The Brilliance!

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#INTERNET Ah, we're back! Like we said, we were just "chilling out" for like 3 years. Feels good to have the team back writing. Still us three: Chuck, Benjamin, and Virgil. Got new interviews coming up, and hopefully we'll be posting on a regular basis, who knows. We also interviewed each other, check: CHUCK, BENJAMIN, VIRGIL...

Abacos, Bahamas…the re-cap!

Hmm…hard to even start this one. *It was absolutely amazing.* It met and many times exceeded what I imagined (and wanted) from a visit to the Caribbean…small island style. My destination was the Abacos in the ‘Out Islands’ of the Bahamas…there are quite a few cays and small islands that make up the Abacos…all very small, very unpopulated for the most part. And just amazingly beautiful. I could go on and on saying ‘beautiful’ and ‘awesome’ and ‘wow’ like 2,000 times in this post…seriously, I’ll try and keep it under control, ha. I wasn’t there for very long, but I did get to visit the main ‘town’ area, explore 2 stunning beaches – and got to feel that slowed-down island time, just to chill and relax – time had no relevance for a couple days. Too funny – I literally couldn’t get over how the water looked in person – I don’t know how many times I said ‘man, it looks just like the pictures!’ But seriously, all the magazines I read and websites I waste time on…I never really believed the water looked that blue…it does, even better in person. But yeah, amazing weather, beautiful sky at night, nice sunsets…just an amazing trip. I’ve posted up some pictures on our Flickr account…a quick sampling of the trip. Can’t wait to go back…man. And again, many thanks to my extremely gracious hosts! ***Yeah!! That’s a real shark like 2 feet away from me…nuts!

Bookstore Freeloading!!

Funny how no matter how instantaneous blogs are magazines still have the scoop on information and inspiration. Yesterday I did my monthly Borders session. By the time I sat down in the comfy leather couch I had 22 magazines. Its funny, I can go thru some magazines in like 45 seconds. If I like the content I’ll spend 5 mins. and if I’am still interested after then I’ll buy it. The standout out trend for me in magazines lately is the Japanese styled layouts of tons of different products. Anyone remember Conde Nast’s Vitals? I think they folded after 4 issues but that’s how you do the men’s GQ-ish lifestyle magazine. We just got that premiere issues of Antenna the other day and they definitely got me interested. Like Vitals, the layout is awesome, perfect ‘of-the-moment’ content and a great assortment of products. I rarely read magazine articles so I need imagery inspiration to make me consider it. Amongst the stack of 22 magazines I grabbed everything from a Magic magazine (you know the nerdy card game) to Monocle to ELLE accessories. I bought one of those 3 and it wasn’t Monocle.

Off to the islands!

And I’m out…in a few hours at least. Off to the ‘Out Islands’ of the Bahamas. Wow, can’t believe it…can’t wait either. After all my island posts, research, wasting time on Google image search, and falling asleep reading Caribbean Travel & Life magazine it will be nice to get these pale white feet sandy on the even paler white shores. Yeah, this is going to be nice – little work, little play, little mental re-charging – feels needed. I think I’ll take some pics and do a re-cap post or something. Many, many thanks to my hosts – so generous of you. That’s that…catch me sockless in Vans Eras…I’m out. ***I got ‘Girl from Ipanema’ stuck in my head…it fits well.

Muji awards, great ideas!!

That Muji shop in New York needs to open pronto. We talked about their ‘non branded, geniusly designed’ goods before but finally they are taking up roots stateside real soon. For those that don’t know much about Muji you gotta check out the results of their latest design competition they held. Every product that won some sort of prize is so smart and so right on. The industrial design profession is so cool because their bringing ideas to light. Its funny…these are just ideas that can really enhance your life and make the most mundane tasks, cool. As well these are pieces you could have in your place that everyone comments on. Ah…. the hallmark of a good purchase.

A studio visit with Jim Phillips!!!

This feature on Jim Phillips, one of the most talented pioneers of skate art, starts out like this - “You know what’s great? People who “used to skate,” because that designation covers pretty much every American male from the ages of 18 to 40. Everyone relates.” Hmm. I’m an American male, almost 22, and I didn’t “used to skate”. Not even a little. I really wish I did… I just…didn’t. I played Uno and hung out with friends from my church on Sunday afternoons playing home run derby and watching VHS tapes of Michael Jordan highlights. And here I am, years later, trying to validate being a fan of Jim Phillips work, despite not having ever really skated in my life. But I think that’s what makes his stuff so cool…and what makes any artist good… is that everyone, not just a little niche of people, can enjoy his work. The era when his stuff was emerging and at its most popular is over, but to me, even though I didn’t live that lifestyle in that place or time, doesn’t matter. I can look at it today and totally appreciate it, get into it, and love it. That’s all kind of my intro to talking about this feature on Jim’s work and his studio, but I just had to get that out of the way and give him his proper respect for making universally appealing, timeless work. Ok. So anyways, now that I think about it, there’s not much to actually say besides just click the link and check out the feature, because it’s totally worth it and completely awesome, to be frank. If you’re an artist, you probably grew up doodling a lot in notebooks at school…and I guess my last thought here is that Jim Phillips took those doodles we all did and made them into something more, something complete… So anyways - get to it, and check this feature out…pictures of Jim showing original sketches, the first ever drawing of the Santa Cruz logo, his awesome board collection and garage…etc… CAN HAZ LINK!? YES! IZ BELOW!

Zappos!

Not sure why we haven’t posted these guys up before…but they are seriously the best online shoe spot. Depending on what you are into – but for standard Vans, or Adidas or just ‘simple’ sneakers…nothing beats them. Customer service is nuts, this free overnight thing is crazy, their selection is huge, great price, etc. I love how they don’t try to be too-cool or over-designed…instead they focus on the service they offer. They have very little branding to speak of and their overall look-and-feel is pretty average – but their execution is seriously seamless every time. I probably order from them on a monthly basis – I think Chuck and Virgil do as well. Anyway, good stuff. A ‘really internet’ shoe store.

Yahoo! Brickhouse!

Yikes…where have I been? No posts…in a long time. I’ve actually been a bit ‘heads down’ with a bunch of super cool projects…yes, super cool. But I’m jumping back into it…technology ‘stuff’ of course. So I’ve been hearing a bit more here-and-there about Yahoo’s new initiative called ‘Brickhouse’ – and while it hasn’t actually been announced yet they are starting to talk to the press and have even announced their first project – Yahoo Pipes. The skinny: Yahoo Brickhouse is a bit of a think-tank environment within their own walls that allows their employees to simply pursue cool/new ideas for web-based businesses and then Yahoo fosters them should they grow legs. The idea is that instead of losing their employee’s great ideas when they decide to jump-ship and start their own deal – to instead actually give them a job as a ‘thinker + sub-entrepreneur’ of sorts at Brickhouse where Yahoo can incubate their ideas and of course still own the final product should it be successful. It’s basically just like a full-time version of Google’s ‘one-day-a-week’ thing where you can pursue creative ideas you think might be hits. In all honesty its not really a terribly innovative idea, and any hard-core entrepreneur is still going to want ownership and not just a ‘bonus’ when whatever idea they may have had pops…but I do think it’s a sharp move by Yahoo, and something we will continue to see in other industries besides the net. So yeah, that’s that – I’m going to get my car washed, BRB, LOL, CYA L8R.

I shoulda known…Dash Dogs x LTL!!!

Still on the architect side of things, it always great when you stumble upon great design, make a mental note, then months later realizes so-and-so did it. That’s the case for Dash Dogs, the best hot dog stand in the world and I am from Chicago a hot dog capitol. The design is so utilitarian and seems to reflect the streets of the Lower East side. Using the same palette materials found along the street steel and concrete it’s pretty slick and an exercise in awesome detailing. So yesterday when I was searching Dash Dogs on the net I realized that it’s a Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis project. Fitting…they have New York trendy restaurant design on lock. Just check out the rest of their portfolio. So next time your strolling Rivington, stop in and get the “Alife” hot dog on the way to Alife. It’s good. Avocados can do no wrong in my book.

True Rockstar Parking!!

You would think me being in architecture and all I would have my dream house all logged into my head. I am not even close, it’d be fun to do but it doesn’t even cross my mind. Little details and features pop into my head every once in a while. One of them being the “Mr. Me Too” idea of eating breakfast in the morning and looking across the table at my pristinely clean Bentley before I hop in to go work. Weird and lavish, yes….unrealistic, not at all. I’ll let this website do all the talkin’…

Only Human – Web 2.Oh my bad…

So we get a decent amount of email here @ THE BRILLIANCE…suggestions, terrible t-shirt companies, shoe collaborations that couldn’t matter less…and tons of amazing stock tips, we are seriously rich from them, amazing. Ha, just kidding…long intro. Jason from Only Human, a fairly new internet start-up, emailed us this morning to let us know what he and his team are up to – quite an interesting new product they have. An email worth posting, ha. So here is the quick rundown: Only Human is ‘a community where people share stories about mistakes they’ve made in life and their advice to others’ Now…in all fairness, the last thing we need is another community site on the web right? Maybe not so. After chatting it up with Jason a bit and playing around the site – I can really see some traction here. The stories range from goofy, serious, funny, simple…but the amount of people posting ‘mistakes’ and interacting with them is impressive – a true show of human emotion on the web. Good stuff. So yeah…if you’ve done anything stupid, funny, or embarrassing lately you might want to post it on Only Human – the rest of the internet would love to know about it. This kind of stuff makes the internet fun…