.

A moss covered tree trunk in the foreground and many other mossy trees behind in damp woods.

#mosstodon

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Really enjoying having a functional window in my home office for the first time in almost six years! And it’s nice to have it be a double hung so that I can open the top sash a bit to let in fresh air, and my feet don’t get cold in two minutes like they do with the bottom sash.

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A tree with white bark and no leaves, standing in a house yard, is lit by the golden light of the setting Sun.

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Thinking of summer aka It’s summer somewhere.

On a clear summer day a woman trims a hedge in a yard with lots of greenery and a wooden pergola behind her.

Film: Kodak Ultramax (ISO 400)
Camera: Voigtländer Bessa R2a

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Happy New Year! 🥳

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Woke up to a dry non-overcast morning after a while. Went over to Mt. Tabor to walk around a bit.

View of city skyline in the distance with dramatic clouds above with patches of clear blue sky.

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A diptych with each photo looking down at shoes on a sidewalk. In front of the shoes are thin branches of some weed holding on to snowy ice.

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RIP Pelé

Playing with the IMDb dataset to find top movies that have multiple directors

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I was playing with the pandas library on python and picked the IMDb dataset to explore.

To give myself a learning goal, I asked the following question:

What movies are generally regarded as the best that have multiple directors?

After some finagling the dataset (of multiple large CSV files) I arrived at the following list of twenty, in descending order of average rating:

  1. The Matrix (1999) • 8.7
    Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski

  2. City of God (2002) • 8.6
    Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund

  3. The Intouchables (2011) • 8.5
    Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano

  4. Avengers: Endgame (2019) • 8.4
    Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

  5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) • 8.4
    Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

  6. No Country for Old Men (2007) • 8.2
    Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

  7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) • 8.2
    Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

  8. Gone with the Wind (1939) • 8.2
    Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood

  9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) • 8.1
    Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

  10. The Big Lebowski (1998) • 8.1
    Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

  11. Fargo (1996) • 8.1
    Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

  12. The Wizard of Oz (1939) • 8.1
    Victor Fleming, King Vidor, Richard Thorpe, Norman Taurog, Mervyn LeRoy, George Cukor

  13. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) • 8.0
    Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan

  14. Sin City (2005) • 8.0
    Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez

  15. Captain America: Civil War (2016) • 7.8
    Joe Russo, Anthony Russo

  16. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) • 7.8
    Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

  17. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) • 7.8
    Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

  18. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) • 7.7
    Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

  19. True Grit (2010) • 7.6
    Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

  20. The Butterfly Effect (2004) • 7.6
    Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber

Some thoughts on these results:

Notes on the data filtering and sorting process to get to the final list:

The script can be found here.

P.S. The dataset obviously has biases and those impact the results.

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I love the way Mythic Quest does the one flashback episode each season. Seasons 1 and 3 had really good ones.

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I got a set of chisels for Christmas, so obviously I’m spending the afternoon practicing making a dovetail joint on a scrap piece of wood 😄

A clamped piece of wood with a partial dovetail joint and two Narex chisels next to it.

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Merry Christmas!

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Enola Holmes 2 was enjoyable but was maybe trying a bit too hard to live up to the qualities of the first film. Hpefully they can better balance that in the third film.

📷 Shades of Taj

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In the last week of our recent trip to India, Jenni and I went on an overnight trip from New Delhi to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal.

We arrived at the site a couple hours before sunset so the Sun was about halfway down which meant that as we walked around the campus, and the light changed color, we could see it all on play out the Taj. This was especially delightful. The primary stone in the construction is Makrana marble, which is famous for being strong and translucent.

Main gate to the Taj Mahal

The center of the main gate’s arch is perfectly aligned with the center of the main arch of the Taj Mahal, and both are perfectly aligned due North. Our guide, Tarun, made us aware of this and challenged us to check using the phone’s compass, which I did!

Intricate pattern of white lines on red stone on the ceiling of the arch of the main gate to the Taj Mahal with a clear blue sky behind.

Taj Mahal in the bright late afternoon Sun from just inside the main gate with a clear blue sky behind.

Taj Mahal in the late afternoon Sun, partially obscured by a tree in the garden in front.

We walked the charbagh garden pathways, and made our way as Tarun took some photos of us all the while sharing the story of the Taj.

Main arch on the front of the Taj Mahal showing the stone inlaid patterns of flowers and inscriptions embedded in the marble.

The work to cut stones and inlay them is very intricate and labor intensive and there’s a large industry that continues to do this work, the knowledge of which has been passed down for generations since the time of the Taj’s construction.

Up close detail of stone inlaid flower pattern, and marble relief carving of flowers.

Inside the mausoleum, photography is prohibited, and the outer rooms are cordoned off. The replica of the graves of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan lie in the center, and one can walk around that in a designated path. The actual graves are in the basement underneath but that is inaccessible to the public. This is the original design.

A man with a small flashlight demonstrated how the stones in the inlaid flowers glow when light is applied on them. It is really a wonderful effect, and one that I don’t recall seeing on previous trips. This same man asked for our names by turn and said it out loud as he looked upwards, to sound an echo.

After walking around the inside, we made our way to the outside on the provided path. As we did so, the light of the setting sun made lovely patterns as it made its way in through the carved and perforated marble walls.

Plaza on the backside of the Taj Mahal at sunset with partial views of a minor, the mosque and the Yamuna river.

Main arch on the back of the Taj Mahal with inscriptions around it, and relief carvings on the inside.

Jenni in front of the guest house adjacent to the Taj Mahal with warm sunset light falling on it.

View of the main gate and gardens looking back from the plaza of the Taj Mahal with a large number of people visible on all the paths.

Even a Tuesday afternoon brought a lot of visitors.

Jenni in front of one of the minars of the Taj Mahal with warm sunset light falling on both.

Looking up from the base of the plaza of the Taj Mahal with views of the inscriptions and stone inlay work on two of the side arches, with warm sunset light on all of it and a clear blue sky behind.

Looking up from the gardens towards the Taj Mahal with the mosque in the distance, and the sky with a gradient of blue to yellow behind.

Taj Mahal in the cool white light of dusk as seen from the main gate.

As we made our way back to the exit by the main gate, the Sun set completely and so the Taj appeared a cool white, which was very different from the vibrant yellow and orange it had been in the hours before. I’m pretty sure that previously I had only visited in mid-day so hadn’t seen this effect. Experiencing these changing colors on the Taj was my favorite thing about this visit, which was my third or fourth.

Maybe someday I’ll even see the famous full-moon-lit shade of Taj.


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