The Brilliance!

HTTP://WWW.THEBRILLIANCE.COM

We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.

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Siiiiike! I got it!

Call me weak-willed…I don’t care. I went past our Apple store to hold the phone, play with it, check the form factor…and about 2 seconds deep I had to have one. I can sum up almost everything with this: Yes, it is exactly like the commercials – if not better. So gone is the 8800 Blackberry, and my beloved push-email. I was actually quite surprised at how quick the email connects + checks when I manually sync, very nice. I honestly almost don’t even know what to type here…its just an amazing device. The internet is nothing short of amazing – full browsing, just amazing. So…maybe I’ll have more updates later, but Virgil just got into town and we are on our way out for the evening. This phone is nuts. Done and done. ***Yeah, the pop3 email problem that other people are having issues with…so am I. This is an issue!!

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Vignelli’s All Over Print!!!

I am by no means a design history expert. All us self-taught kids learn at our own rate. I just stumble upon designers, read up on them, get inspired and retain what I find most interesting about them. There’s nothing worse than super crazy fanatics….”like you don’t know such and such…your not a designer?!?!” I read this article a while back in the superior Bene magazine that highlighted the Vignelli’s. When you look through their portfolio its one of those “aha” moments for sure. I’ve always liked the NYC subway signage, A+U magazine layout, the American Airlines Logo, the Knoll branding and this stackable plastic cups when I was a kid…and yeah, that’s all them. The husband a wife duo are still at it too. Each one, teach one…

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This iPhone…not sure.

Yeah, I’m sure everyone wants to read yet another piece of writing regarding the iPhone. I mean, I guess all things aside – its pretty damn amazing to look at the animal, or monster, that Apple + public have created. This is really just insane stuff here – and while yes, its just a phone/gadget, it stands to make or break a lot of people and a lot of bank accounts at its launch. The effect on Apple stock could be pretty crazy – in either direction. So am I getting one? If you asked me 3-4 weeks ago it would have been a total no-brainer. I had to have it, period, no questions asked. My plan was to use a Blackberry during the day, then swap the sim into my iPhone for at night…that kind of a thing. I have been informed this cannot be done. And having an email app that only checks my messages every 15 minutes is a no-go for me. I love push email, one of those things I’d have a hard time giving up. So I guess that’s the deal breaker for me…its not a super, super powerful email device like Blackerry. Now, if Steve Jobs somehow gets the Blackberry gang to do a collaboration – that would be a whole different story. So I’m honestly pretty bummed – I really, really want the device… But 60-70% of my email is mobile – so its not looking good. ***Obviously the second after one of my friends gets it I’ll have to have it…but in the mean time I’ll be enjoying a Coors Light on Friday instead of waiting in line at Cingular.

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New interview with Heron Preston…it’s a video!

Ahh…was kind of a long weekend, nice weather though and I can’t knock that. So I have been a Heron Preston reader for a while, not sure exactly when I started. Always was how Heron used the web to document his life…blogging + Flickr + YouTube. I have always tagged him as one of the people who truly understands self-branding and how to use it…plus he just has a fun blog to read. A member of what I’ll call ‘current-culture’ and someone doing something worth paying attention to. He just took a job at Naked Communications as a ‘Junior Strategist’ and we figured we should catch up with him before he gets too busy, ha. Thanks for the interview man – see you around, real-life and the internet. ***And yeah, this is our first video interview…! Let us know what you think about it. Email us or just throw the comments on the YouTube video page.

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Melting Ice Cream in Chicago!!!

Another hot Thursday afternoon…this week is flying by. Last weekend I got a chance to kick it with Nino and crew as they were in town getting their Transworld Skateboarding Magazine on. It was cool to get a snapshoot into the professional skateboarding lifestyle 2007. Of course hotel room antics, watching videos, and running around different spots. More than that though, it was cool to see how the “work” end of being a skateborder pans out. Just like all other sports in that vein its all about producing while the camera and video is rolling, getting the shots for the magazine is job number 1. Those kids had every dope rail and skate spot in their sights within a 100 mile radius. No joke. Who new the handrail styles vary from coast to coast. It was kinda like big game hunting on 4 wheels. All a cool bunch of down to earth dudes. Check out the blog diary thing of them staying cool in the Chicago heat.

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Saturn’s ‘Rethink’ campaign!

This post kind of came from the latest commercial they are airing on TV right now…they call it ‘Anthem’ on their site, check the link below. I need to be honest and say I’ve never been like ‘wow, I want a Saturn’ you know? But I do dig their branding, they’ve had pretty good marketing thru the years, and its funny cause I guess I never really thought of them as an ‘American Car Company’ because they don’t seem so bumbling like Ford or GM, etc. And they were always kind of an underdog, always like that. But yeah, I dig their new commercial – I hope its an action from them to actually start doing things different more than just a commercial to make us think they are. Their whole ‘rethink bling, rethink strength, rethink power’ in the commercial was well done I’d have to say – all in the context of car companies which are often quite played and boring. So yeah…that’s my post this AM, another beautiful day here in GR shaping up.

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Ffffound.com - a perfect site…

If ever I’ve come across a good resource for creativity on the internet, Ffffound would be it. A massive resource/archive/index for all things type, design, photography, art, and more…This site is most definitely going to cause you to waste away hours when you should be working or doing something constructive…but as an artist myself, I really believe that spending time digging into things like this is a form of subliminal work…just getting inspired and seeing what comes out of the minds of other creative people can be such a cool release and way to exercise your mind for future ideas. Anyways, check it out at the link below and enjoy.

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Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis!

Haven’t done a hotel post in a while…matter of fact, I haven’t done a travel one in a while. Actually…I haven’t traveled myself in a while. Need to get on that. So yeah, the Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis is quite nice…and I’m kind of feeling bad that I’ve just now gotten hip to it. They call themselves a ‘luxury art’ hotel – and that appears to be a spot-on description…they’ve got some stunning artwork and the hotel itself is beautiful. Two things: (1) The rooms have high-ceilings. This is super important. A lot of these ‘cool-guy’ hotels are just refurbs of old, washed-up hotels (even motels) so they rarely have that loft feel to them…Chambers is in a renovated industrial building – all the benefits of a loft. Except they really polished it up – looks amazing in the pictures. (2) They have original art in the rooms. From what I’ve read Mr. Chambers himself has the second largest collection of art by the YBA (Young British Artists) movement – so the majority of the collection in hotel is just that. Good stuff. Haven’t checked this hotel out yet, as I haven’t been to Minneapolis in years, but I keep reading tid-bits about the whole city going thru a bit of a creative renaissance so I suppose its time to make that quick flight from Grand Rapids and check it out.

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Can has new music!?!!1!

I kind of can’t believe it’s not technically summer yet. The weather would have you believe it’s been truly summer for weeks now. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying. Anyways, of course with the arrival of summer comes the need for new tracks, new music, and lots of new albums. I have to start off by giving the new White Stripes album huge respect. Very few bands in the last decade have released consistently good albums, singles, videos, and styles. The White Stripes have this beautiful inconsistency about them. They don’t put out an album so different that you wonder what happened to your beloved band…but they do just enough experimenting and Jack White writes incredibly progressive and thought-provoking lyrics…“Well, Americans, What, nothin’ better to do? Why don’t you kick yourself out? You’re an immigrant too. Who’s usin’ who? What should we do? Well you can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too.”
This new album “Icky Thump” has such a fun/dark vibe to it. “Conquest” might take a while to grow on you, but it does, oddly… Can’t pick out any one song at the moment I love the most, it’s an “entire-album” album. Check out the new issue of NYLON for a really good write-up too… Alright, quickly here…new Queens of the Stone Age. Love it…I might love the cover art even more (here). Both of these bands are so good yet so refreshingly simple. Good rock and roll. And there’s not much of that these days with all this Daughtry and Hinder going around. Yikes. New Pumpkins coming out in a few weeks. I’m a little skeptical. Interesting move getting Shepard Fairey to do the cover art though… Oh. Check out Gallows too… aaand… Ben and/or Virgil will probably do a follow-up post with another set of new music…always good to get summer suggestions. For example the link below.

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I swear this is un-biased, Ha!!!

Taking Chucks que…on the hip-hop side of things the only thing remotely exciting is coming from Chicago, my good ole hometown. Never a city to demand attention, we are just into hitting all angles within Hip-Hop. I had dinner with Lupe the other day. He’s a couple songs into “The Cool” and ultra-excited for the possibly tricks up his sleeve because of the Halloween release date. And watch out…he traded his keyboard for some thread and a needle. In a few weeks we have Common’s album coming out. An undeniable Hip-Hop classic. The fact that its made in 2007 is even more amazing. You should already know I am into albums with singles like the one linked below…especially when explained like this…“Stronger” is also a fashion statement. It’s for people like us, who dress fresh and like to be fly…and if you don’t like the song, than more than likely you don’t know how to dress either. -‘Ye.