Each week Hair Balls interviews other area e-writers to explore what they're writing about, why they write about it and why you should read what they write about.
This week it's Greg Wythe of Greg's Opinion. His blog covers a healthy dose of political opinion, high-school sports updates and funny videos. We found this mix of serious and kooky is a reflection of Wythe's dry sense of humor. On the two photos he sent to be used with this write-up he says, "I'm partial to Shamu, but feel free to select whichever works best for the format."
Name: Greg Wythe
Typical Topics: Politics and sports with an emphasis on high school football
Day Job: A mix of political consulting and working on communications ... for a variety of different clients, everything from like web to writing to whatever.
Hair Balls: How did Greg's Opinion enter the blogosphere?
Greg Wythe: Initially, like every good blog, it started as something other than what it is now. I started off actually doing a weekly review of Rocky Horror Picture Show productions.
HB: [Laughs.] That's how it started?
GW: That's the start, the inauspicious start, right there.
HB: Were your readers disappointed with the change?
GW: The performers at the show were very happy I think. [Laughs.] But every political person in town and the Houston Chronicle writers were very disappointed to see that, over time anyway.
HB: How and why did that change come?
GW: I'd always been politically active in some regard or another. It was just kind of a point in time when I was looking at a way to get a little more involved while still doing a traditional day job. Writing about it was sort of the only outlet possible, so it sort of went from there. But I'd been involved in politics from a volunteer basis from really on my own from the late '80s on.
HB: Any chance there will be a Rocky Horror-meets-politics musical?
GW: I hope not. I would retire from everything right then.
HB: You have to create it, Greg.
GW: No, I wouldn't want to do that. For the love of mankind, I will never do that.
HB: Has there ever been a memorable or favorite post?
GW: I don't know if we've ever necessarily broken anything, at least not intentionally, other than feelings. I think probably one of the more meaningful is for this concept of candidates challenging every race rather than kind of picking and choosing the ones that you win. In 2006, it wasn't necessarily something I or others really started as much as we just kept saying it over and over and over again. I think there was a pent up mood by 2006 that maybe we should challenge these guys and see what happens and lo and behold some of them won.
HB: And by "these guys" you mean guys who usually run?
GW: Yeah, just kind of run a candidate in every race, rather than not worry about the one running a democrat in West Harris County, for instance. Nobody would ever do that before. In 2006, you had a State Rep candidate that did that - didn't win, but you at least keep people home rather than helping out other endangered incumbents. Sort of like, fighting on all fronts basically.
HB: And that's what you used your blog for?
GW: Yeah, it was kind of an idea that me, Kuff [Charles Kuffner] and a handful of others around the state just sort of kept harping, probably after the 2004 elections.
HB:What is your relationship like with your readers and commenters?
GW: All over the map, probably. I think my blog, in particular, and maybe it's just me but it seems like I get people who are little bit more willing to argue with me because I'm willing to engage in them a little bit - which is kind of fun and a little bit boring. It depends on the day.
HB: Has that every turned into any memorable goofs?
GW: No, mine I tend to black out. You'll always have disagreements over time. To my way of thinking, it's always best to talk those out rather then just sort of let them linger. The odd thing on mine is that a lot of the people who argue with me are people of my own political party.
HB: And why did you move to this mix of politics, high school football and ...
GW: And weird `80s metal videos?
HB: [Laughs.] Exactly.
GW: All of it is just an outgrowth of stuff that I'm interested in, which probably defines why that blog is so weird.
HB: Do you ever worry the seriousness of some posts is lost in the weird posts?
GW: It's a risk I take. I'd rather just be known as being me rather than pretend I'm some serious guy 100 percent of the time. It's always easier just to be me.
HB: Have there been lessons learned from blogging?
GW: Yeah, like just the simple fact of writing your own opinion over time. You can't really escape your past. The Internet never goes away. Stuff that you say in 2002, whether you still agree with it or not or whether it was childish or the most mature thing you've ever said in your life, it's still there. Unless you want to try and sweep everything under the rug, which is a lot of work.
HB: Rocky Horror Picture Show reviews don't go away.
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HB: Where does the interest in high school football come from?
GW: It's taken off the last few years since my high school [Euless Trinity] started winning State Championships. There's a little bit of a thrill in being able to, Number 1, see your old school win two big championships like that and also there's video everywhere so now I can see highlights of the big games. Even as far back as 2002 when there were good teams, all you had was a newspaper report and that's about it. Now, you have a newspaper report, video, couple a different blog posts about it and a Web site dedicated to the booster club - so, there's all sorts of information. It's just a little bit easier to be a long-distance fan.
HB: Your favorite blogs?
GW: I tend to read Kuff [www.offthekuff.com] just about the first thing everyday. I also tend to be a hard-news guy. ... And then I'll go through a whole lot of national blogs like Andrew Sullivan, Josh Marshall to see what's risen to the top that maybe I missed from five different newspapers. So, that's my day.
HB: When do you usually blog?
GW: Usually it's whenever I've got a down hour at the office when nothing is like crushing to get done. For me it's just been really sporadic for me. I wish I could say that I did everything at 5 o'clock in the morning, but I'm not sure I want to recognize there is a 5 o'clock in the morning.
-- Dusti Rhodes