Making my way downtown.

wpid-20150319_101648.jpgSo, I moved to downtown Birmingham in mid-March. I love it! I have a small, one-bedroom loft with exposed brick and 80 foot ceilings (not really 80 feet). I’m close to the highway I take to work. There are convenient ramps to get on and off. I wish there were more food options, but that’s a work in progress.

It is the closest to my dream living situation. A downtown loft has been a goal of mine for years. There’s just one catch.

IT IS NOISY.

wpid-20150405_000850.jpgI know what you’re thinking. “Michael, you live downtown. It’s not the suburbs. It’s loud down there.” You’re right, but this noise is on a whole different level than what I’ve experienced. First, I have thin windows. I’ve already called the landlord to see what can be done as far as sealing and caulking. Right now, I have no couch and no rugs. I know those will help and I’m working on getting some. Also, to the people who ride their crotch rocket motorcycles through downtown? You are not cool. Those things sound hideous and damn near knock things off the wall in my place. Please, take your overgrown children’s toy and go play somewhere else.

Outside of boarding up the windows, what else can I do? I’m calling on the hive mind! Have you lived in a noisy place? What did you do to keep some of the noise out? I know I’ll never eliminate all of the noise. That’s not what I’m looking for. I just want to cut it down a bit. At this point, it’s hard to watch TV in my living room without having to turn it up so loud that when the traffic dies down, I feel like a crazy person.

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Out of Winter

Oh, hello there!
The last couple months have flown by. Lots of stuff to update on The List, new things at work and I’m moving! I’ll get to all of it in due time. For now, I’ll leave you with this snowy scene from my street this year.

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Welcome to the snowy South!

I met Oprah

wpid-20150118_191925.jpgI never really thought I’d say those words, much less be able to say I interviewed Oprah. That’s like meeting the President, only bigger in some aspects. She and some of the stars from the movie “Selma” were in Selma, AL, for a day long celebration of the movie on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend.

It was a really special day for that town. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the March to Montgomery that Dr. King led. The film’s director, producers (of which Oprah is one of) and a few celebrities came back to town. At the red carpet premiere, I had the chance to talk with John Legend, Common, David Oyelowo and Ms. Winfrey.

wpid-20150118_1926130.jpgEveryone has asked what it was like to meet Oprah. Well, it was loud and lasted about five minutes. Red carpets aren’t exactly exclusive. She was warm and gracious (everyone was, actually). She makes you feel very comfortable and relaxed. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. She’s an impeccable dresser (obviously). I always try to repeat in my head that celebrities are just people. It helps bring them down from the pedestal that society puts them on and makes interviewing them easier. At least, for me, it does. Oprah is an incredible person.

wpid-20150118_191311.jpgI only had two questions to ask (her handlers originally said just one), so I wanted them to be good. I asked her about the significance of being in Selma ahead of MLK Day. She said that Dr. King is smiling. She could feel his presence when they marched to the bridge earlier in the day. My second question related to her and the cast speaking to students at Selma High School. I wanted to know what she hoped to get out of the experience and from the film. Oprah’s response was, “That’s a great question. (pokes me in the chest) Great question.”

When Oprah tells you that you asked a great question…

A video posted by Michael Oder (@tvsmichaeloder) on Jan 18, 2015 at 11:13pm PST

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When Oprah Winfrey, a woman who has interviewed everyone under the sun, says you asked a great question, there’s no greater feeling. She could have said that to every reporter on that carpet that night. It still doesn’t take away that she said it to me, too.

It helped that I had all day to think of what I would ask, too.

Interview a celebrity.

I actually interviewed four! Didn’t expect to mark that one off the #101in1001 list so quickly!

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Here it is! The List 3.0

Time to kick this into high gear!

I’m putting the list up and starting the clock. The list is active today, January 5, 2015 and will expire on October 2, 2017. Again, 1001 days is just less than three years. My intention is to get 41 of the goals accomplished by the end of the 1001 days. On previous list, I’ve only been about to get about 25 checked off. That changes today!

There is a lot of travel in this list. I’m in a unique part of the country that puts a lot of great sites within “weekend road trip” distance. I want to take advantage of that while I’m here. I’ve cut the financial section down to goals I think I can manage. The ultimate goal is to be debt free (credit cards, bills) and start saving. I’ve also included an “extra” section at the end where I’m going to add goals as I go along. I tried to be as specific as possible with the 101 in the list, but there may be others that pop up and I want to be sure they get logged.

Please, check out the list after the jump and tell me what you goals you are setting this year!

Continue reading Here it is! The List 3.0

The List 3.0 is Complete!

wpid-2015-01-03-14.54.49.jpg.jpegIt’s done!

I finished my next set of goals! This is the third time I’m trying the “101 in 1001” format. It’s a manageable number and decent amount of time to get goals accomplished. Each time I cross more of the list. My friend Jessica and I started this back in college. Sadly, there are a few goals from the first list that keep getting dragged into a new list.

Now that the third version is done, I’m going to take a few days and edit it down. There are some extra goals just outside the 101 that I think I can squeeze in. There are a few goals that have been dragged up from the first list that I should just let go (like learning to play the guitar).

My last list only saw 25 goals get accomplished. I need to raise that number. There are a couple of goals on the third list that can be easily crossed off once I start. It’s good to have a couple of ringers on there to get the moment going.

Each time I make a list, I try to make goals that are constructive. A lot of the financial goals in the past haven’t been fulfilled. I’m trying to keep the goals small and doable. Instead of saying I’m going to “Get in better shape,” I’ll make a goal of “Going to the gym once a week” or “Meet with a personal trainer.”

A lot of the goals are very “New Year’s Resolution-y.” By not tying them down to this year, I’m hoping to get a lot more accomplished. I hope to have The List 3.0 up soon!

What goals are you setting for yourself? Are the resolutions for the new year or for a new life?

Thanksgiving in Nola

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New Orleans is almost the halfway point between Houston and Birmingham. That means I’ll probably spend a lot more time there than I ever have before! My best friend Josh and his family drove over after Thanksgiving and I drove down to┬ámet them. Josh and I have been to New Orleans many times: my brother’s 21st birthday, his bachelor party, St. Patrick’s Day. There’s always something to do in New Orleans.

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This trip, we went to the Mardi Gras float factory. It was pretty awesome! They make all the floats, store them and do work for theme parks and hotels. The company also does the Chick-fil-A cows. They didn’t have any cows when we were there (bummer), but the scale of things they did have was amazing.

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Most of the creations are Styrofoam sheets glued together and sculpted by hand. Then they cover them in paper mache and paint!

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It was really great getting to see Josh, Breanne and his mom, dad and brother. I couldn’t get all the way back home for Thanksgiving, so it was great to spend some time with people I consider family.