Picture Of Mark Farrar

Mark S. Farrar

I was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, on 30 May 1959, to Ken and Valerie Farrar.

After leaving Rossall School in 1976, I worked for my father's yeastmerchant's business for three years before changing careers to get involved in what used to be called Data Processing but what is now generally known as Information Technology. However, in 2005, I opted for a complete change of life style, resigning from my job at one of the UK's leading credit card companies, and moving abroad for a quieter, simpler life, earning money through other means.

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Apart from Magic, to which other pages are devoted, my interests include:

American Football
Network Marketing
Puzzles & Games
Stately Homes
Website Building
Weird Stuff

American Football Chicago Bears Helmet The Official NFL 2003 Record and Fact Book I have enjoyed watching this game - I'm far too much of a wimp to actually play - ever since it was first broadcast on Channel 4 in England, and because of our interest in arctophilia (see below), I simply have to support the Chicago Bears!

We even went to watch the American Bowl at Wembley for a couple of years, although there were two main problems with this:

  • the main car park at Wembley was absolutely dreadful - the first year, it took us two hours just to get off the car park
  • the teams use these pre-season games to "try out" their newer players, so you never really got the opportunity to see their "star" players do very much.

Now that American Football is only shown on Channel 5 and satellite over here in the UK, I no longer watch it - not even the Superbowl, unfortunately - as we don't receive anything other than BBC1, BBC2, Anglia and Channel 4!

Arctophilia Picture Of Mumbles For those of you that don't know, "arctophilia" is another word for a love of teddy bears! In fact, our Bear In Chief, Mumbles, has his own page!

Good Bears Of The World Logo Our hug (that's the word for a collection of teddies) now numbers 591, although that is a relatively small hug by serious collectors' standards. We know a couple who had over 7,000 at one time!

In addition, I am a member of Good Bears of the World.

If you are interested in a good magazine for Teddy Bear lovers, you could try Teddy Bear Times

Computing As if you hadn't guessed by now (seeing as how I have an Internet site - otherwise you wouldn't be reading this!), I enjoy computing. Not only has this been my job since July 1979, but I take my job home with me and still enjoy it!

I have had a number of computers over the years:
  • Commodore Pet 2001
  • Sinclair ZX81
  • Sharp pocket computer
  • Commodore VIC-20 (with colour monitor, tape recorder, disk drive, printer / plotter)
  • Amstrad PCW8256
  • Packard Bell (Pentium 120)
  • Compaq Presario 5286
  • Hewlett Packard Pavilion N5511
  • a custom-built PC based around a Pentium 4 2GHz chip
  • Evesham widescreen Centrino Laptop (which is my current laptop).

Some of these machines can be seen in the Computing Museum, which makes me feel quite old!

Palm Tungsten T5 I am also a great fan of the PalmPilot, and use it all the time, but if you want to know more about PDAs and handhelds in general, this is a great starting point. I started with a PalmPilot Professional, upgraded it to be equivalent to a Palm III, then replaced that with a Palm M500, followed by a Palm Tungsten T, and have recently replaced that with a Palm Tungsten T5.

I do play some games occasionally, but I prefer the "mental" games to the "shoot-em-up" ones.

If you are looking for a good, free daily email containing lots of useful tips about software, favourite web sites, tips, etc., then I can highly recommend the Lockergnome:


Crosswords Crossword Image Chambers Crossword Completer I prefer cryptic crosswords (e.g. The Daily Telegraph) and general knowledge crosswords, although I will quite happily pass the time doing any sort of crossword.

In my idle moments, I have often tried to create my own cryptic crossword clues from words that just occur during the day, but my all-time favourite cryptic crossword clue is "HIJKLMNO" (5). Click here for the answer (if you really want to know).

However, recently, I have taken to composing my own cryptic crosswords, using Crossword Compiler, so why not have a look - the first 20 are available for purchase as an eBook via eBookoMatic.

Not many people seem to know this, but the Quick Crossword in the The Daily Telegraph has a "hidden word play". If you read the answers to the first two Across clues, you will find that there is a pun of some sort. You sometimes need to pronounce the two words in a strange way, or emphasise the syllables differently. For example, the answers to the first two Across clues in one of these Quick Crosswords were "Melanie" and "Humbug", respectively. Click here to see what this pun is (if you really want to know).

There is a really good crossword site at The Crossword Centre, and I just came across an online bulletin board / forum devoted to crosswords, called Crossword Talkboard, which is well worth joining.


Find words that fit into your grid by entering ? for the letters that you don't know. For example, "?ra?s" will find the words "brass" and "trays" amongst many others.

This is the

of the word.

crosswordbuddy is provided by
Loquax - The UK's Competition Portal

Anagram Genius

Esperanto Last year, I completed a ten-part Internet / email based Esperanto course, which may found at http://www.pacujo.nu/esperanto/course/.
Humour I reckon to have a good sense of humour, but, there again, so do most people. I enjoy:
  • many of the popular "stand-up" comedians and raconteurs, such as Jasper Carrott, Dave Allen and Billy Connolly
  • humorous novels by authors such as Tom Sharpe
  • the magazines Private Eye and Punch
  • well-constructed puns, and most humour deriving from clever use or (not-so-clever mis-use) of the English language
  • some comic strips, including Snoopy.
There is also a very good site that contains loads of misheard lyrics, many of which are very amusing (although some do seem to be deliberately contrived).

Jigsaws I enjoy doing the occasional jigsaw, although I do prefer "unusual" ones, including:
  • non-rectangular ones
  • double-sided ones
  • hand-cut wooden ones (which usually come without a picture)
  • photomosaic ones
  • 3D effect ones.
You can even do jigsaws on-line at sites like JigZone.
Juggling Juggler I enjoy juggling, occasionally, although I can only manage to juggle three balls (with some simple tricks) or three clubs (but only for about five seconds)!

I did get as far as borrowing a unicycle from a friend, but it's been in the garage for well over three years now, and it still hasn't seen the light of day!

Music I like listening to a fairly wide range of music - anything from church organ music and a lot of classical music too, to some rock, pop, punk, instrumental, electronic / trance and blues.

Major dislikes include every piece of rap I've ever heard (so far) and some jazz.

Network Marketing Link to 1StepMLM - Most people already do Network Marketing ... they just don't get paid for it! Network Marketing, or MLM or Referral Marketing, as it's sometimes known, is not so much of an interest as my Plan B that I am hoping will allow me to stop having to work for somebody else and take control of my life again.

I am therefore involved in a number of businesses, and you can find out more about these at the following websites:

Puzzles & Games The Ultimate Sudoku Guide I have always enjoyed puzzles, whether they are mathematical, logic, word, etc. and also games of many different sorts. These include many board games, including backgammon, and card games such as cribbage.

I am trying to work my way through all 32,000 of the Freecell games, and I have currently completed the first 5,360 games, during which time my longest winning streak is 343 games.

I have also just come across an online Scrabble game, called Bug Café, was temporarily hooked on Sudoku when I had the time, and I have been known to dabble in online poker once in a while, although I didn't have the courage to play for money.

I have also created an on-line game called the Calendar Game, and the corresponding Radnelac Game (that's the Backwards Calendar Game!) where you have a chance (?) to beat the computer.

Reading I enjoy reading about virtually any subject, although I especially enjoy: Image of the cover of my favourite book - The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart You can see a complete list of all of our books here. This link was updated on 17 September 2005

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Coffee Break Tales - Quick Reads, Updated Daily
As well as reading, I would also like to start writing too. I have already written one book (on Magic Squares, which I wrote as my "entrance examination" to become a Member of The Magic Circle, but I would like to write more - both fiction and non-fiction - in future.

Snooker Know The Game: Snooker Although I have been playing since I was about five, and had to stand on a box to even reach the table, I play a pretty average game. My highest break in all that time is only 50! (I was on my way to a maximum break once, but I failed on the fifth black!)

I still enjoy watching some snooker on television, although I hardly ever get to play these days.

Stately Homes I have always enjoyed visiting stately homes, castles and gardens, but my all-time favourite is Bodnant Gardens in North Wales.
Television Whilst I enjoy some television, I am not exactly an avid watcher.

My tastes include adventure / action films, some comedy films, a very few sit-coms, some of the more "intellectual" quiz shows such as "University Challenge" (as well as "Countdown") and some sport such as Snooker, American Football, Motor Racing and Baseball (but definitely not association football, rugby, horse racing and cricket).

If you want to look for a programme that is on television, why not try this free service from DigiGuide?

Find a programme:
(for the latest programmes try "New Series OR New Episode")

Travel We have travelled to many parts of the world, sightseeing, including:
  • Borneo
  • China
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Germany
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Madeira
  • Malaysia
  • Morocco
  • Sardinia
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • United States of America
These days, we find long flights (e.g. the return from Hong Kong was a 15-hour non-stop flight!) a bit much so restrict ourselves to less distant locations.

You can read about one of our trips to Paris, from Taschy's (one of our teddies) point of view, in " Taschy Meets Gordon Blue".

Website Building As you can probably tell from this website, I do enjoy building them! (Somebody pointed out that this very website contains a Googlewhack!)

I have built a number of other websites over the past few years, so why not have a look at my current portfolio?

AzonSellerTools.com - Essential Tools To Help You Build Your Amazon Business

Weird Stuff I love weird stuff, so here's the start of a collation of things I've found when surfing the Internet:


Whisky The Whisky Treasury Whisky Mac Basket Whilst I like most alcoholic drinks, my favourite tipple was single malt whisky (although I no longer drink alcohol). My all-time favourite was Laphroaig, which, as their advertising says, is a "love or hate" thing!

For a wider view of whisky, try visiting one of these two sites:

Wildlife I enjoy watching wildlife, both on television, since there is some stunning camera work these days, and in the wild, having been to Kenya twice and to India as well.

I still cannot make up my mind about zoos and wildlife parks, although I do believe that the Cotswold Wildlife Park Trip is a good example of such a place.

At one time, the only way that most people would ever see some of the wild and exotic creatures was to visit a zoo. However, today, it is so much easier these days to go and see these animals in the wild, and the quality of the nature documentaries on television is so much better, that you have to wonder whether zoos are an anachronism.

On the other hand, some species wouldn't still exist if they hadn't been nurtured in zoos and wildlife parks, for eventual re-introduction to their natural habitat.

With the way that technology is increasing at an ever-accelerating rate, I am sure that the ability to "see" these animals in the wild will become even easier. For example:

  • "holographic" zoos could be created that you can "visit" in your own living-room
  • there will be virtual reality zoos that will seem as lifelike as the real thing, accessed merely by donning a special headset.

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This page is Copyright © 1997, Mark S. Farrar.
Created: Sunday 28th December, 1997

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  (since 23 May 1999)

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