Friday, June 30, 2006

Nasty house fire

Seen in East Nashville at Shelby Avenue.

Where's my car?

Taken at Steiner-Liff, a fixture on the Cumberland River's East Bank for 80 years.

It's blogger meet-up time!

From Nashville Is Talking: "WKRN is hosting a blogger meet-up for any and all bloggers, blog readers or blog afficianados at Wolfie's just above the Gaylord Entertainment Center next Thursday night [JULY 6] starting at 6 p.m. Wolfie's bar is not open to the public, so it will be just in for this private affair. News 2 will be picking up the tab for appetizers, and there will be a full bar with spirits available for purchase.

This will be the first all-encompassing blog meet-up sponsored by News 2 in over a year."

Should be a very civil time and great evening to connect with the Nashville community of bloggers! Brittney Gilbert and WKRN, the local ABC affliate has done a bang up job connecting the dots with the Nashville area blogging community with Nashville Is Talking.

cartoon credit

Blog-B-Que at the Mothership

Mark ye ole calendar / PDA for the Blog-B-Que at the Mothership JULY 22 (Saturday) as The Middle Tennessee Blogger and Podcaster's Group stops in to see what all of the Swine Shouting is about. Stay tuned for the exact time: most likely around the 11:30 lunch time. No worries for those who have home projects to do; Home Depot is just down the street.

Personally I'm looking forward to seeing what bloggers from Smyrna look like in public...

My Flickr set of the Mothership BBQ is up - get a backstage peek.

2806 Columbine Place
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 269-7150

Bamboo - a blessing or curse?

When we moved into our house in West Meade twenty years ago, we had a small bamboo patch that the previous owners had planted. Within time, the bamboo proliferated like bermuda grass or Georgia kudzu. Bamboo shoots would pop up everywhere and even punture the lining of a above ground swimming pool. We were told nothing short of a nuclear bomb would kill bamboo. We even had a construction grade bulldozer up on its two rear wheels trying to push back the massive roots! We tried laying down steel, metal, old plywood and throwing bush on top to choke the bamboo out with no luck.

A couple of years ago, a church did a teaching series using Survivor as a theme. We gladly supplied all-you-can-cut bamboo for background props. We were disappointed that the series only lasted six weeks rather than two years. Recently I posted on Craigslist free bamboo and had a few takers, but not enough to clear away but maybe 20% of bamboo available (offer still stands by the way! - just me mail me at wonderdawg at gmail dot com)

Rather than curse the bamboo, I was able to turn it into a blessing. Recycle!

The more mature bamboo was approximately 20 plus feet tall and up to 1.5 inches thick. So after harvesting the bamboo, I built a fence using pressure treated 2 x 4 's, 1 x 6 planks for a decorated finish, cement for anchoring the posts and lagbolts.

The method is simple - harvest the bamboo, cut off the leafy tops, dig a hole, sandwich the bamboo between the 2 x 4 's every 4 feet, using a block of 2 x 4 s for a spacer. Level the bamboo every five poles by drilling the bamboo with drywall screws into the studs, otherwise it's like building with pick up sticks. Add a lag bolt to tighten up the middle of the 2 x 4, pour cement to anchor the footings, nail 1 x 6 deck planking to finish off the fence. Plant hostas and iris for effect.

Here's the finished fence between the two sheds (took a weekend and was easier as I could nail to two existing structures for support).

Here's a previous fence built five years ago - as you can see the bamboo ages well - stain or sealer could be added to preserve the bamboo, but I just find it easier to thread in a newer piece of bamboo.

I planning to build another fence along the driveway, but this time, use concrete blocks for the footers; assemble the fence flat on the ground using a prefab method. With forty feet of fence to assemble, and knowing that it takes 20 poles of bamboo for a 8 x 8 section of fence, I'm looking to take the fast and easy way out while maintaining the integrity of the structure.

Shopping for a humble abode aka a shed

My mommy in law needed a shed on our property for storage, so off to the local big box home improvement store and roadside shed builders - the 8' x 8' that I saw offered was priced at nearly $400 - but wait, you want a floor to go with that? $160 extra ! (Didn't know that 2 sheets of plywood could be so expensive). Plus I get the thrill of painting and assembling the shed kit.

Being somewhat of a carpenter myself, I didn't have the energy in the Tennessee heat to build a shed in the 2 day time frame required. Plus I'm too much of a perfectionist, and lately being a hi-tech kind of guy, find it difficult to lift anything heavier than a pencil.

Plus I spend three months building our dog house - but since it is fully insulated with knotted pine panel walls, storm windows, picture window and carpeted with a deck and landscaping, I knowingly would have spent two months on a shed getting it just right!

The other roadside retailer of outdoor buildings had some nice, but pricey sheds - $1,500 for an 8' x 8'. Upon closer inspection, the sheds were assembled with 2 inch power staples. I simply couldn't imagined reassembling these sheds after a heavy wind.

My mommy in law and sista-in-law goes back to see if I was telling the truth - so this guy walks up and says he could build one better and bigger for the same price. So long story short, after checking out the guy and making sure he wasn't scamming two old ladies, we said yes.

So here's a photo essay of a two day speed build (with my remodeled shed on the left).

I hate speed builds! Ever worked on a Habitat house? While rewarding, the craftmanship really lacks - too many volunteers wanting some hammer time action and main contractors (normally two guys) hogging all the action result in a less than perfect house. Again, I'm too much of a perfectionist - otherwise I would have employed perfect cuts on the joints, birdsmouth cuts for the rafters, squared the shed with the existing shed and 20 other things. But the guys were tracking a working wage of $7.00 an hour compounded by under estimating the cost of the materials and taking a bit longer than expected. It was hot, and they were ready to get the heck out of Dodge.

All in all, we got what we needed - I'll just come back and Thompson water coat the shed and build some planter boxes to house some iris plants. Next up, a bamboo fence.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

That witty Papa John...

Very cool... hat tip to Frederik Samuel

Lunch encounter at the Mothership

What are the odds that not only can one convince the wife to eat BBQ, but to encounter three bloggers? Only at the Mothership which is rapidly becoming the center of the universe of the Nashville Blogosphere.

SistaSmiff, BusyMom and CeeELCee were in da ship. We gather for a group shot, but blogging courtesy and ethics prevent one from posting actual photos in order to perpetuate the myth that bloggers are terribly shy and never leave the computer.

The brief encounter was fun and since I will be back for more delicious BBQ, I've added links to the right side of bloggers I have dined with at the Mothership category. Could it be that similiar to my 100 Blogs in 100 Days project, I could actually break a rib with 100 local bloggers?

I can show you this real live encounter: a new video blog ( where "In this episode Bethany visits Mothership BBQ in Nashville. Mothership is unique in that owner Jim Reams has relied primarily on grassroots media, specifically blogs, to promote his restaurant."

The Curious Heart Emporium

On the way back from the Mothership BBQ in Berry Hill sits a brightly painted yellow building that houses the Curious Heart Emporium.

The front yard is a whimsical and eclectic yard art lover's dream come true. Not only is there a mothership with aliens, yard art of turtles, giraffes and hearts lining the sidewalk entrance, but inside is a overwhelming smorgabord of little knick knacks, folk arts and crafts, art deco items, collectibles, nostagia items and even a room with funky Christmas ornaments for sale! For a moment, I thought I was visiting a museum of someone's life long personal collection of cool stuff!

I asked the shopkeeper, a delightful Kathy Corlew "...did all of stuff once belong in your house and you decided to turn it into a shop?" Kathy replied that she goes to markets to find all of the items for sale. The Curious Heart Emporium is a must for finding that unique gift when a mall simply won't do. If you must, think of it a high class Spencer Gifts minus 95% of all the junk and vulgar crap that won't wind up in a yard sale at reasonable prices.

After looking at hand crafted birdhouses, fridge magnets, Jesus air fresheners for the rearview mirror, business card holders and a few other items....

...I purchased for $20.00 a Napoleon Dynamite talking doll which is now proudly displayed on my desk for comic relief.

The little town of Berry Hill is full of surprises - good BBQ, an emporium worth revisiting... I need to get out more often.

Curious Heart Emporium
2832 Bransford Ave
Nashville, TN 37204-3102
(615) 298-7756

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I pooted - mystery solved

After all the speculation, the mystery behind the "i pooted" billboard on I-40 West at the 46th Street exit has been solved!

Speculation abounded via the Nashville Blogosphere

It turns out that the 'I pooted' billboard, located in 25 markets nationwide, is a Cartoon Network campaign and another version will explain in a few weeks, says spokesperson. Cheese, a character on the program "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends," says "I pooted," which refers to his tendency toward nervous flatulence.

By the way it was a real pain to get a close up shot of the billboard. I had to get this shot through a barb wire fence off of 41st and Charlotte Road. The locals in the housing complex behind the barbed wire don't take too kindly of people with cameras citing "privacy" reasons. Being a good sport and since I didn't want to poop in my pants under fear, I got out of there quickly!

There's a crazy little ship beyond the hill

With apologies to Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs,

There's a crazy little ship beyond the hill
And ev'rybody calls it the mothership
Well, it's just a bar-b-que shack and it's cooked out back
Bar-B-Que tastes mighty good
That's not the reason why I've got to get back
To that mother ship, whoa baby
To that mother ship.

Located in Berry Hill, The MotherShip BBQ is the newest (and sexy) eatery located just off of I-65 and Thompson Lane at 2806 Columbine Place. Dr. Funkenswine, aka Jim "Knucklehead" Reams, is the proprietor of Mothership BBQ who "lovingly hand-rubs every rack and butt that lands on my smoker, baby!"

With this boastful claim, my belly was telling me that there had to be a passion that surely meant a hearty and tasty pork sandwich. I've been a big advocate for Memphis BBQ and back in the eighties, have been known to regularly eaten three full racks of ribs from Griddley's - a rack for lunch, dinner and in the van on the way home. I was careful to toss out the rib bones out the window while no cars were in proximity.

Since Griddley's is no more, the Rendevous and Corky's are the top spots in Memphis, if you can stand the 1 hour wait in line. In fact, one can order a bbq topped pizza as a staple item or via FedEx from Corky's to far away places. I'm not a big fan of vinegar based BBQ or worse, boiled meat dosed with vinegar and thrown on the grill for effect, normally found here in Nashville. Corky's in Brentwood has been my favorite BBQ, for catered events and especially the dry rubbed meaty ribs and the pig salad (pork on a tossed salad.)

Over the last few years, I had to curb my appetite for good BBQ under the watchful eye of my doctor, wife, life insurance company and the lack of an record company expense account. There's always an exception when something new and wonderful lands in town. Having read the buzz among the Nashville Blogosphere who pulled away from the computer screen long enough to venture out in public to dine at the Mothership, I decided to do the same.

On my first visit, one is immediately taken back by the decor - mismatched chairs and tables - and excuse me, but what's up with the funky albums covers on the walls? Affixed with drywall screws, I suppose to keep people from stealing them, they represent a funky exhibit of seventies sexiness with the big hair and all.

Besides, what is more sexy that a savory plate of pulled pork bbq? On my first visit, I had the combo plate; a pulled pork sandwich, 2 sides and 2 short ribs for $7.50. Intending to do a blog review, I forgot my camera, so I promised Jim that I would be back!

Today, I showed up early at 10:30 and was able to see Milo and Jim in action while taking some photos.

Jim was gracious enough to invite me to go backstage as he lovingly placed eight massive pork shoulders on a monster of a mothership smoker.

While waiting on my order, Jim was excited to point out the 96 score from the Nashville Health Department (minus 4 points from a perfect score because of the decor).

Here's my order - the sandwich was first class, with some crispy burnt ends mixed in (perfect!), creamy and chunky coleslaw and chilled mayo based red potato salad. The hot sauce added a nice flavor without being overpowering or obnoxious in heat. After finishing off my plate, I had a Homer Simpson moment and ordered up another sandwich with slaw on top which is a good buy at $4.00.

You should stop by when you're in the mood for a good swine feast! The Mothership BBQ is the perfect topper for anyone needing to do a Home Depot, Staples or a CompUSA errand run near the 100 Oaks area. I'd like to see the Mothership conjur up a dinner family pack where I could dash in and picked up some pork on the run. Perhaps my old work buddies at Pomise Keepers in Denver would order down some Mothership BBQ via FedEx one day ala Corky's. It could happen! The price is right, the staff is friendly and the BBQ is done right.

Review from the Tennessean's ALL The RAGE

Mothership BBQ
2806 Columbine Place
Hours: 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday - Friday; 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday

Monday, June 26, 2006

Catch the wave of Passion '07

Previously in Nashville for 05 and 06, Passion 07 moves to Atlanta, Ga. The dates for this event are Jan. 1-4 2007. Passion 07 is a collegiate conference for students age 18 - 24.

"More than an event, Passion is a movement. And the heartbeat of Passion is the glory of God--specifically, a generation of students living radically for His name so that campuses awaken to His Fame. But if we're honest, phrases like "living for His glory" can become quite empty, void of real meaning and detached from the reality of our lives. Words are easy. Life is hard. Marking our lives count for what matters most is a worthy goal, but a serious proposition...a concept that must be thoroughly absorbed and embraced if our lives are going to be shaped by and for His renown.

That's why Passion exists, and why Passion is gathering this generation in Atlanta for Passion '07, January 1-4, 2007, where thousands of students will merge from across the nation and around the world to sink their hearts into the confession of Isaiah 26:8. First wrapping hearts around what it means to be satisfied in Christ, we need to excho the fame of the Satisfier in everything we do."

To learn more about the passion movement and this conference, visit

Where would you work?

Rob ask a great question -

Question: If you could work anywhere for the knowledge or experience for three months, where would you work?

Criteria: It's not about the money, it's about the experience or knowledge that you receive by working there.

Rob's response:

Starbucks - I think it'd be cool to learn and understand the thousands of types of coffee, how to make them, and what they are all about

Panera Bread Company - Again, I think it would be cool to learn how to bake and make all the different kinds of breads and pastries

NFL Sideline Photographer - To develop my photography skills in an environment that I love!

Yahoo's Strategic Planning Group - I don't know if they really have one, but it would be so cool to be part of a large company playing 'catch-up' to Google, yet leading in the social marketing area (as a portal).

My response:

A fine woodworker's shop; better yet interning with Norm Abrams from New Yankee Workshop to hone my skills as a carpenter learning from the best.

Lowes/Home Depot or Best Buy so that I can buy everything at cost! Electronics are great, but power tools is where it's at!

For an NFL team breaking down film and stats to create a game day chart.

Lego as an inhouse designer.

photo credit

Besides working in a coal mine, what say you?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Road Trip to the Georgia Aquarium pt 3 of 3

"impressive exhibits of jellies (jellyfish)"

View from overhead on the moving sidewalk in the tunnel; and on the other side, the wall of fish