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.

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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 ~

No words…

Kelly, Amelia and Ben Wilson

Kelly, Amelia and Ben Wilson

It’s one of those days you can read about and plan for, and you never know just what is going to happen. In one moment yesterday, I went from waiting to being told my wife and my baby girl’s life would teeter on the balance. But you’ve got to stay strong, ’cause really that’s all a guy can do.  A smile, a hold of hands, a brush of the hair. There are no words, only small actions.

From doctors all the way down to the nurses aides and even the rooms at Baptist Hospital East were absolutely amazing, consummate professionals. Very PRO. From the moment we entered labor and delivery, the nurses were funny, engaging and knowledgeable. “Amazing Nurse Connie” made fast friends, like she knew us an age already. I miss each of them already, and it’s only been a day. There are no words to say how much that helps.

When she was awake, I was by Kelly’s side. My heart rose and fell watching those meters rise and fall. We exchanged knowing smiles, better than words. The decision to go into surgery was a quick one. “Are you OK with this?” I asked. No words, just a smile and a nod.

We parted for the first time, Kelly stronger than I at that moment. I sat alone in my own, private waiting room. My fear subsides slowly as I take it moment by moment. I am led by a nurse into the operating room, I saw Kelly. I saw inside Kelly. That was all I needed to see of that! Around the backside of the shield, I saw Kelly’s face and I saw her fear. Numb from the chest down, hard to breathe. A few words of encouragement. Small gestures. “Can you see anything?” “I can see what I want to see”

A peek. The head! Oh my god this is real.

A cry begets crying.

Around the side of the shield our doctor comes, our baby a grisly sight. The doctors work quickly to get the baby cleaned up, and soon I am looking over my beautiful baby girl, in what amounts to a fry warmer.

“Can I touch her?” It sounds naive now, but at the time – what was protocol? I’m new at this. One of the doctors asks “Did he just ask if he could touch her?” A small giggle, and a response: “Yep, you sure can! She’s all yours now…”

Amelia, mere moments after birth...

Amelia, mere moments after birth...

They swaddle the baby and hand her to me, and suddenly I realize that Kelly is still just across the room, frightened, alone. The floor is a maze of tubes, stands, chairs, feet. My god what if I drop her! I cross that abyss, successfully. No words, just a rock of the baby in my arms and a rake of my hand through Kelly’s hair.

And Kelly sees her baby up close for the first time. No words, just tears that stream back from the corners of her eyes to her temples, the world turned on it’s side in reality and in metaphor.

We meet the family later, and all five grandmothers are elated. All two grandfathers are proud, stoic. Uncles, aunts, beaming.

My father extends his hand to me, a handshake, no words. All is understood.

filed under Baby and then tagged as
Jul 15 2009 ~ 12:38 pm ~ Comments (15) ~

I am a Twitterer. A tweeter, a twit, whatever. I like Twitter specifically because they have made it so easy for you to use it from a mobile phone (or at least for other people to write applications that I can use on my mobile phone. I love the Twitpic integration in them that allows me to seamlessly upload photos from my mobile phone. It’s great… kinda.

A few months back, Kelly got an iPhone. That’s great. She can take all the photos she wants and do all sorts of magical stuff, because the iPhone has an application approval process that at least vets the application (they aren’t crashy or terrible). That is great for Kelly. There are tons of good Twitter applications for the iPhone.

Unfortunately,  I have a company-provided Windows Mobile phone, specifically the Samsung Blackjack II. It’s a good phone – it hooks up to my company’s email and has a good battery life. Windows Mobile, however, doesn’t have an “App Store” or a vetting process, which is both good (yay, free! open! do what you want!) and bad (why does this app eat memory like PacMan?).

This leads me to my search for a good, non-crashy, non-memory-hogging Twitter application for Windows Mobile. I’ve tried many, and the majority of them are “not good”, meaning they are either nonfunctional (ceTwitsp) or bizarrely interfaced, massive apps (PockeTwit). I say “majority” because they are not all terrible – in fact, there is one that I have found to be on the same level as an iPhone app as far as stability and usability – and that one, shining example is…


It’s fast, it’s stable, it’s not a memory hog and I don’t have to fight it like some others to do what I want it to do. Yes, it’s a for-pay application, but it’s that good. I’m normally a big supporter of open-source, for-free software, but there just isn’t anything on this level.

Kudos, to yudos, Trinket Software.

And what’s more – it actually functions!

filed under General and then tagged as ,
Jun 13 2009 ~ 1:21 pm ~ Comments Off ~

One of my favorite summertime activities is to head up to my old stompin’ grounds of New Salisbury, Indiana (just north of Corydon) and pick blueberries at Bryant’s Blueberries!

Ben and his blueberry bounty.

Family Run, Locally Grown and CHEAP!
It’s a family-run, u-pick sort of affair, and the prices are low, low, low compared to what you’ll pay in the supermarket. Their pricing varies according to their crop, but last year Kelly and I picked 30 pounds last year and I think the bill was $60!


Blueberry season is short and tempermental, so go early!
The picking season lasts from early June to mid-to-late July. Bryant’s has a number of varities that peak at different times, so choose accordingly. They are also open sporadically due to picking demand, ripeness level and weather. I highly suggest signing up for their email list, so you’ll be in-the-know.

And when you go, pick lots of berries! It seems like every few years Bryant’s crop is decimated by drought (2002), pestilence (2005) or a late frost (2007), so pick enough to save.

Kelly picks blueberries

Things to bring:
1. Hat

2. Sunscreen

3. Comfy, ok-to-be-wet shoes.
It’s pretty grassy and not a far walk, but if they are watering or it’s rainy, it’s a little soggy.

4. Your own pickin’ bucket. They provide some, but you can’t take ‘em home.
Blueberries don’t like sacks, so I suggest big “Tupperware” containers, or even a cooler.

5. Kids if ya got ‘em. Very kid friendly!

FYI: Blueberries freeze very well and are so tasty on winter waffles and in pies.

Cornmeal Waffles with Blueberries!

Cornmeal Waffles with Blueberries!

filed under Food,Louisville,Recipes and then tagged as
Jun 11 2009 ~ 12:48 pm ~ Comments Off ~

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

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

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) ~
A man, a dirty man.

A man, a dirty man.

The Louisville Short Track mountain bike race series kicked off tonight, and it was a total hoot. Seriously – if you’ve got a mountain bike in the garage, get out, pay your $8 and have a good time. I don’t care if you “don’t race bikes”, this was fun.

The intent, say the organizers, is to put on a series like the Portland Short Track Racing series – a laid back, open to all comers race series that focused on fun and getting people into the sport.

Late last night I threw some new tires purchased at Mountain Bike Depot (they sponsor this series) onto my Kona Smoke commuter/mountain bike and pulled out the clipless pedals (which, uh I had never used to trail ride with). A quick ride-check at lunch today and I figured I was a good as I’d be that day.


filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as
May 28 2009 ~ 10:34 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Let me begin this post by recapping my brief bicycle racing career so far:

Race #1, Long Run Park Circuit, 45 minutes + 1 lap – I am in the pack for about 1/2 mile, and then am “spit out the rear” or “shelled” or “blown” by the sheer speed of it. The rest of the race I ride alone or with small groups, but feel pretty good. By the way, the “staying with the pack” thing is critical in bike racing – you’ll gain a significant speed advantage. If you don’t stick, well…

Race #2, Lexington Circuit Race, 45 minutes + 1 lap – I managed to stay in the pack the entire time, save for the very last lap. I am both extremely terrified as there were 100 cyclists in a large group all together, and a couple of gnarly crashes.  I finish squarely in the middle of the pack (51st). Huzzah!

Race #3, Shelby County Road Race, 30 miles – My first “long” road race on country roads. I last hardly a mile or two into the race in the peloton. My heart-rate goes to the redline and it takes me literally 10 miles to calm down to the point at which I am not considering throwing up or quitting the race (…and I have never consider quitting before). The rest of the race I am alone or with small groups.

I’ve come a long way since the fall of 2008 when I was asked to join the Cycling team. I’ve put in about 600+ cycling miles in those 5 or 6 months plus maybe another 400 “miles” in Spinning classes or on the trainer. I’ve lost about 10-15 pounds and gained a level of fitness I’ve never had before.

So, here I am, in the “best shape of my life” (BSOML) and I am getting my ass kicked in these “entry-level” cycling races… and you know what? I am loving it. I am eating it as you would relish a delicious slice of pie.


filed under Athletics,Cycling and then tagged as
~ 3:36 pm ~ Comments (2) ~

2009-04-25 miniMarathon-01

New Personal Record: 1 hour, 54 minutes, 13 seconds.

Saturday, April 26th, 2009 I ran in my third Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon. For having not trained explicitly for “the mini” this year (instead more cycling) I was very excited to set a new PR. It was a great race – if a little hot for some – but I always enjoy that race, if only because it’s the culmination of a spring’s worth of training.

Friday night, a group of us from Power Creative (including a miniMarathon virgin, Brad), had dinner at Ray Parella’s. Ray was and is a big supporter of running in Louisville, and I macked on Ray’s favorite carb-loading dish: Baked Spaghetti Aioli. It might just become a pre-race favorite.

2009 KDF miniMarathon results @

Photos of me (shot by Kelly, my fan)

filed under Athletics and then tagged as
Apr 28 2009 ~ 5:08 pm ~ Comments (1) ~

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) ~

Ben in his new TwinSpires cycling kit

Yes, this is just what I’ve gotten myself into.

Last fall, my Power Creative colleague Doug O asked me if wanted to “give racing a shot”. Not knowing any better, I said “uh, sure?” and that was that. One new recruit shakedown ride later and I had become a member of the Cycling Team. This would mean that I’d be competing against other riders on other local/regional teams and would have to do at least 5 races in the next year. I would also get a snazzy-as-hell team outfit (see above).

I never envisioned myself a “real” cyclist (whatever that means) – but I do and have always enjoyed it, and spurred on by Doug’s invitation/challenge, I started training harder and more consistently than I ever have in my entire life. Lifting weights, riding during the cold months, eating better and  losing weight (almost 15 pounds in 2 months!). As a result, I’m in the best shape of my life.


The last two weekends, I’ve participated in my first two cycling races as a part of the KYANA Series, with the first race being a literal wash – 40 degrees and a steady rain (yay!) and me being dropped from the main group almost immediately ending in 48th place out of 50-something. The second, just today in Lexington, went much better with me hanging with the main group the entire time, only getting dropped at the very end. (PS – I am blaming my lack of energy at the end on a serious lack of peanut-butter-and-jelly sammiches). I ended 51st out of 90-something! For my second-ever race I am totally jazzed.

So yeah, I’m a bike racer now, and I think I like it.

filed under Cycling and then tagged as
Mar 21 2009 ~ 11:23 pm ~ Comments Off ~
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