Twin Rinks Sharks Hockey Logo

My son takes hockey lessons at Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove, IL. From what I can tell, the Twin Rinks Sharks hockey program is pretty good. Coaches run multiple stations on the ice for different levels of skill and everyone seems patient and encouraging.

I grew up playing hockey not too far away but never came to this rink when I played. Now that I’ve been there a few times, I can see it was probably being built and designed as I was finishing up my career (mid-90’s). The rink’s local travel team is called the Sharks, which I guess was a spin off of the then-recent expansion team, the San Jose Sharks.

The Old Twin Rinks Sharks Hockey Logo

Unfortunately though, the Twin Rinks team design fell short of their NHL counterpart. Below is a photo from a rug in the rink, presumably displaying the team logo.

Twin Rinks Sharks Hockey Logo

Everything about this says early 90’s to me. the stick in the mouth, the body made from twin ovals and the lilac toned purple.

A New Twin Rinks Sharks Hockey Logo Idea

Anyway, I wondered what it would look like with the SJS logo, re-purposed with Twin Rinks purple. I pulled the SVG of the logo down from Wikipedia, opened it up in Inkscape and went to town.

Check the results below.

New Buffalo Grove Sharks Hockey Logo
a reimagined logo for Twin Rinks Sharks, adapted from San Jose’s logo

Pretty lazy on the lettering but it is a start. I also prefer to use the name of the town (Buffalo Grove) instead of the facility (Twin Rinks). To my mind, no one feels a sense of loyalty to a facility but they may take pride in playing for their hometown.

I wonder what it would take to get that concept pitched? I’ve seen many a local high school sports team borrow mascot graphics from other professional sports teams. Glenbrook South uses the San Diego (LA) Chargers bolt on their football helmets, the Niles North Vikings used the Minnesota Vikings colors and horns. I’d even say it’s almost strange when a high school doesn’t do it. Could it be done for a local sports facility? Wouldn’t it only serve in the best interests of the professional team?

Boy Playing in Snow Photography

I’m a longtime fan of Adrian Sommeling’s photography with his son. He has a neat hyper-reality style achieved by combining studio shots (I presume greenscreen-type stuff) with dramatic and often dangerous looking backdrops. Needless to say, I’ve wanted to try my own take on it since I first saw them.

Yesterday afternoon, I brought the camera outside to take a few snaps while my boy ran around in the snow. Realized a few minutes in that the time was right to give it a shot.

I started with a few snaps of the snow’s surface from very close to the ground, trying to approximate the angle at which I’d be taking pictures of him. Then, I took about 50 of him doing various things, keeping in mind the shadow lines of the backdrop photos to minimize time in the editing room.

Below is the composite I came up with. The shadow was borrowed from another object that I scrubbed out of the scene.


Why Musicians Don’t Like Going to Concerts (Unless They Are Performing)

A co-worker of mine knows I’m a musician. This morning, she asked me if I heard about the Lollapalooza lineup that was just announced. She seemed surprised when I mentioned that I generally don’t go to concerts.

Giving you an accurate and well-rounded answer deserves a long conversation but here’s a bunch of thoughts. Basically, the biggest reason is… I don’t enjoy them. I love live performances (theater, obviously) but the concert format rarely pays off for me.  I’m not the only one, either. A guitar teacher of mine quoted a famous musician (whose name I forget) that goes, “Concerts? I wouldn’t cross the street to see myself play [a concert].”

blurry concertThere are a myriad of reasons why I don’t enjoy them as an audience member (correlation with drinking and smoking, lots of standing, crowds, waiting in lines, not being able to talk, not being the center of attention, subjecting myself to OPC (other people’s cleverness)).

The polite and true answer is I genuinely prefer to be a part of music making. The impolite answer is, in most cases, you end up judging the band for their shortcomings in skill/style/approach/equipment. If the act does somehow exceed the impossibly awesome vision a musician has of themselves, it would no doubt be a depressing experience. Of course, I wouldn’t know. It’s never happened to me.

Either way, once you’ve been the one up there, it’s kind of ruined from the other side.

I tried to deny the reality of how I felt about going to concerts for years. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts. I’ve seen big name festivals and artists I admire, even musical heroes. Spent thousands of dollars, collected ticket stubs and road tour t-shirts. My feelings about who I really am were just confirmed with every attempt. Of course, not everyone is supportive. People assume I’m agoraphobic or a cranky old man. As I’ve said though, it’s not all events. Just concerts.

I do make rare exceptions though. The size of the venue or crowd is inversely proportional to the likelihood that I would willingly attend. In other words, the smaller the better. Second, if I personally know someone in the band. I will try to support people I know within reason (and reasonable distance).

So, I’ll close this post the same way I closed the email wrote to my co-worker. I’m glad she asked and I hope my readers can enjoy an honest answer.

10 Books I’ve read and enjoyed recently

10 Books I’ve read and enjoyed recently (per Eve’s request)

“The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon

“The Golden Age of Advertising: The 60s”

“What to Eat” by Marion Nestle

“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

“The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor

“Story” by Robert McKee

“PHP & MySql: Novice to Ninja” by Kevin Yank

“The Icarus Deception” by Seth Godin

“Taxi: The Harry Chapin Story” by Peter Morton Coan

“Potty Training Boys the Easy Way” by Caroline Fertleman

“Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football” by Rich Cohen

Anyone else who’d like to recommend some books to read, please do.

“Old Man River” on Instrumental Acoustic Guitar

Ol’ Man River – Instrumental Acoustic Guitar

I have to admit: I love the song, “Ol’ Man River.” Always have loved it, even though the subject matter leaves me a little unsure of whether I’m allowed.

It’s an old song from Show Boat made famous by bass vocalist Paul Robeson and his version is my favorite. Read the wiki for the details but, without knowing much about the context, you can pretty much guess that there is some exploitation involved and white guys probably aren’t the good guys.

Anyway, about six weeks ago, the Robeson version came up on random shuffle on my phone during the walk to work. Listening affected me in a way I didn’t want to end. The way good art delivered with unavoidable pathos puts you in the performer’s shoes. Feeling their desperation.

So, I put it on single repeat. Listened 5 or 6 times in a row. Each time, I rode the wave of emotion as the melody builds into the minor 8 section, resolves back to the main theme and roars into the final notes.

Afterwards, I decided I wanted to do something with the song. I wanted to recreate the emotional connection as the sender instead of the recipient. Really make the song my own somehow. Of course, I realize it may not be received as a sincere tribute to a beautiful song but what the hell. Can’t let how someone else might interpret it from standing in my way.

So, I decided I would learn to play it. I googled for the lead sheet and found it  on Political Folk Music. I learned it as written first, then started to arrange it as an instrumental.

Initially, I thought of doing chords on guitar and the melody on a bass guitar. I tried it on banjo and mandolin too. Any of those could have been pretty interesting but I eventually opted for this single guitar arrangement.

In the month after I decided to learn it, I went digging for other versions and found a bunch of white guys singing it. Frank Sinatra, Jim Croce (very good version) and more so I don’t feel so bad now. Still, I like how my little arrangement turned out. A beautiful song, entirely inappropriate for me to perform. Sounds like the start of a series.