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Mylenium’s Error Code Database

Mylenium’s Health Stuff

Myleniums Gesundheitskram

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Bye-bye, Rabbi!

There are actors that you just remember in an odd way, even if they ever only played in one episode of your favorite series, and you never quite know why. So in this case I’m not sure if it was the fake Russian accent or the bearded face that was so memorable about Rabbi Koslov in Babylon 5. The actor, Theodore Bickel, now has passed away at 91. Reading the article, I had no idea that he was such a big shot, but I guess I was too young to notice most of his career (in addition to being shut off from such stuff behind the Iron Curtain back then). The only other appearance I remember is of course playing Worf‘s adoptive parents in Star Trek – The Next Generation

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E-Vee-L

Following up on the first season, just yesterday I finished the second one of Orange is the new Black and I’m loving it!

Some of my points still stick – that whole Piper and Larry and their family clans thing is just *yuck* and whenever they cut to those going-ons, you feel like you’re wasting another minute of your life. Thankfully with the changed relationship status  this kinda resolved itself and we may have less of those awkward moments.

Of course the big things in this season is Vee and her manipulative powers coaxing everyone into doing her bidding without making it ever look like something bad is going on. Those are the best kind of evil guys. This adds a nice touch of overall tension to the proceedings, though at times I found the random outbursts of violence a bit too much. I was really shocked what turn Crazy Eyes and Janae took! In the end she gets her due, though it felt constructed all the same.

The Vee thread/ threat also nicely serves to bring out more details about some other girls’ background and makes them more real. I’m not sure if letting American actors speak German without proper training is a good idea, though. It still sounds funny and those scenes with Poussey were kinda creepy to me, but then again getting the grasp of all those slang terms and (fake) accents used elsewhere is equally hard for me and at times just weird.

The overall tone of this season is pretty mixed and while I have to say that at times I had a few good laughs, I didn’t really dig some of the darker moments. This always feels like “We need to reinforce that they are in prison” after everyone was having too much fun. That excursion to Chicago in the first two episodes was just downright depressing.

Figueroa going down and Caputo taking advantage of her at every turn is just hilarious. Fig‘s husband having an affair with the smart cutie was immediately obvious, BTW. How could she not see that? And then being ultimately humiliated by giving head to her successor… *lol* Red became even more endearing, showing her soft and weak side as the mother-hen and fitting in with the other elderly women. It also was nice to get some insights into Moralez and the other Hispanic girls since beyond Daya‘s pregnancy they seemed like pretty decoration mostly.

Overall it’s a nice series and I already regret that I’ll probably have to wait half a year or even longer before the third season will be released on DVD in Germany after it just finished in the US. The still have to chew it through the German Netflix, you know. Dang “exclusive” productions and everyone trying to lure in subscribers. Makes you miss good old times with normal licensing deals and syndication…

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Comp-(Nuk)e-tition

The cuties at The Foundry have come up with a competition to make your summer lull a little less boring. I wouldn’t normally post such stuff, but the prices they give away are reasonably good, so it may be worth a shot. The subject of creating some fake UI porn on the below imagery is not necessarily original, but there are enough technical challenges in there that make for a good exercise. If I get around to it, I may actually try my hand at one of the shots or even the whole sequence. For now the download of the source footage on my slow connection is killing me…

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We are News…

…unfortunately not in a good way. Yepp, my shabby little home town/ village is making the rounds after some shooting at a refugee home. Makes me sad.

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The Way of the Noodle?

I don’t follow Red Giant kingdom that much anymore since aside from the ump-teenth repackaging of their products and a handful of cheesy glows and canned looks with every Universe update they seem to be all about making money these days instead of real innovation, but it of course so happens that they also gobbled up Trapcode a few years ago and at least on some level that’s still relevant. I still don’t really “get” MIR since it seems hugely redundant with other tools, but now there’s a new toy coming to down that at least looks a bit more like I would use it (if ever necessary). The weirdly named Tao (path; must be fashionable to use exotic names since even the plug-in industry has gone brand-awareness crazy) seems like what we would have loved to have at hand when we were mucking around with 3D Stroke a decade ago, namely geometry-based sharp edges. The checkerboarding in the sample images has me worried, though, and anyone who had ever to deal with the Spline Wrap deformer in Cinema 4D (or modo, or any 3D program for that matter) will of course be aware of other painful issues like banking and up-vector alignment. There’s still a ways to go…

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Hacky vs. thorough

Over the weekend an interesting challenge popped up on the After Effects mailing list. A user wanted letters to fly in, but only from four directions perpendicular to one another. Quickly I suggested using a bunch of text animators for each direction and an expression selector based on modulus operators to determine the actual number to use. Others on the list, including the great Dan Ebberts provided code snippets that solved the immediate problem, but struck me as a bit hacky. What irked me about the matter was that they kinda misused the text animators and added “hard-coded” functionality by using automatic animation or feeding in the values directly in the expression.

Since it was the hottest weekend of the year here in Germany and my brain was pretty munched and I decided to not give it further consideration, but inevitably it kept gnawing in the back of my head. While dozing in the heat on my bed I came up with a solution (yes, strangely enough most of the time the best solutions hit me when I’m actually not near a computer) and quickly implemented it. I won’t pretend it’s perfect, but do I think it’s a bit more “thorough” than what the others provided.

Not only can you now have any number of directions, but you can also control their spread and a few other things using a Controller with some cute expression controls. That, and of course since it’s a “clean” solution that builds on the already existing features of text animators, it can be easily animated with keyframes (by using a second animator that subtracts/ intersects; I called mine simply Fader), will work with other properties like rotation, color etc. and give you full control over easing behaviors. All that without ever having to edit the expression and only tweaking the text animator values and settings! I call that pretty neat! You can find it below and perhaps it’s in some way useful to you.

Text Fly In

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Red is the new Orange

One of the few little pleasures I can still afford from time to time is getting myself a bunch of DVDs. Usually I wait until their price goes down and they end up in the budget/ sales tray, but this time I couldn’t resist and grabbed Orange is the new Black season one right on the day of release last week. I so wanted to see Kate Mulgrew‘s depiction of Red, perhaps one of the inevitable sideeffects of being a Star Trek fan and incidentally also watching Voyager for the ump-teenth time (say what you will about some of the terrible acting and bad scripts in too many episodes, but Janeway always stands out on top in terms of quality). So how is it? While I don’t believed the hype with all the Emmys and that, I knew that this series would be at least unique and original and luckily I wasn’t disappointed. It’s full of colorful and interesting characters and you want to get to know them. Well, that is once you actually begin to understand the relations and the language. For me as a non-native English speaking person it was sometimes quite difficult to catch some dialog here and there, but that will no doubt clear up with the second, third and so on viewing. This will also help me get over some of the more annoying things, one of which ironically are that awful relation of Piper with her fiance and her seemingly never-ending personality quirks. She comes across as very dull initially and only gets more sympathetic as she toughens up. Other characters that would be more interesting don’t get much of a background, but there’s always hope for the next season. Some revelations are also quite shocking like Tricia overdosing and being used as a drug mule when she only wanted to do right by everyone and was a kind soul. Same for Mrs. Claudette when she just snapped and was taken to maximum security, but under all that rough surface is as caring as your mother. Alex is actually pretty cool in that she’s very clear about what she wants and speaks up. Pensatucky is just plain batshit crazy, but at least her storyline stirs things up a bit. And of course Red! Certainly her story is full of stereotypes about Russians as is the fake accent, but she’s in an odd way also funny and you sympathize with her for holding everything together. That scene where she popped that other woman’s fake boob was just hilarious! On the other side are of course the guards and wardens, but unlike the inmates they don’t necessarily feel “real” and come across more like caricatures at times. Figueroa feels like a nympho business lady and as the name implies Pornstache (Mendez) probably couldn’t find a girl to give him a blowjob in the outside world. Caputo is indeed perhaps trying too hard to take over the reigns and therefore never succeeds. Healy initially looked like a nice guy, but his issues with “lesbianing” ultimately get in the way. Bennett is of course also there, but in light of his own insecurities it’s too obvious that he’s going to ditch Daya and the baby most likely. Overall it’s been a very satisfying experience and I’m already looking forward to season two. In the meantime I’m going to keep watching Voyager and then have to decide what’s next, but perhaps some German Amazon vouchers will fall out of the sky. Picking up House of Cards would be kinda nice…

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