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This is the blog of Bilbo, his deviant activities, his bonsai and anything else he deems worthy of sharing with you (but mostly his bonsai). Updated rarely but should be checked daily.
Current Month
Aug. 18th, 2005 @ 09:41 pm Takai...
Current Mood: thirstythirsty
Here's my list of textbooks that are required for Fall quarter:

$59.95 Katz - The Human Side of Managing Technological Innovation
$80.50 Tucker - The Human Challenge
$131.75 Rosen - Discrete Mathematics & Its Applications
$101.75 Weiss - Data Structures & Problem Solving Using C++
$14.00 Foucault - The Use of Pleasure
$16.95 Lyotard - The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge
$10.75 Plato - Phaedrus
$10.00 Homer - The Odyssey
$11.00 Euripides - Euripides III
$12.95 Carson - Eros the Bittersweet
$12.95 Soyinka - The Bacchae of Euripides

Total: $462.55
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Jul. 17th, 2005 @ 10:25 pm My +1 Dagger of Barista Slaying
Current Mood: blankblank
Current Book: Sir Thomas Malory - Le Morte d'Arthur
Today while Mika and I were at the local Starbucks she found a credit card on the floor. By asking around she soon returned it to its rightful owner: a woman sitting at a table with a cleric. He promptly blessed Mika, bestowing on her and all others within a 50 foot cube (including myself since it was a small building) a +1 bonus on all attack rolls and saving throws against fear for the next six rounds. Since he didn't need holy water and instead blessed her directly I must assume that he was of a very high experience level indeed.
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Jul. 16th, 2005 @ 01:00 am The Voice of God
Current Mood: draineddrained
Current Book: Henry David Thoreau - Civil Disobedience
So yeah, we (Mika, her sister and I) just got back from the midnight Harry Potter "release party." While hardly festive in nature, the girls were excited and we did engage in lively conversations with our mutual friend Aina. As I type this, Mika is currently reading the beginning pages of The Half-Blood Prince.

But enough with Harry Potter. Earlier today I was surfing the web and came across a little gem of an article. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

GameSpy: Have you had a chance to play or even look at some of the current Dungeons & Dragons games?

Gygax: I've looked at them, yes, but I'm not really a fan. The new D&D is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good.

Now, should I tell you what I really think?

GameSpy: No, I think we got it.


GameSpy: Then can you look back and say, 'This was a mistake, I shouldn't have done this?'

Gygax: Oh yeah. There's a number of things in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons that I never should have done. I shouldn't have put Psionics in there, but somebody talked me into it. Some of the combat, weapons vs. armor, and weapon speeds I just would have dropped.

It feels so good to have The Creator himself corroborate what I have always felt: that D&D 3e is crap and that psionics doesn't belong in AD&D.
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Jul. 11th, 2005 @ 11:20 pm There Are 576 Angulas in One Danda
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Book: S. Balakrishna - The Ganita-Sāra-Sangraha of Mahāvīrācārya
"With an exuberance of poetic imagination characteristic of many Hindu authors, the divisions of the book find enumeration thus: Ganita-Sāra-Sangraha is a vast ocean. Terminology (samguya) provides its waters, which stand impounded by the eight arithmetical operations (parikarma). Fractions and the operations with them (kalāsavarna) are its innumerable rolling fish, and crocodiles abound in the shape of miscellaneous examples (prakirnaka). Rule of three (thri-rāsika) lashes up its waters into waves, and mixed problems (misraka) are the gems which by their navigated splendor impart luster to the deep. Its extensive bed itself is formed of area problems (kshetra-vis-thīrma) with cubic measurements (Khāta) providing mounds upon mounds of sand. Shadow reckoning and connected references to astronomical matters (chāya) are the advancing tides. Into this vast ocean of the Sangraha should the arithmeticians dive to gather in abundance the pure gems of their desire."

A sample problem: "A well completely filled with water is ten dandas in depth; a lotus sprouting up therin grows from the bottom at the rate of 2½ angulas in a day and a half; the water flows out through a pump at 2½ angulas in 1½ days; 1 1/5 angulas of water are lost in a day by evaporation owing to the rays of the sun; a tortoise below pulls down 5¼ angulas of the stalk of the lotus plant in 3½ days. By what time will the lotus be on the same level with the water in the well?" (Note: 6 angulas = 1 foot, 96 feet = 1 danda.)
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Jul. 6th, 2005 @ 11:30 pm What Public Schools Should Be...
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Book: Dorothy Schrader - Arithmetic of the Medieval Universities
"The Greeks were concerned with the education of free men as future citizens. Plato, whose plan was a theoretical one probably never put into actual practice but nevertheless reflecting the spirit and ideal of his period, conceived of such education as the sole occupation of the first thirty-five years of a man's life. He would have the first twenty years spent on gymnastics, music and grammar, the next ten on arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and harmony, and the next five on philosophy. Only then would a man be equipped to take his rightful place as a useful member of society. [...] Philo Judaeus, about A.D. 30, suggested grammar, music, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, dialectic and rhetoric as elementary studies, and philosophy as the one higher study. Sextus Empiricus, in the first half of the third century, mentioned grammar, rhetoric, geometry, astronomy, music and arithmetic as elementary subjects, reserving dialectic for advanced work."

"It was Marianus Capella in his De nuptus philologia et mercurii, written about A.D. 330, who set the number of liberal arts at seven and named them: grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy. Capella rejected medicine and architecture as purely technical subjects, pursued only for practical and not speculative ends and so unworthy of free men. By the fourth century, this curriculum of the seven liberal arts, as Capella named them, was established in the pagan schools."
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Jun. 15th, 2005 @ 11:45 pm I laughed, I cried...
Current Mood: confuseddumbfounded
Current Book: Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
I've often joked that D&D 3rd Edition is "D&D for Dummies." Well, while browsing through the aisles of a large bookstore chain that shall remain nameless I came across this little gem:

D&D for Dummies

I didn't know if I was supposed to laugh or cry, so I did both.
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May. 24th, 2005 @ 01:00 am Janghwa, Hongryeon
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Book: Between books
So while Mika and I were in Japan last summer we kept seeing posters and various other advertisements for a film called "Tansu: A Tale of Two Sisters." One look at it and we had to see it. Unfortunately, the entire time we were there we couldn't find a single theatre that was showing it (they mostly had crappy Hollywood flicks that we didn't want to see back in the States, much less in Japan).


So almost one year later Mika is at the video rental facility with her sibling and she notices a little gem sitting on the new releases shelf. What is that little gem you ask? Why, it's "A Tale of Two Sisters" on DVD of course.

Without spoiling the film for the uninitiated just let me say that it's definately on my list of best films. Even if you're not into the Horror/Drama/Mystery/Thriller genre of films, the cinematography is brilliant and truly a joy to watch.

While I am by no means a connoisseur of foreign films, here is a list of countries and my favorite film from them.

Australia: Mad Max (George Miller)
Britain: Monty Python And The Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones)
China: Da Hong Deng Long Gao Gao Gua [Raise the Red Lantern] (Zhang Yimou)
France: I can't think of any good French films at the moment, but I think there was a good one...
Germany: eine Symphonie des Grauens [Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror] (F.W. Murnau)
Japan: Shichinin no Samurai [The Seven Samurai] (Akira Kurosawa)
Russia: There's a good movie from Russia?
South Korea: Janghwa, Hongryeon [A Tale of Two Sisters] (Jee-Woon Kim)
Sweden: The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman)
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Apr. 24th, 2005 @ 04:15 pm Hiru Gohan
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Book: Ian Sommerville - Software Engineering 7th Ed.
Mika and I were hungry. We had lots of leftovers in the fridge.

After a half hour of toiling with a gas-powered barbeque grill that was almost out of fuel...

Mika: "So, how about meatball subs?"
Bilbo: "How about sloppy joes?"

So we experimented with making sloppy joes. I seasoned the beef while she chopped the vegetables to produce the following recipe of surprising tastiness.

Hobbit Sloppy Joes

½ Pound Ground Beef or Turkey
½ Green Bell Pepper (chopped)
½ White Onion (chopped)
6 Large Mushrooms (sliced)
3 Celery Stalks (chopped)
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 Can (12 oz) Tomato Paste
Ground Black Pepper
Garlic Salt
2 Tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Mix ground beef with Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt, then let rest. For best results allow to marinate overnight.
Brown the meat in a skillet with onions, minced garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder, a dash of ground black pepper and two or three heavy pinches of salt.
Drain grease, stir in tomato paste and hot water.
After water evaporates, add mushrooms, celery, bell pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let simmer on low heat for at least 15 minutes.
Serve on burger buns or favorite bread.

Preparation time: approximately 30-45 minutes. Serves 3-4 hobbits.
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Apr. 15th, 2005 @ 10:00 pm A Revelation
Current Mood: thirstythirsty
Current Book: Ian Sommerville - Software Engineering 7th Ed.
Well, Mika got her glasses today, so naturally I tried them on to find out what the world through her eyes was like. Much to my dismay, the things that I thought were supposed to be blurry suddenly became crisp and clear. I thought the ever-so-slight fuzz to her television screen was due to the fact that it was kind of old and caked with dust...

I'm not blind by any means mind you, her prescription is mild and I still see far better than she does. Everything up-close is fine, but at a distance things get a little hazy (not to the point of illegibility, just difficult to read).

So yeah, I hate computers. Those infernal contraptions are slowly ruining my vision (and at the same time I'm working on my B.S. in computer science).

Three posts in one day; that's definately a new personal record.

I really should be doing homework...
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Apr. 15th, 2005 @ 02:00 pm Projectile Calculations Update
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Book: Ian Sommerville - Software Engineering 7th Ed.
I just broke my old record of 1,399 ft with a whopping 1,531 feet. The cat reached an elevation of over 150 feet.

Two posts in one day; that's got to be another personal record.

I really should be doing homework...
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