Brenternet (The World as seen by Brent Moore)

Trying to appeal to the highest common denominator. I can't give you 110% effort, but I will give you 107.4% effort. If you're a spammer and leave me a comment, I will make fun of you. I use twice as many semicolons compared to most other bloggers

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Location: Smyrna, Tennessee, United States

As the title implies, I am Brent K. Moore. I married MariLynn Simons on Sept. 25, 1999. we attend Stewart's Creek Church of Christ. We have five pets, a dachshund, Slinkie, a malamute, Juno, and three rabbits, Ebunny and Ifurry, and now Houdini.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Taking a discount vacation

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R.I.P.
(1990 - 2007)

Buick Skylark
(a.k.a. Nelly Belle, Rust Bucket, Rusty Gray.)

Buick Skylark is survived by it's owners Brent and MariLynn, and it's compadre 2004 Chevy Monte Carlo. It was purchased by MariLynn's parents from a rental car company in 1991. Services will be held at our Antioch house about the time that a tow truck takes it away and gives me $200 cash for it. Visitation will also be at the house before the service.

My car breathed it's last breath and the carburetor has bureted for the last time. Just two months ago, it had a Transmission fluid leak that stranded me at my workplace. Then, a couple of weeks ago, as I was driving to visit my dad in his office, something in the front of the car made a snap. By some very fortunate timing, this happened in front of the house of someone I know (My college C++ programming professor who also happens to attend church at the same place I went to until I moved a couple of months ago). He also has a circular driveway, meaning I didn't block him in until the tow truck came.

The next day, the tow truck did come and took it to a mechanic I trust, who could fix it at a reasonable but unfortunate cost of more than the car is worth. The timing chain broke but happened to severely damage the engine in the process. I'll have to spend time this week cleaning out the car. Hopefully I won't find an active wasp nest in the trunk like the last time I scrapped a car.

Add this to the fact that My wife and I are paying two mortgages until we sell the old house.

And it's time for our wedding anniversary - we've already gotten days approved off of work.

One of the state of Tennessee's most wonderful natural areas is Fall Creek Falls. We went there on our 2nd anniversary and wanted to go back. Back then, we stayed at the Fall Creek Falls Bed & Breakfast. I've never been very keen on staying at Bed and breakfasts, mostly because the target market for them are old people and wives (of any age) to drag their husbands along. That, and they cost more money than I usually have.

My wife wanted to stay somewhere romantic. it is our anniversary; I suppose I should make an effort to oblige. However, a few paragraphs back I talked about how I owe a bunch of money and stuff. Enter the Internet. Nowadays, every mole that has a spare tunnel has it's contact info on the internet. I scoured the web looking through the hotels, chalets, cabins and the bed & breakfasts in the area. I found a bed & breakfast that had a reasonable rate. They had an opening and I now had a reservation.

I was informed that they don't actually make the breakfast for us. Instead, they supply breakfast-making materials inside the fridge once you get there. They shouldn't call it a bed & breakfast; they should call it a bed & ingredients. How can we even be certain that the bed was made when we got there? I don't want to have to cook on our vacation. Let me rephrase that. I don't cook. My Wife doesn't want to have to cook on our vacation. (I would actually be neutral on the issue. In fact, I think it would be romantic for my wife to wake up early, cook breakfast on our vacation and then serve it to me in bed when I wake up, but at the same time, I would like to be allowed back into the house once we get home.)

Before we left home, my wife decided it was time to clean the pool skimmer. we've been warned on the possibility of snakes. Today, we found a frog.
Frog in the pool skimmer basket

We were on our way. After a brief interlude in Cookeville (Mauricio's Italian restaurant - check it out!), we made it to our mountaintop retreat. The owners had their own house in the mountain. They built a second house on their property and rent it out. Now, I think it's more of a chalet than a bed & ingredients. The place was nice.

We looked in the fridge at the breakfast ingredients. Bacon, sausage, bread, butter, jam, orange juice and a Bud Light. Hmmph. When we stop at a gas station, let's pick up some food.

Sunday, for lunch, we drove down Main Street in Pikeville, TN. There we found a country place called Pig-N-Catch. I wanted to stop there solely based on the name of the establishment. (Other contributing factors include they were open on Sunday and they weren't McDonald's.) If you could violate rules of grammar in the name of your business, this is one way to do it. It seems to me that the name should be Pig-N-Fish, or worse Slaughter-N-Catch. The food was O.K. and maybe a bit expensive for what you usually find in the country, but the owner was friendly like you would expect in the south. "grab a plate, eat until you can't eat anymore and then come see me."

Pig - N - Catch

we spent a good part of Sunday at Fall Creek Falls. It's the highest waterfall in the U.S. to the east of the Mississippi River. There are several other smaller waterfalls throughout the park. Many of the falls are easily accessible to those who only want to drive but the option exists to take the scenic trails. You can eat dinner at the Inn while watching the deer take a drink from lake viewable from the table. Did I mention that there's no admission cost to the park? They also have the only ping-pong ball vnding machine I've ever seen.

The water levels were about as low as they had ever been, but they still had plenty for my wife and I to do. She loves swimming in nature while I like photography.
Cane Creek Cascades 1 - drier than normal

On Monday, we drove home. We spent a good part of the drive trying to decide where to eat lunch. Nothing that was open appealed to us in Pikeville, Spencer, McMinnville, Morrison or Manchester and we ended up eating at a place 10 miles from home. but we like eating at Demos. It's not every day that we make the drive down to Murfreesboro.

After getting home from a vacation, there is usually a period where you come home relaxed, not thinking of the routine stresses that plague us daily. It's a sense of euphoria that you are still on cloud nine. Getting home from this trip caused us to fall off cloud nine in record time. My wife walked in the house and went "Uh Oh."

It was hot in the house. Very Hot. Hotter than the temperature outside of the house and it was at the hottest time of the day. The air conditioner unit was broken. Specifically, the conditioner part of the air conditioner was broken. The air was blowing fine. I picked up the phone book to look for anyone who could make it that day since it was already 3 PM. It took calling the 6th ad for a company offering around-the-clock same-day service to find someone who could get out there. As it turned out, the the power cord to the fan for the compressor had somehow snapped off and this caused the AC to blow hot air into the house.

They got that fixed, and they also discovered the freon levels were low. That would explain why the house never really got cool in the first place. that would explain why our first electric bill was $100 more than it ever was at the old house. Contrary to it's name, freon ain't free. The repairmen came and went and we paid the bill. Now we just need to buy a car.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Filling that void on the menu, music and money

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Taco Bell's brand new featured menu item is the Cheesy Beefy Melt. It is a combination of beef, Cheese, rice and sour cream. To this new menu item, I say "Welcome!" as there was nothing else on the menu that offered such a fine combination.

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I first learned the concept of music royalties in a 6th grade music class. (This was the class for the people that didn't want to join a band or chorus, which generally was music for people that didn't want to be there.) The day's topic was styles of pop music from the 1960's. Specifically beach music. The teacher pointed out that the two quintessential beach music artists were The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. A popular song from this genre was "Help Me Rhonda" made popular by the Beach Boys and rerecorded by Jan And Dean for the specific purpose to appear on the CD that accompanied the teacher's guide.

My Dad is a member of ASCAP and has published some musical works that have an extremely limited target audience. Every once in a while, they would mail him a royalty check in the amount of 12 cents. Don't spend it all in one place. Eventually, they changed their policy so that you have to earn a whole dollar to get a check cut.

Fast forward a dozen years and I'm at Media Play contemplating music to buy. They have bins at these stores of discount 3-disc cd sets. Often times, they have titles like "Today's Hits" and on the back of the case is a tiny sentence:
PERFORMED BY THE COUNTDOWN DANCE MASTERS. The Countdown Dance Masters are a group of studio musicians that rerecord many popular current hits and release them in sets, and they probably go by other names based on the type of music you're looking for.

I was burned by a cd called Styx: Extended Versions. I was hoping this cheaply packaged $6 CD was either a collection of rare demo versions of songs, or at least some kind or remastered collection. I got home, opened the shrinkwrap and saw this tiny sentence: ALL SONGS PERFORMED LIVE. And what an uninspiring performance it was. rarely do I buy a CD from a group I like and not make MP3s out of it. If you're music collection is missing this cd, as of this writing, the going rate on this disk is $0.24. Let's see if my blog wields enough influence to bump that price above the cost of a new post office Forever Stamp.

I was also burned by a four cd set of 70's music. It had 48 songs scattered across 4 discs for a cost of $10. I thought there was no way that this could be songs performed by the original artists. There was a sentence on the back that said: ALL SONGS PERFORMED BY THE ORIGINAL ARTISTS. This seems safe. I bought it and opened the shrinkwrap and saw this sentence: NEW PERFORMANCES BY THE ORIGINAL ARTISTS. What? Is it really economically feasible to reunite the Ozark Mountain Daredevils to rerecord their hit Jackie Blue so they can sell it as part of a collection for 20 cents? If you can't trust the makers of this product, Madacy Entertainment, who can you trust?

*****

I predict it will be 2021 when someone will first utter the phrase:
"Since when is Britney Spears considered oldies music?"

*****

I didn't tell you this blog post would have a math question. I'm Evil that way.

Recently, my wife and I ate at a nearby Mexican restaurant. The place was named after a city I presume is in Mexico, so you know it's authentic.

The bill came to $17.32 and I had a $3 off coupon. Quick! Using only your brain, what is $17.32 minus $3.00? Can you solve this super-stumper brain teaser? Well, our waitress couldn't. She had to use a calculator. Now I know that I'm supposed to be all smart 'n stuff when it comes to math, but I thought this was simple enough that any public school grad could do it. Am I being overly critical about this or am I right about this? Comments please.

On a similar topic, 5 years ago, I put up a page buried on my website about foreign coins not for people who are bad at math. Coins with unusual denominations.

*****

When the dam breaks...?

Locally, I've heard a lot of talk recently about the Wolf Creek Dam and then the Center Hill Dam having cracks and possibly breaking soon. Something I wonder is if you know the dam break is inevitable, why don't you just build another dam right next to the original crumbling one, lets say five feet apart? I'm sure there's a good reason why you can't, but what else are you going to do? Get a lot of caulk for the first one?

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Published Photo #4 - the first paying one.

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Published photo #4 - and the first paying one.

My picture of the CaveLand Motel of Cave City, Ky was used twice in the August 22, 2007 issue of TIME Magazine(Billy Graham is on the cover), which I find really, really cool. as I've noticed in the past, my best photos aren't always the ones that are used, but the ones that fit a specific need. Specifically, they were looking for motel signs which pointed out that the motel is "American Owned and Operated."

Cave Land Motel

If so inclined, you can read the corresponding article here:
www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1651522,00.html

The picture was first used on page 49 to introduce the Society section of the magazine, which is the top half of this image. Then, it appears again on page 54, along with two other similar motel signs, and that is the bottom half of the image.

Here's the cover:


by the way, they weren't inclined to want my picture of the downtown Nashville Billy Graham statue. (nor should they have been.)
Nashville's Billy Graham statue
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