Coke Problem #TBT

My coworkers and I used to get Mexican Cokes every day from the Chinese-Mexican restaurant across the street. At one point we had about 75 in the front window of our shop. We also had a Christmas tree. When someone in town complained the tree was out-of-season, my boss responded by decorating it for Spring Break with empty bottles and cans.


Ukrainian Day in Golden Gate Park


What’s the easiest way to get me to go outside? Sports. Second easiest way? Slavic festivals.

Did you know California is home to a substantial Ukrainian-American population? It’s true! Los Angeles alone has at least 34,000 residents that identify as Ukrainian, and there are at least as many spread throughout the Bay Area.

The first Ukrainian to come to the Bay Area was Agapius Honcharenko, who arrived in America in 1865. He called his homestead Ukraina Ranch, and its official address was Hayward, Ukraina, California. Agapius hated gophers, according to the pamphlet about him that I picked up at today’s Ukrainian Day in Golden Gate Park.

Hopefully no gophers snuck into today’s event. There was dancing and singing, beautiful traditional costumes, but unfortunately no food. Ukrainian food is some of the best on the planet. Though I saw no mention of food on the festival website (click the kozak!), I held out hope that food would make an appearance. It did not.

Mad Men's Paul Kinsey has the best, most useful pickup line:
Mad Men’s Paul Kinsey has the best, most useful pickup line: “Do you like Ukrainian food?”. Так, Paul. Так.

Today’s event follows the 24th anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence, which falls on 24 August. This is the second year in a row that the celebrations have taken place while Ukraine is fighting illegal Russian occupation in its Crimea region. And just this week, two Ukrainians were sentenced to 10 and 20 years jail time for the act of “terrorism”. After their sentence was read, the men sang the Ukrainian anthem. In the Russian courtroom. Because Ukrainians are badass.

How badass? One of the folk songs performed today described Ukrainians defending their land from invaders (a common theme throughout their history, Ukraine’s so great everyone wants a piece). Included in its introduction was the phrase “You can have our land, but only for your graves”.

Gangster. Folk gangster.

And Cossack men wear a super rad punk rock haircut:

Sviatoslav I, athiest son of Saint Olga, rocking a chupryna haircut.

Check out the photos below to see more from today’s event in Golden Gate Park. Please be a conscientious citizen and learn and share information about the situation in Ukraine; Vice News is a good place to start. And find a Ukrainian person—they’re everywhere—to show you how to cook delicious food.

Yaroslav from Kiev with his Ukrainian flag and trizub t-shirt. The trizub, or trident, is a symbol of Ukraine.


Two girls wearing floral headdresses called vinok.
LIttle dancers wearing their best vyshyvanka embroidered shirts and headdresses called a vinok.

Continue reading “Ukrainian Day in Golden Gate Park”

music, photography

The News Brothers at Sandrini’s

On Saturday Ryan, his brother and I drove to Bakersfield for their dad’s birthday. What better way to celebrate a birthday than with food and music? It was the first time that I’d ever seen his dad’s band play, and it was awesome! Have you ever been at a show when suddenly there are a hundred maracas shaking simultaneously, even louder than the band? That’s the kind of stuff that goes down when the News Brothers play. Check out the gallery below:

Continue reading “The News Brothers at Sandrini’s”

photography, travel

Battersea Power Station #TBT

My best friend Lauren is a huge Pink Floyd fan, and I knew that I couldn’t come home from England without attempting to photograph something for her (my idea of a souvenir). Battersea Power Station was on the cover of the album Animals, and it was right here in London. Perfect fit for my dear Lolo.

It had been raining for days and would continue to do so for many more, so I woke up early one more morning and with my friend Chris in tow, set out for south London in the rain. A tube ride, a train and a long walk later, I found myself standing outside of Battersea Power Station but my view blocked by a temporary wooden fence.

First the rain, then the overly complicated journey, now my shot is blocked by a damn fence? Please. I found an opening where someone had kicked in part of the plywood near the bottom, squeezed my arms and head through the hole, and promptly sat my elbows into a muddy puddle. The rain let up for just a few seconds and I was able to get this single shot.

Lauren loved it.