Saturday, December 31, 2011

Before We Leave 2011...

Hey 2011,

It's been a pretty awesome year for me and Tobie and we're really, really thankful for all the awesomeness that came our way. And this seems a good a time as any to make sure we count our blessings and remind ourselves of all the reasons this year was great.

This year marked our first two years of being together as a couple, which is something pretty awesome to consider. It actually feels like we've been together a heck of a lot longer, but who's counting really? All I know is that I remain forever thankful that we found one another and we continue to become better people because of the support we give one another.

This year we also visited Manila Ocean Park for the first time, and it was a pretty spectacular experience. I'm glad that we have a facility like this here in the country and I'm looking forward to future explorations of other educational experiences like this.

Despite quirks with the scheduling, we also had a killer time at the "Almost White Party" with the rest of our friends at Malate. Plus we had these really cool Patapon shirts made that really added some character to the night's festivities.

This is also the year that we fulfilled a major bucket list item in terms of finally getting to see Kylie Minogue live in concert. Best of all, we didn't even have to leave the country to see her since she finally came to Manila!

2011 is also the year that Tobie and bought a star together, or more specifically a galaxy as a way of showing our support for The Mind Museum. And it's the Mice System, which naturally reminded us of Muab'Dib from Dune.

This was the year that we finally took a trip together out of the country and best of all it was to Singapore! Not only did I get to spend more time with my sister, but we also got to watch The Lion King musical, had an awesome time at Universal Studios Singapore and got to see a lot of great exhibits at the ArtScience Museum and other places around the country. And this definitely won't be the last - we're scheduled to go back this January to watch Wicked!

And as if getting to see Kylie Minogue wasn't enough, this year we also got to see Jason Mraz live in concert as well and again it was right here in Manila. I doubt we'll ever be able to fully explain why two of our favorite artists who have played such a big role in our lives would visit the country in the same year. But we're definitely not complaining.

And lastly there was this year's Pride March, which was the second time that Tobie and I were able to march together as a couple. Plus we got those "I Want a Marriage Too" pins that make for really fun accessories.

This is all just a taste of what made 2011 amazing for us as a couple and I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for us. As always we remain thankful for all those who have been a part of why this year has been amazing ranging from our good friends who enjoy O Bar with us, the geeks who juggle their schedules just so that we can enjoy tabletop RPGs together well into the wee hours of the night and to all the others who continue to support us as a geeky couple.

2011 was awesome and I hope that you guys take the time to remember all the great things that made the year special for you as well. After all, there's nothing wrong with being a bit more positive in your outlook towards life - it's always worth it to be proudly baduy after all.

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A Totoro Christmas - Kittenbus

One dream that Tobie and I share is to one day visit the famous Studio Ghibli Museum in Japan, despite the long waiting queue for tickets and such.

This is the Kittenbus, something that is not featured in the core My Neighbor Totoro movie but is instead found in an exclusive short entitled "Mei and the Kittenbus" that is only played at the Studio Ghibli Museum.

This sculpture is the closest we've gotten to seeing the Kittenbus apart from images online, so he's definitely a welcome addition to the Sietch family.
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Friday, December 30, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Mei Kusakabe

Mei Kusakabe is in some ways the protagonist of My Neighbor Totoro. Or at the very least, she's the lucky girl who first finds the lovable Totoro sleeping in the forest.

It's nice that the collection of figurines that I got for Tobie includes one piece dedicated to the bubbly Mei.

She's pretty adorable with a huge grin - the same one we'd all probably have on our faces should we ever come into contact with something as lovely and fluffy as the Totoros.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Lucky Find

Sometimes the thing that you're looking for most is just under your nose. Or your toes.

Looks like this Totoro found himself quite the prize...

And I doubt anyone is going to be able to get their hands on it.

 Yay for you, Totoro!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - The Catbus

Today's Totoro feature is the only other iconic creature from the movie - the Catbus!

The craftsmanship isn't perfect-perfect. but I still find it to be a really good likeness.

If anything they certainly captured the expression well enough. I mean look at that - the Catbus just always had that weird balance of being cute and somewhat creepy at the same time.

And they certainly had a lot of fun was how they tried to capture the legs. Sure, legs are legs but I feel this nicely captured the legs in motion even for such a small figure.

All aboard the Catbus!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Bonus Frog

After the rush of the holidays and quite a number of O Bar sessions, I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Bad case of the sniffles, mild fever and sort of a frog in my throat.

But then the Totoros are always here to help out, it seems...

Okay, at least I think they're here to help. So either this Totoro can help remove the frog in my throat...and put it on his head? Okay, I think I'm not making sense. I blame the meds.

The oddly blank stare on Totoro's face is strangely endearing. And somehow it looks different from the expression on the frog. Why is that?

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Leaf Shawl

It's rather cold these days (it is December after all), so Totoro ha a pretty good idea about keeping warm:

In order to keep warm, why not find a lovely leaf to use as a decorative shawl. Plus it's 100% biodegradable!

Now isn't that such a great idea? Thanks again for your help, Totoro!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Taking a Break

Merry Christmas everyone! By now you can stop worrying about getting Christmas gifts for your loved ones or trying to come up with the perfect meal.

Just follow Totoro's example and take a breather:

See? Isn't he so relaxed? Don't you just want to lazily float down some river and feel all your stress just wash away?

I'd love to find a leave large enough to float Totoro though.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

My Christmas Wish

While I've already received a number of great gifts this season including some stellar Transformers figures, a LEGO play set and some beautiful books, my main Christmas wish remains fairly simple to say but difficult to achieve.

Like every other gay man in the country, what I want more than anything else in the world is a real shot at equality. True equality and fair treatment for the LGBT community in the eyes of the law and in practice among our different people. It means making progress with key pieces of legislation like Anti-Discrimination Act.

Ultimately this means reaching that state when Tobie and I are free to marry as partners - as equals. And thus get all the rights that come with such a union, most especially the more basic right of being recognized as a couple by all and not seen as a source for ridicule or amusement.

That's not too much to ask for, right?

Merry Christmas!
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Totoro Tree Whistle

It's the night before Christmas. And it looks like Totoro has his own way of calling out to Santa Claus:

It was never fully clear to me what exactly he's blowing - a giant nut of sorts? Whatever his tree whistle is, it's a rather iconic image from the story:

And even though he's really, really tiny, he's just so darn cute.

Hope you guys get something nice from Santa tomorrow!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Catbus

The set isn't all about Totoro figures alone. Other than corn, naturally we need to have a few catbus figures, too!

And look, he has a ridiculously happy Totoro inside him, too!

I want to ride a catbus.
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Big Nut

Today's My Neighbor Totoro figurine:

Yep, it's those adorable little foraging Totoros again, but this time they've found themselves quite the prize in terms of their nut gathering.

The expression on the Chuu Totoro's face is priceless though. I have no idea what the Chibi Totoro is doing on the giant nut.
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Christmas Musings of a Garapata

This Christmas Season has just been one with so many wonderful moments.  From rOckY's awesome Ghibli Christmas gift (which is being featured one Totoro-related item at a time at, to the ABBA Christmas Party where we were all in fabulous costumes, to the annual Gift Giving event at DSL Lipa for the Bro. Rabisa Gift of Knowledge scholars, to being able to spend time with Ives, Sophie and Jam who are here from Los Angeles for a few weeks, to getting invited to Christmas dinners, receiving sweet messages thanking me for being part of the lives of others, and so much more.  I have so many things to be thankful for, that it feels wrong to celebrate them too much given the tragedy that has happened in Mindanao and other similar less than happy events this December.

But I guess, we do what we can to share the joy.  Whether it be donating some money to help in the relief operations, to giving a larger amount of cash to people as a Christmas bonus gift to say, "I appreciate your hard work and dedication" whether it be to the Oh Divas, the waiters, or others, to helping even more kids have the financial assistance to actually start (if not finish) High School, we all do what we can to help share the joy around.

I know there are others who don't really care.  They celebrate the season with the best expensive food they can  grab, or show off the latest expensively unnecessary gadget they can purchase, but who am I to shoot down their happiness?  I guess I just have to remind myself that some people indulge in such things because for them, life isn't as happy and joyful each passing day as mine is.  Or that for them, financial value is what determines the actual value of something they deem important.

Or to be kinder, they just don't really know how to celebrate any other way.

That's how life is ultimately.  Diverse and ultimately complicated in many ways, which may be seen as good or bad in many ways depending on who is looking at it.  But overall, life is wonderfully diverse with its numerous differences and incredible similarities.  And if one can find a reason to celebrate it each day, then one has found the secret to true happiness.

I know I have.

While rOckY and I don't actually share a perfect relationship, I do know we're pretty close to one.  I mean, let me be this honest:  I know I ain't exactly a looker.  I ain't stocked up with muscles or built with a bone structure that makes men and women weep.  I ain't rich.  I ain't a Master Chef.  I ain't an award-winning director nor a famous comic-book creator.  I ain't smart enough to recognize theater people based on their faces, nor identify theater songs based on the first few notes.  I ain't raking in hundreds of thousands a month (or able to "produce that somehow by whatever means") to easily purchase whatever new, overly expensive ingredient I want to use to cook whatever posh dish is out there.  I ain't blessed with a ten inch cock nor gifted with the ability to fuck for hours.  I ain't a celebrity.  I ain't a genius.  I ain't a stylish guy with a hankering for branded clothes who buys only tailored outfits and has his hands on the latest iteration of the unnecessary Apple release.

But guess what, I don't believe any of that matters anyway.
I know they don't.  Because rOckY is one of the happiest gay men in the entire fucking world, and I know I am at least 5% the reason that is true.   I know every single day in every single year, I live my life doing what I can do help him achieve his dreams... if not be happy... and I know that every single second of every single day of every single year that I am doing so, I am personally also absolutely happy.

Happy enough to realize I wanted to come out so I can tell my parents, "This is the guy I do plan to spend the rest of my life with."

Happy enough to tell the entire world the same thing.

No mind games.  No lies.  No manipulations.  No pretenses.
No making up stories of other people hitting on me, or cheating on strangers I meet at my favorite haunt just to make him feel worried of losing me, or jealous and force him to give me more attention.

I am blessed.

I am living a life that is filled with so many blessings that I am reminded of why I have my Faith.  And of why I continue to feel so saddened that the Church I was born into continues to view people like me as condemned to hell just because traditions set in the past require them to view me as someone akin to a murderer.

But no matter.  I know where I stand in life.  I know there are people out there who see what I see as well.   That I am living a life that is so filled with happiness and love,  if there was anything really I could wish for this Christmas it would be this:  That to all those out there who deserve to have a happiness as true and powerful and real as the one I have, may you find it soon.  And may that person you find be the person who deserves you, and continues to be the person who makes you smile every single day, and inspires you every single moment to be the best you can ever be.

Merry Christmas to you all!
I wish you all the best of what you deserve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Basket of Corn

In a figurine set like this one, it is to be expected that not all figures are drop-dead gorgeous items with amazing sentimental value in terms of the movie.

Like this one.

Yes, that is a basket of corn. Corn. Like the vegetable.

While corn does play a bit of a role in the movie, especially at the end, there are so many other things that could have been a point of focus in terms of My Neighbor Totoro. But instead we have corn.

To be fair, it really does look like Studio Ghibli corn, to be precise.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Foragers

Continuing in my efforts to document each of the adorable Totoro figurines that I gave to Tobie as a Christmas gift this year, here's are next subject:

While the coloring clearly isn't quite movie accurate, this is pretty much the Chuu Totoro, which really just means the medium sized one. The sculpt includes the Chibi Totoro on his head, which is sort of a homage to this scene in the movie:

As you can see, the figure not only has the Chibi Totoro on his head, but it also includes his little sack for storing nuts and whatever other goodies the Totoros find in their forage expedition.

I love the detail on this figure and admitted that scene from the movie is one of my favorites. And I know that probably factors into why I love him so much. Plus it's funny how their eyes always seem to be staring at you from almost any angle.

Two down, 18 more to go!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Totoro Christmas - Chibi Totoro

Christmas is always a great time to come up with more creative ways to show your partner that you love him. And I really wanted to come up with a great idea for this year, one that Tobie would never forget.

After searching online, I finally found the perfect gift for him over on Amazon - these adorable sets of figurines based on one of Tobie's favorite Studio Ghibli movies, My Neighbor Totoro. Each is roughly about an inch or so tall and each set comes with ten figures. So I went all-out and made sure to get both sets and now we have 20 figurines at the base of our TV table.

So I figured it would be fun to take photos of each of the figures and share them with all you Baduy Pride supporters.

Here's the first one:

It's the Chibi Totoro, which really just means it's the smallest of the Totoros that appeared in the movie. It's so cute and cuddly and I'm glad that they had this figure in the set.

What made the figure even more adorable is how it's in mid-step with its left foot is raised in the air. The figure is actually off-balance because of this, but it's still pretty darned cute.
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sietch Life: Name This Cat!

While tracking down the last of our Christmas gifts at SM Cubao, we stumbled across this adorable little keychain figure that was too adorable not to pick up, especially for just P100.00.

This is our latest little pet. He (or she) is a tiny little thing that seems to be perpetually in a scared feline post - back all arched and tail stretched out. It's only the face that is blank and doesn't seem to match all that much.

The cat oddly reminds us of Jiji, the cat from the Studio Ghibli classic, Kiki's Delivery Service, except all green. I was trying to find a better image for comparison, but it seems difficult to find the right screencap of Jiji in a similar post.

The question remains though - what do we call this new addition to the "family"? I keep hearing the lyrics of Takako Minekawa's Fantastic Cat while looking at it, but I don't think that would quite make for a decent enough name.

So what do you think, Baduy Pride readers and supporters? What would you name this cute little feline figure?

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