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 [email protected].

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. Of course, I do still enjoy playing every now and then. Poker is an addictive game, it’s so fun to play. I have found myself playing a lot more online poker recently too. Online casinos are a lot easier, especially if you just want a quick game. I remember my friends telling me about online casinos. They were on the subject of online casinos in Germany (or zum Thema Online Casinos in Deutschland), when one of them mentioned that you could play online. From there, we have all enjoyed playing poker, and other casino games, on our computers and phones. However, I have focused my efforts in other areas recently. 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.

Like what?

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.

The Steve Earle Guitar

Otis and the Magic Door

The Swiss Cheese Incident

True Romance


Mr A. in the Big A

Wrinkled in Europe

Stuck in Monte Carlo

A night at Jimmyz

Walking in Deauville

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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9 Responses

  1. Otis, I’d like to continue to refer to you as Fescue Man, as well as some other names if you don’t mind.

  2. The two guy’s in the picture at registration last Saturday, look pretty “niche-y” too.

    It’s on it’s way via Bam-Mail.

  3. Otis, my dear, you at least can hear your inner voice well, and let us hear it too.

    I’m busy at work today (unlike you and your creativity, my niche is pounding it hard in corporate America), but I fully intend to read all your links here – you are satisfying to the intellectual mind.

    And adorable, if I may say so.

    The Wife

  4. Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Hey, I linked you before they did. I’ve been lurking for a while. And I agree, you’re a worthy choice for the spotlight.


  5. Anonymous Anonymous says:

    You know what would be an AWESOME niche?

    More stories about this G-Rob character, he sounds fascinating!

  6. I do wish we could have talked more. Next time I will make it a point to spend some time with you and Blood (though I did get to talk to Blood for a bit). It will probably have to wait for next year but I’m honored (ghey sounding, I know, but true) to have you as a regular reader, even if you were a TV journalist at one point ;). I really do enjoy your writing.

  7. So you’re dealt 9966KTJ (no flush) at the IP and the dealer is from Korea named Joo.

    You have $425 in your stack, its about 4am and the dealer has Pai Gow’d once in the last hour causing some irritation that the roulette table is having more fun.

    What’s your play?

  8. Better than a 101 anytime.