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.

Anna Catherine Pearsall

Our friends, Chuck and Danna Pearsall, have welcomed their second child, Anna Catherine Pearsall, into this world yesterday at 12:45 PM. 7lbs, 19″ long. Congratulations, Pearsalls! May this childe be as lovely as the first.

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Sep 5 2007 ~ 9:03 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Took a late lunch today, and I have this to share:

I don’t know if ALL Thornton’s around town are going to switch over to the abomination that the Blankenbaker Road store have become, but if they do – be forewarned.

I occassionally would walk over there to get a tasty sandwich (of my own choosing) from Subway. The old ladies (angry) who worked there were a constant source of amusement and scorn for us here at Power. “What kinda bread you wont?” “I got 3 different kinda cheese here, honey!” All shaking their fists at the system that has entrapped them and relieved them of their dreams and wishes and what-not. Such was their ire that occassionally they’d Peter North your sandwich, despite your tearful pleas of “go light on the mayo”. This back-and-forth required a certain skill. Those uninitiated were always welcomed to try their hand. Eventually you’d master that skill and you’d get a tasty sandwich of your choosing. This whole human drama, for whatever reason, has been put to an end.


Gone are the clear sneeze-shield and brass rails that decorated the Subway. Gone is the underground-themed wallpaper. Gone are the 5 loaves of bread to showcase the wealth of choice. Tthis has been replaced with an opaque stainless-steel hood so high that you can’t see the hands of the people making your sandwich. Also, the counter is set some 4 feet back, thus only separating you further from the people that will make your sammich. The real deal-breaker — the real slap in the loaf is this: YOU NOW ORDER VIA KIOSK.

Part of the reason I went to Subway (aside from the cheerful banter with the Subway hags) was to actually SEE my sub being made to the specifications I had previously uttered to the sandwich artist! If I said “hey, I’d like light low-fat mayo” I could see them putting the mayo on there and say “WOAH WOAH WOAH” when I had enough. But now I can’t see the sammich before it’s done and for all I know those ladies could be naked from the waist down (GAH!)

Back to the kiosk… when I was about ready to finish my order, some Thornton’s-clad douchebag strolls up next to me and starts pointing and explaining to me what to do next. I stopped him mid-sentence and said “Thanks, but I think I can handle this.” Turns out he’s some executive from Thorntons. He then tore off my receipt as if I couldn’t do it myself and handed me a coupon to get the deal for the day. All of which were within arms reach to me, and made painfully obvious.

So I get my food, which turned out to be a Turkey Sub and some waffle-cut fries (that was their deal for the day). I noticed they didn’t pull the fries out of a fryer like you would expect, but instead pulled them out of some oven-like contraption. DAMN. That stuff is straight-up frozen! And judging by the wide array of other foods they sell (pizza, toasted subs, corn dogs, etc) most of that crap will be frozen as well. I’ll tell you that I was not looking forward to this sammich at ALL.

The food was acceptable, but only because I paid $3.79 for the whole lot of it. Subway is far, far better and I certainly didn’t get EXACTLY the sammich I wanted like I would have normally. I only plan on going back to attempt to push that crap-worthy system to it’s very limits. Like asking that all the condiments be put on “lightly” and demanding that I see the sandwich after each step. Hopefully my skills of sammich-banter will incite a riot, or at least some accusatory remarks from the former Sandwich Artists that are now relegated to impersonal food contruction. As Charlie put it: “It’s like a vending machine with someone trapped inside” (paraphrase). Yeah, that’s it exactly.

While paying for my food at the main checkout, the cashier and I started up a conversation. As she was struggling with the new computers to run my card through as credit, I remarked “Modern convenience sho’ is grand, isn’t it?” She leaned in close (as to not be heard by the Thornton’s execs) and said “We are all about to friggin’ snap here…”

Note: this is repost of an email I sent out ot my friends. It was well received and made a girl giggle on her birthday, so I guess it’s worthy of mass broadcasting. And yes, while I was formulating this rant I did feel like Pat from Achewood.

Further note: This new-fangled Subway replacement is called SubWorks!. To quote the Thornton’s website: “The SubWorks proprietary food program allows customers to order top-quality sandwiches and other food items via a touchscreen menu—and then to receive orders in three minutes or less.” They forgot to mention the subjugation of human interaction.

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Jul 19 2005 ~ 2:06 pm ~ Comments Off ~

Whilst looking for info on today’s All Things Considered (who, oddly enough are hosting the aforementioned The Decemberists), I happened to notice an article by NPR’s Ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin entitled “When Those Pesky Blogs Undermine NPR News“. The crux of the story is in regards to a Defense Department PDF obtained and posted by NPR detailing the unfortunate death of Italian agent Nicola Calipari due to US fire at a checkpoint in Iraq. Some “bloggers” downloaded this PDF, and using some publically known unredacting techniques, released a “clean” version of the document to the internet at large. The information revealed, among other things, the US service personnel involved in the shooting.

In light of that fiasco, it is understandable for Ombudsman Dvorkin to take offsense. That aside, Dvorkin seems, with his occassionally dismissive remarks regarding the “blogosphere” to have some thinly veiled contempt for bloggers and “amoral place with few rules” that they habitate. That underlying current is what originally seeded my interest in his column, and upon further research it would seem that he has just recently provided a “mea culpa” on the subject of blogs. So, perhaps my hunch was right. But, that salacious point is not really the reason I’m writing.

I think Dvorkin’s underlying (though admirably publically displayed) contempt/concern for bloggers’ journalistic meddle is understandable from someone in his position. However, I do believe that bloggers and their “misbehavior” are a necessary evil. For each unredacted piece of information that might “endanger lives”, there are a handful of blog entries with substantive opinion and fact that would not have come to light save for this “lawless West” (my words, not his). It’s not as black and white or as unchangeable as some may think.

The Internet, and the “blogosphere” as sub-universe is a frightfully organic beast by its very design, so Dvorkin’s statement that “bloggers tend not to care if they, and their readers conflate opinion and fact” is, I believe, uncharacteristically one-sided. For every loud, obnoxious, factsimile-spewing blogger, there is an equal and opposite blogger that does value the same journalistic ethics that he stands for. Being a living, breathing organism, the Internet does not just create new ideas, but also ingests them as well. The blogosphere has taken a cue from the sound-and-fury news channels of the world and makes blogs in that image. I imagine that anti-drug commercial from the 80s with the kid saying to his coked-up father “I learned it from watching you!”.

In the end of Dvorkin’s article, he concedes that the mainstream media may be “the King Canutes of latter-day media, hoping that we can order the tide to recede at our command”. I don’t think you can order this tide to recede, necessarily, but I do think that you can certainly make it work for you. I applaud Dvorkin for his frank remarks regarding the interaction between blogs and the mainstream media, but I truly hope they realize that the blogosphere is what you make it. After all, it isn’t a big machine sitting in a bunker 30 floors below sea-level — it’s people like you, me, Dvorkin and Drudge.

Also, just as an aside — Dvorkin reported back in January on emails received by NPR between mid-October 2004 and Janunary 2005, giving tallies by subject. “Criticisms of NPR as too leftwing”: 210. “Critiques that NPR is too rightwing”: 484. Heh.

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May 4 2005 ~ 8:54 am ~ Comments Off ~


Well, I guess my blog has hit the big-time. Regular, observant visitors may have noticed some “SPAM” comments showing up recently on the “recent comments” over there to the right. Bankruptcy loans and Texas Hold-Em poker are the subjects du jour. Having done a little reasearch, I believe these comments to have been placed not by humans, but by robots. The mechanical bane of mankind, I say! Well, in an attempt to “nip [this problem] in the bud”, I have implemented ANTI-ROBOT MEASURES on the comment system. This system is know in the industry as a “CAPTCHA“.

What does CAPTCHA mean? Well, it stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart”. You know those little boxes with the squiggly letters and numbers you are asked to fill in before you can proceed with a form on the internet? That is a captcha. It’s used to prevent robots from crawling through, say, lists of available tickets on TicketMaster. The term “Turing Test” is a generic name for any test that is capable of determining if the subject being tested has the presence of mind or intelligence. (“Intelligence” in this case means being able to think on its own, and not have to follow a set of logic rules, as robots do).

Please give the comments system a run-through, and feel free to email me if you have any problems.

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Mar 17 2005 ~ 11:33 am ~ Comments (6) ~

I knew it would come to this some day, but not so soon and in such a form:
Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy (namely chimeraea).

To quote the article: “What new subhuman combination should be produced and for what purpose? At what point would it be considered human? And what rights, if any, should it have?

Me? I say NO RIGHTS ONLY WORK. Hunter agrees:

HunterDixon: giant posters with Darkseid on them
HunterDixon: exes over the eyes
HunterDixon: WORK IS LIFE
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Jan 27 2005 ~ 2:14 pm ~ Comments (3) ~

That is what a certain recent MetaFilter post asked. The whole “is black the new white?” thing is terribly played, but yes, it might be true. At least, I’d like to think so. The MetaFilter post linked an article at the New York Times entitled “Not Funnies”, and interviews a number of prominent graphic novelists including Alan Moore, Art Speigelman, Joe Sacco, and Chris Ware. Pretty interesting read for those interested in knowing why graphic novels “aren’t funnies” or “comics” as you might have assumed.

I think this line really sums it up: “[the next new thing, the new literary form] might be comic books. Seriously.”

I’m not going to summarize the article for you, but safe to say it will change your idea of why graphic novels are serious literature (not to say that superhero-style comics aren’t serious, but c’mon folks).

Further, Hunter sent me a link to a great interview with Grant Morrison, a heavy-hitter in the “comics” industry. He makes some salient points regarding the innovation that comics/graphic novels can and must make to stay relevant.

In any case, next time you are in your local Barnes & Nobles, ask your friendly bookseller to point you in the direction of the Graphic Novels section. Have a look-see.

update: I forgot to add this little snippet from the NYTimes article. Regarding Alan Moore’s (
From Hell
) current project… “Right now, he is working on a pornographic graphic novel, ‘Lost Girls,’ in which the main characters are the Alice of ‘Through the Looking Glass,’ now known as Lady Fairchild and a laudanum-addicted lesbian; the slightly repressed Mrs. Harold Potter, nee Wendy Darling, from ‘Peter Pan’; and the randy Dorothy Gale, from ‘The Wizard of Oz.’” That, my friends, ain’t no superhero book.

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Jul 12 2004 ~ 2:37 pm ~ Comments Off ~

in an aeroplane over the sea

According to an article at Pitchfork, there is a book about Neutral Milk Hotel (a band) in the works. Oddly enough I just managed to get my hands on their first album On Avery Island just recently. A few months back the venerable Mr. Cooper implored me to listen to the positively riveting and mind-blowingly awesome second album In an Aeroplane Over the Sea after he himself was given a copy by a generous friend.

The circuitous route by which Neutral Milk Hotel caught my ear is really only a small facet of the strange story of Jeff Mangum’s short career with his Neutral Milk Hotel band. In an Aeroplane… was released in 1998 to critical acclaim and then he essentially fell off the face of the earth. Much like the sudden rise subsequent disappearance of the band, both albums are noisy, powerful and ultimately deep and terribly sad. There is part of me that wants to hear more and part of me that revels in the hope that music like that is never made again. That said, I’d love to read more about it all…

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Jul 8 2004 ~ 3:45 pm ~ Comments (1) ~

Scaled Composite’s SpaceShipOne rocketed into history today, piloted by veteran test-pilot Mike Melvill, becoming the first civilian-funded craft to enter space, some 62 miles above the earth. How was this historic occassion marked, you ask?

[Pilot] Melvill said once he reached weightlessness, he opened a bag of M&M’s in the cockpit that floated around for three minutes while the ship sailed high above California.

That’s right — M&M’s! Maybe it’s a bit of a crack towards the Mars mission, I really couldn’t say. Either way, it’s a terribly important achievement. I can’t say I ever thought I’d see this day.

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Jun 21 2004 ~ 1:11 pm ~ Comments Off ~

I have made a short film entitled “the transformation of the dirtiest of hippies”. you may view it, if you’d like:

Smaller (181k)

Bigger (681k)


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Dec 8 2003 ~ 8:47 am ~ Comments (12) ~

things to do

1. finish preparations for 4th of July party that Kelly and I are throwing.

2. consider starting a site for friends to drop links / observations into. yes, it sounds like killoggs, but i’ve expressed my love for them before.

3. on the same subject, kelly told me she has considered creating a site of her own. she even discussed website design with me on the way up to cincinatti yesterday. i was so happy. perhaps set up moveable type for her.

4. get kygeek[dot]org in order.

5. complete “kristin mix volume one (T thru Z)”.

6. actually do some of these things instead of posting your intentions and then not completing them.

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Jun 24 2003 ~ 8:36 am ~ Comments Off ~
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