The Brilliance!


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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Luxocrats and the new, new rich.

I didn’t put the usual ‘!’ at the end of the title…cause this story kind of weirded me out. Chuck and I have been accused of overtly focusing THE BRILLIANCE on wealth related topics in the past…so I guess chalk this up as another one. I always find these articles amazing, just the stats. So I was waiting for prescription from the pharmacy and I grabbed ‘Details’ mag and cappuccino (funny cause I asked for a Frappuccino!) and found this article they had about this new class of wealthy Americans. Most of which are young. And not wealthy/rich like big homes, nice cars, and great incomes…its about the new class of luxocrats…the really rich new guys. The dudes who pull in $100M a year…a year. It used to be all about that old money right? You could never beat old money, it had this bullet-proof image…and it was only held by stuffy/pompous types. Kind of lathered in this mysterious ‘you-can-never-live-like-this’ stigma…at least that was the public’s perception. That’s why I found this article so interesting. This new class of ultra-rich are all under 45…and often times under 30. Just the interest earned from their cash could ensure their families, families don’t have to ever work. All while the median household net worth in the US is $55k (house included!!!) and median income hasn’t moved much in, get this, 25 years. Has stayed around $30k-45k in the past 25 years. Unreal. And college costs, which is supposed to better place you, keep going up?! Doesn’t look like the formula is working right? Point of this post? None really. Check the full article at the link below…

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Nothing much…

Whoa, been a while since I posted. Just an FYI, we have something new cooking up here at the brilliance, stay tuned in the next week or two. Should be fun. So yeah…Google Spreadsheets? Are you kidding me…this is nuts. Hey the Motorola Q is out…but not for Sprint, ridiculous. Summer time is here and in full effect, jet skiing anyone? What else…has anyone seen these new Nikes called ‘Footscape Wovens’ that have fur on them? Chewbacca status. Hey it’s the whole 6-6-06 day today…who knew America was so obsessed with evil, kind of bugged me out honestly. You know those red caps (ha) that come on Diet Cokes now? The whole Coke Rewards thing…I’m addicted to it, I got like 140 points…we’ll see who’s laughing when I get that $5 gift card to Bath & Body Works. Ha. I want to hit-up Barcelona again, I miss it…shout out to all those amazing girls there. I’ve said it before, but we get some really cool emails…and some totally ‘WTF’ emails, maybe we should post them, ha. The whole ‘Juggernaut’ thing is still funny to me…and did anyone see that Power Rangers one? Somebody give these kids a job, they’re brilliant. People are arguing over who coined the phrase ‘Web 2.0’ which is like saying I coined the phrase ‘location, location, location.’ Condos are crack here in Grand Rapids. Oh, I’ve seen the new NoPattern/NP&CO shirts…they remind me of when i first started skating, PUBLIC DOMAIN. Like I was saying, we got something new cooking…and it’s good, stay tuned.

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Number 1 Video!

Is it safe to talk about Kanye and Pharrell again?! Ha. So you were sick of video girls, spinning rims, diamond grills, mean mugging, pit-bulls in slow-mo, and all that other dumb hip-hop video stuff? Right? So was I…and this video right here is pretty much the exact opposite of that. Pharrell is still cool and Kanye keeps getting better with each track…I love this stuff, for real. While I can’t say I absolutely love the video, I do love the direction and the fact that its truly something new…daring maybe even? It could certainly be labeled as ‘soft’ by the core hip-hop community…but who cares about them anymore? I don’t…but I still listen to Slim Thug, ha. Anyway…check this video. I’m into it. That trippy green flower is a nice touch. Is Kanye wearing a Christmas sweater?! And that red Inspector Gadget trench coat Pharrell is wearing…ha. But for real, I like this song/video!

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Movie: Who Killed The Electric Car?

I’m a 2006 hippie. This movie looks fantastic. I guess it’s similar or whatever to the ‘Super-size Me’ in regards to building awareness. But it looks to be a little less sensational than that movie…I mean, come on man…everyone knew a quarter pound hamburger with mad mayonnaise and all sorts of hot oily french fries isn’t good for you. But I honestly think that the majority of the public doesn’t know the whole story about why we drive gasoline consuming cars. And a disclaimer – I understand business, and I’m not one to knock the hustle, but the market needs to correct itself…so don’t look at this (or me) as some big conspiracy type thing. Regardless if it is or not. The issue I have with movies like ‘Super-size Me’ is that Subway is right next to McDonalds…and has been for a minute. But there is no ‘cool-emissions-free-sports-car’ dealership next to the Hummer dealership, you know? Check the trailer for this movie at the link below…I’m honestly pretty excited about it. And overall just really excited to see what America is going to do in the next 5-10 years. Seriously, why can’t I get an electric Audi A4? I can dream, right? Thanks to Nicolai for the heads-up on this.

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Anil Gupta Tattoos!!!

I’ve made a few tattoo posts before…but for some reason I haven’t made a post about Anil Gupta yet. Long overdue. Anil is probably the most gifted tattoo artist I have ever seen. That is up for debate, sure, but in my own opinion, he’s the best at what he does. Don’t believe me? Ok then - click here, or here (some amazing HR Giger work…), or here, or here (look at the scale!!!), or even maybe here. Wow…I could go on, but you need to take a look for yourself. I need to be careful, every time I look through his portfolio I want to go get more ink done, and that means more money spent. But whatever, if they look half as good as Anil’s work, I wouldn’t complain. Anyways, go look through this truly amazing artist’s portfolio and get inspired. Then get a kanji tattoo on your lower back or something.

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What an amazing day out today…yeah., I’m into this…for a few reasons. (1) Web 2.0 at its finest; great offering packaged in a great design – I love the use of both Flash and AJAX. (2) Its based right here in downtown Grand Rapids and run by some great people in the downtown community. (3) Most important of all…it is taking on and challenging the traditional marketing and distribution channels/methods/etc of Hollywood. Seriously I love that…we saw the mixtape distribution game go nuts from 2002-2005 within the hip-hop community. It’s was like…why even get signed to a record label you know? And is taking a similar but more organized approach to this in the film world. Very simple, let the small/independent producers release their films direct via a community-based website and let the (passionate) public rate it, blog about it, tag it, and buy it. It really is a pretty simple setup…but being well executed is always a differentiator on the web…and I’m into how does it. Check the site at the link below if my explanation didn’t make sense. And yeah, I’m very excited to see something like this happening in downtown GR…inspiring and refreshing.

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Deep Thoughts 2.0!

It’s been a while, and I thought it would be appropriate to do a new ‘Deep Thoughts’ post. How ‘bout it?

-The new Red Hot Chili Peppers album Stadium Arcadium is really good.
-Speaking of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have I mentioned their video for “Can’t Stop” is my favorite music video of all-time? Directed by my favorite director of all-time Mark Romanek.
-I’ve been listening to Fugazi, Bob Dylan, Live, Crystal Skulls, Tool, Minus The Bear, and ‘Reasonable Doubt’-era Jay-Z lately. Also this new Sufjan Stevens “Outtakes” album is really great.
-I am trying, but I can’t get into the Arctic Monkeys. My brother likes them a lot though - what’s up Eric.
-Taylor Hicks winning American Idol is pretty funny to me. With the current state of popular music, it’s really quite interesting to see someone with his style win such a popular competition. When we were in Barcelona, Ben caught me looking at the American Idol website. I was kind of embarassed. Just like I am actually writing this.
-The new Kanye West/Paul Wall video for “Drive Slow” is…slow. Not one of Kanye’s better videos in my opinion. Beautifully shot though, I love the colors in it. It’s also, as Ben said, a commercial for Lincoln. See it here - video.
-The new issue of Beautiful/Decay is really, really nice. Please do a great magazine a favor and go pick it up. It’s carried at most all Borders now. What’s up Amir!
-Vitamin D and Vitamin P are pretty much absolutely essential books to have, I don’t care how into art you are . You will love these books.
-I will be at Lollapalooza this year for sure. RHCP, Wilco, Broken Social Scene, Secret Machines, Gnarls Barkley, Mute Math, Mates of State…and more…should be good. I love that it’s here in Chicago too.
-Please, if you email me and Ben, stop assuming we’re from New York. I don’t know why everyone does that. People assume we’re both from NYC when in fact we’re not. He’s in Grand Rapids, and I’m in the Chicago suburbs for God sakes. Ha…
-I turned 21 on Tuesday. My fiance Holly threw me a surprise party. It was great. Don’t take any of your friends or family for granted, ever.
-Design Within Reach, Berloni, and Ulterior Mode. Three great modern design/furniture/home furnishing sites. Beautiful stuff on all those…
-Make sure you check out and buy things from the aNYthing store!!

That’s it! That’s all I got! I’m the juggernaut, bitttccchhh!

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Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!!

Alright - so there’s been some drama here at the BRILLIANCE headquarters lately. Ben almost fired me because I have been pretty bad about not posting very often. So my promise to Ben, Jesus, and the people who read this site is that I’m going to step my posting game up. Which leads me to how great Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Extra Power is. As an artist who works on a desk all day, apparently grime and soot and specimens grow on my hands because theres like these invisible layers of scum on my desk. But no more, when I wipe it off with the ol’ Magic Eraser. We really should be getting paid for these types of posts…anyways…also being an artist - I use my big wood desk when I draw - and I always get paint or marker on the desk, then forget about it. So it’s really nice to use this extra power Magic Eraser to get that stuff off - seriously - if you are an artist not only using a computer, but pens/pencils/paint/marker, you have to make sure you keep a box or two of these around if you like to clean up after yourself. So hey - Mr. Clean/Proctor & Gamble - maybe send me a big free supply of these babies…it’s the least you could do. Seriously. Come on.

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Pelon Pelo Rico!

Once again, solidifying my position on the throne as the reigning ‘corner store king’ and the official ‘bodega baller’… I present you with Pelon Pelo Rico. I don’t know how many people have ever had this stuff, but if you need a little variety in your junk food diet… ¡esto es lo que necesitas!. Check the main ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, milled pepper, salt, and citric acid. Milled pepper…that’s right. It’s like this paste, a sticky reddish brownish paste. And it comes in this fat cartoonish looking syringe. Honestly, what the hell?! Who was like ‘yo, I got an idea for some new candy’ and this is what they came up with…ha? Honestly though, it is so amazingly good. My man who grew up in southern Texas put me onto it when I was in high school and I pick it up when ever I see it, which isn’t often. So yeah…I just got three, you should too…and act like you knew!

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This BMW “no” campaign?

Hmm…not sure on this one. Honestly, like the overall feel of it…I like it. It’s certainly different for BMW. I would have expected this from Saab, Volvo…maybe even Audi. But not really from BMW. Remember that commercial a year or two ago where they show the guy in the 3 series fixing his hair in the mirror forever while the other guy jumps in his A4 and adjust his mirror to actually see behind him rather than fix his hair? I always liked that commercial. I’ll be honest, BMW makes a really amazing car, facts are facts. But they have always had a very ‘punk’ feel about them, or rather their consumer does. It’s those 25-30 year olds with an extra $150 a month who stretch for the 3 series lease rather than the Accord, or Civic, or whatever…and then acts like they’ve ‘made it’ you know? You’re not impressing me when you pay $8 for valet and don’t tip the guy. Whoa, I’m ranting. Anyway…but check this out, I think it’s cool, I think it’s a ‘neat’ move on BMW’s part, trying something new. And regardless of anything, the M6 is one of the wildest cars out, hands down…beautiful ride. Weird post, whatever. I’m also really into their web site layout, hasn’t changed for a while…doesn’t need to.