Sound & Color

The most remarkable thing about the Alabama Shakes’ new release, Sound & Color, is how savagely it bests its predecessor, the band’s post-EP debut Boys & Girls.

Who could imagine that this band could dig deeper? That they could exhibit more aplomb in musicianship? That they could draw upon more musical influences? Who could imagine that Brittany Howard could be more compelling a vocalist? Who could dream of what this band would sound like once it discovers multi-tracking for her vocals? That their music could remind me of the Beatles? That their music could remind me of Prince? Who knew that their songwriting could be this much better?

Boys & Girls was in my mind a perfect album. But it is beat into the ground by Sound & Color. This is a sonic triumph.

Now, leave me be. I have some serious listening to do.

17 Days

They can train you for 17 days, they can teach you every system, every TLA in the book, I mean you would not believe what goes into delivering your dose of fresh clean entertainment to your home every day, the systems, from the central facility to the local office to the pedestal outside your house that you always wonder about as walk or jog past it, like, what is that thing for? guess what, it’s probably the thing that brings your cable service to your home, to the aerial wire to the NID to your receiver inside, you would not believe how far that signal travels and how many men and women it takes to get it there, it really is a thing to behold. But they can train you for 17 days, and even though the trainer is dogged and funny and delivers the material effectively, you simply cannot ever be ready for the first days, the first days, when there will be strangers on the phone desiring answers from you, and to deliver those answers you must be in a minimum of four computer tools, maybe more, and they are complicated freaking tools, and the fact is that despite 17 days of training, you do not actually know a darned thing, and you feel feeble-kneed, and you say “uhhhhh” a lot, and you know you’re not meeting the client’s quality metrics, or the time metrics, or the service metrics, or the metrics metrics.

When I’m pretending that I’m a coach, I’m always saying, drop a pin right here because I’m going to tell you something you’re going to need in the middle of that call, in the middle of that call where the person is overly-insistent, or angry, or difficult, get the pin you dropped because here’s what I said when you dropped it: That is the customer who’s going to improve you. That is your breakthrough guy, your light-bulb over yer head, your teachable moment. When you are sweating and squirming and saying “uhhhhh” a lot, that, my friends, is called “learning.” And when you’re done with that call, you will, involuntarily, put your hands in the air like Bruce Friggin’ Jenner, because that feels goooooooood.

I’m just saying. I had one of those today.

I know I’ve been a mess lately, a real big whining pain in the ass making noises like a wounded dog. Sorry about that. I haven’t faced a disappointment that arduous in several years. And circumstances surrounding these 17 days made it more so the bittersweet. But that I’m having moments like that at my job, that is a good sign. The agita is lessening and the clouds seem to be parting.

Brought To You by Corona

Hooray for NBC for embarking on a bold programming choice in broadcasting live boxing matches last evening and for several Saturdays to come via Premier Boxing Champions. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to sit with my Dad and watch boxing on regular ol’ network television, just like he used to do with his DOD.

As a sport, boxing is faltering. Because the only way to appreciate the sport is to cough up the ridiculous PPV fee. So I only know who Manny Pacquiao is. I had no idea who any of the fine boxers were they had on last night, but they were exceptional pugilists. Who knew there were any Irish boxers left? I do now; Andy Lee held American scrapper Peter Quillin to a decision draw by for 12 rounds. Heck, I assumed all Britons and their neighbors left the sport after Pacquiao destroyed Hatton’s career in two rounds in 2009.

Anyway, that was really fun. More boxing on TV. Yeah yeah yeah.


So yeah I don’t write here as often anymore. It’s been a pretty harrowing month, all related to ups and downs at the job. I’ll just say this about that: I have always assumed that if someone got down on their hands and knees and kicked and screamed in a temper tantrum while at work, it would be me.

That was one of the strangest things I’ve seen in my whole entire life.

And friends, I’ve seen some thangs.