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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Making of Reasonable Doubt!

When did this issue come out? I don’t check for hip-hop magazines really anymore…but I did read this one. The interview with Jay is a great read, some really ‘to-the-point’ questions asking about what is truthful, what isn’t, etc… But the track-by-track making of Reasonable Doubt with commentary from the people that were involved at the time…wow, amazing little read. What I think is wild is getting Dame and Biggs to talk about it. I have no idea when they put this together – but Dame even doing this suggests there isn’t any animosity?! Whatever, not trying to get soap opera with this. So interesting to read this track-by-track break-down, reads almost like a movie. But does anyone else find Irv Gotti annoying?!

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This BlackCrackberry 8700!!

I finally did it. I caved in and got a Blackberry. I’ve been avoiding smartphones for years now because I didn’t want to get really sucked into it…but honestly - if you have some self-control - it’s not too bad. You don’t have to be ‘that guy’ who is always playing on his phone constantly. In fact, one of the very first things I did when I got it the other day was make a profile that allowed my phone to ring only when I got a call. No alert whatsoever for any type of message. And sometimes, that’s all you want. Especially if you’re out to dinner with your girl…the point is to spend time with HER, not your email. I already got the lecture…Ha…but anyways - this phone is very fresh - I love the feel of it - it’s not ‘bulky’ - it’s wide, but not bulky. Feels very solid and has great reception. That was one thing I wanted to make sure of - that it had good reception. I got tired of (with my last phone) always saying ‘wait…hang on… ok there, is that bett… wait… ok now, try this, can you hear…no? what?’ My last phone was nothing special, but it had its rough moments like that. So - I’m not using true push email on this since I don’t have the BB email service, but I just use my regular POP account and it checks my mail every 10-15 minutes or so. Doesn’t bother me, I kind of like how it works. The keyboard is a little ‘crunched together’ but you get used to it. Oh, and the best part about the phone? Brickbreaker. What a game…I can’t get past level 15 yet…but I plan to make it to 36 someday. Ha… Wait…wait…I take that back - the best part about the phone is the ability to have Google Maps on it. Wow. Just seriously unbelievable that I can use not only Google maps on here, but Google Earth. It’s a free download too - check that link. A-ma-zing.

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Feel Good Architecture!

Rural Studio is a architecturally progressive Habitat for Humanity. It’s an extension of Auburn University College of Architecture and has been changing lives through architecture since 1993. Some of the most impoverished areas in the United States are in the rural south. Samuel Mockabee started rural studio to resolve the needs of people and communities through the educational benefits of having students not only design, but build. I can’t tell you how hard it is to get a design/build project like this off the ground. You would think helping people repair their livelihood would be easy. They do the coolest houses and the swankiest community buildings all in the middle of “nowhere”. They complete about 5 projects a year with progressive sustainable design, donated materials, and student manpower. Real architecture for under $20,000 is borderline crazy! The most of the amazing photographs I have seen were from lectures and what not but their website explains the important stuff, the stories behind the people. For your photo fix I am sending you to Flicker. Imagine if they had some Extreme Home Makeover money…

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Thom Yorke’s Solo Thing!

It’s been out for a minute…and I’ve been listening to it for quite a while to fully decide if I like it or not. And finally, the jury is out kids…I like it. Lately both Chuck and I have phased a bit out of hip-hop and into some different stuff…basically ever since I started listening to Bob Marley again while vacation o Siesta Key I have fallen more and more into chill out music, and spacey music. This Thom Yorke is a fantastic look for just that. The track ‘Skip Divided’ can be played for an hour straight…let alone the whole album. Which actually only has like 11 songs I think. A nice break from these 18-20 track albums. But yeah, great album…chill, quiet but still ‘ever-looming’ as Radiohead seemed to always be. And I honestly just really like Thom’s whole style, the whole package of ‘Thom Yorke’ is well delivered. Is this even out for retail yet?

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The real Ebay!!

These prices are definitely over my head, but its okay to look isn’t it? Wright auction house is right down the street from the office and I accidentally found them on Ebay and put two and two together. Kinda full circle. They basically specialize in the modern pieces of art, furniture, and luxury items. Lots of period lifestyle pieces from the 20th century. The viewings are like strolling through an art gallery/garage sale. Great physical space, which is reflected in their online presence. Ever wonder what will the future hold for auctions when we are old enough to be aggressive with the paddle? That should be the measure for designers. Better start loading up on Chucks stuff while we can afford it. Interesting how everyone seems to be on the dissing BAPE bandwagon, but I guarantee it’s the one brand from our era that will end up in an establishment like this. Nigo knows.

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Gosh, I love Scrabble…

I am going to be very disappointed if I don’t get some good emails from people after this post. There had better be a few of you that are really, really into Scrabble as much as I am… you qualify if you recognize these words: Ai, Qintar, Xu, Zax, Yin, Vum, Hm, Mm, Sh, Jo, Qat, Qoph, Mbaqangas…Ok, so that last one I had to look up in my hardcover Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, but I honestly know the others…If you recognize Qwerty as a legit word, you also qualify. Or if you would consider G.I. Joel or Joe Edley to be gods among men…anyways, Scrabble is one of my guilty pleasures. Actually, not so guilty…I really enjoy playing Scrabble, and pretty competitively at that. I play frequently online (ISC - you’ll get addicted) and as frequently in real life as I can find someone to play with me. This is super nerdy, probably my geekiest post to date…I usually leave those ones up to Ben, but I take the cake this week with this one…Tonight I was playing my fiance Holly…she went first and put down WINGS, or maybe it was FLAGS…either way, I somehow drew both blank tiles in my first 7 and used the G in her word to build SMUGGLER onto, for 68 points off the bat. I was like BAM - in your FACE. Anyways, this is a big long post about me playing Scrabble…as Ben says, ‘who cares?!’ But really, it’s a conversation starter. You either get really into Scrabble, or just play it when your aunt busts it out at the family Christmas party. If you’re interested at all, I would strongly recommend getting Stefan Fatsis’ book Word Freak and checking out the movie Word Wars - Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Game Circuit. Tiles and tribulation. Ehhhh…Ha…wow. Next stop: Dungeons and Dragons.

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Pomegranate is the new Purple!

To kick off the holiday weekend I hosted a bunch of friends over on a cocktail party type vibe. The overall favorite of the night came in the form these POM martinis in rocks glasses of course. Have you had pomegranate juice before? Juice to me is like cornerstore snacks to Benjamin. That 2 gallon orange stuff with < 2% natural juice…I am all about it. So the pomegranate citron blend did the trick for many. Pomegranate tastes kinda like a mix between grape and prune juice and tastes great when cut with the key ingredients. I know you’ve seen the POM wonderful bottle, interesting design, but take a look at their website. They kinda manhandled the fruit and branded it as their own. They get real deep with it….from home decorations to health benefits. Their ad campaign is refreshing, pretty crafty. So I definitely won’t be ordering POM martinis at a spot near you on principle, but they are tasty in the comfort of your own home…again…in a rocks glasses.

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THE BRILLIANCE 2.0!

THE BRILLIANCE 2.0…kind of, ha. It was a ‘Nerd-out Sunday’ today…I decided to add some much needed user-friendliness to the site. (1) Search the site! We should have had this forever ago. (2) Permalink a post! Another thing we should have had a while back. Makes our stuff easier to share and all that. (3) Got rid of the out-of-control ‘Archive’ thing we had and now it’s just a real simple ‘goto page’ setup. So yeah, I hope our readers and all the trend-spotting firms that check us dig it. I know I personally wasted about an hour searching random phrases to see what came up. Ha. Yeah, we’re also going to do an RSS feed at some point. L@t3r d3wdz.

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Just got that Treo 700p!

I finally got it. Little late to make a post…as it’s been out for a minute and the nerds are already talking about how the Treo 950 should have 3D text messaging, a 1.6 teraflop processor, and be made from entirely from nano-tubes. Anyway, I got the first Treo 600 like literally almost 3 years ago…had the 650 for like 3 days and now the 700p. I love these gadgets…seriously are like ingrained into my life. If there is a signal, I’m using it. I remember one time I was emailing Nat of ASF from the straight-up jungle in Haiku on Maui…ha. Why? I don’t know…I just love mobile email, and there was a signal. Who cares?! Anyway…the phone is nice, and they weren’t joking with the whole EVDO thing. My father and I share one of those EVDO Sprint Cards which are nice…but having it with you at all times right on your phone is nuts. Downloading 1mb comps that chuck sent me in like 30 seconds…then being able to zoom and drag them in full color. Kind of nuts. I mean, sure, I really wanted the Q…but this is the next best thing for the Sprint people. Kind of a pointless post…THE BRILLIANCE loves the Treo 700p.

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Etsy!

My sister put me onto this site…and while it’s not something I would personally use often, it has huge, huge potential and I love it’s direction. Few things: (1) Yes, it’s similar in theory to an eBay as it lets user list their own products, sell it, and the host takes a cut. (2) It’s different from eBay in that its truly a ‘shopping’ experience, an on-line store, very easy for the buyer to navigate and drop things in their basket…eBay is all bidding based for the most part and not focused on a specific product category like Etsy. (3) Companies like Etsy.com have taken the Web 2.0 thing to the retail space, and have done so very well. Quick run-down…it’s a artsy-crafty based site where knitters, artisans, creative-types, etc can sell their product to the public through a well presented, well categorized, and highly searchable site…Etsy.com. What makes these guys different from anyone else doing it (see old virginthreads.com) is the amazing presentation and search capability. Just the ‘Search By Color’ thing blew me away…so nice. I’m into it. And they are funded by the Del.icio.us and Flickr crew. So tell your girl to start knitting faster so you can start slangin’ those crazy looking mittens she always makes. 2 for $5s, I got ‘em for cheap!!