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22 February 2013 @ 01:42 am

This is a Russian campaign against Article 6.13.1 (of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation), the federal bill which is to ban the “propaganda of homosexuality among minors”. You can enjoy the full insanity of the bill in English here. It was already approved by their Parliament in its first reading, and has two more readings to pass.

So the Love is Legal site is where people’s photos and accompanying messages opposing the bill and supporting the Russian LGBT community are posted. I asked one of the Russian activists if I could join the campaign, and he gladly gave me his permission. I sent my photo and my message to the campaign’s email address, and this is the end result:

My message is in Russian (thanks to ilupin for the editing), so I’m translating it into English for you.

I am a volunteer who works with gay teenagers. I know from experience what it’s like to talk an underage boy out of killing himself over the Internet.

For such teenagers, the information that they are perfectly normal and no worse than the others can be literally life-saving. They need information and educational resources, and not protection from the “propaganda” of what is absurd to propagandize. They need to know that they are not alone on this planet. I am against Article 6.13.1.

Darina Ivanova

ETA: I'm making this post "sticky" for some time because I think it's important.

28 June 2016 @ 02:38 am
I attended two outdoor knitting/crochet events in different cities this month because it so happened that the World Wide Knit in Public Day events in the cities of Plovdiv and Sofia got split into two different days this year and the end result was this fancier version of Mirabel the fish (link to pattern). Well, I admit that I also worked on it at home in between the two events. :P

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The fish while it still had fewer finsCollapse )

Then I was asked to add more and fancier fins because that seems to attract buyers at Bulgarian charity markets, although I think the other fish I had made strictly from the original pattern last year were liked well enough.

So I ended up knitting the last fin (designing it by trial and error) at the second event in Sofia. Now I’m making a second fish with the other set of fins I knitted at the second event in Sofia (I only took that one little ball of yarn there because the knitting event wasn’t my main goal; I was actually going there for Pride :P and I had to carry all of my luggage on my back for the rest of the day). Alas, I didn’t manage to meet all of my fellow charity crafters who attended the event in Sofia because most of them had already gone home to save themselves from the heat of that day, but it was still fun.

Getting to and from Plovdiv for the earlier event was much easier because it’s nearer, there were a whole “delegation” of three ladies from my home town, and one of us drove us in her car, so we didn’t have to ride a train or bus. The rest of the ladies were crocheting two group charity blankets there, but I was unfazed being the only knitter among crocheters and just took my own project with me to knit for the same charity. :)

Here are some photos of me knitting the fish at those events:

Look at us knitting or crochetingCollapse )
And now just me, still knitting away after everybody else was done. :)
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Current Mood: creative
26 June 2016 @ 12:53 am
This rose plant near where I live surprised me with this flower. I thought it was done at least until the autumn after the rains in may ruined its spring flowers, and the plant itself developed some spots that may be a fungal disease called rust or just weather damage (I'm not sure what butrns from sun after rain re supposed to look like on rose plants). Somebody had even cut off the hopelessly damaged branches, but there was enough left to go into bloom now and then.

Photos from 23 June; alas, I didn't have my camera with me the previous evening when the flower still looked its best.

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A closer look at the flower (oops, edited to insert the right photo):
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Ana a view from a different angle:
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P. S. puddleshark, this is one of the "spring roses" I mentioned to you once.
22 June 2016 @ 02:49 am
So, this year’s Sofia Pride was on 18 June (last Saturday), and of course I was there. :)

It was a hot day, I was already very tired from spending too much of it on the road, and of course I hadn’t managed to sleep the night before, which didn’t help either. But still... it was our day, and I somehow had the energy to smile now and then during the march, and dance a little during the short concert at our gathering point afterwards. And I got plenty of hugs from friends. :)

That one day in the year when we half-march, half-dance our way through the central streets of Sofia to declare our very existence, our very humanity, and our very physical presence, our very bodies somehow became a statement. Our day on which we celebrate boldly in public all possible bonds of love that bring us there... I don’t know how to explain to first-world foreigners that mix, that perfect harmony of protest and celebration at the same time. :)

We observed a minute of silence for the victims of the Orlando shooting before the speeches began. And then some of us got worried that those speeches were going on for too long... but that worked in our favour because the police didn’t want to let us start our march before some counter-protesters (aggressive "nationalist" types), which were allowed by the Mayor to march at the same time and in dangerous proximity to our route, got away from the streets. Make no mistake, none of that happened by chance, and the police were left to deal with the consequences in this populist political game. We learned later that some of those types started a fight with the police officers, who just fought back enough to defend themselves and push the attackers back, and apparently nobody got arrested! Well, at least they were not given a chance to attack us, although a small group of them sneaked into a strategic location and tried to intimidate us while part of the police forming the cordon on that side of the march were watching them intently and we were laughing and waving mockingly our rainbow flags at them. Yes, an Eastern European Pride is always a good adrenaline boost! ;)

As one of our activists said, this video captured the experience beautifully. I’m not in the video myself, but please don't let that stop you from watching it. :P By the way, I saw the dog at 1:14 in person. :)

I actually got into this video (2:19 - 2:26, following the huge rainbow flag), but I don't know if any of you can recognize me from that distance.

Do TV cameras make me look fatter? I’m afraid they do. :P Now seriously, you can see me in the background at about 2:30 in the news video (In Bulgarian) if you follow this link, and I swear I got there accidentally. :D Sorry, the video is not embeddable.

And if you want to see our adversaries, there is another non-embeddable Bulgarian news video here. Their attempt to fight the police starts at around 0:30. Apparently, they got upset because they weren’t allowed to leave right through the police cordon right after they declared their event finished, so they tried to storm their way out. In the end they were only allowed to withdraw in small groups of two or three people at a time.

Here is a little photo gallery of Sofia Pride in a Bulgarian newspaper.

And now a few photos featuring me:

I’m not sure to whom to give credit for this one I copied off Facebook. The guy in the middle is my friend Victor Lilov, who is currently your only openly gay politician (to my knowledge).
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And now some photos by my friend Lachezar or taken with his camera if he is in them himself. If you are on Facebook, you can see his whole Pride album here.

This photo is my special favourite because I don't look terrible in it. :P
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Some photos in which I do look terrible :PCollapse )

A photo I took myself, for a change, of a sign lying conveniently on the grass after the march. It says, “Discrimination and hatred come back to you”. The sticker in the corner says “Act again every form of discrimination”.
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My company managed to withdraw safely after the event; we hid anything pride-related before we left our gathering point, and turned into a group of ordinary citizens that just happened to be there. ;) Maybe it helped that there was a (pretty quiet) beer fest in another area of the same park. We even managed to eat a modest dinner still within the wider area that was guarded by the police; some of them stayed there pretty late, and I don’t know when they left. I then spent the night at a friend's place and went back to my home town on the next day.

Alas, some other Pride participants were incautious or unlucky enough to meet a group of “counter-protesters” on their way back. Before we even left the guarded area, I was told on the phone that a young woman had used some kind of spray against two infamous “nationalist” types who allegedly threatened to attack her physically and everybody involved on both sides got arrested. We learned later that the young lady and her male companion were not allowed to talk to the lawyer (a Pride participant and activist herself) who rushed to the police station. Then everybody got released, and the alleged wannabe attackers have been very vocal about their innocence; things are promising to become very interesting, and not in a good way… *sigh* But at least nobody got beaten this year.

And in case you think that I am very brave (or very reckless), think of those Russian activists who got arrested for trying to commemorate the Orlando victims for perspective. Well, at least this is my Eastern European perspective, from which I consider myself lucky enough.

Current Mood: happyhappy
17 June 2016 @ 03:28 am
So, one of the mysteries of this entry is no longer a mystery. Meet Molly! :)

From this pattern (with some alternative curly tentacles of my own design, and some liberties with decoration)): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/molly-medusozoa-species/people

Still in progress:
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When a jellyfish climbs a tree (it was very difficult to take any decent outdoor photos in the wind):

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And this is a less pretty background and the photo isn't very good, but I wanted you to see the jellyfish flying with the wind (and that's one of those countless cherry plum trees we have in my part of town):

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Current Mood: accomplished
I can't even remember when the "rainy period" began this spring; it my have been late April. All I remember is that it rained almost every day throughout May and early June, and often more than once a day, and in the end everybody got used to the rain and we felt grateful if we didn't get a thunderstorm or hail. It felt a little strange when we got four or five rain-free days last week, although I did enjoy them, and I was very much not mused when it rained again last Sunday. And now we've got three rain-free days in a row so far this week, and I could use some more of them indeed!

So I'm finally beginning to post the best of those cloudy/rainy photos I gathered.

14 May. When I went out and saw this cloud, I got some kind of animal scare and wanted to run back home because it looked so "alien" to me:

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A zoom photo; I think it was it's sheer thickness that got me so scared, or... I don't know what to call it... density?

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I continued on my way to the nearest park, which was a mistake because that cloud turned out to be the unrecognized beginning of a storm. When I reached the park, I noticed that there were a wider cloudy area in the sky now, right between the park and my neighbourhood and it was turning very dark. I still hoped I had enough time to walk back home, which wasn't exactly right, and it fell very surreal when I saw small lightnings up in the sky at the edges of the cloudy area that kept spreading. I almost made it, but the rain caught me near my home and still got me very wet. At least I was already safe when the worst of the storm began. I got better at recognizing the clouds' potential for rain and storms in the next days, but never quite learned to figure out when exactly it would start to rain next.

And here is the most rain-resistant rose of the time, the one whose flowers hadn't get ruined (some of the other rose plants more or less adapted later). It's not the most decorative, but does smell good. Itook these photos while still on my way to that park.

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17 June 2016 @ 02:49 am
Do you remember the bug-magnet daisies? I now want to show you something different from the usual bugs.

I 'm not sure if it qualifies as a "butterfly" or "moth" in English (we don't have this distinction in my own language); it looks more like a "moth" to me, judging by the shape of its wings, but I could never see its antennae properly because the creature was clearly afraid of me, so I was careful not to came very close for fear of scaring it away.

Photos from 8 June (wow, where did time go?). The daisies were still more or less "presentable" at the time, although something had already begun to eat their petals, as you can see in the photos.

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Photo from 22 May: my surprise discovery in the new park of that day - or evening to be precise.

I'm afraid it didn't last long in the rains of the next days. :(

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Current Mood: amusedamused
06 June 2016 @ 01:08 am
These daisies...
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They were bug magnets from the very beginning (photos 1-3 are from 27 May):
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A little change in the bug population (1 June):
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Those bug never seemed to do any harm to the daisies and maybe were just feeding on their nectar (4 June):
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But something had nibbled on this one:
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Spider, spiderCollapse )

I wonder if that unperturbed tiny bug in the last photo is the same one that was there yesterday; the spider didn't seem interested in it at all. Too small or bad to eat?
Current Mood: amusedamused
03 June 2016 @ 03:25 am
Time for a little "guess what I'm knitting" game again beacuse I've already editeded the photos for the kniting site Ravelry anyway, unlike all other photos I want to post. :) Well, those of you who are Ravelry members will know how to find the key to the mystery on my project page there, but please don't tell the rest of my readers here. LOL

The creature in the second photo ispart of a msytery knit-along on Ravelry, and the ones on the first photo are no longer officially a "myustery" but I haven't managed to put all of their parts together yet. Ouch!

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Current Mood: sillysilly