Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

ben wilson This is the blog of a one Ben Wilson, a Louisville, Kentucky native who enjoys baseball, beer, music, bikes, things that fly and good food. By day he pushes pixels and makes the Internet happen for a local advertising agency. His wife, Kelly is an Ironman, and his baby Amelia is the cutest thing ever.

In what I can only describe as the sweetest thing ever done for Kelly and I, a group of my co-workers orchestrated a baby shower for Baby Amelia last week with the theme being “Amelia’s High-Flying Storybook Adventures”. Instead of your normal baby-registry gifts like onesies and preggo-pillows and the like, each person gave us their favorite children’s book! And to top it all off, Matt Rasnake cultivated a CD of people doing audiobook-style readings of a selection of these books. Too awesome!

Amelia's High-Flying Storybook Adventures

Amelia's High-Flying Storybook Adventures

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I’ve set these wonderful readings up as a podcast that you can get through iTunes or your favorite podcasting app as well:

iTunes Podcast RSS Podcast

filed under Baby,Friends and then tagged as
Jun 4 2009 ~ 12:58 pm ~ Comments (2) ~

Yesterday, Matt and I catered a bridal shower for our friend Katy. My wife Kelly and his wife Sara were organizing the event and we were asked (not drafted!) to cook for it. Never having organized such a thing, we took it as a challenge. Matt and I both reckon ourselves as foodies, so we aimed high and made an ambitious but not totally off-the-wall menu. We wanted more than just your typical whitebread creamcheese pinwheels and little smokies and fruit pizza.

We made a list (collaborating via Google Docs) and organized our menu according to party flow and audience tastes. For the more exotic ingredients (the dates, the endive, some of the cheeses) we went to Whole Foods. Everything else was Kroger. We even organized the shopping list for maximum efficiency in the store. Matt came over on Saturday around 3PM and we started cooking after the grocery run around 6PM. A little break for dinner and we wrapped close to midnight. We still had some cooking to do on Sunday morning – mostly for the stuff that needed to be fresh. Overall we split the responsibilities (including cleaning) pretty well while also trying to keep the ladies out of the kitchen.

Here’s our menu:

Bloody Marys

Ciabatta bread
Cheese tray with crackers, grapes and sliced apples (Cabot Cheddar, Dutch Havarti and Red Band Smoked Gouda)
Caprese (fresh, sliced tomatoes with fresh sliced mozzarella and fresh basil leaves)

Cold Foods
Chicken salad with apples and pecans served in endive cups
Whole grain baguette rounds with sliced meats (pastrami and roast beef)

Hot Foods
Polenta rounds topped with hot sausage topped with sauteed scallions, apricot jam and parmesan cheese (recipe)
Medjool dates stuffed with almond and chevre, wrapped with uncured applewood-smoked bacon (recipe)
Mini-quiches in wonton cups (recipe)

Desserts / Pastries
Maple cupcakes with frosting (cupcake recipe, frosting recipe)
Apple cinnamon and strawberry-rhubarb galettes with vanilla ice cream (recipe)

Everything went great and I think Matt and I worked pretty well in the kitchen together. Matt is clearly the more precise and exacting cook than I am, as evidenced by his perfectly-cubed chicken and apple salad and attention to detail. Me, on the other hand, well, I figured hand-made is hand-made. The mark of a custom job is the imperfection, right? Odd how that stuff translates into our web-development “real jobs”.

In any case, it was a real honor and a lot of fun to give Katy a proper shower with good food. Can’t wait for the wedding!

filed under Food,Friends and then tagged as ,
Apr 20 2009 ~ 8:42 pm ~ Comments (3) ~

Scott Schroeder is a talented (and National Addy Award Winning) designer at my ad agency. He’s also a big classic horror nerd, and apparently has passed those genes down to his kid, Holden. You see, first-grader Holden has written his first script this year and his old man has given the green-light to the project. Scott and Holden have embarked on making sets and doing pre-production for the stop-motion film in their garage.

The plot synopsis is a such (from Scott):

It’s the your typical feel good tale about the young son of a mad scientist, who unwittingly gets into one of his fathers expierements and transforms himself into a flesh eating skeleton/boy/monster.

The working title? THE KING OF DEATH.

Yeah, that’s all Holden there.

The name of Holden’s dog? ROBOT ONE-EYE.

No, I am not joking.

This is going to… be… AWESOME.

You can keep up with THE KING OF DEATH on the official KING OF DEATH blog,

filed under Film,Friends and then tagged as ,,
Jun 11 2008 ~ 2:24 pm ~ Comments (1) ~

Go Sled Go!

With 11″ of snow on the ground, we set off on Saturday with a couple of sleds (thanks, Gerstle!) and had some snow-nannigans. Pictures were taken and now appear in the 2008.03.08 – Sledding! gallery.

filed under Friends,Photography and then tagged as ,,,
Mar 10 2008 ~ 10:07 am ~ Comments (2) ~


Joe Crosser

After a lengthy battle with cancer, our friend Joe Crosser passed away in the early evening on Sunday, January 29th, 2006 surrounded by his family and friends.

This was not a sudden or unexpected turn of events for Joe, but rather the end of an arduous journey with more ups and downs than any man of his few years should have been the subject of.

Joe was a friend of mine from high-school – I met him my senior year while he was a junior. A funny guy with a real love and knack for comedy, Joe was always a bit of the kooky straight man. He performed in the comedy troupe “BAMF” at Eastern High School’s “Vaudeville”, a troupe which included a number of our friends, including Ben Edelson, with whom he shared a great friendship. I remember those days of high school fondly – due in part with the great group of friends that surrounded me. A wonderful, smart, and funny group of the “best and brightest” that our little town had to offer.

After high school, that group of friends scatter somewhat to the four winds. Joe attended Hanover in Indiana, Ben Edelson went to Harvard, Janice went to Missou (right?), etc. A core group of us stayed here in town to attened Bellarmine or UofL. The group was still connected, though parties were often held during the holidays, and that group of friends would often convene for one celebration or another. One of those parties in particular I will never forget, as it (at least for me) signalled the start of Joe’s impossible journey.

I believe that it was a New Year’s Eve Party in 1997/98, though I could be mistaken. In the basement of Hunter’s parents townhouse in LaFontenay, we were holding our annual New Year’s Bash. The music was loud, the party was in full swing. Joe appeared confused, maybe dizzy. He sat or layed down, and attempted to explain what was happening to him. He couldn’t say what he was thinking – the idea of “apple” only came out as “poison”. None of us were quite sure what was happening – except to think “maybe this is just one of Joe’s games!” Eventually the spelled passed. The rest of the night was a blur, but looking back, this was a defining moment in all the lives of those present, especially Joe.

I don’t clearly remember when or where I first heard that Joe had been stricken with cancer. I don’t think I was alone when I thought “Why?!”. Nature certainly follows no rules – it does not abide by any remotely human instinct to punish the bad and reward the good. Joe was a “good guy”, and things like this should not happen. The years after high school are inexorably filled with change. For most, it’s their first steps to independence and the joy, wonder and fear that follows with it. Joe’s journey into adulthood was irrevocably altered. While the rest of us seemed to move on in a straight line, he had been forced down a sideroad – and did not know how long or short it might be.

Things certainly did change after Joe’s diagnosis. They most certainly changed for him, and I know they certainly affected those around him. His relationship with everyone changed – he was no longer just Joe, but Joe, “our friend with cancer”. Harsh though that may sound, a diagnosis like that touches every part of your life, and tints everything around you.

Joe always was the “funny guy” in the room before and even after his diagnosis. However, as the years grew on, and Joe saw many ups and downs, you could see this was taking a toll on him. You could see it in his eyes and in his face. We all saw him struggle to cope with the weight of what had been placed on him. On story in particular gave us insight into his world – I remember him reciting his cancer-themed stand-up routine in front of us, and receiving nothing but confused and shocked stares. We cared about him, and it hit us hard to see him struggle so to cope. How do you handle something like this? This is not something that is learned, and is won only with the dearest of costs.

I seem to remember someone saying “Are we bad friends?” after the stand-up routine had started making the rounds. How can you know when you are in such deep and uncharted waters? In hindsight, there are many things I wish I would have done differently, and I don’t think that any one of us around him could say any different. I was afraid of not supporting him enough, and I was afraid of the disease that had stricken him. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it all, and in some cases chose to ignore it all together.

About that time (roughly 2 years ago), Joe told us he was writing a play based on his life. We were obviously wary that it would meet with the same approval that his stand-up had, and approached the script he had gingerly. Eventually, in June of 2004, his work became a reality with two showings at the Thrust Theater at the University of Louisville, and the impact that it had on me was remarkable. It made me realize just how much Joe appreciated our friendship – even though he could not often say it. I had heard stories from others about his work with Friends of Hope and the hope and inspiration that he gave to them – and this was just a glimpse of what he had given them.

The remainder of Joe’s life was filled with the physical and emotional ups and downs that he had come to know so terribly well. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005, and it amazingly remissed for a short while, only to come back. Due to his prior treatments, there was little they could provide for him. His beard grew long and you could see in his eyes something deep and profound.

My rememberance of Joe is split between the triumph and jubilation of the stading ovation he received after his play, and that look in his eyes as he reached his final days. Though, the latter is not a morbid thought – it grants me a joy and stillness in a way few other thoughts do. That look was many things – sadness, stillness, patience, fear – but above all, that look was truth.

While Joe’s circumstances I wish upon no-one, I do feel fortunate to have known Joe in health and in sickness. His troublesome journey through life has granted all that he touched with an understanding of life that is uncommon. I am greatful to him for that.

Joe’s funeral is this evening at 6:30 PM at Trinity Presbyterian Church here in Louisville. It is to be a “Celebration of Life”, rumored to be very Andy Kaufman-esque. Sometime in April, there will also a be a “Game Night” celebration in rememberance of Joe’s love of games of any kind – no matter how confusing or numerous the rules.

Obituary: Joseph Earl Crosser

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Feb 2 2006 ~ 4:15 pm ~ Comments (5) ~

On Saturday, Hunter, Katy, Joe, Kelly, Cherie and I made our Annual Trip to Huber’s.

Later in the day, we went to Holly’s 30th Birthday party.

On Sunday, we carved pumpkins.

(a while back, I took some pictures of Kelly and our cat Karen)

update: yeah, so it was Katy who went with us to Huber’s. Jamie was around later for the pumpkin carving. Note time of posting: 8:30AM. I am not legally liable for misspellings or misrepresentation of fact until after 3:30PM EST.

filed under Food,Friends,Photography and then tagged as ,,,
Oct 21 2003 ~ 9:32 am ~ Comments (13) ~

First up, Gary has again (as I type this no less, barring aeronautical hold-ups) gone back across the pond to his Asiatic homestead. A visit all too short, considering he *might* be back in August or December, depending upon a number of things. Now, he’s got a trick or two up his sleeve upon his return, none of which I will ruin by laying out spoilers (though, I think that would be the ultimate spoiled movie ending, heh.) Anyway, good luck, Gary! Use the bat given to you well!

Interpol - Turn On the Bright Lights

So, when I first read Pitchfork‘s review of Interpol‘s Turn On The Bright Lights, and then their subsequent hailing of the album as “#1 of the Year” I was a bit suspicious. As with all critical media, they never hit 1.000 in anyone’s ballpark.

Well, thanks Jackson‘s various gift certificates, the Interpol disc made its way over to the house shortly after Christmas. I ripped it, as was my want (and Jackson was in no state to argue, heh), and later listened to it.

Do I think it’s the #1 album of the year? Of “THE” Year? Of “MY” Year is a more correct application, methinks. Well, no, that lies with Wilco‘s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (also a 10 on Pitchfork’s scale, and the #2 album of the Year. Nonetheless, I’d have to add “Turn On The Bright Lights” on my short list of “Great Albums That Ben Heard This Year”.

filed under Friends,Music and then tagged as
Jan 6 2003 ~ 8:30 am ~ Comments Off ~
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