Lizardmen Leadership Defined

In Warhammer Fantasy Battle the lizardmen army has a special rule known as ‘cold blooded’ which allows them to roll three dice instead of two for leadership, drop the highest and only sum up the other two. While this gives results similar to the basic two dice leadership roll (between 2 to 12), I’ve always known intuitively that the results are a lot better. Today I’m going to quantify the actual difference and compare them to a different high leadership army (the dwarves).

Firstly, I built a simple spreadsheet in Excel to represent the results of the rule. I know, I know, right about now you’re wondering why I didn’t write a program to solve the dice roll for me. Well to tell you the truth, I’m not that great of programmer. Actually, I’m a horrible programmer. I got through my dissertation on Labview and writing my monochromator automation program with goto statements…. yes the program was in Basic. But it worked, and I got the spectroscopy data I needed so it’s all win-win in my eyes.

With a simple Excel spreadsheet emulating the three dice roll drop the highest leadership rule, I decided to do some basic statistics to determine what the ‘cold blooded’ rule does for the army versus a standard leadership roll of 2d6. The average leadership roll is 5.54 (vs. 7) with a standard deviation of 2.22 (vs. 2.45). So you gain a base of 1.46 points in leadership and have a tighter spread meaning that what you’re troops end up rolling is closer to the average they should be rolling. All in all a plus for leadership and a deviation that definitely boosts them into a high leadership army (even though the numbers in the book don’t look to be that high). But that’s not all that happens. The distribution is left skewed also, meaning it’s really hard to roll a 10, 11, or 12 with the army and rolling a 2, 3, or 4 is more probable than it the numbers suggest. The two graphs below show what I mean. The solid fill is the relative chance of rolling a particular result, while the line is the cumulative chance of rolling the stated leadership value or less.


As you can plainly see there is a significant probability of rolling low numbers. For leadership, which happens to be the most important roll you make in a battle (other than cannon sniping shots), this actually skews the odds towards the lizardmen side. I’m also including the standard leadership distribution below so you can visually compare the two.


For a standard army testing on 7, you’ve got a 58% chance of passing. The lizardman army has a 52% chance of passing on a 5 (nearly 2 points lower). As you get a higher leadership the number becomes even more skewed. A lizardman leadership of 9 (which the slann has) has a pass rate of 94%, the equivalent standard leadership number is 11 (at 97%)! The same applies for saurus oldbloods and scar-vet characters, vanilla saurus and temple guard infantry, and saurus cavalry. Their leadership of 8 (90% pass rate) is equivalent to a 10 (92% pass rate) meaning that lone units can act as if they have leadership equivalent to other armies generals!! What this means for lizardmen troops, if your leadership is 5 or below you can safely say you add 1 to 1.5 points to it. As soon as you’re leadership is 6 and above, it’s as if your leadership score just went up by two points. That’s a fairly powerful leadership boost hidden within the cold-blooded rule.




FYI: Dwarf units and heroes are 9 with the fighting lord at a 10. A lizardman army made up of saurus units has a higher leadership than dwarfs, has a similar cost, strength and toughness. They do have a bit lower armor save, but a much higher movement speed. All in all, I’m thinking the ‘cold blooded’ rule isn’t priced correctly, if you consider a dwarf well priced (which they aren’t).

Mario’s Interactive Work Out

In order to loose weight and stay healthy, Mario has been working out for the last year of so.  Given his extremely hectic schedule of working full time, being a dad, and attending the FEMBA program, all he can get is about half an hour each time including shower.  Not enough to burn hundreds of calories, but just enough to do couple sets of his favorite weight-resistance routines.  Last night he squeezed in a work out right after we arrived home.

Since Mario does his routine at home, he generally begins simply by stripping himself down to his underwear and gets down to it in the middle of the living room.  Last night, however, Mario’s routine attracted Ravi’s full attention.  Ravi giggled as he saw his daddy doing funny moves and decided to run none stop in circles around his daddy like the moon around the sun.  He must have done that dozens of times.  It got funnier when Mario started to do push ups.  Ravi began to crawl over when daddy was down and underneath when daddy pushed himself up.  The whole time daddy made sure Ravi didn’t hurt himself by tumbling over while still added some tickles and kisses when he can catch his son.  Ravi also found sitting on daddy’s upper legs to be fun, especially when he was be lifted up and down.  The whole fifteen minutes were filled with laughter of both daddy and his son, and it proved to be a great exercise for both as well.  Daddy got extra weight and difficulty for his work out, his son was able to burn some extra calories so he was hungry for dinner, while I got to rest on the couch and laughed my head off the whole entire time.

I would have taken pictures, but I don’t want to scare any readers with Mario’s half naked pictures.  But I hope you can imaging how funny the whole thing was.


Mario and Flo’s Night Off

Since Ravi was born, Mario and I have never hired a babysitter… until three months ago.  Last December, a pair of our friends proposed that we should double date and have an adult only night out.  We were dubious but extremely tempted since we haven’t gone out to eat for nearly two years on our own.  We thought, it is just one night of fun, how wonderful can it be?!  Maybe we should just stay home like we always do and save the trouble of dealing with a new babysitter.  In the end, we decided to go for it.  We figured that in a few months when our second baby arrives, our chance of ever going out by ourselves will probably drop to near zero.  Let’s enjoy good food and good company while we still can.  Besides, it has been years since we got together with these friends.

I remember we were so excited and cautious that we went over a long list of potential days to pick one that worked for all our schedules.  We also checked with the babysitter several times to make sure she was able to come.  Since we had decided ahead of time to have all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, Mario and I prepared ourselves by having light lunches and didn’t snack in the afternoon so we could save our stomach for the main event.  The whole week prior to the dinner, all we could think about was how cool this dinner was going to be.  It had been so long since we been out to dinner, let alone a long leisure one without having to worry about Ravi.

That night turned out to be an extremely wonderful experience.  All four of us are new parents and most have been very good friends since college.  There were much to catch up on.  We ordered bottle after bottle of Korean wine, everyone other than me got pretty wasted within the first hour.  But we didn’t let that slow ourselves down.  We kept the grill going none stop by ordering insane amount of food and kept eating for three hours straight!  By the time the food had finally piled up to our throat, it was already near closing time.  We finally parted our ways with all of us wobbling out of the restaurant and into our cars to head home.  We promised ourselves we would do it again in a month.  Thus the tradition of month end Korean BBQ began.  So now every month we look forward to this night to come where we can be like we used to be, before we were parents.  Since then, we met again at the end of January and past Monday.  I don’t know how much longer we can keep doing this since Mario and I will be moving soon and our second baby is due in May, but we will sure to enjoy every second of it.

The restaurant we went to is named Tofuya BBQ.  It is located on Sawtelle Blvd and National Blvd in West Los Angeles area.  Their all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ is priced at $16.95 per person, which includes a dozen of choices in cut meats plus variety of other dishes like Korean tofu.  Needless to say we didn’t waste our stomach on the other stuff, just meat, meat, and more meat!  We had such wonderful times at these dinners that I always forget to take pictures.  During this last dinner on Monday, I finally broke out my camera and snapped a couple of shots.  We didn’t want to show pictures of ourselves since most of us didn’t look so good due to either intoxication or sleep deprivation, some of us suffered from both.  But the food tasted and looked fantastic and that’s the important part.  We ordered stuff like black forest bacon (yumm….), choice beef, beef tongue (Mario and I liked a lot), squid, spicy chicken…  If they had it on the menu, we tried it, some several times.


Our grill

Beef Tongue

Beef Tongue, some type of beef, and squid

Spicy chicken and squid

It is not yet March, but I am already looking forward to March end dinner with friends…



Pomelo, aka Chinese grapefruit, is not a common fruit here in the states and it is rarely seen even in Asian supermarkets.  Its taste and look varies from variety to variety, some are round and some are elongated.  According to my parents the best variety in the world (we are biased) comes from a small area in Szechuan province of China.  Why would they know?  They are crazy about that stuff!  Apparently I was a huge fan also when I was a little kid running around in the small village in China.  Every year around the ripening season, farmers would carry these pomelos around in large bamboo buckets on either side of a thick bamboo stick across their shoulders, going from village to village to sell these fruits.  I was told that I would look forward to this time every year as a child.  When the time comes, my mom would take me shopping for these fruits.  Back then, it was customary for customer to request a taste.  If it tasted right, my mom would buy dozens of these things and store them up.  It sounds like a lot, but she told me that I was so obsessed with the fruit that I would forgo my meals and eat at least two each day and complain why I couldn’t have more.  So a dozen goes fast for me and we were constantly looking for the good stuff and storing up before the end of the pomelo season.

Its been years since I’ve tasted a pomelo and my taste bud has been dormant.  My obsession for pomelo has become a distance memory and I couldn’t tell if I still like it anymore.  This past Chinese New Year, however, has brought some of these fruit to my parents’ local super market.  When they saw them on display, they immediately know from their shape that these are the variety that we used to buy.  So without looking at the price or bother to do any further shopping, they loaded up their shopping cart with as much as they could pick out, checked out immediately and went home to get a taste.  I happened to be with them that weekend.  When they peeled the fruit open and handed me a piece, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to taste it.  Sure the stories of my childhood is real, but its been so long.  But all it took was one bite and I was instantly in love with it again.  I LOVE POMELO!!!

These odd shaped pomelo are the best variety.

Unfortunately the supermarket sold out and we couldn’t find anymore pomelo.  My parents have been looking for more in dozens of supermarkets across their neighborhood, but none was found.  One day my dad told me he saw a pomelo tree in the neighborhood full of these fruit that are the exact same shape.  I guess he’s been wanting to talk to the owner about getting a branch of seed or something to plant, but was too shy to do so.  So all he could do was to walk by and admire it.  About two weekends ago when I got home, my dad happily announced that he has finally acquired a really good pomelo tree from a specialty Asian nursery.  It was one of their more expensive trees but money was on object.  The owner guaranteed him that it is exactly the same variety that he was looking for and he was over the moon!  He planned the tree into the ground within a week and it has been growing beautifully.  Every time we come out to the backyard we look at this tree and admire it, hoping it will grow fast and strong, and produce lots of fruits next year.

My parents new pomelo tree

I can’t wait to taste its fruits!  If it produces indeed the right variety, I would go and buy the same one to plan in my new garden too, so I would always have my own supply of pomelo for the rest of my life.  Pomelo, I would never let you out of my life again!


Gestational Diabetes

During my last visit to my OB/GYN at 28 weeks of pregnancy, I was asked to do an “one hour blood glucose” test.  It involved drinking some type of sugar solution and receive a blood test exactly one hour later.  A couple of days later I received a call from my nurse who informed me that I have failed that test and she was concerned that I might be at risk of gestational diabetes.  She ordered me to do an more extensive test, the “three hour blood glucose” test.  This test unlike earlier one required no eating past 8PM the night before, the patient receives one blood test upon arrival followed by immediate consumption of a sugar solution, and three additional blood tests spaced one hour apart from each other.  That same day, I received another phone call from my nurse who informed me again that I’ve failed the second of the four tests and I was ordered to immediately attend a pregnancy nutrient class and get on a strict diet.

I was very surprised that I failed the tests.  I considered myself a healthy person, and come from a family without any history of diabetes.  I am  active and in good physical shape.  I eat right and never been over weight or had never suffered any major illness in my life.  I took the same test when I was pregnant with Ravi and I passed it without any problems.  When I thought about the difference between this pregnancy from my last, I could only identify two: drinking a cup of orange juice (sugar laden) in the morning to accompany an iron pill as prescribed by my earlier OB/GYN, and not able to walk after lunch everyday like I did during my last pregnancy.  I thought these were minor changes and didn’t have a second thought of the effect.  In any case, I took it seriously and followed my nurses suggestions.

I took the first nutrient class followed by my conversation with my nurse.  The nurse instructor didn’t go into the science of diabetes, she only covered the nutrient aspect.  There were three students in the class including myself.  I was surprised to find out the other two were carrying a portable diabetic blood measuring device and from the sound of it they both had attended another diabetic related training earlier that day.  They both also had to schedule follow up meetings with the instructor two weeks after the class.  Sounds like I wasn’t considered a “severe” case.  The instructor spent most of the two hours going through meal plans and different food groups.  First the meal plan:

Followed by each different food types.

Food Lists for Meal Planning, Page 1

Food Lists for Meal Planning, Page 2

I was surprised to find out how little fruits and starch foods I can eat.  For example, I can only eat 2/3 cup of none-white rice for lunch or dinner, and half a banana is considered a serving of fruit.  What I think it will be very difficult for me is having the extra snacks between meals.  Since Ravi is rather demanding I can only eat or go to bathroom when he lets me.  So to get time to eat the right stuff for snack will probably be a challenge.

Since I first received news that I failed the tests, I stopped drinking orange juice and started walking again everyday for at least half an hour after lunch.  I am now also more aware of amount of carbohydrate in the food I consume.  Over the weekend, I compiled a shopping list for this new diet.  So far it has been pretty easy to do.  I got some low carbohydrate crackers that are individually packed, so when I don’t have time to snack I would eat some along with some milk.  It is not perfectly following the meal plan, but it is best I can do at times.  Ten more weeks to go, I can do this!


Lego Pyramids with Personalities

Ravi and I love to play with his box of legos. He’s had them for awhile, but only recently has he been able to put them together. Before he learned how to put them together, he was only able to take legos apart. Typically, I would build stuff out of legos and Ravi would take my creations apart piece by piece until they were no more gleefully waiting for me to build something else for him to destroy.  A couple of days ago, I was in one of my weird moods and tasked with building lego creations, while Ravi was preoccupied with something else. ( I think it was his cars) Either way, I had a theme. My theme was Pyramids!!! But these weren’t just your basic pyramids! Heck no, I started building representative pyramids of myself and some of my close friends. Imagine the pharaoh of the land orders a pyramid to be built in his honor and commissions his engineers to build one. Since the engineers have never built a pyramid, they ask him what a pyramid is and he describes it to them. The finished pyramids are shown below:

I initially started with the multi-color one on the right. This pyramid was mine! It’s basically a boring exact monotonous representation of what a pyramid was, is, and should be. A pretty bland and feature-less replica, that while exactly correct, isn’t anything different or new. My wife always tells me that I’m a pretty boring person and so was my pyramid.

The all yellow one on the right is my wife! My wife is the cost cutting, hard-bargaining, no-holds barred person that will fight for a deal no matter the cost. (She should tell you the story of how she fought for a discount on our wood flooring! Bargaining while being pregnant and with a toddler limited her to only a 15% discount on the list price!) So when the pharaoh tells her to build a pyramid, and gives her a strict budget (like less than 15 blocks), she goes at it with gusto- cutting costs and trimming expenses! In building her pyramid she decided to trim dimensions!!! Why build a three-dimensional standard model when a newly designed two-dimensional one will do just as well and at a fraction of the blocks used!!! Way to save dear!

The next one on the list is the green one in the far right corner. I have a close friend of mine who is hyper-competitive. And when I mean hyper-competitive I really really mean hyper-competitive. His favorite past time (if you consider the amount of time spent) is arguing. No matter what you’re talking about or his level of experience, he’s got an opinion and gosh darnit, it’s the right one!! If you disagree, he’s happy to spend the next few hours convincing you (usually through sheer fatigue) that he’s right and you’re wrong. So he decided to build a pyramid as well as my wife’s, but only taller! It is kinda hard to tell, but his is the tallest and, therefore, gives him bragging rights. Naturally his is the best and, if you’re not convinced, he has the time to convince you!!

The next one on the list is the inverse pyramid in the back. This is another close friend of mine who happens to be severely dyslexic. If you put more than five letters together to form a word, chances are he can’t spell it. If the word is six letters long it’s almost guaranteed. His severe dyslexia has caused problems for him in the past, but isn’t that much of a hindrance now that he has a laptop. It automatically spells for him and now he doesn’t mess up. Before he got his laptop, he would always tells us of stories about how some high school (middle school, heck any school) teacher would give him an assignment in the middle of class that you would have to write down and then go do. Which he could never do very well because he would always misspell one (or two) crucial words and totally misinterpret the assignment and do it wrongly. I can totally imagine the pharaoh telling him that he needs  to build a pyramid  and what a pyramid is, but, tragically, my friend writes down the wrong instructions and builds an inverse pyramid!!!

Finally, the weird one with the white domes in the front is my son’s. His looks nothing like a pyramid, because who really wants to build a pyramid anyway! He’s much more interested in doing something so totally weird or different that you wonder what world he grew up on or what his parents taught him!!! (Shame on me and my wife!) The last time we took him to the playground all he wanted to do was climb up the slides and walk down the stairs. Sure you could go down the slides, but for him it was much more fun to climb up them. Or have daddy help him climb up the monkey bars!!! When we went to the park for a walk the first time and he encountered a hill, he decided to go up the hill backwards (naturally). That’s why he built such a weird pyramid!


Chocolate Monster

For valentines day I got a box of really good chocolate to share with Mario.  I kn0w Ravi loves chocolate too so I got a few extra small pieces so he can share with us.  But I didn’t know how much Ravi would LOOOVVEE these chocolates.  His eyes lit up once he saw the box open with all those beautiful chocolate truffles inside, then instead of going after the small pieces which will fit into his hands and mouth, he immediately grab the biggest pieces he saw, one in each hand and quickly tried to shove them into his month.  Since the truffles were quite big, he couldn’t swallow them whole but only a bit at a time.  Before Mario and I had a chance to finish one for ourselves, he came back for the next two and left the reminder of the first ones on the table.  So the next five minutes went by with Mario and I eating his leftovers and Ravi keeps grabbing new ones.  The next time I peeked into the box I was surprised how few pieces were left.  So I packed up the rest and saved them for the next day, of course not without much protest from Ravi.  He kicked and screamed wanting to get his chocolate back.

Ravi and his chocolate

My beloved little chocolate monster… Mommy loves you!


p.s.  Ravi didn’t become a chocolate monster over night.  Here’s a picture of him from weeks ago while eating chocolate.

Renovation Blues

When my parents were doing their renovation, I kept thinking to myself that I could do a better job.  I could pick a better contractor, find better materials, save more money, have a better grip on the project, and ultimately have a better looking house at the end of the process.  Now that I am at the seventh week of our home renovation, I am beginning to think that maybe I am wrong.  I may not be able to do a better job, that my parents are indeed wiser and more capable than myself, and that despite spending insane amount of money the house just won’t look as good as I expected it be.

I am having renovation blues.

If I was to look at this renovation process as a destruction of the old, followed by long extended period of repair, and finally reconstruction of the new, my blues coincides with the last step of the process.  After spending the first five weeks looking at incomplete sub-floors and bare wires and tubes all over the place, the final pieces have finally been put into place signaling the end of renovation is near.  In the last week or so, wooden floor has been installed on the first floor, tiles are are beginning to appear in the bathrooms, crown molding and base boards installed and painted.  All of these things seemed to be done with lightning speed.  All my hopes and dreams of what this place would be will become reality soon.  The moment of the truth is near, where perfection in my imagination will have to face imperfection of reality.  How can I possibly win?!  What if I am won’t be happy with the result?  Would I be forced to accept mediocrity as an end result?

I am afraid of the end but can’t wait to put it behind me.  I guess I need to keep in mind that this will be our home filled with happiness and laughter, and that should be all that matters.



During this renovation process, another thing that gave me tons of headaches was the decisions on interior paint colors.  It certainly didn’t help when we have decided earlier that we want different colors for each of our bedrooms and living areas.  That’s at least five different colors we have to decide on.

The thing about the paint color that bothered me is that there’s just too many options.  Unlike any scientific problem that we encounter which generally requires logic and step by step process to leads to an answer, there’s no logic in choosing paint colors, nor is there right or wrong answers associated to each decision.  For any particular general color, there are thousands of slight variations.  To me this is more complex than anything I have encountered.  Though out this process, we must have considered hundred of potential colors and gone through a dozen of paint samples.  What we thought were good color choices didn’t turn out as well once painted on the wall.  Sometimes I think we just don’t have that much creativity juice going on up there.

It was easy to pick the kids’ bedroom colors.  Two boys, two shades of blue.  That was like a scientific problem, logic solved that one.  The bedroom, hallway, and living area colors were little harder to pick.  Initially we decided to go with lighter shades or color since we want our home to look and feel peaceful and not overwhelming.  We chose a nice light yellow for our hallway, but it turned out to be so light that we had a hard time distinguish it from white.  So for the second time around, we’ve decided to go bold and seek out darker shades and other color families we didn’t dare to try before.  The next day I went back to Home Depot and got myself another seven paint samples.

These five were potential colors for our master bedroom.  The three on the left were some sort of green/blue combination that Mario wanted to try.  I got to say green is not my favorite bedroom colors, but since each sample was $3, why not try it on the wall to see its effect?!  Eventually we eliminated the greens and went with bottom right for our master bedroom and middle right for the den.

We’ve also picked two darker shades of yellow for the hall way.  The one on the left is slightly darker than the one on the right.  I painted both colors in two different locations, a darker area and a bright area.  I was surprised at how different they looked.

Darker yellow on the left. In the hallway.

Darker yellow on the right. In the living room.

Mario and I decided on the darker yellow.  Initially I thought it may be too dark, but turned out very well once the whole place was painted.  The color soften up in the bright sun light, and worked very well with the wooden ceiling.

The same color on the other side of the room look even lighter when the living room is flooded with sun light.  I got to say it was a good choice.  Passed those double doors is our den, which was painted with the color shown earlier.  It turned out to be very light and smooth, not too shabby.

From this experience, my lessons learned are:

1. Definitely take advantage of $3 paint samples.  What looked good on the small swatch may not turn out well on much larger scale.

2.  Paint the samples into large enough square footage.  Compare similar color choices side by side.

3.  Paint the same set of samples on different sides of the room and look at it at different time of the day.  Sometimes we don’t notice the amount of light hitting on each wall at different time of the day, and that can make a big difference in what the colors can look like.

4.  If you don’t like the end result on the wall, don’t be afraid to choose a different color and start over again.

I am glad I am done picking colors.  There are more color issues to solve, but thank god not in paint anymore.


Ravi’s Stool

During last weekend’s shopping trip, I bought a small red plastic stool ($3) for Ravi’s 23rd month birthday.  It was not a conventional gift, but he enjoyed it tremendously.  Even though I bought it, I didn’t quite support Ravi’s potential uses for it.  As we have previously mentioned, Ravi loves high and dangerous places, and he especially loves to play with water.  But being too short to reach most dangerous things, he usually have to rely on adults to get him there, which means he doesn’t necessarily get to do the dangerous things that he wanted to under supervision.  The stool is the perfect solution for him.  It is small and light enough for him to carry around, short enough for him to step up onto easily, and it gets him to just enough height so he can reach some of his favorite things, like faucets in the bathrooms.  This is why I have to watch him all the time.  If I let him wonder off by himself, there’s a high probability that he’s up to no good, like opening cabinets full of china or toppling over a fancy vase or something at grandparents’ place.  What’s great about living in a dump of an apartment is that I don’t have to worry about him breaking anything.  We don’t have anything worth worrying about.  That’s the only thing I will miss about our little apartment when we move out.

Last Sunday, after Ravi had already played with his new red stool for the entire night, I let him out to the backyard to do more damage.  At some point, he picked up grandma’s stool and headed for one spot that he has been wanting to get to for a long time…

Ravi carrying grandma's outdoor stool.

The lemon tree.  He had watched me hopping up onto that high side of the garden to pick lemons, and he always wanted to come along.  We let him up couple of times but he always ended up doing something really dangerous and his daddy banned him from going there again.  I guess ever since then he’s been plotting on getting back up there again.  This little stool gave him just enough height to reach some of the fruits, but not tall enough to allow him to crawl up.  At least he’s much closer to his goal.  So Ravi stood like that for while, probably thinking and plotting, and imaging how it would be when he can finally get up there again.

Ravi putting the stool to good use.

I think I am okay with my choice of present.