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.

Kelly and I wanted a bit of a “last hurrah” before the baby came in July, so early in the spring I reserved a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.

A view of the city

The weather was so-so with rain often, but enough sunlight and wonderfully cool temperatures to make it all very spring-y. We didn’t have any serious plans early on, save for relaxing and making pancakes and looking for bears. Soon after I made the reservation, Doug suggested that I try riding from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain Nat’l Park to the tip-top of Clingman’s Dome – some 5,000 feet of climbing in a single 20-mile bike ride. This was initially met coolly by Kelly, but after a few heart-to-heart discussions, she agreed to let it go off.


filed under Cycling,Photography,Travel and then tagged as
Oct 4 2009 ~ 4:55 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Kelly and I took a week-long trip in September 2007 to Barcelona, Spain. I kept a journal of our ramblings then and have just now finally scanned it in. Perhaps I’ll transcribe it soon, too! The penmanship is pretty poor, so it’ll be like your own little adventure reading it! Click on the image(s) below to bring up a slideshow/gallery thing!

More pages: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

The journal itself was a very handy Moleskine City Journal (Barcelona Edition), packed with city maps, bus routes, underground stops… and a pocket in the back that contained the following:

FC Barcelona TicketFC Barcelona Ticket FC Barcelona Ticket

You can also read my then-live dispatches from Barcelona, and view photos from our trip in the 2007/09 Barcelona gallery.

A full transcript of the journal appears after the jump.


filed under Travel and then tagged as ,,
Nov 13 2008 ~ 12:00 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Ben on the Backswing

Last weekend I drove to St. Louis to fly my remote-controlled sailplanes at the 2008 Mississippi Valley Soaring Association‘s “Gateway Open” content.  Friday was handlaunch, and Saturday and Sunday were the “big ships” – thermal duration. It’s a part of the Ohio Valley Soaring Series.

I managed 3rd on Friday and on Saturday I managed 10th out of 26th in a really tight contest.

Read more about the contest here: Flying Report – 2008 Gateway Open @

St. Louis soaring buddy Chris Lee took some excellent photos:

Me flying at the 2008 MVSA Gateway Open

Bruce is a hot dog with them upside down catches.

filed under Soaring,Travel and then tagged as ,,,
Aug 26 2008 ~ 10:27 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Kelly, being the weirdo that she is, wanted to go to the Bodies exhibit at The Cincinnati Museum. She’s got a thing for anatomy and generally the gross side of medicine. Cut to scene where I tell here in no uncertain terms will I watch a show about a man with a rare skin disease while eating a quesadilla I had just made. Whereas most girls were excited to be taken to dinner or to receive chocolates or flowers, Kelly wanted to go see artfully-styled corpses. Who am I to argue?

Saturday, we took off up to Cinci (stopping at the GAP Clearance Center in nearby Florence (Y’all!). Using our futurephones and the surprisingly-good Windows Live Directions service we made a U-turn or two and then ran smack into a long, long line of cars just outside the Museum. Hmm… could this be for the Bodies Exhibit? 1 hour later, as the lad in the parking booth told me (in order) there would be a 2-3 hour wait just to get tickets (it was 2:30 PM, they close at 5 on Saturdays) and that they only take cash. Cocking my head to the side and saying “Hmmm” (loudly) didn’t help – he apparently had seen such a tactic before. I said “Well… I don’t think I can back up,” to which he replied that I could park in the temporary lot and get some money from the ATM. Not that it mattered though. He let me through the gate and I immediately found a parking spot – not that we could use it on account of us not having the time to see the exhibit, but it felt good to stick it to those bastards! (Editor: They aren’t bastards, really. He was quite nice considering the near-riot conditions). The exhibit runs through June or July or some such, so we resolved to come back and make a day of it and a Reds game sometime after the baseball season starts. Kelly, being the wonderfully easy-to-please lady she is didn’t mind – in fact, we have a term for a failed mission: “adventures”.

We bopped around town for a little bit, got lost, looked for some store in some mall and decided to hit two food stores that we don’t have in Louisville – Trader Joe’s and Jungle Jim’s. I had heard-tell of both of these from a number of people (and from listening to WOXY – a great independent radio station in Cinci) – essentially a Whole Foods sort-of thing, but funkier. Trader Joe’s was certainly Whole Foods, but smaller, and funkier – and I’d like to have one in Louisville, but the real cake-taker here is Jungle Jim’s International Market.

Jungle Jim’s is actually in Hamilton (hometown to Hollow-Earth theorist Capt. John Symmes) out on Dixie Highway, a ways away from the city and a loooong way from your average grocery store. Pulling up to the store, you immediately notice the monorail tram jutting from the side of the store, which my Googling skills tell me was King’s Island’s old tram! But… but… why?!? Parking in the lot and walking up to the entrance, I quickly decided to stop asking. I assumed there was food on the inside, but you really couldn’t tell from the outside, which looked like a mini-golf course crossed with a zoo and a waterpark. Even the entranceway felt like I was going to Mister Toad’s Wild Ride.

Through the modest set of doors and the ceiling of the place opens into a vast – and a bit overwhelming – paradise of food. A paradise of food with an animatronic soup can on a swing over the grocery area. And an animatronic Lucky Charms band sitting on a 40-foot shrimp boat next to the half-dozen live seafood tanks. Did I mention animatronic lion Elvis in the produce area? But ya can’t take photos – that’s posted clearly on the entranceway. Luckily, they give out photo passes to some lucky photographers, like this guy: Tim Gets a Jungle Jim’s Photo Pass.

Aside from the “attractions”, the food selection is mind-blowing. The Asian section (not to be confused with the Sushi bar) has some half-dozen or more sub-sections for China, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietname, and a few others. Over near the Mexican section are the two 20-foot wide, 6-foot tall walls of hot sauces (with the “Adult Themed Sauces” in a shaded case. My personal favorite? Nuclear Nipples. Imagine the label. Nearby, the roots of a giant Robin Hood-themed tree form the ceiling of the rather large English food selection. Teas? Oh yeah.

Live lobsters. Live rainbow trout. Live catfish. Live bluegill. Spanish foods. Greek foods. French foods. Fruits I’ve never seen before. A relatively modest (in comparison to the rest of the store) but varied beer selection. A huge wine selection. An amazing selection of micro-brew colas, ginger ales and root beer.

And while I initially grasped Kelly’s arm in mock fear when I first entered the store, I found myself wandering off constantly, being beckoned by whatever new and fascinating foodstuff I saw. I would later ask Kelly if we could live there. We’ll be back for sure – after all, there is only one Jungle Jim’s.

Our final cart:

Breckinridge Vanilla Porter 1 bottle Gale’s Root Beer
4 boxes Pulparindo Mexican Tamarind Candy
1 six-pack Bison Chocolate Stout
1 bottle Arcadia Ale Coco Loco Chocolate Stout
1 bottle Flying Dog Collaborator Doppelbock Open Source Beer
1 bottle Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
1 bottle Dave’s Ultimate Insanity Hot Sauce
2 cans Mexican soda, one “Champagne”, the other “Coconut”
1 tub of hummus
1 container Mediterranean salad thing

Listen: NPR on Jungle Jim’s International Market, Oct 4 2003

filed under Food,Travel and then tagged as ,,,
Feb 17 2008 ~ 11:05 pm ~ Comments (2) ~

Let’s go mobile! Part of redesign included implementing WordPress – a very easy-to-use, flexible blog system that allows me to do things like this!

Taken at the Macy’s at Oxmoor, while waiting on Kelly to do some lady thing.

Posted by ShoZu

filed under Moblog,Travel and then tagged as
Jan 5 2008 ~ 3:38 pm ~ Comments (4) ~

Dan Flavin at the MCA – “Photo-sharing for pictures taken where you are not allowed to take them.

Linked to by a MeFi post a few days ago, I realized I had a little trove of “unauthorized” photos from my and Kelly’s trip to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (during our trip there for the 2005 Chicago Marathon). At the time they were displaying a large collection of artist Dan Flavin‘s works – especially his work with fluorescent lights ( more of his work here). The installation of these pieces by the MCA were just fantastic – no lights except for the art and in rooms with various wall and floor textures. Amazing stuff!

I uploaded a few shots and one of them was selected as photo of the month. Yay!

filed under Photography,Travel and then tagged as
Nov 1 2007 ~ 12:55 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Last Morning on the Ramblas

Our last morning on the Ramblas

Kelly and I are back home now after about a week and a half of vacation. Fantastic city, Barçelona – an experience I’ll never forget. We got in late last night to SDF where our wonderful friends (and cat-sitters) Matt and Sara picked up we weary travelers. The fountain coke and hot dog(s) at the airport were welcome indeed. We had a wedding to attend this AM, and surprisingly the jetlag wasn’t bad at all. Still a little tired today, but getting better. Watched the premier of The Office this morning.

Virtudes del Cagar

More new photos in the 2007.09 Barcelona gallery! I’ll be working on the full, annotated travelogue in the coming days.

filed under Travel and then tagged as ,,,
Sep 29 2007 ~ 3:59 pm ~ Comments (2) ~

Yes, we were that close!

Update: more photos posted in the Barcelona gallery! Boqueria market, L’Aquarium, silly tshirt messages and Camp Nou!

Silly T-ShirtKelly at the AquariumCamp Nou!

That… was… awesome!!! We made it to the game and back and it was totally awesome. An amazing experience, the whole thing. 70,000 raving mad fans totally into every minute of the game – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Our seats were much better than I thought they’d be! We were 3 rows behind the right hand side of the goal box. FC Barçelona rolled over Zaragosa 4-1 and it was great fun. The train ride back was interesting – so packed with people, and then we had just missed the Red Line train that would have connected us back near our hotel, so we had to hoof it 10 blocks or so. A nice walk, though – moonlit night with dinner patrons rollling home.

Photos are slowly upping now. Went to L’Aquarium Barçelona this AM – a fantastic “shark tunnel” with a slow moving sidewalk. Kinda like Newport – but with more and bigger sharks. Also a good penguin exhibit and a ray tank. Good stuff! Rays are fun.

Tomorrow: we’ll finish up our gift shopping and generally roam around the city, getting our last sights, sounds and flavors before heading home on Friday. Did I mention we’ve been keeping copious notes on our comings and goings, and will be publishing them online after we get back? Yeah, I’ll be doing that. There are a lot of things I would have liked to have known before I got here – my gift will be unto the Internets. Enjoy!

filed under Travel and then tagged as ,,,,
Sep 26 2007 ~ 7:23 pm ~ Comments Off ~

This just in! We scored FC Barcelona tickets for tomorrow night versus Zaragosa from a couple of old gents scalping outside of Camp Nou. A lot of finger pointing, gestures and calculators… Checking the FCB website, I think we did pretty well. Excited to see our second-ever football match and our first-ever European one. Spent most of the day today at the National Art Museum (we did the full run of it today) – the bike tour was a wash, only one other couple was there, so we decided to skip it. Aquarium tomorrow before the 10PM game. YAAAAY.

A little more on the National Art Museum – spent a lot of time today in the Romanic collection of early Christian art. A fantastic collection of 11th, 12th, 13th century art from early churches. Many partial walls restored to their original positions (“in situ” as it’s known) to give you an idea of the size and scale of the places that housed them. A wonderful way to step into the shoes of someone 1000 years ago…

Dinner at a vegetarian falafel joint called Maoz. Great, cheap stuff right on the Ramblas. Excellent pitas with a “buffet lliure” (open buffet) with delicious things like beets, pickled carrots, olives, tabbouleh, sauces, etc. A crazy local stuck his head in the bar and started hawking “MARIJUANA!!”. Hilarious. Dub music played, backpackers strolled by, etc.

Handy review of a Brit visiting Camp Nou

filed under Travel and then tagged as ,,,,
Sep 25 2007 ~ 1:07 pm ~ Comments (1) ~

Ben outside Irata

Busy day again today – the Barcelona modern art museum (MACBA) and the National Art Museum (MNAC) as well as the nearby Olympic Stadium. The National Art Museum is up on Montjuic, a mountain to the south of town with an amazing view of the city – but again, LOTS of stairs and hills! Kelly and I are just about beat. Tomorrow – breakfast at the market and a bike tour! We didn’t make it to Camp Nou today, but tomorrow!

Taverna Basca Irati for dinner – a great tapas bar in the Barrio Gotic where you eat your tapas and save your toothpicks. Each piece is the same price and the bill is tallied by counting the toothpicks! Easy and delicious.

MNACSagrada Familia through a viewer

More photos have been posted in the Barcelona Gallery!

filed under Travel and then tagged as ,,,
Sep 24 2007 ~ 5:21 pm ~ Comments Off ~
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