Three Thousand Years Of Longing

OMG, what an awesome movie! Igor and I went to Siskel Center yesterday to see it, and it totally exceeded expectations! Yes, the director is awesome, and reviews where good, but recently, we had so many situations when reviews were great, but the movie would turn up being mediocre. that I couldn’t count on good reviews.

But this movie is just brilliant! With each next twist of a plot it becomes better and better. Usually, this is not my favorite genre. I saw comments on YouTube that this trailer represents the movie correctly. I disagree: there are less special effects per minute than in that trailer 🙂

Loo, September 1969

That was my second and last trip “to the South.” We rented a room from the same landlord and passed the time the same way as a year before. That meant that we spent mornings at the beach, then went inside to hide from the intense sun. We had milk and bread at home, and then went back to the beach. We had dinner in a small diner close to the beach and would go back to our room. Sometimes, we would wait to see a sunset over the sea.

Mom made friends with another mom who was vacationing with her son, named Sergey. He was approximate my age, and we played on the beach together. A couple of times, we went hiking in the mountains – the mountains started right there, behind the houses. Sergey and I loved making our way through the ferns. Also, that was the first time I saw blackberries and tried them. In Russian, blackberries a called hedgehog berries, and I asked mom whether it is true that only hedgehogs could it blackberries:)

Continue reading “Loo, September 1969”

Sanatorium, part 3

Although most of the pictures from the sanatorium show me hanging out with boys, I mostly remember interactions with girls.

Since the purpose of our stay in the sanatorium was “to get more fresh air, we were outside a lot; almost all the time when it was not raining. When outside, we mostly played role games. We liked to pretend that the group of us was a family with many siblings. Since all the fairy tales were about girls or boys from poor families who would later become princesses or princes, we always played ” a poor family,” where everybody had to work.

As I mentioned earlier, there were two big girls in our group, Lilya was seven and Lyalya was six. Lilya just finished the first grade (she should have been close to eight then). They both, but especially Lilya, tortured us by “playing school.”

Lilya made small notebooks and actually taught a small group of younger kids to write in cursive. We hated it because our letters were coming out clumsy, and Lilya would yell at us (like teachers would do) and mark our work with bad grades. Somehow, I remember being more miserable when she yelled at us than when this would come from our teacher.

My stay at the sanatorium seemed endless, but finally, it was over, and mom and I went “to the South” again.

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

Democracy Rebirth: A Book Review

This book (Democracy rebirth by Dick Simpson) covers in depth the parts of the political history of the United States and Chicago in particular, which are not addressed often. Let’s put it bluntly: we used to hear about the “Democratic machine” from our opponents when they want to say that nothing good ever comes from Democratic officials. We rarely think about what IS the “Democratic machine.” Maybe it’s my ignorance, but it was the first time in my life that I understood that this is not an insult but an actual mechanism of ensuring that the Democratic party stays in power. And it’s the first time I heard it from a person, who is a Democrat, served as an elected official, and is very serious about returning a true democracy to US politics. Some quotes I find important:

The cure for the dichotomy between the imperatives of capitalism and democracy lies in government regulation of the economy, a fairer system of taxation, and more generous government programs in education, health, and welfare. What is needed is the Goldilocks effect—neither too much nor too little government. We need government regulations and programs that allow capitalism to succeed without destroying either competition or democracy. We need policies that tax wealthy individuals and corporations more fairly and that provide a basic income to the poor to raise them and their children out of poverty.

The standard work week that is today forty hours will need to decrease while minimum wage and income will need to increase to a livable wage. In the future, humans will be directing the work of machines using computer software and artificial intelligence. On the other hand, professionals are ever more tied to electronic communication so that there are in many ways more tied to their jobs for longer hours. The nature of work will need to change in ways that are more humane for everyone.


The last chapter summarizes political actions which should be taken to achieve a Democracy’s rebirth, including an automated voter registration system, control over campaign contributions, and elimination of machine politics.

P.S. I learned about this book when I attended this event in the Chicago Public Library.

Chalk Howard

This annual event took place yesterday, and I went there for the first time. The festival was great, the chalk art itself, and the music, and the food (we didn’t try any, because we chose completely wrong time for it, but it looked fabulous, especially Senegal food.

However, I felt sad seen an excessive number of police and security staff, and knowing that on regular days, this area is experiencing not the best of its days. I want to find a way how I can contribute to making it a little bit better.

But for now – enjoy the pictures!

Continue reading “Chalk Howard”

Work-Work Balance

Once again, I am trying to maintain a “work-work balance” as professional activities of different kinds continue to multiply. 

The things which are on my radar in addition to work are

  • getting ready for all of September conferences: only half is done
  • one completely new presentation for October – not even started
  • another presentation for October together with my co-worker: it was started only because both of us pushed each other, but there is still a lot to do (about 25% done)
  • interviews for each of the conferences (only one left, but it’s a huge one)
  • a user reported a bug in pg_bitemporal
  • we just merged a new iteration of NORM, but Boris wants to rework several things, and I agree
  • all things related to PG Day Chicago
  • to build an example for my not-yet-started presentation in October, I need to create tons of new things in postgres_air
  • educational video, which got stalled back in May

You know what I want to say? If not for The Lake, I won’t survive! The daily beach breaks for the past two weeks (along with very beach weather) helped me to relax and recharge, and some days I felt like I was on summer break (although other days, I would be so tired that I would drop dead at 9:30 PM).

As I did before, I am taking some days off to do some work 🙂

A Very Eventful Weekend

I had grand plans for the past weekend, which ended up being realized for at most 70%. If was a long weekend, starting with our monthly Wellness Friday. I went for what I hoped would be an enjoyable semi-long ride. On my way back, near Montrose Harbor, an older gentleman decided to cross to the exit from the pedestrian lane right in front of me. I had no time to brake, and I did my best to make a sharp left turn so I won’t knock him off. I still touched him, but slightly, so he didn’t fall. As for me, I ended up falling off, although not very bad.

My chain had fallen off, the handlebar turned sideways, and my knee was scratched pretty seriously, but at least I didn’t get a concussion! 

Still, it was a bad start to the day. I lost a lot of time fixing the chain, straightening the handlebar, getting back on the Trail, and then taking care of my knee at home. 

And then, I could not return to my original plans for most of the weekend. The heavy rain most of Saturday didn’t help either. To be fair, I planned a little bit too much for this weekend, and it is possible that I would have to abandon many of my plans regardless of this bike accident, but I still blame those who do not look to the left and the right before crossing!

The list of good things that happened:

  • I swam in the lake on the only day when it was possible (Friday)
  • Recorded an hour-long podcast with Hasura (should go live tomorrow)
  • Went to the Bridgeport Art Center Open House with Igor
  • Went escorting
  • Saw a part of the Chicago Air and Water show (and figured out how I am going to do it next year)
  • Visited the Glenwood Art Fair
  • Baked a pumpkin pie and a blueberry pie
  • Gave a lengthy interview about MAC hosting
  • Finished one of the five presentations for my fall conferences
Bridgeport Art Center
Bridgeport Art Center
Continue reading “A Very Eventful Weekend”


I already said it once, and I want to say it again: escorting has become even more emotionally exhausting than before. There are no more quiet shifts. I was looking through my journal, and I was shocked to see the entries where I talk about quiet shifts or just do not talk about shifts because there was nothing eventful happening.

Not anymore. Ever. There are two or three, or four groups of antis each time. They bring amplifiers, and patients have to make their way in between these groups, between come and talk to us on the left, to Jesus Christ told us on the right, right into do not murder your baby on the left of the clinic entrance.

There were several heated exchanges of patients with antis. Several heated exchanges of passers-by with antis, as well as the escorts.

And I do not think we have reached the peak of this hatred yet.