Armenian Holidays Calendar for iCal or Google

August 26th, 2009

Every Armenian grandma I know has an Armenian calendar up in their kitchen with all the important dates on it. You could always ask them, “When is Vardavar?” so you could know what day you could wake up your brother/sister in bed by splashing water on them and not get in trouble. But that is such a hassle. What if you forget and miss it by a couple of days? Better to get an electronic version that we can all subscribe to in our iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook, or whatever other calendar and get reminders like we do for everything else. So I grabbed one of those wall calendars and got to typing…

There are some things to keep in mind when putting together a calendar of Armenian holidays. Since there are three times as many of us living in the Diaspora than in our own country, should it include the official state holidays of the Republic of Armenia? What language should it be in? What about including religious holidays? Every religious “day” or just the big important ones? And what of the other non-religious but perhaps pagan in origin traditions some groups of Armenians mark or remember on their calendars?

Although I’m aware of all these questions, I haven’t spent an enormous amount of time coming up with great answers for each of them. Generally I’ve included most, if not all, official state holidays from the Republic, as I feel that even as Diasporans we should know what the state holidays are in our own country. I’ve also included the “big” religious or traditional days that our family observed or I know about in general. Each occasion is named in Armenian and in English, in some cases just Armenian names spelled phoneticall in English. The final list looks like this:

  • January 1, Ամանոր / New Year Day
  • January 6, Սուրբ Ծնունդ / Christmas
  • February 14, Տռնդեզ (Տեառնընդառաչ) / Trndez (Purification)
  • February 19, Վարդանանք / Vartanank
  • March 18, Միջինք / Mijink
  • April 5, Ծաղկազարդ / Palm Sunday (Tsakhkazard)
  • April 24, Եղեռնի զոհերի հիշատակի օր / Genocide Remembrance Day
  • May 21, Համբարցում / Hambartsum
  • May 28, Հանրապետութայան օր / Republic Day
  • July 5, Սահմանադրության օր / Constitution Day
  • July 19, Վարդավառ / The Transfiguration
  • September 13, Խաչվերած / Khachverats
  • September 21, Անկախության օր / Independence Day
  • October 13, Սուրբ Թարգմամչոց / Holy Translators Day
  • December 7, Երկրաշարժի զոհերի հիշատակի օր / Spitak Remembrance Day

If you think I’ve missed something that should be on here, post a comment below with the date, what the occasion is, and, if you think I’ve not heard of it, why it should be included. I will definitely consider your feedback and update the calendar as needed to reflect additions.

Lastly, most of the Church-related dates change yearly so they are missing for next year. This calendar is good for 2009 only right now. I will update it for 2010 shortly before we get to it. Enjoy.

Subscribe to Armenian Holidays Calendar in iCal

Download Armenian Holidays Calendar file

Formula 1 2009 Changes Explained Beautifully

February 11th, 2009

I am an avid Formula 1 fan but even I have had trouble understanding some of the detailed changes with aerodynamics that were introduced for this coming season to improve the opportunities for overtaking. Well, Red Bull Racing has done everyone a favor and put out a wonderfully done video showing the differences between the 2008 and 2009 cars.

Even if you’re not a Formula 1 fan or watcher it is a pretty cool two minute video to check out to get an idea of how the fastest race cars in the world are put together.

Goodbye to the Emerald City

September 16th, 2008

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It will come as no surprise to most of you who read this that I’ve left Seattle to return “home” to Los Angeles. With that, I’ve left behind my job at Expedia and my cool apartment on the lake. But what I brought with me is worth way more than that.

The last three years have contained some of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. I met so many great people, and made a handful of life-long friends. I gained so much experience and accomplished quite a bit while working at what I consider to be my first job — in the sense of my career anyway. Plus, finally being out of school and working for a travel company allowed me to travel more than I ever have before. And lastly, I got a chance to see and experience what is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of this country, the Pacific Northwest.

Many folks, especially those I know back here in LA, ask me if I left because I finally got tired of the rain. The truth is, that’s not why I left — although I won’t lie, that didn’t help convince me to stay either. I thought it was time for a change. As people we’re so naturally averse to change that it’s very easy for us to find a comfortable niche that’s working well for us and stick with it. But as great as our comfy niche may be, we’re not doing a ton of growing or learning after some point. We’re just wearing a hole in that comfy cushion.

You might say, if change was in order, why go back to what you already know? Why LA? First and foremost, the reason is family. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s Armenian culture, but growing up my family was a huge, fun, and important part of life and I missed having that, or as much of it as I was used to (with a million thanks to my family in Seattle, blood and adopted).

Secondly, the last time I could call myself a resident of this giant sprawling mesh of cities we call Los Angeles, and a few months before I started writing here, I was 17 years old. Some say I don’t look very different than I did but I sure feel a lot different than I did then. I’m curious what the city is like now, as I explore parts of it I rarely ever saw before, with my new perspective as my ever-present companion.

You only need to turn back a page or two of this blog, or glance through my photo albums, to see what a great time I had in Seattle. But now, it’s time for a new chapter and a new adventure. Stay tuned…

Sweet Mac Music Video for Again and Again

May 12th, 2008

I just came across this music video in the Delicious/popular feed and thought I’d share it for two reasons. First, the music video is pretty amazing and I gotta think that it took the creator quite a while to put together. It is hard to describe so check it out right here:

Also, the song is pretty cool and I had never heard of The Bird and The Bee before.

This music video is a pretty good example of the way people are mashing and mixing things up in our globally connected world with all these digital tools at our disposal. At the same time this music video is a portfolio piece for its creator as well as a hype-generating machine for a lesser known music group. I think it is a win / win for both parties.

Let’s hope the group is not signed with a draconian music label that tries to get the video taken down or, maybe they’ve already got permissions figured out. Either way, I think it is tremendously valuable for people to be able to do little things like this to “add value” to existing art or work by others. Each group adds their own layer of creativity or thought and, as long as everyone is given their due credit, I think everyone wins.

Update: I guess the song does have its own music video that you can watch on YouTube.

Samsung’s iPhone Killer Won’t Kill a Fly

May 12th, 2008

I guess Samsung has decided to join the raft of players trying to come out with an “iPhone killer”. Or maybe we should just start calling them iPhone hangers-on? Check out a picture of it:

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I’m sure if I actually used this phone I could come up with a whole host of reasons why this thing won’t come close to an iPhone. But just by looking at this image let’s go with:

Why have they taken up a giant chunk of the space on the home screen to inform me that I am looking at “My Shortcuts”? You know, it is probably a pretty intuitive guess these are my shortcuts since you know, it’s my phone and, well, these are the shortcuts on it. Seems to me like that screen space could have been used a lot more efficiently by showing an additional row of shortcuts or increasing the size of the same ones.

I’m sure Apple is trembling in their boots.

You Caught Me On A Down Cycle

April 5th, 2008

Last night we had a release night at work. Matt was working the “A-Shift” as we call it. I had gone to the Sonics and Rockets game, but afterwards I decided to drop by and see how things were going with the release. One hour turned into two and, before I knew it I spent the whole night there with everyone else that was working.

It is easy to get bored sitting around a conference room all night waiting just in case something goes wrong. So of course, Matt and I were exercising our “J Finger” in Google Reader. Matt pulled up a post on Lifehacker about some kind of vertical wall-mounted planter for plants. The following inadvertently funny sequence followed:

Matt: This is cool. I’d love to get one of these. If only I lived in a place that got enough sunlight to keep a plant alive.
Armen: What are you saying man? I have a plant at my place and it’s fine.
Matt: Dude, I’ve seen your plant and it’s not fine.
Armen: Whatever man, you caught it on a down cycle.

Well, he did. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, I suppose it’s only fair to show a picture of how my plant’s doing right now…

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Oh and I’d say it’s about mid cycle right now. :)

P.S. Thanks to my Mom who gave the plant to me as a birthday gift a couple years back.

An Ode to Waffle House

March 20th, 2008

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To those of you who have never ventured into the southern part of the U.S., the words Waffle House don’t mean much. But to the people of the South, the Waffle House is an establishment; like Starbucks in Seattle or In N Out in Southern California. Yet I can’t really compare it to anything we west-coasters know because I don’t think we have any place quite like it.

For starters, there are a lot of them. I mean they are everywhere in the South. You can hardly go a mile in a city and not run into the distinctive giant yellow block sign. Then of course, they are all open twenty four hours a day. That makes it THE place to go after a night of drunken partying. You never saw a place as busy as a Waffle House at around two in the morning. Or eleven in the morning. And the food there is CHEAP. So cheap I did not believe it the first time I went.

I have a theory that there is some town, farm, or factory assembly line where they are churning out the people who work at Waffle Houses. I have been to one in at least three different states now and the people working there are like clones of each other no matter where I go or what kind of town the place is in. They say a picture is worth a thousand words…

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Since we’re talking about a restaurant I guess I should say something about the food. I can’t speak to the variety on the menu, although its definitely there. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time of day or night. I’ve only eaten one thing every time I’ve gone and its so damn good that I don’t know if I will ever bother trying something different: scrambled eggs with cheese, hash browns, raisin toast with apple butter (extra apple butter), and a side of country ham. That meal is probably a coronary served on a plate but I don’t know for sure and I don’t want to know.

As for the rest of the menu, I have no doubt it is great. How do I know without having tried any of it? Well that’s easy — Waffle House told me. In fact if you were to believe the signage at this place, you would think it was the finest dining establishment in the country. The claims made include, but are most definitely not limited to:

  • America’s Best Coffee
  • America’s Best Chicken
  • World’s leading server of REAL hash browns
  • World’s leading server of waffles

Hopefully that list gives you an idea of the important contribution Waffle House makes to enhancing America’s culinary reputation. I had trouble finding them in my copy of the Michelin Guide but I’m sure that’s because I have an out of date copy. It is amazing that they can serve such great food at such dirt-cheap prices. My meal of choice can be had for between $5.50 and $6.50 depending on the area and it is a big breakfast! Those prices put IHOP, Denny’s, and any other wannabe late-night breakfast-serving place to shame.

Oh yeah, don’t forget all the immitators either. For those times when the Waffle House is too pricey, fancy, or busy you are welcome to try your luck at the local Waffle King or Omelet House. These places lurk notoriously close to their Waffle House brethren. They also sport block-letter signs that look a lot like the Waffle House one. I haven’t been to these places but natives tell me they’re even cheaper and grimier than the standard-issue Waffle House.

Despite (because of?) all this, I have to say I love the Waffle House. I love the food, the hours, the cookie-cutter locations and people, and the kitschy small-town diner feel of it. I wish we had one on every corner out west just like back in the South. But I doubt we would be able to recreate them out here. I don’t think we have the people out here to run them and I doubt anyone would dare serve my cheese and eggs breakfast for anything less than $10 in Los Angeles. I guess my cravings for country ham will just have to wait for my infrequent visits to the South then.

Lunar Eclipse and Seattle at Night Photos

March 3rd, 2008

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A couple of weeks ago there was a total lunar eclipse. Fortunately, it was one that could easily be seen from the USA, clouds permitting of course. And when it comes to Seattle and clouds well, let’s just say that you better get friendly with them if you live here.

At the end of last year, I bit the bullet and repurchased a digital SLR camera

Thanksgiving All Over

November 14th, 2007

Last year for Thanksgiving week I took a trip out to the east coast and visited family and friends in Boston, New Haven, and Washington DC. I had a terrific time. Tonight I’ll be leaving on another trip to try and top last year. I’ll be spending a week in Cancun, then heading over to Nashville to spend Thanksgiving there with Matt’s family.

Expect some pictures of this trip, and some others I have been going on since I last posted, when I return! Happy Thanksgiving!

Backpacking Western Europe

August 6th, 2007

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Loyal readers will have noticed that I have been M.I.A. for about two months now. The biggest reason for that was the planning for, going on, and recovering from a whirlwind two-week backpacking trip across Western Europe. I had wanted to take a trip like this two years ago when I finished at Cal but, with my Let’s Go Western Europe book in hand, plans fell apart at the last minute. Now, two years later I had the vacation time, the money, and another chance to go on just such a trip — let’s take a moment to celebrate not being college-student-poor anymore. Add to that Ara was wrapping up his time at Cal and looking to go on a big trip before sinking the next few years into investment banking. Oh and add to that my buddy Anurag also wanting to join in on the European fun. The time was clearly ripe for a backpacking trip to remember.

So we spent mid-to-late June hightailing it across a bunch of places all over Western Europe including:

  • London
  • Paris
  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • Nurburg
  • Munich
  • Barcelona
  • Girona

Overall the trip was great; we all had a ridiculously good time and I’ve got memories from this trip that I will cherish forever. As I sort through the photos from the trip, I intend to put up a series of posts, one for each country probably, with some of my thoughts on the places we visited and of course, some funny stories.

That point also brings me to probably the only low point of the whole trip. While in Munich, near the end of the trip, and after snapping 600+ of probably some of the best photos I have taken yet, I left my camera unattended for about 30 minutes and it was stolen. Although I didn’t write about it here, I had finally taken the dive into the world of SLR photography by procuring my own Canon 20D. I thought it was an awesome camera and I was having a lot of fun learning how to best use it to expand my abilities as an admittedly amateurish photographer. You can see some of the shots I was able to take with it in my photo gallery here and here. Anyway, the point is that although I will be posting a bunch of photos from the trip soon, I cannot take credit for taking the vast majority of them; that credit goes to Ara and Anurag.

Stay tuned for more Euro action.