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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My first Post ‘it’

Boom…I am on board. Ever since I got the word I have been taking notes like crazy. The first Post-it note I grabbed is filled with a good 3.5 weeks of BRILLIANCE posts on it. If you could only see my desk, it’s like a hurricane of Post-it notes. They have even crept into my car. Kinda refreshing experience dealing with Post-it notes compared to syncing my Q with all my email accounts. I don’t have to spin the scroll wheel a million times to get at Post-it note to save as. How rich is the guy that invented these things. Ever wonder why the flagship color is that yellow? Office supplies what a genre of products. I wonder what’s gonna be the next “paper clip” type invention. On that ‘Post-it’ note lets get into it.

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Virgil Abloh, welcome to THE BRILLIANCE!

What can I say…change is good. Really good in this case. For the last 1.5 years that Chuck and I have been running THE BRILLIANCE its been a 2 man show, and we kind of always thought we would keep it that way…but the winds of change blew. Introducing our latest (and only) addition to the writing staff – Virgil Abloh. Chuck and myself are pretty excited about this… Virgil will bring a fresh, always articulate, flavor to our site in the everyday posts as well as some new interviews on the way…and who knows what else. Dude is a futurist and a visionary…he truly represents our culture, an ambassador of sorts you know? So yeah, welcome aboard man…let’s have fun with this! ***Also, of course, check Virgil’s intro interview in our Interviews section

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Earnest Sewn, the switch-up!

Alright, alright…I went back to ‘designer’ jeans. If you’ve read our site, or any of our interviews you know I always spout off about how much I love Levis. Good old 501s. I love the whole Japanese LVC line, seriously…nothing compares. But when they make it damn-near impossible to get them, discontinue most styles, and make the sizing difficult to figure out…it gets a bit pointless. All this, and I just received a pair of ‘Red Loop’ Levis 505s in the mail…that looked awesome in the pic, but fit terribly. Just not good at all. So whatever, money lost I guess (got them on ebay). So I switched it up…I had seen these amazing, literally, all selvedge jeans from Earnest Sewn at my local spot AK Rikks a while back and was really impressed with the craftsmanship. But I’m all about heritage you know, keeping it classic. So I passed. But after all my fiascos with trying to get the ‘good’ Levis I gave up. My 1944 LVCs are certainly getting worn and it was time for something different. So after a bunch of research on the Earnest Sewn site I went and bought the ‘all selvedge’ Filson cut at lunch today. Good stuff. This post was mad ‘metrosexual’…ha, I can’t believe I just typed that. Whatever, I need some bullet-proof jeans I can wear every single day for months…so I take my jeans seriously you know? Check the Earnest Sewn site…specifically the whole ‘process’ section. American Made.

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Junk food!!

First off, I do go to the gym and exercise fairly regularly. Is junk food helping? No. No it’s not. But oh well…some of this junk food is just…so artificial and so terrible for me that it’s actually really good. Let’s start with these Snyder’s of Hanover preztel bites. I had the jalapeno ones before and the honey mustard ones, they even have buttermilk ranch ones. But - wait - wait for it. HOT BUFFALO WING PREZTEL BITES!? I just went to the gas station to get a big energy drink (it’s late and I have to stay up and work) and a snack. After grabbing my usual, Combos, I saw these delececies…I mean…Hot wings are the best food in the world to begin with. But make it $0.99 and in little pretzel pieces and I mean…that’s perfection right there. Junk food at its finest. A quick rundown of a few other gems that you will enjoy eating but feel terrible about after you finish them include Haribo’s gummy bears (the best kind…the other kinds are too mushy or powdery. What’s with powdery gummy bears!?), white chocolate Kit-Kat bars, Charleston Chew bites, leftover frozen pizza that is not reheated…I mean…I could keep going on…Slim jims are another favorite…the occassional Krispy Kreme as a quick snack hits the spot sometimes…anyways, that’s all for this month’s nutrition lesson with THE BRILLIANCE, or as I like to call it, Web 3.0. I’ve never called it that actually. Hey, Ben’s post below is a lot more interesting than this. So read it now, tubby. ***Great topic. I’m big into the 2 for $.99 bag candies…the cherry sours and the cinnamon bears. Mambas are good, more bang for the buck. For chips, don’t skimp and go with the off brands – they taste terrible. For you ballers, the $5.99 bag of buffalo jerky chicken, pretty good stuff. What else – Cow Tails? How could I forget those. Swedish Fish, Screamin’ Sour Gummies from Jolly Rancher, Hostess Apple Pies, Hot Tamales, Apple Powerbars, Shock-tarts…this list could go on. I love junk food, seriously. - benjamin

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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.