Rapid Eye Reality -- Home of Brad Willis' writing on family life, travel adventures, and life inside the poker world

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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Funniest thing of the day

My wife: "It's not fair to use a wide angle lens on a pregnant woman. It's just wrong."

Courtesy: The Link.

Friday, March 26, 2004

My tripe

While I enjoy reading other blogs with this kind of content, I tend to do my best to keep it off Rapid Eye Reality. Nonetheless, I need a midnight distraction and Ceej over at Up For Anything provided this this.

Plus, some of you new folks may not know how absolutely wacked in the noodle I am. Perhaps this will serve as your notice.

I AM: Driven by creation but constantly evolving the way I create. Both creationists and evolutionists have decided I am the devil. I've done nothing to discourage them and bought a pitchfork to make me look more menacing. Grrrrr.

I WANT: To enjoy exercising my body as much as I enjoy exercising my mind. Either that or I want curvy women to come up to me in bars and ask me to flex my medula oblongota.

I HAVE: Wide--some would say fat--toes. I've only found one other person in my life with toes like mine. She was rotund, but had the voice of a siren. I've always had a hard time with women like that. However, unlike others, she didn't discriminate against me for my wide toes. She deserved a little attention just for that. Plus, barefoot springtime cross-campus college walks made my fat toes happy.

I WISH: It were June 6th. I'd tell you why, but frankly, I don't even know. I just want April and May to be in my past.

I HATE: That little switch in my brain that tells me the week is over before it really is. I further hate the switch next to that first switch that makes me want to fucking rip the head off the next person I see who tells me it's really only Thursday and I need to stop drinking at work.

I FEAR: Becoming that guy. You know that guy. The one who becomes complacent, soft, pudgy, pale, and boring. I hate that guy.

I HEAR: Only the hum of my computer hard drive, my fingers on the keys, and my wife breathing in the next room. She went to sleep at 10:15 because she's carrying a baby and I'm not, she works harder than I do, and she knows that life is generally more enjoyable if one gets more than six hours sleep a night.

I WONDER: What the next major event in my life will be. The oddmakers out in Vegas are laying 2:1 that fatherhood will be the next thing to shake up my life. A bookie in Queens is giving 5:1 that I'll change jobs by autumn. An internet wagering site in Bermuda has it 25:1 that I'll finally find that motivation I've been looking for and write something worth reading. Finally, my dog is offering a parlay card at 1000:1 that all three of those things will happen within a week of each other.

I REGRET: Having asked my wife if she thought it would be in poor taste to run a wagering pool among my friends/readers on the day and time my child will be born. She looked at me like I had just shown my manhood to an old nun in the frozen food section of the grocery store. I tried to backtrack and say I wasn't really planing on doing it, just curious if it would be in poor taste. I might as well have said I enjoy looking at polar bear porn. I was a pariah for the next two hours. Mental note: In about ten years, avoid betting on junior's little league games.

I LOVE: The way my wife wake me up in the morning, the way my dog smells like cornchips when she's been sleeping, the way my friends make me laugh and seem to care that I'm happy, the way my family understands that I live halfway across the country, the way music brings people together, and the way author George Singleton writes.

I ALWAYS: Try to hold the door open for a lady, even when she doesn't feel like being a lady and would rather be a naughty, naughty girl. Um...sorry. Distracted.

I AM NOT: As good as people believe I am, or as bad as I think I am. I guess that's a good thing.

I DANCE: Around the possibility that somewhere along the line, I may have made a couple mistakes. I'm hoping someone will two-step me in the direction of correction soon.

I SING: In public more than I used to, but not as much as I'd like to. I'd like to sing a few songs to a few people before my voice gives out and I start croaking.

I CRY: At the sound of very good music. I don't know why. I only know that I do.

That's all.

Actually it isn't, but if you want to know more, you're going to need to ask.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The flux capacitor in the winter of our discontent

Children of the 80s--at least those who weren't living in a cave and hadn't been forced to sew their eyes shut in a sick PTL Club mind control experiment--lusted after that silver DeLorean and its ability to catapult a younger, yet still vulnerable Michael J. Fox back in ty-eeem.

By that point, the point where America had grown so disillusioned with its direction that it felt it had to deeply investigate its past (at its own peril, mind you), I doubt that many people were ruminating on Steinbeck and his ruminations about a soicety failed. I doubt when studying up for the role of the feckless rock and roll high school slacker that Fox dabbled in the motivations of Ethan Allen Hawley and his disillusionment.

Jump around a bit on the entertainment canvas and you'll find Marlon Brando as a disgruntled and, yes, disillusioned motorcycle gang leader. You'll find James Dean slumping off in no particular direction but disillusionment. Then there's John Travolta (is that really a surname?) in Urban Cowboy. He got to mess around with that Winger chick and ride a mechanical bull, but he was pretty fed up, too.

My point: It's a timeless theme.

Life here is in flux as well. I don't know if we're quite to the point of generating 1.21 jiggawatts, but we're pretty close. The question is whether we'll all end up back in ty-eeem or somewhere else.

Where's Christopher Lloyd when you need him?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Bradoween IV--ALERT

While my wife's impending baby production output threatened to cancel the annual Bradoween festival, we have together done the math, calculated the chances of an early arrival, and decided that we are safe to try Bradoween IV this year.

Out of town guests in search of good airfares have started inquiring about the date. That date has now been set.

Bradoween IV (theme and details to follow) will be held at Mt. Willis on June 19th, 2004.

Last year's event (Bradoween 3D, for those who forgot or blacked out in mid-party) was record-breaking and is still the source of many stories. We at Mt. Willis expect, especially with our official youth about to end, that Bradoween IV should be just as exciting.

Remember: Everyone is welcome at Bradoween. Except Darren Whitman. He and I didn't get along in high school and I don't plan on reconciling 12 years later just because I like a lot of people at my damned parties.

Monday, March 15, 2004

I ain't broke

Or so they sang.

No, I ain't broke. I'm just badly bent.

One curious reader at one point requested a recounting of the trip to Georgia. I'd offer it, but, I'm not sure it was all that exciting. The only real story was the LOST and FOUND that was required upon my leaving.

LOST: One belt, half of one cell phone clip, the ability to eat steak and eggs at 3:30 in the morning, 25% of the strength in my right hand
FOUND: One sport jacket, half of one cell phone clip, the ability to enjoy an outdoor beer, the realization that sping has arrived and my yard really needs some work.

Dr. Internet tells me my hand problem is likely the result of a pulled forearm muscle or--at the worst--minor carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Paranoia tells me I have a neurological problem. Dr. Mortality tells me I'll be dead in a month.

Or something.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Oh, Atlanta

I've been to Georgia.

I've gotten lost in Savannah after a long night on Tybee Island. I've driven across I-85 in a blinding ice storm. I've picked fights with midgets in Hotlanta and bet anyone in the pool hall $5 a game when I was unable to even break without falling onto the felt.

One night I tried to go to Atlanta to watch a baseball game. I never made it. The lure of college girls in the summertime--tempered only by my wife's presence mind you--pulled me toward a little town called Athens instead. The return trip at 4am was only made better by my ability to sleep in the luggage compartment of my SUV while my rockstar wife drove home and my buddy played drums on the dashboard.

The night I did make it to the baseball game, the Braves were in the final game of the playoffs. I barely made it to Turner Field. I blame Ted. Oh, and the people who deicided to make Atlanta one of the most painful transit cities in America. I don't even like the Braves.

So, I've been to Georgia.

I got naked on a beach there once, too. But that's story better told over beers. And in a loud place where you won't hear the punch line ("Low tide? But I just hoisted the sail!").

I lost an Emmy in Georgia one night. That little gold statue never found its way to my table. I still found solace and I bet you can guess how.

People have been singing about Georgia for a long time. Willie sung about it and then Ray did, too. Allison Krauss will curl your toes with her rendition of "Oh, Atlanta." And some guy name Mayer is asking "Why, Georgia, Why?"

Why, indeed?

Why do I keep going back to that forsaken state of swamps and traffic and hunt clubs and manufactured sin?

I guess it's because it's something my colleagues and I like to call "out of the DMA." See, inside the DMA, people will watch us, even if we're not doing anything. "Mabel, don't look too fast, but that Otis character is eating his soup with a fork. A fork, Mabel. Lordamercy."

Sometimes it takes all of our strength not to scream back, "It's Chunky Beef Stew and I'm just like you, old man! Tired, jaded, and getting hungry because people keeping talking about my fork fetish!"

But outside the DMA (look it up if you have to), I enjoy freedom of movement and debauchery as you might on any given night.

Given, I'm getting old and debauchery is harder than it used to be. Maybe that's why my wife offered this up when I said I'd been invited to Atlanta tonight: "You should go. Soon you're not going to be able to do as much of that as you used to."

So, tonight, I venture into the Peach State once again. These trips usually end with a dozen or so stories, only a few of which I could ever tell here.

I hear Atlanta calling again. And like always, I have no idea what it's saying. As long as it doesn't saying anything about my fork fetish, I'll be happy.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I need a hobby, huh?

A friend--dismayed by my unhealthy interest in Flubber and SUPERBALLs (see below)--told me I needed a hobby.

I have one, incidentally. And I kicked ass at it last night.

If you can stand a little bragging, head over to Up For Poker.

That's all.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Chickens, eggs, and balls

I've always been one to eschew the old chicken and egg debate. The theological consequences are too grand and if I got involved I'd end up making an philosophical omelet. Getting the chicken across the damned road is hard enough.

This morning, as I struggled to maintain a sense of right and wrong, responsiblity and righteousness, and a greater sense of what is good and pure in this world, I found myself slipping into an old habit. When the stuff of life becomes too much to consider with any sense of real understanding, I tend to focus on inane subjects of anachronistic debate.

So, if you will (and I think you have in the past, nudge, nudge), put aside the cluckers and scramblers, and consider with me which came first: Flubber or the Superball?

The good folks at WHAM-O! (so named because the company's original product was a slingshot, the ammunition of which made that very noise when hitting its target) tell us that the SUPERBALL was created in the early 1960s by a chemical engineer named Norman Stingley. He offered the product to the toy producer who in a much talked about and ultimately dangerous promotion, produced a giant SUPERBALL in Austraila. Someone "accidentally" dropped it out of a 23rd story window. Apparently, the ball bounced back up 15 floors and eventually landed on a convertible, totalling it. Now, that's a promotion. WHAM-O sold 20 million SUPERBALLs in the 1960s.

If you're curious, as I was, a SUPERBALL is made from a compound called Zectron and contains 50,000 pounds of compressed energy.

Around the same time, the good folks at Disney were giving us "The Absent-Minded Professsor" and more importantly the star of the film (sorry Mr. MacMurray), Flubber. The movie hit the big screen in March of 1961.

Like the SUPERBALL, Flubber bounced uncontrollably. Unlike the SUPERBALL, the polymer had an uncanny ability to propel basketball players into ballet-like dance and power the engines of Model-Ts (or maybe it was Model-As).

What no amount of internet research offers, however, is which came first. It would seem that the SUPERBALL inspired Flubber. However, I find no evidence to support that claim. And frankly, most of the evidence points in the other direction.

So, I ask: Which came first, Flubber or the SUPERBALL?

While you ponder that, and in exchange for you having read this far, I offer you this recipe for disaster and fun.


Flubber is a polymer made by a chemical reaction. Polymers are very long chains of repeating units. When the two solutions are combined, polyvinyl acetate chains are linked together in a 3-dimensional arrangement by borate ions and other chemical bonds. This produces the thick, sticky polymer called Flubber.

Container 1 (4 cup capacity)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 cups white glue (this is your polyvinyl acetate)
food coloring (a few drops)

Container 2
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 teaspoons Borax (this is where you get your borate ions)

Pour container 2 into container 1. Gently lift and turn the mixture until only about a tablespoon of liquid is left. The Flubber will be sticky for a moment or two. Let the excess liquid drip off and the Flubber will be ready.

Monday, March 08, 2004

It's not exactly a hole in one...

...but much like the elusive gold course ace, these don't come around very often. Even when you're playing a hundred hands an hour.

Sorry for the intrusion, but I had to show it off.

Monday, March 01, 2004

So, this is life. Why do you humans bother?

Joe of Pluto, or that's what he called himself, was actually being a bit of a smartass. He was sipping on a margarita made with bottom-shelf house tequila and eating generic pretzels through a small hole near his chin. When I called the hole his "mouth" he giggled and punched me in the stomach.

"Good one," he said.

I had just given him his second massage of the day (he said he needed at least three a day to survive on earth, plus a foot rub every week) and had ordered him a Mai Tai to wash down the margarita. Ten billion damned aliens on the outer reaches of our telescope length and I get stuck with one that likes mixed drinks.

"You know, you're not from Pluto," I said, shoving the last three pretzels in my mouth at once.

"And neither are you, bucko," he said. "Garcon, por favor," he said, making the drinky-drinky motion with his hand.

"And what do you mean why do we bother?" I was annoyed. Three back rubs a day, one foot rub a week, six hundred dollars in bar tabs, and pretzel salt in my bed sheets (don't ask) and Joe of Pluto had done nothing but insult the human race since he showed up at my door.

"Well, look at it this way, bucko. You're born. You work. You give yourself heart disease by worrying about your carb intake and bank account. Then you die poor and full of Wonderbread. And you wonder why I wonder why you bother. Garcon!"

Joe showed up at my door with the Chinese delivery guy (as a point of information, the guy delivering the food was from China, but the food was actually Mexican from a joint down the road called Encha-Lotta-Love). The Chinese guy spoke perfect English, so I understood him when he said, "Here's your burrito and chips. I brought along this alien because he was drinking all our tequila. Hope you have some because he gets cranky when he doesn't get his afternoon Tequila Sunrise. And don't worry about the tip."

Joe explained later that when he met the Chinese guy, he had actually worked for an Italian restaurant. After Joe hung around the ziti too long, the Chinese guy got fired and went to work for the Mexican joint. When I asked why he didn't go to work at a Chinese restaurant, Joe said, "Why would he?"

"You know we do more than work, worry, and die." The foot rub was scheduled for later in the night and I wanted to have this tiff over with before I got started.

"Oh, I know. There's the illness, the lying, the cheating, the stealing, and the oppression. The oppression."

At the end, Joe sounded a little like Marlon Brando in that spooky scene from Apocolypse Now.

"There's happiness. You already forget about the skee ball and frozen yogurt from this afternoon?"

"Yeah, but you were preoccupied through all of that. I think you were thinking about ways to kill yourself."

"I was not," I said a little too loudly.

Actually I had been, but not seriously. I always thought suicide was a bit of a cowardly and selfish avenue to demise. But during the skee ball and yogurt trip, Joe had been going on and on about cancer and strokes and aneurysms and heart attacks. And yogurt.

Once, after hitting a bullseye with the little wooden ball, Joe spilled his yogurt on an old lady. He giggled, punched me in the stomach, and said, "Good one, eh? She'd been waiting for that all day."

"Skee ball and yogurt did give me happiness," Joe said throught the bottom of his margarita glass, "but all your moaning about respecting the elderly and assault and battery really brought me down, bucko. You really should come to Pluto."

"You're not from Pluto, Joe"

"Neither are you."

I settled into my barstool, motioned for a two Tequila Sunrises, and conceded that, indeed, I wasn't from Pluto.

"Is it time for my foot rub yet?"

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
All poker stories, travelogues, food writing, parenting and marriage advice, crime stories, and other writing should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also all protected under a Creative Commons license