About Ben Wilder

Since 2005, I've called Nashville home. I'm the leader of the pack, which includes a 7-year-old beagle and a 5-year-old blue heeler mix. My days include writing, video editing, dog boarding, and other fun activities. Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it!

My dog loves to dig!

“But….but…but….I don’t wanna go inside, there’re moles I gotta dig up!”

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-Out of the Wilderness

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Life and death, and “Skol, Vikings!”

Last week will go down as a landmark on my life’s timeline. For anyone who saw my recent post about having a gun pointed at me, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And for those that missed it, you can click this link to be caught up, or… to make a long story short, a fellow motorist driving aggressively pulled up next to me as we were moving down a Nashville road and used his gun to make his feelings known more clearly.

For a few days after that brazen encounter, I had a headache which is very out of the ordinary for me. My head hurt because the brazen encounter took time to truly sink in. This happened. I could’ve been hurt.

What was I thinking?

More questions than I have answers for continue scrolling through my mind; did he try to pull the trigger and it malfunctioned? What was he thinking in that moment? Was it a 9mm or a .22? Why was he so aggressive? I’ll never know how drastically my life would have changed if the gun had gone off and I was struck by the bullet, or something less painful like the bullet just hitting my car. As close as he was, we were maybe 15 feet from each other, the chances of him hitting his target were pretty high. What if I died that day? What if I was shot, but didn’t die? Who would I rely on for help? Who would care for my dogs?

The bottom line truth is this: even though he didn’t pull the trigger, my life has changed forever. I guess it would be presumptuous to say exactly how because only time will tell, and right now I don’t know all the ways my life will be different from this one random afternoon. I do know the way I drive will be different. God only knows what the future would’ve looked like had things turned out worse, so I’m taking this as a warning to think before I act, and a gigantic blessing that I have another chance to correct my course, if that makes sense. A do-over. A reset. A fail but with no major penalties.

So that was the first half of the week. Then I found out an acquantance of mine passed away very unexpectedly. He’s a friend and fellow filmmaker with a couple of my friends, and someone I worked with on a huge project from 2015 to 2017. The news hit my two friends hard. They were close to him, and though I didn’t know him as well as they did, my heart became heavy the instant I found out. I’m sad for his family, I’m sad for my friends. It doesn’t make sense when such a great person takes an early exit, and we who are left behind are the ones who lose because of it. It’s hard to come up with something positive in circumstances like this, because the best scenario is one where he isn’t gone, but something cool happened on Sunday that I’m believing is a silver lining, a little gift from above that is sweet in it’s own little way. This guy was the biggest Minnesota Vikings fan this side of Heaven, and yesterday the Vikings pulled off a win in the final seconds of their playoff game, and it was pretty unbelievable. I won’t give a play by play recap, but they won on a last second, 61-yard touchdown pass as the seconds ticked down to end the game. I heard on the radio that right before the play started, the Vikings had roughly a 6% chance of winning the game. It was only that high because they were down by 2 so a field goal would’ve won it. But with 10 seconds to go and no time outs, 60 yards away from the end zone, TVs were being shut off across the country. The game was over. But uh uh uh, not so fast! Hike, drop back, launch, a catch and a sprint to the end zone for the win! It was a highly improbable ending, but so, so sweet. The biggest Vikings fan on that side of Heaven was jumping up and down, I’m certain.

Now another week has already started and I’m very curious about how it’ll unfold. I wouldn’t mind a week where nothing happens, a week that is so forgettable that I already forgot it and it hasn’t even happened yet. But if it turns into a week where God teaches me something, not to mention where He might have in fact intervened to save my life and my way of life, I would count that as a win, too.

And another Minnesota win would be pretty nice, too. Skol, Vikings!

-Out of the Wilderness

…and then he pulled a gun on me

*After you read this, check out part 2 of the story here*

Yesterday was an eventful day, and the most notable was when I was exiting the interstate and noticed the car behind me swerving as if he was in a real hurry to get around me. The exit breaks into two lanes so I wasn’t too worried about it, knowing in a second he’d veer to my left side to take that lane. But no, that wasn’t good enough for him. He swerved out to the right, passing me on the outside shoulder of the road. Classy. Here’s a video.

Sadly, behavior like this is not totally out of the ordinary for people suffering from road rage. I take it personally, and that’s on me. So with this guy, I wasn’t going to just lay down. I pulled in front of him, as you can see in the video, and when he moved to go around me, I jerked my car over to block him. He then attempts to go around me on the other side, so I checked him on that side, though, I didn’t move in front of him.

Around the 0:24 mark is when he pulls up beside me. I was giving him a sarcastic thumbs up as he approached. When I glanced over, he wasn’t holding up a thumb to me, it was a gun. As soon as it registered in my brain, I flinched pretty hard. In the video, this moment happens just after 0:24 when I swerve into the turn lane. He slowed down and I kept going, and it was over.

Wow. This was an intense moment that took a while to come down from. I clearly should’ve let it go way before it got to that level, I mean, this could’ve changed the rest of my life. He would be so stupid to have actually used his gun, but there are plenty of stupid people in the world, and he very easily could’ve pulled the trigger. He’s already familiar with how it feels to be a low life, so why would I assume he has any sense at all?

I’m thankful nothing worse happened, and I’ll definitely be thinking twice the next time I feel like it’s my duty to antagonize someone like this.

-Out of the Wilderness

dinner at Hai Woon Dai Korean Restaurant, Nashville, TN

Last night a friend of mine and I met up for a Korean dinner. We’ve been to this restaurant before; for a Thanksgiving meal, in fact. Hai Woon Dai Korean Restaurant is tucked away near a random intersection in south Nashville and so far, my friend and I both agree it features big portions, many side dishes (included with your meal) and you’ll either leave very full, or with a “to go” box. The side dishes have a variety of food, from spicy broccoli to square-cut potatoes to seasoned tofu.

My dish was the Ramyeon noodles with dumplings. It’s just about the only thing they had close to a vegetarian/vegan meal, so that’s pretty much the only strike I’d have against it. My friend got JapChe Bab. The clear noodles on her plate were tough to gather up, and my meal was steaming hot for the first 15 minutes. Neither of those are a complaint by any means, because once we got it all figured out, it was delicious!

If you like Korean food or you’re feeling adventurous with your appetite, you should try this place. It’s on near the corner of Haywood Lane and Antioch Pike.

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JapChe Bab

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Ramyeon noodles with dumplings

-Out of the Wilderness

Adventure hike to a foggy lake

Today we went on a mile-long trail that included a stop at Percy Priest Lake in southeast Nashville. It’s been a particularly foggy day so I snapped some photos that I really like. The island, the bridge, even a boat that went by, they all took on a mysterious tone. Take a look at today’s adventure through Longhunter State Park.

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Not as good as I remember it

Is there something from your past that doesn’t live up to it’s memory? For me, it’s typically music or movies. Pretty much any 90s song is now labeled as a “90s song” because it has a certain sound to it, right? But back then you’d think music couldn’t get any better. Let’s face it, a lot of songs from the 90s (and the 80s, if we’re being honest) are pretty cheesy. But we like them because they remind us of where we were when he heard them, or they just bring back good memories for us.

Over the Christmas holiday a few weeks ago I was awarded with choosing a movie to watch on the night we celebrated my birthday. I chose a movie I hadn’t seen in years but remembered loving it. The film stars an actor who was relatively new to Hollywood in the early 2000s, Owen Wilson. He plays Navy navigator Chris Burnett in Behind Enemy Lines.

It’s a great movie, especially if you enjoy war movies that involve a good guy and a bad guy, an underdog and a bully, an intense cat and mouse chase, and spoiler alert: it has a predictable ending. But watching it that night wasn’t as glorious as I remember when I first watched it. Now, part of that is because I rarely watch movies twice. Something about knowing what’s going to happen drains any desire I have to watch a movie more than once. There are exceptions, of course. In fact, I just watched Wonder Woman for the second time and was still entranced and captivated by the story, the editing, the slow motion effects they used, and the special effects. I also watched Enchanted twice over the holidays. It’s so good!

I guess there’s a level of predictability that I rather do without. So prequels? Nope. Hallmark movies? Nope. TV shows from the 90s? Boy Meets World, otherwise nope.

So anyway, back to Behind Enemy Lines. It’s a really good movie, it is. What stuck out the most in this holiday viewing, though, was the soundtrack. I don’t remember it having the characteristics of a 90s war/action movie but it does. Even some of the filming looked vintage late-90s.

All that to say, I wonder if my memory is similar to how Baz Luhrmann describes offering advice in the song “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen),” it’s a way of…

…fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

I romanticize something in my past, and when I revisit it, it’s not quite as amazing as I remember. Hmm sounds like my dating life! And by that, I mean how every girl I’ve ever dated thinks of me!

Girl: I think I remember him being pretty great.

*Girl reconnects with Ben*

Girl: nope, still a dork.

Well, she’s not wrong. I’m pretty dorky but I like it that way. This is not turning into a dating blog, I forbid it! So it ends here. What things in your past do you have on a pedestal? Is there an experience you have where something you loved isn’t as great as you remembered? One thing is for sure no matter what, Baz is right… wear sunscreen!

-Out of the Wilderness