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

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Crazy Frog Update

How about this link? Yep, that's right. The Crazy Frog is a chartbusting, wacky amphibian.

That kicks ass with both frog legs.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Doggies in the news

Let me be the first to point out an important fact before I continue: I have never, ever had sex with a dog. In fact, unless you count a girl who lived in Lathrop Hall my freshman year in college, I haven't had sex with any kind of animal. Ever.

With that out of the way, let me tell you why I'm glad I'm no longer in TV news.

There's been a recent spate of news stories in my adopted hometown about dogs attacking humans. Generally the news judgement is pretty good and unless someone is mauled and subsequently dies, the TV stations ignore the story completely. As it happened, though, this spate started when a news editor was jumped by an unleashed Rottweiler and got a couple nasty bites. After that, every news organization jumped on almost any story that involved a dog attack. I finally lost it when a two-year-old kid wandered away from his house, into somebody's backyard, and got bitten badly enough...to need stitches.

That's right. Stitches. Not even a lot of them. And it was on TV.

So, my wife, still a news producer, comes home and I offer, "You know, man bites dog is a news story. Dog bites man is not."

She got sort of defensive, but I think she eventually saw things my way. As I see it, unless somebody ends up in the morgue after a dog attack, it's not much worth using the public airways for it.

So, imagine my surprise when this story made air today. That's right, it's a story about a kid screwing a dog

Now, let me be the first to day something else: I think screwing dogs is wrong. Just wrong. I even agree it should be criminal and I'm glad, especially in this state, that it is. Funny thing is, under the law here, the kid has been charged with the same crime as if he'd done it to a human being. But that's another rant all together.

But is it news? There's the rub (if only the kid knew about the rub, we wouldn't be in this mess).

Beastiality is an abhorent thing, but I'm not sure it's exactly something we need to hear about during the lunch hour. Now, there's apparently a method to the madness. Apparently it's news because the kid is out on bond for alleged sexual assaults on children. I agree that's news.

However, 30-seconod news stories about the kid's continued sexual deviancy probably moves beyond the realm of good taste. Especially when I'm eating my turkey sandwich. If the point is the kid has some serious issues and shouldn't be out on bond, great. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about the bond and bail process, the judges who use or mis-use their discretion, etc, etc.

But save the doggie-doing, especially 30-second noon hour news bits with no context.

Or, put another way, man screws dog isn't news. Dog screws man...now that is a story.

Of course, it is the last day of the ratings period, so what should I expect?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A few things I like about London

Bridge Over River Kwai Thames

No real time to write from this jolly old city, but on this, my second trip to London, I've been struck by a few things that make me like this place.

* CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on in primetime
* No 11pm news on the major networks. Instead they ran a documentary on porn with all kinds of nekkidness and pink parts.
* Having the oppotunity to watch "The Farm," the only reality TV show I'd ever watch, starring Flava Flav, Ron Jeremy, and some hot girls, forced to live as farm hands.

* The girls here call me "love" even if they don't mean it.
* How funny it is that I can understand the Costa Ricans speaking Spanish better than I can the Scotsmen speaking English.

Food and drink
* Diet Coke is actually Diet Coke and not Coca Light.
* The studio where I'm working serves vegetarian food every day and it actually tastes good.

* The crazy frog is frickin' everywhere (click here to see what I'm talking about--it will sound familiar to anyone who used to laugh at the racecar timewaster).

There are several other things worth writing about but I wanted to jot those down before I forgot.

Tally ho.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Sleeping before the storm

Last night an electrical storm ripped through with such ball-slapping ferocity, I though I was back in Missouri, the victim of high plains-fueled maelstrom's. The lighting was long and bright enough to read by and the thunder shook my overstuffed couch.

It passed quickly enough and the only damage seems to be a minor roof leak. Now, the family that stayed up late to watch the fireworks is back in bed for a late morning nap. Dog, wife, kid. They're all down for the count. The nap happened spontaneously in the middle of my hurried packing.

Last night as the remanants of the storm blew out, I laid in bed with the wife and muttered, "I am ill-prepared for this trip."

"Ill-prepared?" I thought she was about to chide me for my usage of ill. I use it a lot these days, usually to refer to by "ill-equipedness." That wasn't, however, what she had in mind.

"You're not ill-prepared. You're not prepared."

I grunted in acquienscence.

"You haven't done jack shit," she finished. She's not afraid to be crude when it is warranted.

She was right, though. Not even had I not packed for a ten-day jaunt to London, but I hadn't even pulled out my luggage. It was one in the morning and I hadn't even considered packing for long trip.

A buddy of mine is a bit of an expert traveler and claims t be able to pack in thirty minutes for a trip of this magnitude. This morning, I thought I'd try to out-do him. I didn't quite make it, but I came damned close.

Now, with a bit of time to kill before getting on a plane for 12 hours, I find myself again musing about what I'm leaving behind.

Yesterday was L'il Otis' first official haircut. I say "official" because there was an unfortunate misunderstanding while I was on another trip in which my mother-in-law thought it would be just fine if she trimmed the kid's hair without asking us, taking pictures, saving a lock or two, or even vaguely considering it might be something we'd like to be in on.

Breathe, Otis.

Now, I'm not a sappy guy when it comes to artificial, manufactured moments, but I'll admit that having a kid has made me a little more sensitive to the fleeting moments that pass in a kid and parent's life. There are things you jut don't get back, you know. Things change like Missouri weather. Being gone for ten days ensures that L'il Otis will be driving and picking up trashy girls by the time I get back.

So, we took him for his first "official" haircut. And it was nice. In the blink of an eye and the flick of the scissors from a young highlight-hair girlie, L'il Otis looked less like Johnny Damon and more like Joe Everyboy. Frankly, I like the Johnny Damon look, but there are social conventions to which I'm trying to acclimate myself.

I took a lot of pictures, but I'll spare you the slideshow. I'm going to post these two because while I'm on the road it will be nice to pull up RER and see my kid's eyes on the screen.

Getting ready: A wet-haired kid and his distraction device

This look will get me all the trashy girls I'd ever want

That's the kind of thing that will keep me going through 50-degree rainy days in London.

When I get back he'll be here. Maybe I'll ask him to give me a ride to the liquor store or if I can take his trashy girlfriend to the movies.

I'll take pictures of that, too.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Back in the day (you're familiar with the day, right?), I had a lot of stories to tell. I'd talk a little bit about the bankrobber who insulted my mother. I'd talk about the homicidal maniac who threatened to shove something the size of a toaster oven in my ass. I'd talk about wild nights that were accidentally and serendipitously in Athens, Georgia.

Every once in a while I would wax nostalgic about the time back in the day before that day. I'd pine for the days when I sat on a slab back porch with my college buddies, sipping Coronas, cooking on a homemade grill, and planning the next big bash. On the days when I didn't think Mrs. Otis was reading, I'd play around with the memories of college flings and the horror they often inspired in my housemates. I'd wish I was still leaving on last-miunte trips bound for the French Quarter where we'd just stand on the corners and casually offer, "Kiss for beads, kiss for beads." You'd be surprised how many people would take the offer.

Those were the days, friends, when I would post four or five times a week. They were heady, often crazy times where my own life seemed better and more interesting than any fiction I could create. So, I wrote a lot.

I just looked at this languishing site and realized I haven't posted in some time. I don't have any really good excuse other than I write all day every day. And that's not really an excuse. Certainly I could find half an hour a couple times a week to update you on what's going on at Mt. Willis. And yet, for some reason, I don't.

So, what's been going on?

Well, foremost, I've been a daddy. That means the drunken days are pretty much lnog gone. Back in the day (either of the days is fine for this reference), it was nothing to put down a 12-pack of beer and a few shots in one sitting. Now, if I have more than a few, I get sort of loopy and wake up feeling icky. I was on my way to slowing down anyway, but L'il Otis has put the ixnay on a majority of the inkingdray. L'il Otis, while an increidbly happy baby, is a bit vulnerable to illness. In the virus factory they call daycare, he tends to pick up the illness du jour. Last week was rotovirus, an impossibly ugly stomach illness that renders little kids like him unable to hold anything in their bodies for five to seven days. The ugly details aside, the illness resulted in a lot of extra laundry, a lot of lost sleep, and one rehydrating trip to the Emergency Room. I'm pleased to say the kid is now feeling much better and most of the laundry is done.

In other news, I'm in the middle of another foolhardy attempt at facial hair growth. I've only worn facial hair three times before in my life. The first part of a non-shaving ski trip in which my brother ended up in the hospital after running into a tree. The second was during a particularly low point in my life in which I was pining over the woman who would eventually become my wife. The thirs was during my dad's hospital saty a year or so back. Now, I'm more than a month into the experiment and still don't know how I feel about it. The only really neat thing was the necessity of buying a beard trimmer, which I've found has a number of neato uses.

Those are the two most exciting things in my life. I've been playing a little poker but not faring well in the past few weeks. One of my friends has decided I've fallen off the face of the earth as a result. Of course, we went out for beers last night and he left after an hour, so I guess he doesn't miss me that badly.

London is calling. I'll be there in about a week and half. Boston for the weekend after that, then Vegas and a five-year anniversary trip with Mrs. Otis. Then back to Vegas, then home for Bradoween in August.

Hopefully I'll have some real stories along the way.

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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