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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Dude. YES!1! I just drove a Tesla Roadster!!!

Man, I don’t get too excited about most things. But this…this?! I remember when the Tesla was announced I was like, ‘man, I cannot wait to figure out a way to get in one of those and do a post on THE BRILLIANCE about it. It was kind of like my holy-grail of posts. Really. So I won’t go into the detail of how, but about 30 minutes ago I was fortunate enough to squeeze myself into the tiny cockpit of the oh-so-famous all electric Tesla Roadster. Metallic black, natural hide seats, and dust gray wheels. Man. You could have put almost any car in front of me and I would have picked the Tesla to try regardless. It’s not just a luxury car, its not just a crazy sports car…it’s that car. The first production electric sports car…and it can smoke a Lambo. So after fiddling around throwing it into the only gear it has, I drove down one of my favorite streets here in GR, Ionia Street which made this whole thing even sweeter. Right here in my city, on my street. The steering is super stiff as its not assisted, the car begins braking when you take your foot of the gas due to the regenerative braking feature, yeah, the seats are tiny, the hum from the motor actually sounds pretty vicious, etc, etc…who cares about all that, its crazy, crazy fast. No shifting, no gears, no crazy roar, just instant power and acceleration. So, so cool. I didn’t get to drive it for too long…but long enough to know that yeah, I kind of want one. Duh. So there it is, check it off my list of things to do on THE BRILLIANCE, I’ve driven a Tesla Roadster, and it was awesome. Check the pictures at the link below. ***Next to check off the list is that interview with Steve Jobs…

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Ben’s r@ndomzzz!!!1

Man, I haven’t posted in forever - even before my last post it’d been a while. So yeah, I gotta do my ‘randomzzz’ to get back into it. Go: Where is summer man?! I can’t take much more, its like 50 right now, but freezing at night, I hate that on late night rides. I don’t know if I posted this before, but I started wearing simple Adidas Superstar track tops in black and its become a bit of a uniform for me, its my Steve-Jobs-turtle-neck. It’s super utilitarian. How crazy is twitter?? I’m surprised how much I’m using it. Travel, travel, travel. I want more of it. I’ve been doing little trips here and there, but I really need to do a vacation - zone out style. How many posts have I said that in?? I just picked up a copy of ‘Everybody Dance Now’, so good, have to admit I would have bought it for the cover alone. I wish we had a really nice rail system here in America like Europe has. Like overnight trips from Chicago to New York on a well appointed train car…how nice would that be? Amtrak doesn’t quite cut it. Why doesn’t Vans do a series with all solid color shoes, like solid red, grey, blue, orange, etc? Seems so obvious. I’ve got a new project coming up that will be my first step into the fashion/clothing world, something I’ve been working on for a while. Speaking of new businesses, I predict the economy we’re headed into is going to foster, and hopefully treat well, super small businesses. I hope we see a return to tons of smaller businesses. Has anyone who reads this ever gotten acupuncture? I’m interested in trying it out. I’m also still pretty obsessed with solar/wind energy for emerging areas that don’t currently have grid-access - I have a feeling alternative energy is going to be a trickle ‘up’ rather than ‘down’, like, we’ll see it be completely normal and functional in 3rd world countries before we see wide acceptance - I like the thought of that. This remix, done by Death To The Throne, is crazy. Alright, I think thats it. I got another post I want to write too coming shortly.

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Pete Doherty’s Grace/Wasteland album…

Kind of hard to put our typical ‘!!!’ after the title on this one - the album’s tone just doesn’t fit with it, ha, details. I started like really listening to the Libertines, Babyshambles, and all the studio/b-side Pete Doherty stuff last summer I think? Chuck sent me a track off ‘The Blinding’ quite a while before that, but it kind of didn’t stick with me, and then I guess I just randomly started researching his music a bit more. Actually, I think it was after seeing photos of him/Babyshambles in Hedi Slimane’s photo diary stuff. Anyway, I’m quite a fan of Pete’s work. Like it or not, he’s truly an iconic figure in British music and I suppose rock in general. All the music, drama, look, Kate Moss, drugs, etc. He kind of epitomizes the shambolic rocker we’d all like to be every once in a while right? His debut solo album, Grace/Wasteland, has been on rotate for me since a bit after it dropped. Compared with his studio stuff and band stuff, its quite different. Really, I guess dramatic, or maybe even theatrical at points. I believe he himself said its truly ‘him’ on this record, in that its exactly what he wanted. That always provides good context when listening. I’ve only been to London once, but listening to this album reminds me a bit of it - its just so quintessentially English, you know? Good album though, I’m still enjoying it, favorite track would be: New Love Grows On Trees.

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How To: Make Dior Jewelry!!!

This site-jewelery-video is so good it hurts me to watch it. Ahhh. I want to be a jewelry designer so bad. Dior does is the most cutting edge stuff. It makes all other jewelers look like kindergarten doodles from an art standpoint. Click on the girls ring once you get in. It’s crazy to see what goes into making each piece. Next time you look at the price tag, just think about the 4 months of work it to get there. The precious stone placement, the vibrant colors, the different casted elements are all works of art. Victoire de Castellane is the genius behind it all. You tube her and find out where all the ideas came from. From a designers standpoint what i love the most about her end products is the sense that tons and tons of the manufactures must have been like, “we can’t do that” or “we have never done this before” and she succeded at getting her full idea out. Bravo.

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N*E*R*D is gonna mess around and be bigger than HUGE!!!

This is super super good. This new jam ‘Soldier’ with Santogold on the hook. BLAZIN’ I was waiting for the verse to come in and when it did….I was blown away. I love the double drummer set up…Shae killed it too. I just love the fact that NERD has gelled into a band. Back when I was bumping their first albums there was like one tour each. Nowdays they are constantly touring, putting on a crazy live show. NERD is in my top 5 dead or alive, they don’t need to put out another album. Crazy thing is they are just gettin’ started. I remember them saying back in the day they were too rock for hip-hop stations and too hip-hop for rock stations. Today neither genre matter…enter this rasta-rock-ska-jam ‘Soldier’ by NER*D.

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Scanwiches, its all in the name!

So random but so interesting. Last week or so I did this super cool 2 day photoshoot. Photography was always that creative field I never understood the magic of. Now I wanna know everything there is to know about it and lighting. Pure science. I guess thats what intrigues me about this blog I just happened upon. Scanwiches….the lighting and lack of on these images are AMAZING. This can’t be the same scanner I am sitting next to right now…Remember when scanners first came out, they were ultra expensive, ha. So kill 5 minutes check out this blog. If you weren’t hungry before you will be afterwards.

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Follow us on Twitter, come on, it will be fun.

Twitter is an exciting new social web network home page URL site tool that allows you to social network, twit, tweet, network socially, and talk about your network social life. Come, follow us. ***I totally just twotted about this, omg, internet. - Benjamin

Ben -
Chuck -
Virgil -

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My new project: Boxed Water Is Better!

“Part sustainable water company, part art project, part philanthropic project, and completely curious. Boxed Water Is Better, is a boxed water company.”

Alright, I kind of can’t believe I’m finally posting on this. Feels weird, maybe therapeutic. April 30th 2008 I came up with this idea, like, fully hashed out…but well before that I always wanted to start a company that made something really simple, that everyone can afford or is already purchasing, that is really beautiful, well branded, and kind of a joy to own…like, something that’s only $1 but you can’t wait to go home and put it on the middle of your coffee table, or on your shelf at the office. For me it was either going to be chap stick or bottled water. I went with the the water, but didn’t bottle it, I boxed it. I knew literally nothing about the bottled water world, distributors, fillers, carton makers, the technology behind it all, etc. So I just jumped in head first in my spare time, and made just a huge number of mistakes. Some really hilarious ones in retrospect. But we did everything in a vacuum. The design, the concepting, etc, everything. For roughly 10 months only about 5-6 people knew about the project and everyone we worked with for manufacturing, filling, etc had to sign NDA’s. Honestly, half of me did that because I thought the idea was so ‘goofy’ at times that I didn’t want anyone to know about it if it turned out to be a really terrible failure, ha, and the other half because I did - and do more so now - believe that designing by committee and worrying about other people’s opinions ruins really great ideas.

The product itself…its done, its in about 9 stores here in Grand Rapids as we test the market (its been selling out too!). We got way, way more love on all the blogs in like 5 days than I ever thought we would maybe ever. The emails from everyone have been so cool, thank you to all those people. The response from the design community kind of blew me away too, I never fancied myself a package designer, but it sure was fun to create this one and I really dig how it came out. So yeah, thats it. I’ve always done stuff on the web, never a physical product, but here it is, my new thing man: Boxed Water Is Better. Long post I know, but a comment I need to make - be sure to check our site to learn a bit more about the project in detail, but know that we’re creating a product with less environmental impact, using renewable resources, and giving back a considerable amount - 20% of profit. We’re taking an industry that’s growing every year, and creating a product that lessens the impact and gives back a bit as well. It’s been a crazy ride to get this done coming in as a total rookie, totally new to everything. Thanks to Kevin for all the help. Cheers to everyone trying to do something new, and working to get it out of photoshop and into real life. Long post, sheesh!! Artist collaborations coming soon too! Have a good Monday everyone.

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The First Photographer - Pete Souza!!!

From Pete’s bio: “Pete Souza is the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama; he is also the Director of the White House photo office.”

What a job. Sheesh. Souza also served as an official White House photographer for President Reagan from ‘83 to ‘89. I often think about what it would be like to be in any President’s shoes. It’s just a fascinating thing to think about. And since so few people will ever truly know first-hand, I have to imagine the next best person to describe it would be whoever the official White House photographer is at the time. I love looking at Pete’s portfolio - he gets a chance to capture totally candid moments that the world would never see if he weren’t around to snap them. It puts an incredibly human feeling to a job that feels so far beyond the reaches of what most of us will ever get to see or experience. Aside from his work with Obama thus far, Pete is an accomplished photographer with other subjects, one of my favorites being the ‘Wrigley Field’ set on his site. Chicago being my hometown and having grown up going to Cubs games myself, I know first hand the ‘magic’ that Wrigley Field possesses and Pete really captures it well. (Except I don’t see a part 2, with photos of disappointed fans at the end of every season, but that’s another story…) Anyways, check out Pete’s work, again most notably the ‘Rise of Barack Obama’ section, the ‘President Reagan’s Funeral’ section, and ‘Plebe Summer’.

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Sharkfight!!! For real, like for real for real.

Sometimes I’ll be browsing around the internet, using The Google and reading newswebs and filesites, and I’ll suddenly come across something so perfect, so tailor-made for The Brilliance, I can’t believe it. Most of the time this happens with some new artist I find and want to talk about, but in this instance it’s one of those things that falls perfectly into our ‘Misc.’ category. So, all that said, let me start by saying that the New York Post really nailed it with this title…ready? ‘Moment of Tooth’. Moment of tooth. Ha. I’m not sure if this post is more about how great that title is or about how great the story is. Anyways…from the article… ‘These amazing pictures show an epic, two-hour battle between spear fisherman Craig Clasen and a 12-foot tiger shark in the Gulf of Mexico.’ Amazing. There are a lot of wild things about this…not only the general storyline, but the fact that the guy then proceeds to spear the poor thing 7 times, tries to drown it (how do you drown a fish!?), shoots it in the gills, and then puts a knife in its skull! Nobody - nobody - will ever top this guy when it comes to storytelling. You literally cannot have a more out there story to tell, unless this had happened in a small man made lake, or in the sky. Anyways, I have to mention the downer part of this…he says ““This was one of the most remorseful moments I have ever had in all of my years in hunting and fishing,” he said.” Which made me realize, yeah, that would be kind of hard to cope with. But then I read the first comment and I laughed again. “El Mac wrote:
Remorseful?!?!? Why, I’d be ecstatic! I’d mount that thing. What a sweet kill!”