The Aptly Named, Sam's Blog

📷 Shades of Taj


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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Home office humidity is down to 18%. Going to get the humidifier going even though it was spitting water the last time I used it #pdxtst


Early AM today was I think the first time ever that the heat pump was unable to warm up to set temperature. #pdxtst #ArcticBlast


We’re expecting some extreme cold weather tomorrow but Apple’s Weather app is not showing the alerts that have been issued. It’s really weird and many people are going to get caught off-guard. Every other weather app is showing the alerts.


RIP InSight


That was the best game of football. Congratulations Argentina! 🎉


Frosty dawn in the yard yesterday.

Frost on the top of rustic vertical boards with frosted grass in the background.

A frosty leaf of chard in garden bed with straw in the background.


I’ve just returned from a three week trip to India which was full of spending time with family, events, some sightseeing. It was a whirlwind, but thankfully everything went smoothly 🥰. Been decompressing at home with jet lag, while catching up on work.


Sunset Taj

Jenni and I in front of the Taj Mahal which is glowing in sunset yellow-orange color.


Scenes around New Delhi

Sidewalk full of plants and a sign that reads “Nizam’s” with some orange sunlight coming through a sort-of tunnel made by foliage.

People at a street side bookstore with books piled eight feet high off the ground.

Golden hour sunlight through a hazy sky with trees silhouetted in the distance and cars in the foreground.


It has been a while since I did one of these!

Photo of a map of the world showing the path of a plane from ORD to DEL.

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Todays sunrise. A minute before this it was all shades of pink.

A view of the sunrise with colors going from golden yellow on the horizon to bright orange to dark orange with the silhouette of a tree in the foreground.

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Just noticed that my Obsidian notes folder was missing a lot of files. I use iCloud to sync it. According to Time Machine, the data loss happened almost two months ago. Restored from there to separate folder. About to work through identifying changes with git and restoring. Ugh.


All social activities happen in bubbles. Even IRL. As long as a platform allows me to manage that bubble, I’m fine with it.


When President Biden visited Portland recently, his motorcade went down the road that’s two blocks from our place. We were away at that time. So now, Mr. Momo, our indoor cat, who never leaves home, has been in closer proximity to POTUS than either of us will likely ever be 😐


My iPad was cold to the touch this morning. Then I started reading Viticci’s Stage Manager article, enabled it for the first time, and started to play with it. Five minutes later my iPad was nice and warm. I like this feature!


Happy Diwali 🪔


Yesterday I visited a couple of galleries after a long time.

I got this gorgeous 12" x 12" print by Alice Christine Walker at Blue Sky.

A colorful square photographic print enclosed in a clear plastic envelope.

There was an exhibition there of some amazing huge prints.

A gallery wall with three large photographic prints mounted on it.

I saw prints of the Gravestones project by my friend Isaac at Blue Sky. I had seen these online but prints are always so much better.

Two black and white matted prints enclosed in a clear plastic envelope.

I also went over to Blackfish Gallery where I saw these cyanotypes by my friend Kim. She is the featured artist this month.

A gallery window with several cyanotype prints mounted on a wall.

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Mr. Momo enjoying the first rains of the season through a new window.

A cat sits on a window stool looking out a half open window sash to a yard on a gray rainy day.

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Foggy morning in the neighborhood.

Foggy street view with the top of a chimney silhouetted by the rising Sun directly behind it and a warm orange sky.

Foggy street view with the sky lit by orange light of the rising Sun.

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Friendly Neighborhood Werewolf. 9:15 AM, October 14th 2022. Portland, Oregon.

A tall werewolf decoration in a yard that reaches to the roofline of the house behind it, with a mostly full moon in the morning sky behind.

Mimi Uploader Now Supports Alt Text for Recent Uploads 🎉


Screenshots of the recent uploads screen showing the new layout and filters alongside the all new alt text editor screen.

You can now write alt text for any image in Recent Uploads. Tap on an image. Write the text. Hit Save. This is attached to the export snippet at the time of export.

Also in this release:

Grateful to @maique, @pratik, @pcora, and others for help with testing and fixing issues in this release 🙏

Get it from the App Store!

Birthday Cakes


Continuing my new-ish birthday tradition I had three cake slices over three days.

A triptych of slices of cake.

From left to right:

I’m not a big fan of cheesecakes but I took a chance on one this year. Although it was great, I’ll continue to choose regular cakes for this tradition.

Mt. Adams cake remains my favorite. It is described thusly,

Fluffy hazelnut-coconut cake, praline Viennese buttercream, wild huckleberry compote, and huckleberry Italian buttercream.

The cakes were sourced from Papa Haydn, which is about as old as me.

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Waking up

A diptych of photos of a sunrise with lots of shades of red, blue and gray with a silhouette of trees and houses in the foreground. One image is blurry while the other is sharp.

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📷 A Bike Ride to Kelley Point Park


A few years ago we did a bike ride that went along the Columbia Slough and some wetlands to Kelley Point Park which is at the confluence of the Wilamette and Columbia rivers. At the time it was the longest bike ride either of us had done. We have recalled that ride fondly over the years. Today, on a very pleasant and sunny Fall day, we did it again!

Sandy beach with two rivers meeting beyond.

Jenni with her bike navigating around the logs on a wet river beach.

Jenni enjoying a snack sitting on a log on the beach by the river. Sauvie island trees visible across the river.

An elaborate fort made of driftwood on the sandy beach with trees behind.

Jenni on her bike on a shaded trail overlooking the river beach.

An interesting looking building with roof resembling the bow of a ship.

A dirt road with tree and other wood debris and a single red Target shopping cart in the midst.

A row of ducks on a log in the river close to the bank.

Activity Stats

Distance: 20 miles
Elevation Gain: 155 ft
Time (including breaks): 2h 23m

A map showing the path of the bike ride.

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