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

About Rapid Eye Reality
Poker Papers
Up For Poker Blog
Up For Sports Blog
PokerStars Blog

Currently reading:

2007 Reading List

Barack Obama
Devon Epps
Mt. Otis
Mental Massage
Tiffany Souers
TV News

Blogroll RER

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from OT!S. Make your own badge here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tiffany Souers and College Murders

Don't ask me what it is, but I tend to get a little unglued when college students get killed. Something about it makes me think of all my college friends, the girls I lived with, how it could've been any of them, etc. During my many years here as a journalist in the Clemson University area, I took a keen interest any time a college student disappeared or was killed.

The closest I ever came to such a situation was the case of Brooke Holsonback. She was murdered near Clemson University back in 1997. I wasn't living here at the time, but eventually came to know Brooke's parents and the man who, to this day, is still trying to pin the crime on...well, on the two people everybody suspects were involved. Brooke was strangled and dumped in Lake Hartwell.

I remember driving (incidentally, with my late friend Chris) a long way to talk to Brooke's parents. Her dad, a southern gentleman of the first order, talked of his daughter and sunrises. At the time, he said, "You look at a sunrise and you know there is a God, but some of that beauty is gone, because you know there is evil in this world."

My unsuccessful efforts to help dredge up anything else in the case can be found here.

I also dug deeply into the case of Norsaadah Husain, a Clemson graduate student who was killed in 1992. She was stabbed in a laundry and later dumped in some woods in Oconee County. That case dragged on for so long that the police investigator had retired and started driving a bus for a Christian tour company. I wrote this story about her a few years ago.

For a long time, I toyed with the idea that a serial killer was at long, labored work in the Clemson University area. Eventually, I came to the realization that the cases (and several other unsolveds in the area) just weren't similar enough to merit any serious thought about a single killer being responsible for everything. I still believe that, but this past week hasn't helped much.

Tiffany Souers - Courtesy WYFF.COMA former roommate found the body of 20-year-old Tiffany Souers in her apartment on Friday. Souers had been strangled with her own bikini top and left dead. She came from Ladue, a nice St. Louis suburb (also home to some people I know). Because Souers was a beautiful and successful college girl, the national media networks are jumping on this one. If the cops here can't get their act together quickly, I suspect they can expect a media frenzy.

This is not a trip down a nightmare memory lane. I'm actually angry at more than Souers' death.

In the days since she died, I sort of toyed with the idea of (don't make fun) coming out of retirement. While I had no plans to run back to TV, I thought I might work my old sources and maintain a web presence on the investigation. Why? I don't know. Nothing else has made me want to follow crime again. Maybe it's just that the investigation is six days old and the reporting of the case, so far, has been lackluster. I don't blame the reporters (many of them my friends). It's more the fault of a small police department not being able to handle the media load. The 13th Circuit Solicitor, Bob Ariail (the South Carolina version of a district attorney), has now taken over role of spokesperson. Frankly, that's not going to help, as Ariail is notoriously stingy with information and rarely speaks to the media. He and I had a decent relationship, but most of what he ever shared with me on any case was off the record.

Damn, I'm getting worked up over this. The entire point of this post was supposed to be how sick I am at web squatters.

See, I'd already decided that my schedule wouldn't allow me to properly handle what could end up being a long and drawn out case (given that some drunk college boy doesn't end up getting hooked up by week's end). So, I was going to leave the job to the professionals (where it belongs, admittedly) and go back to my other work. Still, I couldn't help but consider registering www.tiffanysouers.com.

This makes me sick.

Indeed, somebody from Kenya (Kenya?) registered the domain two days after Souers was found dead (and about the time the national media started touting the "Bikini Murder"). Indeed, somebody from Kenya (KENYA!) registered the domain and is now using it to hawk their affiliate deals with various Tiffany (lamps, vases) distributors.

Now, I readily admit, I work in an industry that can sometimes get a little...creative...when working out a marketing plan. However, capitalizing in this fashion on the murder of a college girl is beyond sickening. (And lest ye think I had the same plan in mind, I'd invite you to take a long walk. I'm creative, but I'm not that kind of creative).

Here's what I hope: I hope the cops wrap this one up in a couple of days. I hope Souers' family gets some quick resolution and eventual peace. I hope the www.tiffanysouers.com domain never gets any traffic. And I hope a maneless lion visits Spiral Matrix on Kenyatta Avenue in Eldoret, Kenya and has a nice lunch on the bastard that thought marketing lamps on a dead girl's memory was a good idea.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The last good thing I did for journalism

Back in September of 2003, my mind was on Aruba. This was back in the day before the Holloway case. This was back when Aruba was more famous for poker tournaments than it was murder. And for me, even then just breaking into the poker world, Aruba was an escape from all things bad. See, then, life was mostly about the bad. The killers, the rapists, the life fuckups who made television news.

As I thought about a desert island, I found myself on the edge of a grocery store parking lot. Charles Williams was inside with a shotgun pointed at his ex-girlfriend, Miranda. As Aruba took a backseat in my brain, Charles Williams pumped a couple shots into Miranda's back as she tried to run away.

See, my mind had been on Aruba, because I was leaving for vacation the next day. That was my life back then. One minute, I reported on live television as a madman shot a woman. The next minute, I was trying to forget the sound of crying and pain. That week, I went to Aruba and drank for a few days.

Within a few weeks, we learned that Charles Williams was more than a moment-of-passion killer. He'd put together a list of everything he planned to do that day. He planned what he would wear, what time he would go, and where he would find Miranda in the store. He had journals, schedules, and maps. All the while I was booking my travel to a desert island, Charles Williams was planning on how to kill a girl he'd beaten to a pulp just a few weeks earlier.

See, that was what got under my skin about this case. Williams was out on bond after beating Miranda into the store's parking lot. He got out of jail about the time she got out of the hospital. By the time she made it back to work, Williams had decided he was going to the Bi-Lo with a shotgun.

There were a lot of things about my journalism career that I left behind. There were things I left undone that a part of me wishes I could go back and fix. For instance, there is a guy who has been in prison, unjustly as far as I am concerned, for the past 28 years. I always thought I was on the verge of having the goods to get the guy out, or, at the very least, get him a fair trial. Then, there was a dermatologist who molested his teenage boy patients. I had the goods on that guy, but the business side of journalism got in the way of that one.

Finally, though, was the fact that I left television before Charles Williams went to trial. In fact, the last assignment I went on was a pre-trial suppression hearing. Williams' defense team was trying to get Williams' confession tossed before trial.

The judge in the case, Buddy Nicholson (yeah, a judge named Buddy), had moved all the pre-trial stuff to a city 30 minutes away in an effort to discourage we media folk from attending the trial. In large part, his little plan had worked. However, as the trial drew closer, we media types started getting a little curious. What's more, we started hearing rumors and such. I ended up at the courthouse with a guy named John Boyanoski--at the time, the best newspaper reporter in town.

The next thing we knew, Buddy was trying to kick us out of the courtroom. Knowing he might have some legal trouble if he tried to kick us out on his own, he suggested to the defense that it make a motion to close the courtroom. The defense did and Buddy did.

So, on my last official day as a TV news reporter, I got involved in a legal battle in which I was forced to stand up in court and protest and subsequently defend my right to be in the courtroom. John and I called our attorneys. The attorneys protested. And we still ended up getting kicked out of the courtroom.

And then John and I quit our jobs. As it turned out, neither of us much liked working for large corporations that didn't care so much about their employees or paying them any amount of money. Both John and I cared about the mission of journalism. And, frankly, I think it's fair to say that both he and I did a good job at disseminating the news and protecting the freedoms of the American press. And, again frankly, it was sad that John and I left the two biggest news outlets in the area. John went on to work for a weekly newspaper. If you know me, you know what I do now.

I never thought I would continue to have any impact on the business that played such a large role in my life. As it turns out, there was one last thing.

Today, the South Carolina Supreme Court released an opinion on what happened during that pre-trial hearing. You can read it by clicking the link, or, let me sum it up for you.

We were right. Judge Buddy Nicholson was wrong.

And, for some reason, that makes me happy.

(Update: I scooped the Greenville News. The paper just caught up. Insert smiley emoticon here)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Picture my mood

I took this snapshot outside my house yesterday afternoon, only because I thought it was the beginning of a spooky storm season. It made me start thinking about how the recent weather has mirrored my mood.

Most of the day is sun-drenched and rock-warming. As the day wears on, for seemingly little reason, the clouds turn mysterious and mean. Nature runs to hide. The world explodes. It doesn't last long, but when it's over, the air has changed.

That's me the last couple of days.

Yesterday, the ripping winds pushed the cardinal in the center of the picture along faster than he would've normally flown. The clouds went on an upside down boil. The trees showed the white underside of their leaves, always a sign that the air is about to turn ugly.

It's in the after-air that my mood mirrors the atmosphere. Today, the thunder stayed on the horizon but the spot storm blew into my stomach and lungs anyway. I didn't see the cardinal today. I figure he blew to Georgia.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

This is how we say goodbye

It struck me how similar everything was. The people were the same. The preacher was the same. My buddies and I were pulling at our collars and shaking hands. We muttered to each other that we could use a stiff drink. Or eight.

Yeah, it squeezed my heart with similarity. Almost three years ago, we all got together to watch Gulfman and April get married. T and I stood up in our monkey suits and made sure everything went as planned. Yesterday, we did much the same thing. Although this time, G-Rob, T, and I helped carry Gulfman's casket to the grave.

T never goes anywhere without his camera. He knew wouldn't be taking any pictures on Tuesday, but he brought the camera just the same. I told him that Tuesday would be one of those days you don't need pictures to remember. He agreed. Neither of us knew how true it would be.

Imagine eleven bright white news trucks parading with 60 cars full of people behind them. Gulfman rode in the front coach. The procession began in Mauldin, went through Simpsonville, and into Fountain Inn. Along the route, cars pulled to the side, police officers in white gloves blocked intersections and saluted, and construction workers stopped and removed their hard hats.

It was honor for somebody who really deserved it.

There will be a lot of things I remember about yesterday, but that was the one that will remind me of how we said goodbye to Gulfman.

When the day we was over, we went to Chiefs and sat outside. A couple dozen people sat around with beers and wings and told all the stories we'd already told three times. Two counties away, Lt. Governer Andre Bauer plowed his ultralight plane into the ground. Suddenly, the news team went to work.

We couldn't help but believe that if Gulfman had still been around, he would've been on his way to Cherokee County to shoot the crash, bitching the whole way about how Bauer probably crashed the plane to get the sympathy vote in the upcoming Republican primary.

Or maybe not. Gulfman was a lot kinder and gentler in his final years. Still, I like to smile at the idea of Gulfman ranting.

And that's how I'm going to remember him today.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Missing my friend (updated at end)

For the last three days, it has rained from the sunshine.

We live in one of those places where half the people you meet aren't natives. It's not like Florida, where people go to live out the rest of their lives. This is a place where people come to work and decide they are home again.

That's what Gulfman and I did. He came from Long Island. I came from the middle of America. We both found our way here by way of places that were too humid to breathe. We both came here with precious little experience in Southern living. We both came here to work and ending up calling this place home.

This place isn't like where we came from. Though we both held great nostalgia for our old haunts, we both bought homes here. We dealt with the ice storms and we sweated through the summers. We knew we were better off, because on any given night, we could probably sit outside, have something cold to drink, and laugh about nothing. Or not talk at all. Gulfman was big on that. He appreciated people who could just sit and not talk.

From the time the phone rang Friday morning until this very moment, the sky has been most frquently full of sunshine. The sky is that impossible Carolina blue. The breeze is both warm and cool. Just enough to make you say, "Damned nice day." And yet, every few hours, there are some raindrops that fall from the sky. It's just enough to make me--even if it is trite and far from poetic--think of teardrops. And Stevie Ray Vaughan. And Gulfman.

Gulfman was supposed to get up early and head to work on Friday morning. A photojournalist--the kind of shooter who made stories better than they ever could've been before he touched them--he was hoping to grab an early story so he could get home to his wife and home. Overnight between Thursday and Friday, Gulfman got sick, collapsed, and never woke up. The eventual diagnosis was a brain tumor that had exploded and bled into my buddy's brain. As I learned a few years ago with my dad, blood is like poison, like acid almost, on the brain.

I saw Gulfman, unconcious and on life support, Friday morning. Because I'd been granted a miracle with my father, I somehow believed I'd get another miracle with Gulfman. He was only 34 years old and was in perfect health. The guy that used to be on the party circuit with me had spent the last three years not drinking, not smoking, not partying at all. I was already planning to spend a few days a week visiting him in rehab. Because I believed he was going to be okay.

Saturday I learned that the miracle wasn't coming this time. Saturday night, I had Gulfman's friends to my house. We sat, cried, laughed, looked at pictures, and told every Gulfman story we knew ten times. For every person Gulfman met, there are tons of Gulfman stories. He was one of those people you meet in life who is, in short, a "character."

Many people don't know that Gulfman was the inspiration for Bradoween. During one of his frequent rants, Gulfman suggested that we all have holidays in honor of ourselves. After a lot of ranting, we decided my holiday should be called Bradoween. Gulfman won the first ever Bradoween Photographer Footrace.

Before and after that time, Gulfman and I spent days upon days on the road together. We crashed in hotel rooms, ate counteless meals (both good and bad) and told every story we could find. He was one of the few people I've ever met who was completely different than the first impression he offered. Brash, cranky, and outspoken, he was among the most gentle, caring, and thoughtful people I have ever met. He was one of few people in this world that actually cared about others more than he cared about himself. Of course, most people would never know that.

I would like to write more, but I don't want to do it now. Part of me just hasn't accepted that my buddy is gone.

One thing though. It's a joke nobody would get unless they'd spent a lot of time around Gulfman.

A notorious list-maker, Gulfman always had a slip of paper on the dashboard of his news truck. Whether it was the groceries he needed to buy, the stock he needed to price, or what he needed to do to his lawn, the list was always there. And I liked to needle him about it, primarily because there was nothing funnier than a Gulfman rant. As we rode around one day, I needled him a bit about his list. Later, I mentioned to him that I'd just bought two new pairs of shoes. Without missing a beat, without even cracking a smile, Gulfman pulled a pen from behind his ear and scribbled on his list: "Brad got new shoes."

That was Gulfman.

Damn it, I miss him.

Update: Visit this site to see the memorial story G-Rob did on Gulfman. G-Rob did a great job with what had to be the toughest story of his career. Not sure how long the story will be up, so if you want to see it, look now.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bye, buddy

Friday, May 19, 2006

For Gulfman

Hang on, buddy. It's not time to go yet. There's more work to be done.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

RIP: Bobby Bracelet

If you didn't know Bobby Bracelet, you were missing out on some of the best non-PC social commentary on the block. I liked him so much, I was working on a site re-design for him. Now, as you can see from the link, the man has got him down. No, he's not dead, but his blog is. His employer caught wind of Bob's personal blog and told him shut it down...or else. And that makes me sad.

It also makes me wonder, what the hell am I supposed to do with this stuff?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Schadenfreude defined

Misfortune beset upon others rarely if ever brings me real pleasure. In my life, I've probably wronged more people than have wronged me. I've probably apologized less than I should for indiscretions and thoughtlessness. This is to say that I am fully aware I am an imperfect being.

There is a difference, though, in between being imperfect and being evil. Indeed, friends, there is evil in the world. Evil breeds in self-concern and manifests itself in the active pursuit of others' demise. Evil is the ability to believe selfishness is not only a virtue, but the only virtue. Evil is trying to ruin good people in an effort to make yourself more profitable.

It's been nearly three years since I was afraid to use this forum as a place of comfort during one of the most difficult professional moments of my life. My reputation hung unjustly in the balance. Then, I only wrote:

There are things that I can't write about, even in this dangerously honest forum. There are things that can threaten a person's professional life. There are things that are so ridiculous that the mere possibility that they may be taken seriously boggles the mind.

Some fine day, I will write about these things. But for now, let this suffice:

To all friends: I thank you for your shoulder, your ear, and your support.

And bring Bradoween the fuck on.

For three years, I've rested on the comfort that karma exists. Every time it seemed as though the evil as winning, I'd offer the trite old phrase, "What comes around, goes around."

There's no need to offer a full recounting of the old events or even bring up the new ones. All I can say is... karma is a great thing.

The Jews have a saying: "Rejoice not at thine enemy's fall, but don't rush to pick him up either."

No rush, friends. No rush at all.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The four hour problem

If my phone hadn't been on vibrate, I would've missed the call from Marty. I was sucking tasteless festival lomain noodles through my lips when my buddy asked, "So, when is Bradoween going to be?"

"Hold on," I said, swallowing a noodle and waiting for the inevitable roar.

For three seconds, the noise sucked the oxygen from the air and buried brain in my bowels.

"What was that?" Marty said through the St. Louis cell signal.

"I'm at a LeMans race in Houston."

It was an answer he didn't expect and -- a couple weeks earlier -- I would never have expected to have given. But, that's my life right now. I go places I don't expect to go to see things I don't expect to see and end up talking to my friends from the grandstand of a car race.

As such, I meet a lot of people I wouldn't otherwise meet. Today, I met a girl who astounded me in a way few people have the power to do. It wasn't that she was good looking (which she was) or that she was smart (which, too, she was). It was that she could make anybody do anything she wanted them to do. I mean, several times today, I honestly thought I'd found the droids I was looking for, and then decided I had not. For a few hours, I was beating my company's brand into the collective conscious of several thousand LeMans fans. Part of that pounding involved the hiring and management of models to hand out my company's t-shirts. Crystal was one of the models.

During one particular moment of t-shirt frenzy, a time when I wasn't sure we could move our shirts any faster, Crystal said, "I bet this would be a lot more effective if we had a golf cart and worked the crowd on wheels."

"Good idea," I said, "but we don't have a golf cart."

I'll be damned if she didn't requisition a golf cart from two dazed cameramen and convince them to drive her around for long enough to unload a case of shirts. A fluke, I thought...until she did it three more times with three different golf cart drivers.

This kind of mind control went on all afternoon.

"Let me ride your moped," she said to a guy. You know the rest.

It's meeting people like this girl that teaches me how some people with certain attributes and opportunities can succeed where others with the same attributes and opportunities fail.

Now, a twelve hour day has ended and I'm facing what I call the "Four Hour Problem." If I go to sleep now, I have to wake up in four hours to catch a flight home. I know that I won't be able to go to sleep for at least 45 minutes. I know that if I set my alarm, I WILL hit snooze and likely miss my flight. However, I know that if I try to stay up until my flight, I will probably want to sleep in two hours (and then, again, might miss my flight). Furthermore, I know that either way, I'm going to feel like shit all day tomorrow.

If it wouldn't be so inappropriate, I'd wish that girl were in the hotel lobby -- just so she could tell me what to do.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Got Milk?

As a temporary bachelor, I can do whatever I want whenever I want. That means, Wednesday, I slept until 10:30am and then worked for 14 hours with only a 45 minute break to go to the store to buy something for dinner. I am a party guy of the first order. Belushi and Farley ain't got nothing on this fat man.

Fat, ye say? Didn't Otis just write an entire screed on his ability to control his weight on the most controversial blog ever? Indeed, I did.

That little marketing link above and my lack of substantive girth is the genesis of my nonplussedness. These days, I find myself playing the role of blatant marketing ploy spotter. The most recent one hit me in the face when I went up to Ingles today.

Three giant baby blue awnings were set up where the ne'erdowells usually hang out. Beneath the awnings were a bunch of blondes hawking the newest bit of marketing wizardry.

I'm not sure at what point the the dairy farmers and milk producers of the world woke up and discovered they were in trouble, but whatever day it was, the rooster crowed loud enough for the marketing geniuses to come up with an entire campaign based around how milk is not only healthy, but can help you...wait for it...LOSE weight.

Why Milk, indeed.

This is what happens when people get genuinely nervous about the viability of their industry. It's what commercial radio did when satellite radio started getting big. It's what cable did when satellite TV showed who was boss. And apparently Big Milk is afraid now. Big Milk is hiring celebrities to proclaim the milk not only builds strong bones, but apparently, the glass of fat can also help you shed a few extra pounds. Huh?

I wouldn't be feeling so snarky if one of the blondes hadn't tried to push her stuff on me as I left the store with as many unhealthy products as I could find.

"You wanna milk? she said like the whore she was.

I'd give this little five-minute blather a proper ending, but I just realized, I have fly to Houston in a couple hours and, boy, are my arms already tired.

Shoulda had a milk, shouldn't I?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bachelor observations

As work is kicking my ass at the moment, I don't have time to properly convey the impact of the couple things I've learned in the 23 hours since my wife left for a week.

First, I'd forgotten that Katie Holmes was in The Ice Storm. And I never knew David Krumholtz (now the math geek brother on NUMB3RS) was in it. Now, I find myself torn about who is hotter -- Katie Holmes or Christina Ricci. Present day, of course. Not in the movie. Because, if I were considering that, I'd have a few things to explain. Holy shit, Allison Janney is in the movie, too.

Second, when a guy comes to your door selling meat, telling him your freezer is full (especially when that is a lie) is not a good way to get him to leave your front porch. Why? Because the industrious guy that came to my front door today responded, "If I can't fit my meat in your freezer, I'll give it to you for free."

Yeah, I bet you will, buddy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wake up with me

I once heard an interview with somebody in which, in response to a question about how he played poker, he said, "I don't let anyone out aggress me." Or something like that. The point is, the dude somehoe turned an adjective into a verb and it made it on TV like it was the most correct thing in the world.

TV is stupid. I think I've said that before. What's more, it makes us stupid. Well, it gives our stupidity greater credence. For instance, last night, I watched David Blaine's water-sphere-hold-his-breath-dramtically event. Don't ask me why. My fascination with illusionists ended about the time I watch my wife shoot a 7 lb. 11 oz. screaming mass out of her crotch. No illusion there. And yet, I watched Blaine. Then, I watched what was likely the worst CSI: Miami ever produced. And, yeah, I realize my mere commentary on the relative value of last night's episode speaks volumes about my credibility in the first place.

This is what happens when I stop tooling around on the computer, which I suspect is also making me stupid.

The only smart one in the house, it seems, is the thing that shot out of my wife's crotch. To wit: It's early on Mt. Willis. Too early. About 5am, L'il Otis decided he wasn't tired anymore. Somehow, and I'm still unclear how this happened, I ended up getting up for the final "getting him back to sleep is a hopeless endeavor" trudge. Now, we're downstairs. I'm watching the news. The kid is not. Because he is smart. Instead of learning about how a local news personality cut out her "emotional eating," he's acting as foreman for the plastic construction crew. He, unlike me, isn't wondering what the news personality is doing up before sunrise when she has to work until long after sundown.

"i,i,\" he said.

Actually, that's not what he said. It's what he typed while I was in the kitchen making a whole wheat waffle. I'm not sure what "i,i,/" means, but I know it is smarter than anything I've thought yet today. To be clear I understood, he pointed to my ass and said, "Monkey." As it turns out, I forgot to put on pants and I'm wearing boxers with superhero monkeys on them.

When I woke up, I was in the middle of yet another night of wickedly vivid dreams. It's been like this for days now. I often dream hard and wild when I go to sleep with lots on my noodle. This morning, I woke up thinking, "I'm a genius!"

To make it short, I was involved in the formation of the venture capital firm "NBT" aka "The Next Big Thing." Somehow, Ruth, her father in-law and I had discovered a way to pinpoint the next pop culture fad and find a way to get our money in it before anybody else. The last thing I remember was Gary (Ruth's dad in-law and my second father while growing up) saying, "We have to get Jack in on this. What role can she fill?"

"Director of Communications," I said.


I'm about to begin Bachelor Otis week...which more than likely will be a series of days in which I work too much, sleep too little, and don't do anything really interesting. Which is pretty much like every week, now that I think about it.

Now, it's nearly 7:30am, David Blaine has somehow made the Today Show, and the little one is indicating he's ready to go back to bed.

Of course, now I'm awake.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dickering for doughnuts

Maybe you don't know about yard sales. Maybe you're one of those hipster urbanites who would only stoop to have a garage sale as a goof on the trite suburbanites who have so over-filled their tract homes that even they can't stand their gross consumption.

Well, fuck you.

Sorry. After yesterday (which I hope I never have to write about in any detail), I started drinking. Then, to go to sleep, I popped a Melatonin. Then I spent a few hours of restless, tawdry dreaming and one wakeful moment where my dog stood up, puked up a piece of broccoli, and went back to sleep.

When the alarm went off at 6:30am, I wondered if maybe I'd just dreamt the last 24 hours or so. Dogs don't eat broccoli do they?

So, as you're probably a hip non-suburbanite, that means you're well-rested and have a dog that eats hipster doggie granola and saves the whales in his spare doggy-time.

Again, sorry, but fuck you.

Me? I have a rickety tract home and a dog that eats Chinese food. And, because of my sickening amount of consumerism, I had too much stuff. And I live in a neighborhood that hosts a communinity yard sale twice a year. And, so, yeah, on little sleep, bad dreams, and an impending sense of doom, I had a garage sale this morning.

As you probably don't know about yard sales, you don't know the lingo. Perhaps one of the key words to know is "do." That is, "can you do $5 on the VCR?" In shopper speak, that means, "Can you drop your price to $5 on the VCR so I can feel like I got a good deal?"

Overall, the sale was a success. I over-caffeinated myself (drinking six diet sodas and a Captain and Coke around 10am) and became a rabid capitalist for a few hours, netting about $500.

As part of the sale, the wife and I sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts and soda. We marked them up by about 50% and preyed on the hungry and thirsty bargain-seekers.

I'd been dickering all day long. I'd marked everything up by about 50% so I could come down 50% and make people feel good about purchasing an old pair of rollerblades and a TV that once witnessed me and the wife having about six hours of college nookie (okay, who is wishing the TV had a built-in camera? --stop it).

The only highlight of the day: A fat woman (exceedingly Southern-fat with a northern accent) grabbed a 75-cent Krispy Kreme and headed up to my tiki bar cash-out stand.

"Can you do 50 cents on the doughnut?"

It was one of those moments that it takes you two hours to come up with a decent response. My wife later suggested I should've said, "You should pay me 50 cents to keep you from eating the doughnut, bitch"

Instead, I said, "Sure," and watched her dickering fat, yellow-pant-suited ass waddle down my driveway with sugary icing falling behind her in little snow drifts of excess.

I can't fucking believe a lady actually dickered for a doughnut.

Back to drinking.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Anatomy of a bad day

Some days are best spent in the closet or under a homemade fort. As I told my wife when she asked, it's not even worth discussing. In fact, if I have any chance of having an even reasonably good weekend, I shouldn't even think about the events of the last ten hours or so.

None of this involves ill-health, police, or nature's wrath, so chances are I'm better off than a few other people I know who are having far worse days. Nonetheless, I prefer when days like this happen on Monday.

Cinco de "My, oh, what a sucky day."

I'm going to buy some Corona.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Formica and the redneck response

I was at a poker game in the middle of nowhere. It was the type of place you try not to go unless you have a buddy to back you up. Some of the people there are twice your size and some are just old enough to still believe in carrying guns for protection. It's old school bling, the kind where Brylcreem mixes with sweat and oxidizes the fake gold chains and rings. It's the type of place where the old man pissing off the front porch hollers, "Don't stay gone so long next time," as you head off into the dark field to find your SUV among the pick-ups.

At some point during the night--somewhere after the point I thought for the eighth time how illegal this game, this house, these people were--the dealer started talking about feeling bugs on his neck. Someone else had mentioned bugs and now the dealer couldn't stop slapping the nothingness on the nape of his neck.

"You know what that's called, right?"

I set myself up perfectly with the softball. See, this guy was pretty sure he was smart. Half an hour before, he'd been expounding on the metaphysical properties of luck and mysterious forces. He was the type of guy who could be absolutely sure mysterious forces existed, but had no belief in luck whatsoever. What's more, he wanted to convince you he knew--down to the damned atom--the properties and non-properties of this metaphysical universe.

"You don't believe me," he said.

I hadn't said anything when the guy was in the middle of his dealing lecture. I'm not even sure I rolled my eyes. But this guy said, "Right in my peripheral vision, I could see you don't agree with what I'm saying."

I grunted, non-committal.

"What, you believe in luck?" he said, incredulously.

Somebody else bailed me out of the conversation with a heady, "My ass is a mysterious force."

Yeah, that's the kind of conversation we'd been having all night. It went from metaphysics to ass forces, from marital vows to the right and wrong of screwing the daughter of a girl you went to high school with. And so, came the bug fears.

"You know what that's called, right?" I said, waiting like I always do.

Every eye, especially the guy with the non-bugs on him, turned toward me.

"It's called formication," I said.

Grown men started to giggle. They knew, if only from their far-gone religious teachings, that fornication was bad. They may not have known that fornication comes from the latin fornix, or arch, an allusion to the times when hookers would wait for their tricks under arches. But my poker playing brethren did know when they heard the word "fornication," they were supposed to giggle like they had heard something dirty.

One of them -- as expected, much in the tone of the Old El Paso commcercial 'New York City?' -- said, "Fornication?"

Of course, I'd set them up. Even though I had said, forMication, they heard forNication. It always makes for a good laugh.

I explained that formication (from the latin formica for ant) is the feeling of having ants or other bugs crawling on your skin. Just about any hallucinogenic can cause it, but crystal meth is a common criminal. Formication is often caused by a rise in body temperature. Blood flow increases toward the skin to counteract the temp rise. Subsequent sweats create enzymes that make the blood flow to the skin even greater. Once the sweat starts to dry up or evaporate, it gets rid of a happy oil on the skin. Next thing you know, you start feeling bugs on you. Some people call them "crank bugs." Speed freaks start scratching at them and end up with nasty sores.

Of course, I didn't explain all that. In fact, I think there were probably a couple of people in the room who could've given me a lesson in "speed bumps." Instead, I sat back and felt content that I had offered a new word to a generation of people who are fascinated by faux metaphysics and ass jokes.

That's just the kind of guy I am.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Scenes from Otis' Medula Oblongata

The Steers: How is it that I hadn't been to Texas since I got lost on San Antonio's Riverwalk after dark (circa 1986 or so) but I'm now going back to the Lone Star state for the second time in four weeks. First it was Dallas and now it's Houston. This trip is of the 50-hour variety and involves, if you can believe it, a Le Mans race. I'm not sure there's ever been a time in my life that I would've been excited about going to a Le Mans race. This time, the lack of excitement is lacking even more because the surprise trip has canceled a trip to my favorite music festival, to which I can only say, "Blah."

The Queers (and stop being so offended -- this story is about my friends): At an Irish pub with some buddies, two of whom are gay, but not of the "blinking sign, hey look at me, leather pants, I'm actually have gay sex while I talk to you" variety. One of them is trying to fasten a gold chain around his neck but can't get it to click. The other tries to help but is unsuccessful. When the waitress returns to the table, buddy #1 says, "Can you give me a hand here?" Waitress says, "Yeah, I probably should," and then in a whisper, "because you guys look sorta gay."

The Cognative Dissonance: Did I actually celebrate being told I wasn't going to Barcelona? Did I do that? (Note: To be fair, the Barcelona trip would've extended a six week trip into a seven-week trip, so you see my point).

On Dealing with Contractors:

Project manager: We will start your project in the middle of April.

~~Middle of April passes~~

Mrs. Otis: When will you start?

Receptionist: Someone will call you next week to assign you a project manager.

Otis: I thought we already had a project manager.

~~One week passes~~

Mrs. Otis: When will you start?

Receptionist:Somebody will call you on Tuesday.


Project mananger: Sorry, you got lost in the shuffle. We're going to start on Wednesday. I will be the project manager.

Otis: That's great. You mean the Wednensday when I have out-of-town guests, three days before I have a huge yard sale, and one week before I leave for a business trip?

Project mananger: Yeah, that's the one.

Otis: And when will you be finished?

Project mananger: Will take about a week.

~~Phone rings one hour later~~

Receptionist: Otis? Hi, this is Sherry from Colonoscopy Home Maintenance. I wanted to call and let you know we're ready to assign you a project manager.

Advertisting inquiries to:
blackjack terminology
New canadian casino online poker web, which is owned by 888 casino announced launching before a few months. They are focusing only on Canadians and their specific needs (e.g. payment methods etc.),so you are able to play online games such as poker comfortably in your national background.

August 2001
September 2001
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
Current Posts
    Creative Commons License

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