Monday, January 26, 2009

CEN December 2008

Archive of last month's Church of England Newspaper column:

Had yourself a merry little Christmas? Maybe you have a bit more time now. As it is the season to be slightly frivolous let's start with a couple of places to have fun. Smaller than Life has been mentioned before. It is where comedy writer Salvadore Vincent hangs out. He has expressed a few popular Christmas songs as mathematical formulae and venn diagrams. Can you work them out?

At Post-it Up blogger Nick Couch records his day by drawing on a Post-it note, scanning it and posting. It's fascinating, simple and well done.

The School of Life is '...a new social enterprise offering good ideas for everyday living.' Here you will find bibliotherapy, psychotherapy, a shop and even sermons from wise people. Tip top, as the person who recommended it would put it.

Fancy passing the time with a quiz? I found many. Try Paulsquiz or TheHolidayspot on Christmas traditions, Ebibleteacher on the birth of Jesus and Freequizzes for a massive selection for a whole evening's entertainment.

If you want to use your break to catch up on some serious Bible study, Biblos is a mass of Bible study tools in one place – concordance, dictionary, atlas, encyclopaedia, commentary and visuals. Very useful.

Anyone for some New Year's Resolutions? Listverse, a place of many lists, has the top ten most resolved things in order and a nice misprint at number one. The Site 'your guide to the real world' (a fine claim considering it is only virtual itself) will help you keep them. BlogGreen will stop them being environmentally fiendish. So will Hippyshopper. Their slogan 'your guide to ethical consumerism' is my oxymoron of the month. Mind you, I think they have the better name.

Just out of interest I googled, 'How to use your free time.' Over half a million results. Some people have too much time on their hands and use it to write guides. If you are interested the pick of the bunch includes Mardiros, where you will find practical articles and advice about building your own web-site. Or maybe you'd like to start researching your family tree at Free-genealogy? Mapmaker provide free software to develop maps from your desktop – time to prepare an updated sheet for people who want to find your church.

Mindtools has lots of ideas but they are full of words such as prioritising, focused activities and goal-setting so it wasn't the relaxathon I'd expected. LoveQuench, a dating site, seems equally convinced that free time has to be the result of ruthless planning.

With a close member of my family in Japan I've become a convert to Skype. Free video telephone calls through the internet and amazing deals for calling a landline from your computer. Free to join. I have had a guided tour of an apartment in Tokyo without leaving my desk.

'You used to be insatiable
You were always there on cue
Now the expression 'all nighter' means
Not getting up for the loo.'

If this made you chuckle visit Verses 4 Cards and sample the rest of their insulting verses for elderly friends. There are verses for other circumstances too.

Need to beat the January blues? Articles that might help are on-line from Netdoctor, Living, UKTV Style and, I bet you like this one, Hotel Chocolat.

Many thanks to the Rev'd Stephen Lynas for telling me has gone under. (I always check the links to the jokes and he's right, this one is now a link to a talk show.)

Another year has passed and all the last year's columns will soon be archived on my personal blog Mustard Seed Shavings. Do drop in and share ideas. took a lot of hits recently.

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