Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Google Search

As a benefit to readers of The Wisdom of Dre, a Google search box has been added to the column on the right. Feel free to use this to search either The Wisdom of Dre or the web at large.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Brighton is on the southern coast of England, about 50+ miles (1 hour train) from London. It's now a basic modern town with tons of shopping, a coast (rocks but no sand for the beach), and a place called the Royal Pavilion.

The Royal Pavilion was built in the early 1800s by the later to become King George IV. The architecture is constructed in the oriental style and one can easily imagine being in an old Chinese palace during the 1800s. Dragons play a prominent role in the decorations and architecture. George built the pavilion primarily for the means of entertaining and to impress people.

It certainly would have done just that. The building is enormous in size and has gilt gold all throughout as well as solid gold art/dishes/ornamentation. The dining room causes the visitor to immediately look upwards at the breathtaking chandelier and ornate decoration. The inside of Buckingham palace is similar in luxuriousness.

At the time it was built, the kitchen was a state of the art master piece. It is enormous with 5 spits to roast separate meats on, two huge preparation tables and a steam heating plate in the middle of the room to keep dishes warm.

I also had the opportunity to watch the sun set behind the clouds, out over the water, seagulls flying about, and an old pier in the foreground.

Brighton Sunset

Royal Pavilion

Monday, January 29, 2007

New Chick-fil-a in KC

I recently learned that there is now a "real" Chick-fil-a in Kansas City. Man, I've been waiting for this for 3 1/2 years. Now if only they'd open some north of the river. I'm hitting it up when I get back from London. Click here for details on the location.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Calculator Words

Have you ever spelled words on a handheld calculator? Next time you get the chance, type in the number 53045.3080. It has a musical instrument and a component of clothing in store for you. (Hint: turn the calculator upside down)

The Walk

"You can run with the big dogs
You can fly with the eagles
You can jump through all the hoops
And climb the ladder to the top
But when it all comes down
You know it all comes down to the walk" -Steven Curtis Chapman

Based on Micah 6:8 "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Good stuff to remember.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I played Squash for the first time this week. It's fairly similar to racquetball so my background transferred over relatively well. The biggest thing to adjust to was the fact that a squash ball does not really bounce so it kind of throws you off until you learn to gauge it. As with anything, I discovered muscles I was previously little acquainted with. Walking up and down stairs helped re-emphasize this.

Incidentally, squash, the vegetable, is not a favorite of mine. It's one veggie I have a bit of trouble getting down and actively try to avoid.

Squash the vegetable

Squash the game

Monday, January 22, 2007


The day after seeing the sights of Brussels, I took a train to Brugge about an hour north of Brussels and 15 miles from the coast. This 13th century city was definitely the highlight of the trip. It was a beautiful all around. Traffic is very restricted so that makes it nice for pedestrians. A canal runs through the middle of the city with buildings coming right up to the water. It also has a basilica called Holy Blood Basilica which contains the alleged relic of a piece of cloth with the blood of Christ on it. Supposedly, it was used by Joseph of Arimathea to clean him up following crucifixion. I don't know what to think for certain about the veracity of this but the cloth has been there since at least the 1200s. There is also an authentic windmill which dates from 1770 within Brugge. Brugge seems to be a veritable lace capital of the world. Lace shops abound throughout the town in addition to the ubiquitous chocolate stores. Horse and carriage seemed to be a popular mode of transportation to check out the city but I declined in favor of my own hoofs.



Brugge Canal

Brugge Street

It is highly recommended to check out additional pictures of this beautiful city here.


I recently took a trip to Belgium via the Eurostar from London to Brussels. The train ride took around 2 1/2 hours. After arriving in Brussels and taking a taxi to my hotel room, I took a walk around to orient myself. (This is always a recommended practice when in a new place) Brussels is home to the European Union and it turns out that my hotel was literally 2 blocks from one of their main buildings, the Berlaymont. As a side note, Bulgaria and Romania were the most recent members of the E.U. as of January 1, 2007.

One of my first stops in the city was the Grand Place, which is a square that some call one of the most beautiful in the world. It was quite striking with the ornate architecture and especially so at night. I also made a visit to see the Toone theater (a famous puppet theater). Unfortunately, no shows were playing while I was there. The theater is located adjacent to a street called Petite rue Bouchers. Also located close to this general vacinity is

Manneken-Pis. He's considered the oldest citizen of Brussels having maintained residence since 1619. It is a cultural icon and is a little boy statue which they dress up depending on the season of the year who is "making water" into the fountain below. There was a rousing New Orleans style jazz band playing various songs and ending with "When the Saints Go Marching In."

It was then on to Notre-Dame-du-Sablon Church, built by 15th century crossbowmen An adjacent park contained a memorial statue with the likenesses of Egmont and Hornes who came to unforntunate demise following their resistance to Spanish tyranny in the 1500s. Interestingly, there are two churches with the forename of Notre Dame in Brussels. The second was Notre-Dame de la Chapelle.

In the evening, I wondered along some of the streets taking in the scenery. I especially enjoyed the area around Petite rue Bouchers. It had lots of neat cafes which reminded me somewhat of parts of Paris. An endearing part of the cafes is the salesmanship of the proprietors. They each stand outside thier restaurant trying their best to persuade you to dine with them. I did in fact eat at an establishment in this area and was thoroughly impressed with the quality.

Chocolate is found in great abundance in many places throughout the city and is of extraordinary quality. Another big thing in Belgium is the eponymous Belgian waffles. I believe I ate waffles on three seperate occasions that weekend. Topped with strawberries and whipped cream makes them even better. Yum!

For the unfamiliar, French is the primary language spoken in Belgium with Flemmish being spoken in the northern part of the country. Flemmish is somewhat similar to German with French influences. In my understanding, the French is due to Napoleon's influence on the country and next door neighbor being proximity to France. Thankfully, people spoke English fairly decently since my French is limited to Parlez vous Anglais (do you speak French), Combien ca coute (how much does it cost), Bonjour (Good Day), Bonsoir (Good evening), merci (thanks), and excusem moi (excuse me).

Grand Place


Brussels Street

Jazz Band

See more photos here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

"A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went." -John Maxwell
Learn about budgeting and other great financial advice from Dave Ramsey's website.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Recently Read Books

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway: This is a very compelling and amazing account of a modern day Christian in China. The story reads like the Bible's accounts of Paul and Peter in Acts. He witnessed and was a part of many miracles such as escaping from a very high security prison, immediate physical healings from disease and broken bones, amongst many others. He has been imprisioned and tortured for being a Christian on multiple occasions for many years. Brother Yun has been a big part of the resurgence in the house church movement in China. At one time, the church in China was weak and dying but has within recent years experienced strong growth.

Here are a couple notable quotes from the book. "We're not called to live by human reason. All that matters is obedience to God's Word and his leading in our lives. If God says go, we'll go. If he says stay, we'll stay. When we are in his will, we are in the safest place in the world." "If you truly want to see God move, the two main things you must do is learn the Word of God and have the obedience to do what God tells you to do."

It's a good read, very quick, and maintains the reader's attention. This is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in learning about a truly extradinary story of a man who is sold out for Christ. Brother Yun will challenge the reader to examine his or her faith and spur them on to seek hard after the things of God.

The Kite Runner by Khalid Hussain: A large portion of the book takes place mostly in Afghanistan during the early 1980s. It is about a kid growing up there who witnessed some troubling things and has regrets after fleeing the country. Elements of the Islamic religion are woven throughout the story as well. The overall tone is fairly dark and deep in nature. Kind of like reading an Edgar Allen Poe story on some levels.

A Painted House by John Grisham: This is a great story written about life on an Arkansas cotton farm back in the 1950s. The narator is a kid around the age of 7 or 8 so this offers a unique viewpoint. My dad grew up on a farm very similar to this and said that the story describes life on a cotton farm fairly accurately.

It was my first Grisham novel to actually read but in my understanding, is not quite like his traditional novels written in the thriller style but is still a compelling read and maintains one's attention well.

Made in America by Bill Bryson: recomended especially for the etymological nerd at heart. Bryson takes a look at word development specifically in America and how various countries/cultures influenced all types of words and how they came into being. Portions of history are interspersed as well which provide a nice respite from a purely etymological perspective on words. Bryson has a humorous writing style and makes learning the history of words somewhat fun. At times, one needs to wade through monotonous parts and using a skimming reading technique can be advised.

Search for Charity

Do you ever perform searches on the internet using a search engine? If so, let me introduce you to I recently became aware of it through my friend Nicole's blog. The basic concept is that you select a charity and then each time you perform a search, a small amount of money is donated to that charity. The search engine is powered by Yahoo so you get the same basic results as if you were to go directly to Yahoo. They have many charities whether focused on fighting cancer, student organizations, or missions oriented groups. The International Mission Board is set up as a charity through them so I am personally using them as my designated search charity. Simply enter the charity you want to support in the Who Do You GoodSearch for box and then search away. If you would like to submit a charity that is not currently listed to be included, that is an option as well.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Quote of the Day

Life is an ice cream. Eat it before it melts.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


We also visited Greenwhich where they have a naval museum as well as the all important Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian marks the spot which is 0 degrees longitude (East/West). This was marked based on the location of the observatory located here which was used by astronomers to chart the movements of the stars. Sailors would use the stars to help navigate and know their location.

Also important at this time was the development of an accurate clock or watch. A clock maker by the name of John Harrison developed various models of this clock with the end result being a clock which was very similar to a pocket watch that kept accurate time within 2 seconds over an extended period of time. This was significant because sailers also needed to know the time in order to help determine their position on the map as well (based on sun/star calculations).

Prime Meridian

Me standing on the Prime Meridian

Churchill Museum and War Cabinet

Down close to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment was an underground shelter where Churchill and his cheif advisors met and strategized World War II. Britain and London was bombed extensively by the Germans and a great deal of damage was inflicted as a result.

Churchill was one of the greatest leaders Britain has seen. Through sheer grit and determination, he helped keep Britain's hopes afloat and purposefully engage the Nazi army. The British fighter pilots also did great good to help in the war to protect the country.


On the 27th of December, we went to a place called Bath. Bath is where the Romans had a bath house fueled by a natural hot spring. The spring is still functioning today and they have an entire exhibit showing all about how the Romans would come to a place like this. It was a social gathering place and was rather an extraordinary thing for them to be able to take a regular hot bath. It was quite interesting. We also had lunch at a famous tea room called Sally Lunn's. Many famous people including Charles Dickens were fan's of the buns made here.

Ancient Bath

Real steam from the actual hot spring

Bath Stone Carving

Bridge in the city of Bath

Monday, January 08, 2007

Christmas and Boxing Day

Christmas Day, we hung out at my flat most of the day. We took a brief walk down to Hyde park and watched the geese/ducks/pigeons gorging themselves on bread. It was then back to the flat to watch the queen's speech. Each Christmas, she gives a short little feel good type of speech reflecting back on the year. A few uniquely British Christmas customs are mince pie, Christmas pudding, and Christmas crackers. Christmas pudding is kind of like a mixture of fruit cake and upside down cake with a brownie color and moist texture. Not really pudding in the same sense that Americans use the term.

Christmas crackers are not a food. They are basically a miniature fire cracker which make a pop similar to those little white snap pops you may have gotten from Walmart and throw on the ground. You get a partner and each pull on one end and whoever is holding it after the pop (like breaking a wishbone) gets to keep the prize inside. We had a fun time being generally silly and laughing at the cheesy jokes contained within the cracker along with the prize.

The day after Christmas is known as Boxing day. Traditionally, people would get a box together filled with food, small gifts, or a bit of money and give it as a gift to their servants on this day. Nowadays, it is a big time shopping day. Oxford street was packed to the brim with people trying to get after Christmas bargains. We also had the opportunity to go see the musical "Wicked." It is a story of the Wicked Witch of the West from her perspective on the Wizard of Oz. The basic concept is that she was a political disident labeled as "wicked" by the spin doctors. It was very well done with extraordinary acting/singing/set design.

A Christmas Cracker


We took a day trip up to Cambridge on Christmas Eve. While there, we took a bus tour around the campus. Cambridge was started about 800 years ago by some students who were chased away from Oxford University due to an unfortunate circumstance. Trinity College at Cambridge is also where a scene from Chariots of Fire takes place. In the movie, they used Eton college because of the aesthetics but Trinity College is where it actually took place. The scene is that where the guys attempted to run around the square before the noon clock finished chiming.

It is literally a race against the clock and the challenge is repeated on an annual basis even today. The porter I spoke with said that none of the current students can beat the clock. I asked if I could have a go at it but he said no due to liability reasons. Nonetheless, it was pretty cool to see the place where the real life event occurs. Incidentally, Eric Lidell who featured in the film as a runner and later missionary to China is one of my personal heros.

Trinity College Great Court

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Kid Can Play

Check out this young blues man. A possible career as Eric Clapton?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Word

Have you ever heard or made up a new word?

Here's one: jiggerate- to alter, manipulate, or otherwise play with an appliance (especially computer related) in such a way as to restore normal functioning. This is often accompanied by wild movements to assist in efforts.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Part of the northern UK tour included a stop in the town of York. Not New York but the original. York in contrast to New York is a quaint town with a massive minster (basically a cathedral). It's my favorite cathedral/church/minster that I've seen. It is very large and ornate in architecture. The inside has numerous beautiful stained glass windows and the acoustics for music were quite nice as well. A youth choir/orchestra was rehearsing while we were there so we got a taste of the Christmas music they would be performing.

For breakfast on the morning we were in York, we went to a tea room and partook of a basic English breakfast chased by a cup of tea. York is really a neat little place with all kinds of shops and street musicians. One way to describe it is a town with lots of character.

We also checked out the National Rail museum which had loads of train history and actual trains and train cars which have been used in the past. One demonstration included at the museum was how a turntable is used to alter the direction of a train engine. Back in the day, they did this using a mechanism powered by hand but electric motor is used today.

Inside York Minster

York Minster

York Train Station

More pictures posted here
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