Thanks for the awesome directions and photos, Keif !!!
Replaced my cable and inside bracket with no probs and now it works like a charm.
One word of advice to anyone about to do this. Don't bother trying to open the hood from the outside. As Keif mentions, your inside bracket is likely worn anyway so you should just start on the inside. After struggling to open my hood from the outside for several hours to no avail, I took apart the inside and after separating the cable from the lever bracket I was able to just pull the cable with pliers and pop the hood right up. Also ordered parts from Maximillian with priority shipping and it took ELEVEN DAYS for them to arrive. I'd try somewhere else.