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The Starlight cards are a set of sixty-four cards developed within my family, largely by me, in the late 1980s, when Mark, Mandy and I were teenagers and Andrew and Lucy were small children. The cards were designed before any of the games which are played with them. There are three such games known:
Starlight
a complicated board game which was never perfected;
Sunlight
a trick-taking game which was played very often for years; and
Candlelight
a game of patience ("solitaire").
The rules for Candlelight and Sunlight may be posted at some point.  (I may also make a JavaScript game of Candlelight.)

All the games share the feature of totem cards: that is, each player may choose a card to represent themselves within the game. Such a card cannot be used against the player it represents. A player is expected to stay with the same totem card indefinitely over as many games as they may play. For example, my totem card was Alchemist (shown right).

Three packs of these cards are currently known to exist. Please get in touch if you would like one of your own, especially if you would like to play any of the games or make up new games. We always welcome the invention of new games played with the cards.

( Read more (and see the cards) )

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My first sonnet, circa 1991 (when I was 16). I know line 2 is short, but there IS a volta!

A MINOR ACCIDENT

I saw upon the road to school today
Blood, bones and feathers on the tar.
Some little bird had flown down on the way...
And been squashed flat by some enormous car.
Charles Darwin tells us in his famous Theory
How birds and beasts adapt to suit their need,
A Camel in the desert is not weary,
Giraffes from trees as tall as houses feed.
So blackbirds, fearing danger from the sky,
From falcons, hawks and other birds of prey
Fly low in terror. That's the reason why
The car had hit the one I saw today.
So, soon will frightened country ones fly down,
And those that rise, be birds-about-the-town?
marnanel: (Default)
My family bought a BBC Micro model B in 1982.  Its name was albert, arbitrarily and not after Einstein.

In 1987 they bought an XT, i.e. an IBM-compatible 8086 PC.  It was made by Opus Technology, and so its name was felix,  It was eventually upgraded to be a 386.

When felix began to fall apart we ended up with a computer called sif and, later, roska.  This meant that there were fewer arguments about who got to use the computer (albert was long gone, sadly).  There were a couple of other bitsers and second-hand machines knocking around after a few years, but I forget their names.

In 1997 I bought my first computer of my own, whose name was ratatosk.  ratatosk was a 386 later upgraded to a Pentium.  He served me well right up until 2002 when I emigrated.  In the meantime I also picked up a number of second-hand computers: njal, bergthora, and hrut.

Meanwhile there was also pinkstuff, the server, which started out as a project from the summer camp I used to be a helper on.  At that camp there was (and presumably still is) a pudding called pinkstuff, and that's how the server got its name.

When I started seeing Fin, who already used a naming scheme of colours, I started harmonising my naming scheme.  So the next second-hand computer was apricot, which was actually an Apricot.

After I moved to the US, the computer green was already around.  Money was a little tight, but I saved up for a while and bought Fin another computer as a birthday present, which I named spectrum (as a joke: it wasn't a Spectrum).  green and spectrum had static IPs at the time, which was rather fun.  (They survive as CNAMEs of the current web server.  Once upon a time, the content that's served from them was served directly from the computers under our desks.)  It ended up that spectrum was my computer and green was Fin's, though.  The original green was painted dark green, and is still in our basement.

Then I went to work for Pobox and they gave me a Mac laptop, which I named lavender.  When I stopped working there I gave the laptop back, so I was without a computer for a while.  I forget what I did about it: possibly I dug out green again.  When I started working for Solutions for Progress, there was a benefits plan that let you save up for a new computer, so I bought a Dell laptop named charcoal, on which I started fixing Metacity bugs.  There's another whole story buried there.

Shortly after Alex moved in, he bought me the current laptop, haematite, as a Christmas present, because charcoal was old and slow by this stage.  Alex's naming scheme at the time was saints, and we took a while to come to an agreement on a saint we all liked enough to name the webserver after, but in the end it became dorothy after Dorothy Day.  dorothy was decommissioned a year or so ago, and things are now running on a new webserver, which doesn't appear to have a name other than web; I think of it as new-dorothy, but I don't know whether there's anything official.  The mailserver is yamantaka, after Yamantaka.

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