An introduction to Rapid Eye Reality
Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of Brad Willis, a semi-pro blogger and freelance writer who is sometimes known as “Otis.” Any questions not answered below can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is this Otis character?
Between 1999 and 2004, I was a reporter for the then #1 television station in Upstate South Carolina. I served as the chief crime, political, and investigative reporter for many years. In 2001, I started this blog as an anonymous outlet for my non-television personality. As some of the stories here can be a bit blue and not necessarily in line with TV reporters’ morality clauses, I needed a pseudonym to protect my identity. I picked one of my many nicknames and stuck with that. After giving up the TV life for something a little more adventurous, I realized that many people knew me only as Otis. So, for better or worse, the pseudonym became more of a second identity. I’ll answer to my real name or Otis.
How do I find those old stories?
All of the archives of this blog are available in the right sidebar. I’ve not deleted anything from the old days. I won’t necessarily point you to the incriminating evidence, but it is there if you want to find it.
So, you’re not in TV anymore? Is it because you were a bad boy?
Not bad so much as listless. The thing about TV news is that it is not nearly as glamorous as you might think. The pay stinks, the hours suck, and, more often than not, the reward for work well done is more work. I treasured the people I met during my time in television and still miss it from time to time. Hell, I may even go back one day. For the time being, though, I’m focusing on other things.
Other things? Are you one of those people who claim to be an actress but is really a waitress?
Maybe. I don’t even know. The long story won’t fit in this post. The short version is this: This guy recommended me for a freelance job covering a poker tournament in the Bahamas. At the end of one week of work, the people running the tournament asked me to cover poker tournaments in a lot of different places. I quit my job two weeks later and flew to Copenhagen, Denmark. Since then, I’ve been to tournaments all over Europe, America, and in the Caribbean.
They pay people to write about poker? You have to be kidding?
I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere, but no, I’m not kidding. Since quitting TV, I’ve written for a few different publications and web sites. I also do a lot of writing at a web site titled Up For Poker.
Do you play poker, too?
It depends on how you define the word “play.” But, yeah, I spend a lot of time at the card tables. I make a few trips to Las Vegas every year and, before the cops and robbers started getting frisky, spent many an hour in the underground poker scene in Greenville. For a short look at what that scene was like during its heyday, check out The Last Poker Game.
So, you’re a degenerate gambler. That’s just great.
There might have been a day in which that phrase fit, but not so much anymore. I still play a lot of poker, but not so much that it will get me in trouble. I have focused my efforts in other areas. And if I am a gambler, I come by it honestly. Read: Grandpa Was a Gambler.
Likely story. So, what are these alleged other interests?
For the past three years, I have functioned as a pro blogger. That is, I get paid to write on blogs. I make money in other more boring ways, too. When I’m not doing that, I blog here for fun. Rapid Eye Reality is where I tell the back stories that take place around everything else that happens in my life.
Well, first and foremost, I am a husband, father, and suburban warrior. To get a glimpse at my more mundane side, read Suburban Landscapes. Sometimes, it’s hard to maintain both sides of my life, but I manage best I can, as told in Timeless. I am also an amateur photographer. That means I have an eye for photos, but not much real technical skill. However, I do get some good ones from time to time, like these in Boys of Summer.
Seems like you aren’t really a news blogger. In fact, you don’t have much of a niche at all.
Odd, huh? When people ask me how to have a successful blog, I tell them to be themselves and find a niche. I only do half of that right. I’ve never been much of a niche guy. I try, but I find that so much of life’s interesting parts cross the lines from niche to niche. Plus, I get bored easily. Still, I have a few niches here that some people have found interesting. For instance, I wrote quite a bit about the death of a local boy named Devon Epps and the murder of Clemson student Tiffany Souers. I also have a history with such dignitaries in South Carolina as Ronnie Sheppard and Kevin Geddings. So, I get sort if niche-y from time to time.
That all? Because I have something on the stove.
Sure, you run on. If you feel like coming back, there is a ton here to read. Some of it is good, some bad, and some downright depressing. The good thing is, I don’t get paid much to write here, so it stays fun most of the time.
Here are a few posts from the past few years that might give you a slightly better idea of how I spend my time.