Just working on September's surfing column so here is August's:
Some people are enthusiastic about finding out about themselves. Others prefer that area to remain unexplored. If you like browsing around in your own psyche though, the internet can help. The online quizzes at NerdTest will tell you how er, nerdy you are, for instance.
At QuizFarm you can test, amongst other things, your intelligence, personality, datability and stickability. You can also devise and submit your own quiz or be rescued for £1 if you need a pub quiz in a hurry.
The BBC Science Pages have a set of tests to gauge the sex of your brain, the connection between your personality and the art you like, memory training and fake-smile spotting. Many left me feeling battered and bruised afterwards. Redemption came by correctly spotting the emotions revealed by ten out of ten sets of eyes, which is remarkable for a bloke, so don’t pay poker with me.
How rich are you? The Global Rich List will make you feel generous. I am the 59,895,869th richest person in the world apparently, before I even begin to help myself from my wife’s earnings. To get rid of some of that surplus cash, all the World Vision websites are good but One Big Village from World Vision Australia makes you think a little deeper without becoming over complex on development issues.
If you are hit by a sudden burst of altruism why not give some of your property away too? Freecycle is an international organisation but will have a local branch. Advertise stuff you don’t want and decide who to give it to. My piano is on the way out of the house as I write. No really. I’ve also shifted some Quadro, a trampette and two beanbags. It’s the place for stuff you don’t need but don’t want to tip. No money is allowed to change hands.
I’m always trying to find good, on-line, free magazines. Many are subscription only (they need to generate income obviously) but good ones include Thoughts from emergingculture part of Share Jesus International. It is produced by a bunch of twenty somethings and is appropriately cool and funky. Ordinary Eve is a monthly, ecumenical, web-based magazine for Christian women. In its own words, ‘A place that will inspire you, encourage you and give you a kick up the arse.’ Xt3 is a global youth magazine with a variety of ideas and contributors. It seems to have a grip.
Want to keep your stockings out of your dentures? Avoid confusing your suspenders with your braces at the English-to-American Dictionary. The Japanese are magnificent people, but seem to come up with more fascinating errors in English than any other nation. Visit Engrish for a few examples. The humour isn’t edited for the over-sensitive although there are usually warnings when you are about to read something iffy.
If you’ve enjoyed BBC 2’s The Convent programme then the ReJesus website has a Virtual Convent in which you can do a few spiritual exercises. If Big Brother is more your thing then keep up-to-date at the official web-site.
How about the baffling area of church buildings? Can’t tell your apse from your lavabo? The History Learning Site will help you with Gothic and medieval stuff. There is good general advice about care at the Church of England’s own web-site. As ever the BBC has a fantastic history trail which looks at the links between the church and state as evidenced by church architecture. That said, one of the suggested activities is ‘Paint Wells Cathedral’ which may upset some people.
If you have bits of your church to sell why not see if Antique Church Furnishings are interested? Or if you want to restore your church to its former glory you may be able to buy bits of it back at Antique Collector. Buy a pew to put in your home and be uncomfortable all week long. The UK Reclamation Yard Directory will tell you where your nearest source of dead building is. Bygones in Canterbury looks good, as does Frome Reclamation. Friends of the Earth have a good set of pages about imaginative reusing and recycling
My blog, Mustard Seed Shavings, still an unexplored zone for Church of England Newspaper readers by and large, has last month’s column and all previous columns archived.