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Road Noise - Life one mile at a time with business owner, author, and professional artist, Michael Blackston

A life journal podcast from the viewpoint of a Christian husband, father, author, professional artist, and business owner. Topics range from opinions about every day family value issues and spirituality to helpful tactics that help make life easier and beyond. Michael is a southern story teller and cherishes the opportunity to help others through their struggles by sharing his own experiences. You're invited to come on along and join him in learning to live life one mile at a time.
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Jun 19, 2017

The next stop of my career took me to Charlotte, NC and Carowinds Theme Park where I was to be an entertainer (singer) in the country show. This episode will take you from auditions to the end of that time with some interesting life lessons along the way.

Jun 12, 2017

This first episode in a series telling stories from the begining of my working career all the way through to where I am now begins when i was sixteen and I had to get my first job to pay for the insurance on the truck my mom and step-dad got me. I was a bag boy at a Bi-Lo grocery store. I was no ordinary bag boy. I cleaned the restrooms like a boss, fell in love with a cashier, and made a name for myself as an entertainer. I didn't always get along with my bosses, but lessons in life and business aren't always easy or fun. This week's STD Review: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Jun 6, 2017

I talk about my late start releasing this episode, Guys And Dolls, My Ebook, and my YouTube channel ... all on my way to Tennessee to collect money that is owed to me.

May 29, 2017

A nostalgic look back to the skating rink scene of the 1980s; The weekly question to ponder; Listener feedback; and the Stuff To Do Review

May 22, 2017

I’m attempting to live by a certain dietary plan called the Ketogenic Diet. I hate using that term though, because it sounds like a fad diet and it’s not. It’s a way of healthy eating that utilizes your body’s chemistry to its full potential, eliminating unnecessary carbs and sugars.

To explain it in full detail, here is a link to a website full of information at Authority Nutrition.

I have not adopted it fully, although I’m trying to. I love carbs and sugar so much that I keep falling off the wagon. But the key is to get back on and try again, so that’s what I plan to do.

In my business, I hired a young artist to help me with layout drawings so that I could spend more time with my family. I was having to use my weekends to draw layouts for customers instead of spending those moments with my wife and children. This new artist has been a blessing and I’m grateful to have her doing work for me.

I had a little bit of separation anxiety after being away from my four year old daughter so much. With my wife on a crutch and seriously immobilized, chasing and caring for a child my daughter’s age is nearly impossible, so she’s been staying with my mom a lot.

THE STUFF TO DO REVIEW:

Guardians Of The Galaxy (Vol. 2). This is a sequel that is as good as or surpasses the original film. It stars Chris Pratt as Star Lord and hosts several other big names in supporting roles including, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Deisel (as Groot), and Bradley Cooper (as Rocket Raccoon). It’s a Marvel Studios film that originally never was expected to become the phenomenon that it has. I loved the first one and my son and I can’t decide if we like this one just as more or maybe even a little more.

Question To Ponder:

If you could go back in time and do one thing differently, what would it be?

If you would like to answer this or any week’s question or would like to contact me for any reason at all, get in touch at:

feedback@michaelblackston.com.

I’d love your review on iTunes. You can get there by visiting the website at:

www.roadnoisepodcast.com

May 15, 2017

My wife had surgery on her Achilles tendon and for the last few weeks plus a few to come, I’ve had to practically be her servant. It’s shown me there is a lot of humility that goes along with being a husband and father when your better half is unable to do much moving and I have to say that while it has been a challenge, I’m glad that I get to be the one to care for her.

Also, there is the bit of information that we have decided to attempt to go to Disney World every single year. Maybe we’ll tire of it eventually and maybe not, but that’s the plan right now. I’ve calculated that to achieve our plan for a trip in February of 2018, we’ll need to put away around $100 per week, so instead of taking it out of the regular budget, I’ve decided that the majority of that money will be earned by way of extra activities such as selling prints of my art, commissioning original works, and doing arts and crafts shows on the weekends.

And I’ve included some original music in the episode that I hope you’ll enjoy.

Stuff To Do Review:

iWalk 2.0

This week's question to ponder:

What would you seriously like to be doing 5 years from now?

May 8, 2017

If you are a long time listener to the show, you know I’ve had some ups and downs as far as whether to keep it going or not. Somewhere around episodes in the 20s range, I set an ultimatum for listener contact, but then decided I was being childish and continued all the way through episode 68. Then I killed the show. I was tired, I was burned out (“burnt”, as we say in the south), and I decided it was time to end it. After all, I was developing a couple of other shows, too, and figured they might garner more listeners.

But then I spent a couple of months without the Road Noise Podcast and realized something I should have figured out earlier on: I just love doing it, whether or not 10 people listen, or 2000. I realized also, that the solution to the burn out was several things, but mainly that it was okay to take a break from it from time to time – a hiatus, if you will – and recharge my batteries. If you listen to past episodes, that’s a theme that is mentioned more than once, but I failed to take my own advice.

I also realized that I was over-complicating things. The original idea for the show was for it to be a life journal podcast; something to leave for my future generations, but for you to enjoy if you like being invited into other people’s real lives. Sadly, I fell into the trap so many content creators do and listened to others who said there was a certain way to do it to be taken seriously, which caused me to change the format from something I enjoyed and felt “honest”, to trying to be the counselor for everything my listeners were going through. I thought that would bring more listeners.

Now, I understand that to be true to the listener and myself, is to go back to the way I planned to do it all along. It may not be as inviting to someone looking for quick fixes to a certain problem or to those looking to learn more about starting a business, etc. However, the people it WILL entice are those who just need a friend to go on a road trip with; someone who is willing to do all the talking in order to let you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride while getting to know a stranger. And it’s about building that relationship. I forgot that. I got frustrated when you didn’t write in and contribute to the conversation when that was supposed to be the idea all along.

You’re still invited to join in and I encourage it. But if you just want to listen and sit silently in the passenger seat beside me, you’re welcome to do so.

I’m going to tell you what’s going on with me and some things I’ve learned from those experiences that maybe you can parlay into your own world. That’s how we will, together, learn to live one mile at a time.

A couple of new segments in the show will be:

The Stuff To Do Review – No more only positive reviews because really, life isn’t all roses and there are things I want to warn you about. I just love you that much.

The Question For Discussion – A new question in every episode for you to ponder. You’re invite to contact me with your thoughts and I’ll discuss it on the show. There’s no deadline to answer. I’ll discuss them as they come in, so if you’re listening to an older episode, just reference the episode number when you send in your response.

The Stuff To Do Review:

There are two. One good, one bad, and they’re both movies.

La La Land. (Emma Stone / Ryan Gosling) The musical story of two people trying to live out their dreams in Hollywood, but running into real life – and each other – instead. I absolutely LOVED this film. It has become my number one favorite of all time and I’ve watched it in its entirety on several occasions. Watson and Gosling have amazing chemistry and you fall in love with them as they fall in love with each other.

The Circle. (Emma Watson / Tom Hanks) A young, brilliant woman finds herself employed by the biggest social media giant in the world. It seems to be a Eutopia at first, but soon, when the privacy line is crossed, events escalate into tragedy and eye opening discoveries. This could have been a fun film, but it was poorly written, plotted, and acted at times. The ending was the most anticlimactic I’ve ever experienced and left both me and my wife looking at each other confused and disappointed. Emma Watson was good, but her character was written in a very unlikable way. I was surprised Tom Hanks, with his cinematic background, agreed to do the film at all.

Want to email me? Easy. It's feedback@michaelblackston.com

Want to call me? Easy. It's 706-408-7456

Or just leave something in the comments section here.

My iTunes link is is just a click away and I'd LOVE a review from you. Just click here: Road Noise iTunes page

Sticher? Right here. Road Noise Stitcher page

iHeart Radio? Uh huh. Road Noise iHeart Radio page

PlayerFM? Yep. Road Noise PlayerFM page

 

 

Jan 20, 2017
It's Okay To Ask For Help - RN 067

We don’t always like to ask for help when we need it and I’m no exception. You can name any number of reasons, but it usually boils down to one thing and one thing only – stubbornness.

For someone like me, a person who tends more toward the creative side of things instead of analytical, it can be doubly problematic because I have a visual in my head that represents exactly what the end game should look like. And because I trust very few people to be able to bring about my vision the way I’d like it, I end up just doing everything myself.

In some cases, it’s just not possible to handle everything alone, such as when putting up a set for a live performance. I like BIG. I like FLASHY, I like DETAIL. There’s just not enough time in the day to accomplish my goals and also handle my responsibilities on the job or at home. So in these cases, I have a crew to help. Unfortunately, I can’t keep my hands out of their business and I do mental (and sometimes physical) harm to myself by trying to be involved with everything.

This happened when I was doing a set for a musical revue my wife and I were directing. I designed a platform with a series of levels that had to be both large and structurally sound. Because I prefer to build sets in the wee hours of the night when there is less “world” to compete with, I found myself building this set piece alone, supporting major platform sections by balancing them on my back and stretching my arms to secure them in place with the screws. The result was fantastic and I couldn’t wait to get the pats on my sore back that I assumed I would receive. Instead, I got berated for doing it alone and they were right. It was dangerous and I was lucky nothing bad happened. It wasn’t until much later, doing work on another prop for another play that I paid a price that would finally persuade me to get help when it’s needed.

Stupidity and physical pain have been a constant in my journey in learning to accept help.

Several years ago, I was asked by my Grandmother to retrieve a riding lawn mower from someone who she had loaned it to. They had moved and left the mower, so Grandma wanted it back and she warned me to get help putting it up on the truck. Did I listen? Nooooooo. I felt like I was man enough to do it alone and two days after the failed attempt, I found myself in the middle of the living room floor, writhing like a snake that has been run over in the road. It took months to recover. But did I learn my lesson? Nooooooo.

My eureka moment came from being pinned under a piano.

Bye Bye Birdie is one of my favorite stage shows. We were directing it and I wanted a great prop piano for the first scene. There was an ancient, tall, upright Steinway in the pit that was unusable and the management had mentioned that they’d like it removed, but couldn’t figure out how. I offered to take it apart and rebuild it, minus the heavy soundboard, onstage so that there would be a fantastic prop piano for future use. The idea was met with much glee and merriment. In my mind, I could hear the powers that be singing, “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” in party hats in my honor and I was eager to get started. The instrument needed to be on its back to start the work and two members of the cast, strong men of valor, agreed to help me lay it down. But when the day came to do it, my help, both of them, had to cancel. It wasn’t their fault, but I wanted to get to work, and so I decided I could do it myself.

I tested the weight and felt confident that I could make it happen, even if I had to let it drop to the concrete at some point. As I lowered it, I got it about a foot above the floor and realized it was going to either be me or the piano.

I dropped it.

On my two big toes.

The pain was intense and I was certain the toes were crushed. After managing to shimmy my feet from under the weight of the piano, I found my toes to be intact, but black and blue and I decided right then to ask for help, receive the help, and wait for it to get there before I tried anything so stupid again.

I think there are questions we need to ask in the event we’re confused about whether or not we should be asking for help. They are as follows:

Is there an offer of help on the table?

Is there the potential of harm if I go it alone?

Is help available to ask for?

Can the project actually wait until help arrives?

Will you or others benefit from the experience?

How much time, your most valuable resource, will it save to get help?

How much will having help ease your stress?

The answers to these questions will aid you in your decision and I’d venture to say that nine times out of ten, if you had to ask them at all, your conclusion will be that you do, indeed, require help.

___________________________________________________

My Patreon page has launched now if you fell you’d like to help me pay the bills that come with doing this show. Go to PATREON.COM and search for Road Noise Podcast.

This week’s Positive Review:

Auphonic.com

Jan 13, 2017
Health Journey 2017 - RN 066

My doctor told me that for my frame and height, I needed to be weighing in at around 160 lbs. At this writing, I'm 30 lbs over that, so I've decided to make some lasting changes in my life in regards to my health.

There are plenty of sound reasons for getting healthy, and so I've developed the following list of changes as a plan to get down to 160 lbs by May 1, 2017.

I will:

Seriously, (but not completely) lower my intake of carbohydrates

Cut as much sugar as possible

Drink primarily water (occasionally seasoned with sugar-free flavoring)

Allow a "cheat" day on Sundays

Eat plenty of proteins

Consume the proper amount of fruits and veggies (supplemented by low sodium V8 twice a day)

Cut out salt as much as possible

Pray for God's guidance and strength

Incorporate daily exercise

Say "NO" to cravings

Hold myself accountable to others

____________________________________

In attempting to create the best environment for sound in my hotel room, I devised this setup to counteract any echoes, using the furniture around me and the bed spread. I thought it was funny and so did a bunch of people on a Facebook podcasting group I'm a member of. I promised to show my sound dampening creativity, so here it is fror you to enjoy:

Impromtu sound dampening for the hotel room

This week's Positive Review: Muscle Milk protein drink

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Jan 6, 2017
Coincidence? I Think Not. RN 065

I believe everyone has experiences in their lives that could either be viewed as coincidental or acts of fate. I like to think that certain of these experiences are more like Divine Appointments and here I tell a couple of those stories.

My wife and I had a couple of “near misses” before we met each other that might seem like simply coincidence and they probably were. We were in NYC on the same day as teens and saw the same production of Phantom Of The Opera ON THE SAME NIGHT. Yeah, I suppose those are easily enough passed off as coincidence, but after a gift we recently received with an astounding bit of detail, (A framed collage of items from that very same tour of Phantom, including ticket stubs from the same week Kayla and I were there) from dear friends who knew nothing of the story, we had to scratch our heads.

Then there was the answered prayer in the middle of the night on the darkest country road EVER. A silent angel appeared at the perfect moment and got me out of a jam in the most inexplicable way.

I know there are stories out there that people could share and I want to hear yours. Email me your COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT story or call it in to the voicemail line:

feedback@michaelblackston.com or 706-408-7456

This week’s Positive Review:

CoolMaterial.com

Jan 1, 2017
My 2016 Year In Review - RN 064

It's 2017 and looking back on the past year, my life has had both blessings and bumps in the road. Here is my look at 2016 in review:

 Highlights:

Finished my comedy play, Friends Like You

Wrote the first draft of a novel, Mr. Long Said Nothing

Played Gomez in The Addams Family musical

Went to Disney World with my family

Went to (and fell in love with) Savannah and Tybee Island with Kayla

Bought a new keyboard and digital studio

Made strides in my battle with pornography

Got a little farther out of debt

 Hard pills to swallow:

Mom was diagnosed with cancer

My skin cancer treatments

Bad tooth extraction experience

The Buick gave out

My high blood pressure diagnosis

 

My plans for 2017:

Get 1 to 2 ebooks ready for market

Finish the final draft of dialogue and lyrics for The Right Song

Launch the Everything Arts podcast

Set up a studio and rebrand my business to Everything Arts

 

This week’s Positive Review:

Shure SM58 microphone

Dec 30, 2016

Not an episode, but just a quick word to let you know that episode 64 will be coming shortly after Jan. 1.

Dec 23, 2016
It's All About Jesus - RN 063

It’s my favorite time of the year – Christmas! I believe in the Christ child and what His birth meant for our world, so I wanted to give Him the credit he deserves and hopefully deliver a topic that’s fit for a King.

In my home growing up, it was a tradition to read Luke 2:1-14 aloud on Christmas Eve and I’ve continued that in my own household. It’s always been one of my very favorite passages from the bible.

The bible contains several prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled at His birth:

Promised through the seed of Abraham

Promised through Isaac

He would come from the tribe of Judah

Born in the family of Jesse

Born from the house of King David

Born in Bethlehem

Born of a virgin

Worshipped and presented gifts by kings

Worshipped by shepherds

His birth would cause weeping (Herod called for the killing of boys 2 and under)

He would have to flee to Egypt for a time

He would be called Lord

Here are some of my favorite things about Christmas:

The beautiful lights

Egg nog

Red and green peanut M&Ms

Christmas music

Family gatherings

Giving gifts to others

In this season of love, let’s not forget that there are so many who aren’t as fortunate as others and may need that extra care and support to make it through. That may come in the form of financial help, food, warmth, or even just your company. The overall message of the season is LOVE. So let’s spread it all around.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 16, 2016
My Christmas Wish List - RN 062

With Christmas almost here, I thought I’d think about the things that I might ask Santa for that pertain to the Road Noise Podcast. So I imagined what I would say if I were sitting on his lap feeding him a list of demands.

            “Santa, I know this is awkward having a man in his forties sitting on your lap, but bear with me, if you will, and ignore the screaming children waiting in line. Here are the things I’d like you to bring for the podcast this Christmas:”

To find a way to continue the show without killing the small budget I have for podcasting. I have the Everything Arts podcast on the way, and since that one will be part of my business, I need to put budgetary monies in that arena.

To know that this content is valuable to my listeners. That, Santa, would probably best come in the form of more feedback and communication in the new year.

To get to know my listeners. I want to have relationships that are meaningful as we learn to live life one mile at a time.

To hear their voices. Hopefully, they would consider calling the hotline at 706-408-7456.

To hear and share their stories. I think you would agree, Santa baby, that everyone has a story to tell and I believe sharing those on the podcast would add great value to the show.

To find out what my listeners want to hear from me. It’s not easy coming up with new topics and knowing what they’d actually enjoy hearing would be so helpful.

To make a difference in the lives of my listeners. I want the content of this podcast to continue making its mark in their everyday lives in a positive way.

That’s not too much to ask a giant elf like you, is it Santa?

This week’s Positive Review: The Oreo cookie

Dec 9, 2016
Can You Hear God When He Speaks? - RN 061

In previous episodes, I have used the word DICHOTOMY completely wrong. I was thinking it meant the essence of a situation. The real definition is something like:

DICHOTOMY: A contrast between two things that are opposed or entirely different.

I like to own my mistakes, so consider that one owned.

Can we actually hear God when He speaks to us? I think so, just maybe not as audibly as they could hear Him back in bible times. Adam and Eve physically walked with God in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man. Noah was told to build a really big boat for a forthcoming really big flood. Moses audibly spoke with God many times, including once in the form of the burning bush. But Christianity teaches that Christ changed all that when he became the intercessor between us and God.

That doesn’t mean God never speaks to us, though. There are many stories of miraculous meetups with God, including recent reports from the Muslim community of visions and dreams of the Christ (Jesus) bearing witness to them that He is the Son of God.

I even have my own testimony. There have been several times when I heard God “in my head” and thought I was just hearing my own thoughts. (The full testimonies are in the audio version of this episode). Once I realized it was God talking to me, it changed my life.

So what do you do if you are convinced God is actually trying to get a message across? Three things:

  • 1 Pray for assurance that what you’re being told is divine and of God
  • 2 Don’t ignore Him
  • 3 Act on His guiding

If you have something to add to the conversation of this episode, please get in touch:

706-408-7456 or email me: feedback@michaelblackston.com

This week’s Positive Review: The FILMIC PRO app for mobile devices

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