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...

Trip Advisor!

Not exactly a new site – but a great site. I used to classify a lot of the travel sites that pop-up on a Google search as ‘randoms.’ They just felt badly designed, too many ads, and too middle-man style. But lately I have been loving TripAdvisor.com and how interactive they let their users get with the reviews and posting of ‘candid traveler photos.’ Also – some of the simplest things like allowing you to directly link to the hotel’s or resort’s website – I love that, not a lot of travel sites let you do that. Either way, simple stuff here, just a great travel site. Very comprehensive – and a good time-waster…in fact I’m actively wasting time on the site while half-listening on a conference call. True story.

Lookin’ cool in the cold!

Its winter again….and man is it cold. I have grown up in this climate for 26 years and I am still not used to it. With the latest artic blast begs the question yet again. “How do you look cool in the cold?” Benjamin dug out this link the other day…ha, the ones towards the bottom are where it at, low profile soles. Hike up the jeans and get straight nautical with it. These slush puddles at every intersection are a pair of Vans worst nightmare. I need a pair of those Gills and I am thinking about getting a pair of these Red Wing boots I had back in the day. Screw tiptoeing around this black salty snow in sneakers. I am sure these will look even better with time. Functionality never goes outta style. Next up, gloves. Stay warm.

Rocio Romero, new LVM Home!

I wrote about these guys quiet a while back…still my favorite prefab company. And they are right here in the USA – all the other cool ones are in Europe or whatever. This new introduction – the LVM Home – is pretty awesome. So unbelievably afforadable, $21k, perfectly designed, just the right amount of glass and all the essential rooms. Bed/living, bath, kitchen, closet space…all packed in to 645 sq ft. I mean, I’ve personally lived in less space than that – I had this fresh loft that was only 555 sq ft. and honestly I loved it, an amazing practice of well utilized space. Anyway – I love Rocio Romero’s stuff (Dwell does too, did you see the cover?!) and it really lets your creativity run on where you could place these pint-sized living spaces. I’m still stuck on doing a gang of these on some tiny islands in the Bahamas as an eco-resort. How cool would that be?

Cocoa Chex Mix!?

This stuff SLAYS. Just absolutely destroys your tastebuds with flavor . General Mills x Limited Edition Cocoa Chex Mix for the winter.

OMG I CAN HAS TEH INTERNET??!1

Okay…how do you really make a post about all this ‘hilarious internet stuff’ that is so popular? Seriously, it’s like a totally new brand of humor born entirely from a generation who has pretty much been raised on the net…the early net. All these cat pictures, the infamous O RLY ones, these weird-ass but hilarious caption pictures, the whole misspelling and weird grammar stuff, or the ‘IM IN UR’ series?! Seriously – Chuck and I go on forever about these. The weirdest part is…how it can’t really be explained or defined really well. Why is this stuff funny? Why is a picture of a cat jumping with ‘invisible bike’ as the caption enough to make me cry its so funny? No idea. And the terrible fonts, outlines, aliasing on the text…etc. I could go on. So yeah man…check one of my favorite threads below. IM IN UR INTERNET, MAKIN A BLOG. (Please excuse any corny/not-funny/offensive/nice-try examples @ the link below!)

Times New Roman!

Did you know that was THE official BRILLIANCE font? I had to ask before I started my typography binge. It looks fresh bold. But man, typography is addicting. Be careful if your into design and a rookie to typography like me, it’s so consuming and addictive. I can’t drive around anywhere and look at a sign the same again. I made it thru architecture school without being one of those nerds who carries around a sketch book, but now I find myself sketching on the back of receipts and stuff. Truly addictive, but cool. Graffiti started it all for me, but this new phase of being obsessed with typography started on this site, Typohile. I wonder how many graffiti kids are hip to the art. They are playing the same game just two different arenas. Just thought I’d share some typographic internet action.

OMG NYC Real Estate!!

So yes, turkey day has come and gone. I was very, very fortunate to have been invited to the home of some prominent business figures here in West Michigan for Thanksgiving…and what a home it was, sheesh – beautiful right on the lakeshore. It was perfectly designed for entertaining crowds – very ‘Great Gatsby’ minus the illegal stuff. ANYWAY…that’s the theme of this post, great places to entertain. (ONE) Ridiculous price, I know – but look at the ceilings, and the pillars. Beautifully open space, great second level that overlooks a party below – you could pack 100+ in here. (TWO) Don’t really like the furniture choices in this place, easy on the DWR. But check the terrace/outdoor area, unreal. Again, perfect for entertaining – I mean, I might even put on clean pants for a party here. (THREE) I had to pick one that was ‘affordable’ (ha)…what I like about this one is the open-flow thru to the bedroom. It’s not a massive place, but with an open floor plan the party can spread out a bit easier, more comfortable. And the whole place is beautifully executed. Love this one – pack 40+ people in here, bring your own Effen Black Cherry punks.

Song meanings…?

One of my favorite things when I listen to music is trying to understand what the musician is saying in their words. What are they getting at or what is their point? Sometimes things are written in ways that you really have to pick apart and think about it until the pieces fall together. And sometimes you come to a conclusion but aren’t sure if you’re on target with their message. Thank God for the internet though…ha…This site SongMeanings.net is a brilliant concept. I’ve been using it for a few years now and felt like I should post something up about it. I’ve been listening to this new David Bazan (formerly of Pedro The Lion) record a lot lately, really loving it…it’s not brand new, came out in June, but I only just got around to getting it a few weeks ago. Anyways - David’s lyrics are constantly throwing me off, inspiring me, confusing me, or making me think more than I anticipate that I’ll have to. On one hand, I can listen to his beautiful rendition of “Be Thou My Vision” and on the other hand, I can listen to and equally appreciate his song “Backwoods Nation” which is a pretty scathing song about the state of America and Americans…“Calling all frat boys to trade in their hazing. Their keggers and cocaine, and casual date raping. For cabinet appointments and rose garden tapings…” Always intense and controversial…anyways - all this to say, it’s really nice to go to a site where a community of people remark and comment on their interpretation of lyrics. My eyes have really been opened in the past with several different songs, getting surprised when I read what it really means compared to what I thought it meant. Anyways, check it out…and check out the Kevin Federline comments…you know it’s going to be good when “opus” and “Kevin Federline” are mentioned in the same sentence…

Another card bites the dust…

It is just one of those days. How come we haven’t gotten rid of cash yet? In related news, I have lost my debit card twice in the last month which I admit is straight foolish…but not totally my fault. Its partly Chase’s fault combined with my lack of patience. Please someone from Chase tell me why you design an ATM that doesn’t spit your card back out before you dispense my cash? At least you realized people would rather spend 24 seconds than 42 seconds at an ATM. Their new commercial where the guy makes an ATM run while at a red light is corny but did its job at getting my attention. So as they revamp the way we ATM…we should join Benjamin’s crusade against cornerstones that don’t accept credit cards!

Get inspired…

I get asked all the time - who are the artists that inspire me and my work? Who do I look to for influence, ideas, and inspiration? There are plenty of amazing artists out there, but definitely a few lately who I’ve been admiring and really trying to wrap my head around… I want to touch on two artists in particular who, lately, I have been thoroughly immersed in. First off - Ernesto Caivano. Wow. What can I say? Sometimes I see an artist’s work and it makes such an impact on me that I rethink the way I do things and the way I approach what I create. The best link online is to Ernesto’s portfolio page on the Richard Heller Gallery site. Let me just say that his piece “An Offering for Courtship, 2004”, and the other pieces in that series, are easily in my top favorite pieces of art of all-time. No question…simplistic beauty and a brilliant use of negative space, Ernesto’s linework and stark black on white/off-white feels so crisp when you look at it. Pieces like “Pursuit in the Shadows, 2004” are so organic and natural feeling - I love looking at work like his - so far from digital… Alright - anyways…onto the next… A legend and a classic - Ed Ruscha. Looking at Ruscha’s monograph by Richard Marshall, I get so caught up in his work…you know that feeling when you find an artist or musician so intriguing you just seem to get lost in their imaginations instead of your own? I don’t know how to word that really…but that’s how I feel when I look at his paintings. Sounding all artsy fartsy…sorry about that. Anyways - why he chose the words and phrases he chose for certain works - that’s what I’d like to sit down and talk to him about someday. On the other hand, I don’t want to know, because there’s a mystery to looking at a painting of a mountain with the words “CLARENCE JONES 1906-1987 REALLY KNEW HOW TO SHARPEN KNIVES”. Something funny about it too…Anyways, check Ed Ruscha Catalogue for a great selection of his work. He was once called “one of the four most influential artists to have emerged in the 1960’s, along with Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, and Bruce Nauman.” Check these two artists out though - especially if you’re ever in a creative rut. Nothing like being thoroughly refreshed by another person’s work to get inspired.