Crossing Off the List

Since January is a good time to get a fresh start I went ahead and looked over my 101 list. Turns out, I have a few more things to cross off!

#11 – Graduate from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

This took a lot longer than I should have allowed it to. Technically I graduated from Sam Houston State University in August 7,  2010, a full year and a half after leaving the university. My fault completely for taking so long. I am now an official college graduate.

#21 – Sing more often.

As anyone who works with me can attest to, I sing nearly everything. Pop music, classic rock, oldies, songs about what I’m doing in the style of popular songs, songs about stories I’m working on. I sing. A lot. I think it drives my co-workers crazy sometimes, but it makes me happy.

#43 – Talk to my brother once a week.

I live with him. Problem solved.

#59 – Take a vested interest in my local, state, and federal government’s decisions.

Working for a small(ish) town television station is the best way, I think, to stay plugged in to local politics. I’ve ready, listened, and written more about small town government than any other time in my life. And it’s just as annoying as reading about it in the newspaper, hearing it on the radio or watching it on TV.

#81 – Hold a conversation with a friend or family member over Skype.

I’ve had a few conversations over Skype. Not nearly as many as I think the year 2010 (or 2011) should require me to. It’s the future, people! Get with video chat!

#93 – Make the switch to boxer-briefs.

Pretty self explanatory. If you need further information, buy me dinner?

I’m going to start looking at my next set of 101 goals. I feel like I have things left to accomplish. Not only from this list, but things off the list as well. I still have 7 or so months left to work on this list before the clock runs out.

Plinky Post – A Boot, Royalty and the Land Down Under

These are just three of the many places I’d like to visit in my life.

(PS- Doesn’t it look like this Koala Bear is saying,” Whoa! Nearly Fell!” OR “AH!! RUSSELL CROWE!)

Koala Portrait
I’d love to visit Italy again. It’s a beautiful country, both geographically and population-wise.

I want to visit Great Britain. Tour London, see the palaces and visit a legit pub.

Finally, I’d like to visit Australia. I want to see the Great Barrier Reef and hold a Koala. I’m a man of simple pleasures.

Work Thoughts: A Surprise in Madisonville

This was the story I covered on Monday, December 20th. It was an honor to be a part of something so special for a family in Madisonville. In television news, we sometimes miss the small things that have the biggest impact on people.

At the heart of most journalists, in my opinion, is the ability to see the people through the story. I can get caught up on the smallest, insignificant detail sometimes and miss the heart of a story. My goal is to try and see the forest and the trees.

(The following is the article I wrote. I’ve disabled comments on the blog. If you want to leave your thoughts, I would ask that you visit this story at and leave your comments there.)

Madisonville Family Receives Christmas Surprise
by Michael Oder
function displayVideoHelp(){var videohelppage =‘’, ‘CONTENT’);}function playVideoClip () {displayVideoHelp();} function playVideoClips () {displayVideoHelp();} function checkLaunchVideo() (If you would like to watch the video, click here.)

They say it’s the season for giving and we’ve certainly seen it in action this month.

But when one mother in Madisonville received a life changing diagnosis, her family stood by her side. Now the entire community of Madisonville is standing with them.

If you would like to help out the Roundtree family, please visit this site setup for them.

When 31 year-old Roxanne Russell Roundtree and her family arrived at the Kimbro center Madisonville, they knew it was a special day.

They didn’t know how special.

“We work with our local branches to identify a family or organization that may not be as blessed as we are,” says Steven Boyd, CEO of Guardian Healthcare.

“This is a way for us to give back to that local community.”

Roxanne worked as a nurse for Guardian Healthcare for about a year. In 2008, she was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS. The caregiver was now in need of care.

“Now, to have the tables turned it’s hard,” says Don Roundtree, Roxanne’s husband.

“We were together when she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and it was a hard process,” remembers Sara Hudson. She worked with Roxanne.

“You have to admit your mortality. And Don has had to quit his job and he his a full time caregiver. He goes above and beyond 24-7.”

Each year, around the holidays, Guardian Healthcare adopts one family. The employees at Guardian went with one they’ve shared the struggles with.

“It has been overwhelming the pouring out of support from the community,” says Crystal Callaham, the Madisonville Branch Manager of Guardian Healthcare.

During the ceremony, Boyd explained that the Madisonville community raised over $14,000. Guardian Healthcare matched that, dollar-for-dollar.

Roxanne Roundtree’s life is different now, as she battles ALS, but what she might not know is, so is everyone else’s.

“She’s full of energy,” says Callaham.

Just for the chance to meet a woman who cares deeply and gives everything she can.

“I had some patients call her an angel,” says Don.

Her community is happy they can give something back.

The amount of money they raised surprised everyone. Friends say the support for Roxanne, Don and her three young sons spread like wildfire over social networks like Facebook.

Plinky Post

(Bringing this back. Will try to post at least one each week.)

202/365 – Laugh
It might not be the wackiest, but this piece of advice has stuck with me.


Out loud. In the car. In class. At the gym. At work. Everywhere. Find the joy in life.

The corrolary as well; cry.

Don’t be ashamed to cry. It’s healthy and you feel better.

Work Thoughts: Animals Seized in Grimes County

Worked an interesting story today over in Carlos (Grimes County, TX).

A woman there breeds and sells miniature horses and dogs on her small ranch. Things got overwhelming for her, and she ended up with over 200 animals. Wednesday morning, Grimes County Sheriff’s Officers and the Houston SPCA entered the property and took 105 horses and 40 dogs. They left her with 20 horses and 40 dogs. 30 horses were given to neighbors.

It was a voluntary surrender, so she’s not facing any charges right now. That could change. The animals that were taken are undergoing a full medical check up. When the Sheriff’s and SPCA finish they’re investigation, it will be the District Attorney’s decision whether or not to charge her with animal cruelty.

I’ve never understood animal cruelty. While this case is simply a woman living beyond her means, I still do not get it. Perhaps she tried every mean she could to sell or give away the animals, but couldn’t. At some point she had to realize that she couldn’t support all the animals. Here’s the clincher: it was an anonymous tip that sent Sheriff’s officers to the ranch to begin with. That’s how this all started.

What if that person hadn’t called in? I imagine this story would have been much more tragic and my day a lot longer than it was.

Animals cannot cry out for help or food when they are kept in a pen. I learned an interesting fact from the SPCA investigator today. Horses, unlike other animals, do not loose body mass quickly. If a horse, miniature or not, has ribs showing, that’s because it’s malnourished. And that takes a long, long time to happen.

Here’s the link to the story on the KBTX-TV website. 

I’ve disabled comments on this post and ask that you leave them on under the article on the website.

Bark in the Park 2010

My very talented and extremely hard-working friend Krystle asked me to help out this year with Bark in the Park. She works for the Brazos Animal Shelter and this event helps to raise awareness of some important issues in the Brazos Valley pet community.

 All animals up for adoption.

There was an absolute fantastic turn out! As a dog guy, I had a blast. Some many awesome animals and owners showed up.

 So many well-behaved dogs.

My job was to make announcements, something Krystle knew I was good at. She and I have worked together on events like this since our days at Sam Houston State. The demonstrations were cool. There was an agility course, Bryan PD showed up with their dogs, and the Search Dog Network impressed us with their volunteers.

 Bryan PD officer and Kahn.
Please look around my awesome photo taking skills.

The Brazos Valley is home to some amazing organizations that help each other. I’m glad I was able to help out in my own small way.