Weekend Protests Follow-up

I had so many work-related and conference-related things going on that I didn’t even finish posting about the weekend events. There were reporters out there,m both Friday and Saturday, and they took better pictures than us. All the pictures below are copied from the Chicago Tribune gallery. There is Annam and a part of me :).

I still feel dissatisfied, and I regret that I didn’t do more. The most important message we had to send was a message to our legislators to continue supporting the Ukraine war effort and to make it clear that it is not a general humanitarian thing,” but keeping the rest of the world safe. Looking and the news coverage, I feel that this mission was not achieved.

I also blame myself that I didn’t speak at the end of the meeting when the floor was available. It was already too cold, and everybody started to feel it (though nobody had left). Yes, I was unprepared, and it was cold, and I thought that Nadia and Kira could get completely frozen at any moment. That’s all true, but I still could.

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All About Yesterday

There were a lot of different events happening in Chicago on Friday and Saturday, marking a year of the Russian war against Ukraine. I have an acute feeling that I haven’t done enough, haven’t said enough, and that people, in general, are more indifferent than they should be.

Still, I want to report some positive news.

The Ukrainian rally on Friday was massive, with lots of city and county officials in attendance. I was hoping to be there at least for a part of it, but I had an unreconcilable conflict with the girls arriving at the same time. Igor was there and took a lot of pictures.

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Why your female co-workers do not come to meetups?

Continuing discussion about women at meetups

The World of Data

Thank you to everybody who responded to my post about the complete absence of women at the Chicago PUG February meetup on all three platforms where it was posted. While I understand that it is not an isolated issue but a part of the overall gender disbalance in IT, the lack of women in Postgres is striking compared to other IT fields. And even on top of that disbalance, it is even more pronounced at meetups.

During last week’s discussions, some people stated that going to any meetup or not is a personal choice, and there may be many reasons why people do not come. I completely agree with that, but I am leaving the discussion on “what are the benefits of attending meetups” to a future discussion. In this blog, I focus solely on gender disproportion.

Several commentators suggested providing daycare or allowing participants to come with children would…

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I Hope People Will Come!

Last Saturday, I distributed some flyers about tomorrow’s rally to the protesters by the Lyric Opera Building. It turned out that Chicago Tribune did an interview with one of the Ukrainian refugees who were there, and … they mentioned the rally in the article!

Also, Igor and one other rally organizer were interviewed by NBC today, so there will be even more visibility.

I hope that people will come!

Today at Jewel Osco. I imagine some people might think it’s bad taste, but I felt it like a touching gesture.

Les Miserables

This is the best musical I ever saw in my life. Seriously. I tried to find some recordings on the web, and only found this one, and it conveys very little of how marvelous this performance is! Everything: the voices, the acting, the costumes, the set – everyting was superb. 

The performance was very long – more than three hours, but I didn’t feel tired a bit. My neighbor and I both sat with our eyes wide opened throught the whole show, trying to catch each smallest detail. 

I don’t know what else to say except of that I want to see it again (and I have no time for that :))

About Chivalery

I entered the Cook County building for early voting. When I reached the elevators to the sixth floor, I saw a middle-aged black woman and a middle-aged white man approaching the same elevators from the other side. When the elevator came down, the man moved aside to let us in first, saying, “there is still some chivalry here.”

We reached the sixth floor, and he let us out first, holding the door. When we entered the registration room, the black lady said: why won’t you go first? You hold the door for us. He replied: “There is still some chivalry here. Ladies first.”
I survived that and didn’t comment; instead, I smiled and said, “thank you.” Then we filled in our forms and gave them to the clerk. The clerk checked them one by one. She asked the black lady whether she knew how to use the machine. She didn’t ask the middle-aged white guy. And then she asked me.

And… well, that’s the end of the story.

The Orchid Show 2023

My friend Lena started a tradition of visiting me in sprig to attend the Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show. We did the first one right before the pandemic lockdown, then we did the second one last spring, right after the war in Ukraine started. And last Sunday, we went to the 2023 Orchid Show. Same as before, we took my mom along, and Lena’s friend from Palatine came to join us.

I do not think anybody needs words to describe the orchids. They are magical. This year, the show organizers placed magnifying lenses close to some of the orchids, and neither Lena nor I liked this. We both think, it was a good try but the result was not as magical as one could imagine.

Here they are:

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Silence Is Complicity!

A rare occasion that my first look at BBC alerts in the morning made me smile – I saw the news about Biden’s surprise visit to Kyev. Actually, I instantly felt completely awake! It was quite awesome and unexpected.

But even though several of my friends messaged me excitedly, I told all of them that Biden does not decide the aid to Ukraine solely. We still need to make sure that the US Congress will continue to support financial and military aid for Ukraine.

That brings me right to the main topic of this week. I was trying to find any rally supporting Ukraine, and the only one announced was the one on February 24 by Saints Volodimir and Olha Cathedral.

Why is it not enough? First, this rally will be mostly Ukrainian; there will probably be some representatives of Polish, Lithuanian, and maybe Georgian communities. And it will be far from the Loop. And the important thing now is not only to condemn the war and war criminals but also to send a clear message to our legislators.

Here is what struck me. I didn’t build a political activists network in Rogers Park yet. I emailed a few people from NWSOFA with whom I canvassed and rallied in the suburbs before I moved, and there was zero enthusiasm about rallying for Ukraine. One of them suggested contacting Jan Schakowsky’s office. I went to her website, and to my dismay, I saw zero about Ukraine. Zero. Nothing in her list of issues or in her foreign policy stands. I could not believe my eyes. 

My concern is that now that we have a Republican majority in Congress and the conversation about “how long we are going to send money to Ukraine” has resumed, the message from the constituents should be unambiguous. We should support Ukrainians in their fight because they defend the world. It’s not a charity, and it’s not an investment. It is the fight for all of us. Without help from the rest of the world, Ukraine won’t win. And if Ukraine doesn’t win, Putin won’t stop. 

Igor joined the efforts of the organizers of Saturday’s rally on Daley plaza, and I am trying to do my small part by promoting this event. I don’t know how many people will come, but we have five more days, so I hope to spread the word. 

If you are in Chicago, you might have seen these flyers. Please come and join us on Saturday at Daley Plaza. 

Anna Karenina at Joffrey

Joffrey Ballet put on a new “Anna Karenina” production with an all-new score by Ilya Demutsky, which is stunning. I spend almost an hour searching for the best photos, and they can only remotely reveal what a stunning production it is. There is very little of Tolstoy left. For example, the best part is the scene of Anna and Vronsky’s intimacy, which is 100% against Tolstoy’s beliefs. If you remember this part of the novel, he does not describe the scene, he just said that “it happened.” And then, he describes all the horrible feelings of “murder” and how Anna is disgusted with what just happened. This goes with Tolstoy’s idea that sex is sinful and “unnatural” and ruins the love, not compliments it. All the nonsense that people with a strong desire often say since they feel guilty about how they feel.

Anyway, is erotic scene is so beautiful and so powerful!

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