Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Mac World

Return of the Mac

I was the first of my programmer group to receive a new laptop. These new computers will be replacing the laptops we all were given in 2007 as they’re beginning to break down. Hell, I needed to have an external fan on mine 24-7 so it wouldn’t shut off! As welcome as this replacement is, I was a little nervous going in as … the new laptop is a MacBook Pro. Oh, and I haven’t used an Apple machine since 1999!

Anyway, it’s been almost 2 weeks with the laptop and I’m pretty much used to it. Although I do have a virtual machine running Windows XP on the laptop, I mostly use mac software. However, to tell you the truth, even though this machine is super nice, fast, pretty, and displays gorgeous visuals … I still wish I had a PC! Sorry, Apple, even after giving you the ol’ college try I’m still a PC guy.

That said, I am a little excited about a few new Apple products in my future (and present)! First off, I upgraded my iPhanus to the new OS 4 and … ’tis hot! The big hype is all about multitasking but so far I’ve been digging the app folder and wallpaper functionality the most.

Finally, as a combination of the new laptop and iPhone, I’m starting to get psyched about dipping my toe into the app building pool. I have dreams of one day creating the ultimate iPhone necessity – the NBA-Sim app! If I make any progress in this field I’ll let you all know.

Ok, actually that wasn’t really “finally” as I’d like to mention: wow, what a fucking game! Go USA! I suddenly care about a game where people used to kick decapitated heads around!

    Site Updates:

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A Little Rust

RustedHero.com

© 2010 Adrien Goulet

What a difference a day can make … 7:30am Monday morning I was asleep with no band name and wondering if we would ever come to a consensus on one after our voting debacle from last week. By 7:30am Tuesday we had a name, a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a MySpace page. By this morning we now have 3 songs up recorded from Monday’s rehearsal.

Hot!

I’m a bit of a foot-dragger and perfectionist when it comes to music – I admit this – so I’m still coming to grips with all of this web presence and available music even though we only have 4 practices as a four piece (and that’s including the bassist’s audition and catching him up on all the songs). Still, I’m super stoked and equally happy to have a progressive presence in the band, now. I get the distinct impression my social media activity, and just web activity in general, is going to skyrocket exponentially pretty soon as a result of all this musicness.

Get ready …

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The Sim Is Back

NBA Sim: This Should Be Your Internet Browser's Homepage

© 2010 Stan Syckes

From the overwhelming email I received* I know how hard this past month has been to all of you. When NBA Sim went down, it seemed like the world got a little less fun and a little more confused. I don’t know how everyone managed to survive in a world slightly less informed about basketball statistics but we made it.

NBA Sim is back!

What’s great is now it’s on the same, fantastic host as [stanus.butt] where I have unlimited space, bandwidth and SQL databases! That’s right, no more crashes, downtimes, and laggy loads. Nothing will stop you from hearing my much-needed basketball opinions.

Actual, interesting, non-NBA stuff coming up in the next blog post.

* Claim may or may not be true

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The Shack: 2000-2010

The Motherfucking Shack

© 2000 Stan Syckes

I made an announcement two blog posts ago about a serious celebration. And then I concocted a clue that I believe no one caught! The clue was:

Take shelter! You’ll need it for this huge event.

Well, what piece of shelter has been the most memorable in my life but The Shack! Believe it or not, it was fucking 10 years ago to this very day that this infamous summer “vacation” started. It was a summer that was supposed to be full of musical promise – we were young enough to not have many responsibilities, old enough to be mobile and independent, and possessed that singular, key ingredient: a shit load of time! Unfortunately, Bras (my band), got … well, while spoil the adventure?

Yes, to commemorate this grand, silly summer, I’ve decided to create a feature showcasing all of the photos, songs and other artifacts from the Shack. Even better, I’ve decided to unlock the infamous Shack journal – a long-winded scrapbook of sorts that I kept up with girlish fervor.

But to make this celebration truly special I’ve decided to sync both summers together! Yes, I will be unveiling these journal entries in REAL TIME, and posting them up on [stanus.buttock]. It should be a cack-load of fun for me to write and I hope everyone out there enjoys it just as much because I’m sure that soon it will be recognized as the first step in a super musical genius’ career!

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Full Disclosure

It's like a ... white discoloration

This is going to be a little weird to tell, but it is actually at the point where it feels stranger not to mention.

Last Thursday was the final session I had with “Trager” (as he was affectionately called đŸ˜‰ ) – a licensed therapist. In fact, I actually have been seeing the gentleman for 2 years and I started right around the period of this blog post.

The whole thing began as a fact-finding mission. I moved up to New York back in September of 2006 to pursue my musical dreams but I suddenly found myself – 16 months later – with absolutely nothing to show for it. I had a few snippets of new material written, but I hadn’t attempted to start any bands or seriously practice or do any type of work associated with achieving my goals.

Out of the blue, I received a hit on one of my craigslist ads that seemed genuine. I met the guy and we really hit it off. Suddenly, I was feeling great about myself and my future – I reasoned that all I needed was a little push to get the ball rolling on band building.

However, something gnawed at me, forcing me to take a more mature look at my past and I realized that there had been plenty of opportunities where I felt geared up to start band-ing, but something always would go wrong. Worse, I felt part of the “something” that would derail all of these start-ups was something about me. In fact, this was no new idea as I think I touched upon it brilliantly in this super-ancient blog.

I was a saboteur. For some illogical reason I continually discovered ways to cause my work to fail. In college I refused to accept the help from my songwriting teacher because I was too embarrassed by his attention. During the Shack days, I called off the only Bras gig minutes before it was to occur (I wonder if anyone else out there realizes there almost was a full lineup Bras gig?) because I couldn’t overcome my nerves and felt we were out of place. A thousand, small cuts throughout my entire musical career – all brought about by myself. Here I was, ready to gun the engine of another dream machine and this time I didn’t want to crash the shit out of it (although I did eventually quit that band. At least that was a healthy decision compared to any of the others I mentioned)!

Enter Trager. I remember being really nervous during the initial meeting … I was about to have to tell this guy how I was feeling? Whoa … an area where no Stan has gone before! But, after I got over that things went really smoothly. What I liked about him was he wasn’t someone who tried to discover what had started all the bullshit I felt, but rather how to deal with and fix it. He was extremely understanding but didn’t just nod and say yes – there was one time where he even got pissed off at me and told me I was wasting his time, although that was a huge, beneficial turning point. There are too many individual stories to tell here, but when we wrapped up we both felt there was awesome progress.

To sum it up, after realizing that my musical aspirations weren’t the only area of my life being affected by my behavior, I saw myself as someone who would continually place roadblocks in front of my path so I wouldn’t succeed. I was content and comfortable with where I was and was scared to be anything bigger and better. Now I’m a technical lead for the second biggest client at work with people under me (?!?) and the undisputed leader of my band. It’s a crazy turnaround in these last 2 years and I’d like to celebrate it just a little by opening up a little more.

Now get on to checking out all this batshit stuff I’ve been doing to this site listed below!

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  • Monday, April 5th, 2010 at 17:41 | #1

    those first sessions are weird. I remember when I took a year off of school I sat in and talked to a therapist and I was so uncomfortable I laid down on the couch (how cliche!) and asked her to “ask me questions” instead of just rattling things off.

We Are the Champions

Captain Jack's Sparrows: 2010 Winter Champs

Photo © 2010 Stan Syckes

I’ve kept pretty quiet about my involvement in ZogSports 3-on-3 coed basketball this season (as opposed to other seasons). Until now, that is! As you can probably tell from the title of this post and the picture above that my team, Captain Jack’s Sparrows (not my idea of a great name), won the championships last Thursday. That’s the important info, but I’ve also aggregated the entire rest of the season into one post so you can all ignore just this one and move on.

Here’s a quick rundown of the players on my team:

  • CJ – our MVP. Doesn’t have a great shot but is a superior driver. Either gets to the basket or gets fouled. Unfortunately is completely overwhelmed by his emotions. When he wins he dances around on the court. When he loses he actually kicks chairs and breaks things in a back room.
  • Jonathan – the “coach” of the team. Keeps everyone involved and designs last minute plays. A feisty defensive player and the bruiser of the group. A good spot-shooter, but lacks athleticism, quickness and ballhandling.
  • Kathy – unaffected by pressure, her shot falls under any circumstance as long as she has a second of daylight. Can stay in front of her opponent, but lacks defense, rebounding and any ballhandling.
  • Kanika – first time ever playing basketball. Easily loses her opponent and needs to pass immediately after receiving the ball, but she did hit a shot in one game. Far more than I can say from my first season playing little league basketball.
  • Della – coworker who only showed up for one game so I didn’t get to see where she was good or bad.
  • Me – obvioulsy awesome. Actually, I still can’t drive but I’d play pick and pop with CJ all day and hit. I consider myself a good defender and decent rebounder but easily baited into dribbling too much.

A quick rundown of Zog play:

  • There are four levels of difficulty – Players, Sorta Players, Casual and Extremely Casual. I signed up for Extremely Casual and this year our division was named after the Jersey Shore girls (we were Snookie).
  • There were 12 teams in our division ranging from 6 players to an army of 10 or so. It was 3-on-3 coed and a woman had to be on the court at all times for each team.
  • Three teams would show up per night and play each other twice, resulting in 4 unique games per team. Each game was 11 minutes and brutal!
Date Result Opponents (Win-Loss) Overall Rank
Jan 14 3-1-0 Shots for Shots (2-0) and Sham Yao (1-1)
With a 3-1-0 start I thought we were going to have a pretty strong team. Turns out neither of these teams would make the playoffs so the wins might’ve been easier than they seemed.
3-1-0 ?
Jan 28 1-3-0 Makin’ Bacon (1-1) and Shot Goggles (0-2)
Hit some strong competition this week. Makin’ Bacon would go on to be the #1 team and we lost some close ones to Shot Goggles.
4-4-0 7/12
Feb 04 1-3-0 Leather Pumpkins (0-2) and Elin’s Vengeance (1-1)
The only week where all 6 team members showed up. Aaaaand we went 1-3-0. Two weeks in a row was pretty deflating. I started to feel like we had just gotten lucky the first week.
5-7-0 ?
Feb 08 3-1-0 Eye Pokers (2-0) and Wharfdogs (1-1)
I dub Kathy “Ice Water” as she starts to cooly end close games this week. She hits a clutch shot to come from behind in one game and sinks 2 free throws to end another.
8-8-0 6/12
Feb 16 4-0-0 Short Circuit (2-0) and Serenity Now (2-0)
My best night. I dump 24 points throughout the night. Kathy secures yet another game at the free throw line.
12-8-0 3/12
Feb 25 4-0-0 Short Circuit (2-0) and Flock of Seagulls (2-0)
Short Circuit forfeits due to not showing up so we play two 20-minute games with Flock of Seagulls. Things get even worse when the only woman on Flock gets injured in the second game and must also forfeit.
16-8-0 2/12
Mar 01 3-1-0 Makin’ Bacon (2-0) and Shot Goggles (1-1)
Kanika – who has never played basketball before this season – is the only woman to show up on our team and must play every minute. Cassie also shows up to observe/mock but we still pull out 3 wins against 2 strong teams.
19-9-0 2/12
Mar 12 3-1-0 Leather Pumpkins (1-1) and Flock of Seagulls (2-0)
We were really starting to gel as a team of 5 at this point and only lost the final game due to a mental breakdown. We were actually up by 2 points and they were out of fouls to use and yet we played too conservatively and lost with a buzzer-beater.
22-10-0 2/12

The Playoffs – That Predictable Sour Taste in My Mouth at the End of Seasons
As described in this old post (and still true up until this season), I was the Tracy McGrady of the Zog league. Ok, so I was nowhere near as good as he was – even in contrast with the rest of Zog – but I was always in the playoffs, whether on good or bad teams. Still, I never got past those first round series. Worse, I was starting to feel some haunting responsibility as I was the lone constant in all of these frustrating results.

This time, things were slightly different. First of all, we were the second seed out of the 6 playoff squads so we would receive a bye along with the first seeded team. This meant that seeds 3 through 6 would battle it out Tuesday, with the winners facing us in the semi-finals Thursday. The winners of these semi-finals would immediately face off in the championships. Each series was a best of 3 and the games were lengthed to 14 minutes (from their original 11). Therefore, it was possible we’d have to play a total of 6 games and a minimum of 84 minutes of game time. Even though I was preparing myself for a shitload of basketball, I was still barely ready for the beating we took.

We went all six games and played way over the 84 minutes! Here’s a quick breakdown of each series and games (if you’re still reading)!

SEMI-FINALS vs. Serenity Now
We actually got a break. Serenity Now was the underdog in their quarter-final matchup against Leather Pumpkins and we benefited extremely because they won. Out of all the teams we could’ve faced in both of these series, Leather Pumpkins was by far the one we had the most trouble against in the regular season.

Serenity Now was a rough group consisting of 6 people who could all shoot extremely well. We only had Kathy, CJ, Jonathan and myself for the playoffs and everyone of our opponents in this series was more athletic than Kathy and CJ. Worse, they had a guy who was over 6’3″ and way above 200 pounds.

  • Game 1 – A humilation. We were listless and played confused. No one was talking to each other on defense and I could barely keep up with the great passing from Serenity Now. It seemed like everyone on their team couldn’t miss and our layups were bouncing out of the basket. The end score was something like 19-6. CJ pouted on the sidelines at the end of the game while Jonathan tried to rally us, reminding everyone that it was just the first game.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 0-1

  • Game 2 – We came back with a vengence but couldn’t do more than trade baskets with Serentiy Now. With 30 seconds to go we actually grabbed a two point lead and Serenity took a time out. All four of us were giddy and eager to move on to the next game. Unfortunately, Serenity scored two quick baskets in succession when play resumed! Now we were facing elimination, down 2 points with 1.5 seconds left!!!!! I heaved a desperation shot that missed but landed right in CJ’s hands for a putback to TIE THE GAME!!!!

    We were on such high emotion that we dominated on defense in OT. Our shots still weren’t falling but neither was Serenity’s. Something had to give and it turned out to be fouls as Serenity Now ran out of them, putting “Ice Water” Kathy to the line. Of course she hit the game winning free throws and we had somehow survived for one more game!
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 1-1

  • Game 3 – With two games of crappy bounces under our belt, shots finally began falling for us. CJ came alive and completely destroyed Serenity Now with drives to the basket. I started seeing a look of defeat in the eyes of our opponents and realized we had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. It was still scrappy – we probably only won by 4 points – but the kick of adrenaline from Game 2 had worked us into our old, winning ways.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 2-1

CHAMPIONSHIP vs. Makin’ Bacon
I figured it would come down to the first and second seeds for this game, but never realized how hard a fight it would take for us to get there. Meanwhile, Makin’ Bacon had dispatched of their foes in 2 quick games. Bacon wasn’t as rough as Serenity Now but we were once again the team with less athleticsm and height across the board. However, I assumed we would have an easier match as we had fared better against this team in the regular season than Serenity. Well, I was in for a rude awakening: there were a couple of hot heads on Makin’ Bacon that would rival CJ and plays would quickly turn into heated arguments and complaints to the refs.

  • Game 1 – Fresh off our come-from-behind, miracle win in the semi-finals we entered into the championship as a true basketball team. We found one, dominating play and ran it to perfection on every possession. CJ would handle the ball and drive into the middle off a pick from me or Kathy. If he had an opening he’d take it, otherwise he’d kick it out to an open shooter. We were in such great synchronicity that it all felt mindless and it was an easy win.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 1-0

  • Game 2 – Part of the reason we earned the first win so effortlessly was due to Bacon’s self-implosion. Two of their guys were bickering with the refs while the rest of their players tried to cool them down. In the second game, the complaining was brought down and the intensitiy was brought up. Our go-to play was starting to get shut down and we had to eek out a 1 point lead with 3 seconds to go.

    Unfortunately, karma came to bite us in the ass. Just as we had somehow come up with a winning play in the second game of our first series, Bacon found an open layup at the buzzer (and I totally whiffed on the game-winning block), stunning us in the process.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 1-1

  • Game 3 – As dissappointed as I was with not making sure Bacon was out when we had them on the ropes, I was just as pumped up. This was the absolute final game of the season and I felt as if I were in a Game 7 of the NBA Championships! Neither team really had an advantage for most of the game until about 2 minutes to go when we went ahead by 4. CJ either felt comfortable with the lead or was exhausted – I don’t know which – but he emphatically asked to sit. I was a little nervous as we’d usually spell him during the middle of games or if we had big leads as he was the focal point of our offense. I knew with him out, I’d be the set up man and would have to make plays as Kathy and Jonathan couldn’t dribble and would forget to make picks.

    We quickly got in trouble. I suddenly found myself being trapped in a far-away corner without a dribble. I passed quickly to Jonathan only to receive the ball back immediately. I got the message: make a play. Luckily, I had a few feet of daylight as my man had momentarily left me when trying to steal my pass. Unluckily, I was sitting behind the 3-point line. I chucked the dirtiest shot from somewhere around my lower chest and the ball made a loud “thud” as it hit the top of the backboard. AND WENT IN!

    With a lead of 7 points and a minute on the clock I suddenly felt a wave of relief. I knew we had to royally fuck up to lose now and I was going to make sure we didn’t do that! On our next possession, Jonathan got caught in a corner, fumbling to keep the ball in play and passed to me only to keep it alive. I was open and swiftly turned and shot – hitting another basket.

    Amazingly, I had hit 2-in-a-row for 5 consecutive points, giving us a ridiculous 9-point advantage with 30 seconds left. I knew we had it and so did everyone else in the gym. The refs counted out what remained of playing time and Captain Jack’s Sparrows celebrated.
    Captain Jack’s Sparrows: 2-1 Champions

Looking back, it truly was a phenomenal – and batshit surprising – season. In the championships, I felt nervous when I was suddenly in control of our team with 2 minutes to go … but we won! In the semi-finals we were facing elimination, down 2 points with 1.5 seconds left to go … but we won! We entered the playoffs with only 4 players against 2 physicallly dominating opponents … but we won! During the third week of the season we were sitting on a miserable 5-7-0 record … but we won!

But most importantly, this Zog league Tracy McGrady finally shed his post-season nerves and helped lead a team out of the first round.

Oh, and we won!

    Site Updates:

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Comments:
  • Zepmoon
    Monday, March 22nd, 2010 at 14:42 | #1

    Congratulations! This type of events is very important so savor it. I still have the trophy from when Dad and I won the Father/Son Tennis Tournament at the Cumberland Country Club in 1975. It is a treasured possession. Winning is fun.

  • Monday, March 22nd, 2010 at 14:47 | #2

    Yeah, well … Zog tried to screw us! While researching for this blog I looked at the official playoffs results and it showed us LOSING THE CHAMPIONSHIPS! I sent an email off to let them know this was in error and to make sure the charity WE selected received the winning check.

    But it was a great experience. I’ve loved playing basketball for a while but this made it special.

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29, Man, 29

The Dirkus Circus

Ok, it’s my birthday. Worse, it’s the last one of my twenties! Wild. Coincidentally it’s this site’s official 6th birthday, as well. Thanks for everyone’s b-day wishes, but check out this article/gift published today, of all days, from The Onion.

Ball Movement Making Dirk Nowitzki Nauseous

DALLAS—During last Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki reportedly told teammates that he “needed a sec” after a possession featuring quick-paced perimeter passing made him nauseous. “Oh jeez, I think I’m gonna throw up,” said the nine-time all-star, who, using the team’s second time-out, headed to the sidelines, where he dry-heaved between slow, small sips of Gatorade. “I think I should be okay. Just give me some room.” Minutes later, Nowitzki ran into the locker room with his hand covering his mouth after a Jason Terry no-look pass to Shawn Marion.

Ok, so it’s not actually funny and there are several errors (Dirk is a center?), but it was cool to see a Dirk reference on my birthday.

I need a life.

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Feeding Off a New Host

Super servers

This site has been up since February 2004 and it’s always been hosted by the same company. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago I started to receive some trouble from them. First, they shut off my commenting system. I fixed this with a workaround and continued on my merry way.

But then, they shut down my ability to make new posts! This was beyond annoying. Once again, I did created a backend band-aid, but it didn’t solve the problem completely. Ever since then I’ve actually had to create a blank post directly in the database and then edit it in WordPress. Besides this huge annoyance, some of the features I was used to were being limited like the moods. It was the final straw and I decided to do some searching around for a better host.

Enter Just Host. I found them on a couple of host reviews as being the number one host provider. I’d never heard of them but they were boasting about providing unlimited storage AND bandwidth! It blew my mind, and they were only a handful of dollars more than my old, shitty host! I officially pulled the ol’ switcheroo yesterday and just finished uploading all of my website code today. [stanus.butt] is back online and hopefully better than ever operating in the newer, better environment.

Oh, and the Dallas Mavericks have won 11 straight games!!!!!!! :)!

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  • Site Update list now gray to look different than rest of post

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100 Miler

Me ... ok, so it's someone else

Last night I did it … I finished my 100 Mile Challenge. I started this upon first moving into the new apartment back at the beginning of August so it’s taken me almost seven months to accomplish. I didn’t think it would take anywhere near that long but I’m pretty excited I got it done. This is actually the third time I’ve set and met this goal (that I can remember), but it’s been a while since I’ve attempted it. In fact, the last time I did this was 5 years ago!

I’m getting more and more into running (just participated in a 5K race two weekends ago) though I don’t see myself becoming anything more than a casual runner. Alright, I’m officially ending this super-exciting-to-read post!

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa (1969), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hard Promises (1981), and Catch-22 (1961) from Currently Enjoying
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  • Created Gatito logo and Kidd/Dirk logo. Random chance to get either is 1 in 10.
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Pop Pop

Pop Pop and a little me

Photo © Shelby Syckes

I’d like to come clean about something here. As much as I have talked about Dirk Nowitzki’s basketball leadership, Slash’s guitar playing, and Spider-Man’s superpowers, for most of my life I’ve kept a guarded admiration. Now, though, I think it’s way past time to let this secret out. Give me a second, though, as it’s tough to say.

My grandfather, S. Lua Syckes, passed away this Wednesday night. Yes, his first name was the letter S, and for that and many of his other simply phenomenal life stories, please read my brother’s blog. I don’t wish to retell his history – I think Steve’s done the best job of it that I’ll probably ever hear – so I’ll just briefly jot down my emotions.

For 28 years, I’ve been blessed with all four grandparents, all of my immediate relatives, and all of my friends. As a result, I’ve become a little accustomed towards long life and luck. At times I’ve lived recklessly; I’ve behaved insensitively towards others; and I’ve operated with an aloof air. I’ve pushed people away when I desperately needed them near me. I’ve turned away from those who have needed my help when I was in a position of power because I felt it was beneath me. And I’ve shunned certain responsibilities because I was uncomfortable with displaying appreciation and/or dependency.

And, through it all, I’ve felt a lot of shame. Shame because I know this wasn’t how my grandfather lived. Here was a man who was only able to appreciate his father’s existence for 20 years. Here was a man who’s career towards cultivating his astounding intellect was cut short due to a world gone mad with war. A man who transformed his natural abilities at mathematics and music into teaching – passing his love and knowledge to another generation.

He was superhumanly athletic. The gentleman beat me at tennis when I was in my prime at 16 (and this was after I took MANY summers of lessons)! Watching tennis will forever remind me of hanging out with Pop Pop.

He was a social butterfly – even into his 80’s whenever we went anywhere in his community in Phoneix, we were recognized. The stories of his and my grandmothers parties throughout the years are legendary. When I’m feeling self-conscious about hosting people over I recall the hilarious stories he and my grandmother would talk about around family dinners.

He never let any joke – especially those at his expense – affect him, letting them immediately wash off his back. I was always amazed that, even though my family is full of super witty people (at my best I’m maybe the 5th funniest), he would never let any of their cracks get to him. Being a hyper-defensive person, his reaction is that much more impossible to believe and exponentially respected.

He was a musician! I hate to say it sometimes, but either you’ve got it or you don’t. I like to think that I’ve got it … and part of the reason why is the many hours I spent in the basement with this great music director. We both played trumpet, and I will always remember the times we played together. I tend to believe people when they say that certain traits skip generations as he and Mom Mom were super musical – and here I am still trying to make a go at being a professional musician!

With him being born 19 years after a turn of a century and me being born 19 years before a turn of a century there certainly was a lot of history separating us. His was an era where a country came together, had to place their lives on the line for survival, and prospered together. He was the nicest person you could ever meet, immediately disarming to anyone with a personal agenda, and could steal the show at any moment. He beat me and Dad in cards during our family cruise in 2007 (at the age of 88). He somehow stole the attention away from my dad during my father’s retiring from the Air Force, wearing a replica of his original Air Force uniform and talking about his experiences. He constantly showed me how to be a strong leader without having to be overbearing, attention-hogging or mean.

He was married to quite possibly the most wonderful woman in the world for 63 years. He had three hilarious, successful kids. He was grandfather to seven, adoring grandkids. He was smart, funny in his own individual way, and had music in the blood. He was a fabulous card player, the nicest man I’ve ever met, and a legendary drinker.

He was Lou, Uncle Lou, Dad, and Mr. Syckes.

To me, he was Pop Pop. And now for that secret:

He was my hero.

I am immensely proud to have been involved in the final 29 years of your life and I am forever indebted to your kindness, musicianship, and love. I will never forget you, Pop Pop.

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