Hey there! Brian Dys here — I’m a visual and visceral person at heart. Ever since my mom lent me her old film camera, I fell in love with photography. All of my creative musings were exemplified by my second brain, the computer. This journey is a topsy-turvy ride of creative pursuits — from electronic music to UX design.
I enjoy every dull and wild moments of it — yes, this life of mine that I share with a woman named Jaycelle and a boy named Bryce. Take a peek into my kaleidoscope!
I admit, I am amazed by technology when it can bring photos to life. Decades ago, I scanned my paternal grandparents’ wedding portrait with the purpose of restoring it. It was scanned in four parts and the best restoration that I could do was stitch them together and remove some blemishes using Photoshop. I thought that I needed some painting skills if I wanted to restore the cracked part (which I didn’t).
Fast forward to 2021, my mind was blown to discover that technology could make animated portraits. Literally, it could make old stagnant photos come alive. If you want to see it for yourself, upload some pictures at MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia.
Here are they in their wedding day. Nanay, as we call our grandmother, survived her husband, Tatay. She’s now in her mid-80s, still as witty and beautiful as ever.
While I was at it, I also ran their portrait in MyHeritage In Color to somewhat colorize and enhance it. Amazing!
Update: 3 April 2021
When Nanay saw the moving portrait
Sabagay nung teenager ako, nanalo ako sa beauty contest. Kinukuha ako mag-artista ng tauhan ng Sampaguita Pictures, ayaw ng stepmother ko, baka raw mapariwara lang ang buhay ko. Sa Castillejos, Zambales yun, year 1949.
I said that if ever she took the offer, she would be alongside Susan Roces in Ang Probinsyano. She corrected me by saying that her colleagues would be Tita Duran, Pancho Magalona, Rogelio de la Rosa, and, Carmen Rosales. And that we won’t be born into the world. But she reassured me that all of us, my brothers and I, would be actors as well.
The first time I’ve been at Avaloq’s office at Philam Life building was during my second interview. I was impressed by the interior design of the pantry. There by the couch were some company brochures in the style of a newspaper. I took one home to familiarize myself with the new company that I was planning to join.
Fast forward to almost a year, I was back to this office to get a Macbook device which was an official issue for UX designers.
While waiting, I hang out by the pantry and had some coffee. There were wine bottles and glasses on the wall but only as decor (they were empty, I checked).
Outside, during lunch, it was a typical workday — only that everyone’s wearing face shields and masks. There were many people lining up at Dunkin’ at Paseo Center. I went to Yellow Cab for a grub.
I was oblivious to the fact that some companies have their employees back on site until I went to the office myself. This was also evident on the road, by the number of vehicles going somewhere. Life goes on, indeed, with the pandemic still as dangerous as it started — we just managed to become familiar of how to stay safe in the outside world. I hope complacency in being careful does not get the best of anyone.
It was a Friday — a celebratory day wherein just last year when my officemates / friends would go out for dinner and some drinks, and sometimes the office turned on its party mode. Now, I had to rush home to avoid the heavy traffic in EDSA.
What permanently changed, we’ll only know as we’re putting old normal things one by one into the new normal.
It was more than 10 years ago since I bought a Swatch watch called Something New. It was tiny classic black and white watch that had a plastic strap that cost one-third of the watch’s original price (and it breaks every year, the strap). This is what really deterred me from buying from Swatch. Metal and leather straps were me when I was 14 years old but not anymore. Durability and style require delicate balance.
After that, I switched to Casio, with another classic — an F-91W which is a cheap ₱999 watch whose strap also breaks — but this time, every six months. Again, the strap cost a third of the original price. After around 3 strap replacements, it is now again in a brink of breaking. Planned obsolescence for “bottom-of-the-line” products — these watch makers have perfected a ploy.
Just a couple of days ago, I couldn’t leave the mall without taking home this greenish-looking watch called We in the Khaki Now. With it, I partnered another watch for Jaycelle as a surprise — Sunblush (Swatch has a really fun way of naming their watches).
Of course, after eyeing these two awesome watches, my first question for the salesperson was, “What kind of straps do they have?” I was glad not to hear “plastic” or “rubber” — but “silicone“. It’s time to give it another try.
When I got home, I searched for more information regarding the straps and found out that We in the Khaki Now has a “bio-sourced material” strap. I just hope that this time the straps would last for years.
Spent this Friday afternoon combing my work inbox — taking notes and flagging important emails that I will take on at the start of 2021. Most of my work that involves team management are already churned in Figma. In other words, I don’t worry about forgetting everything behind because I’ve already managed to extract the important elements.
This is the practice that I want to embed consistently in my life — extract and carry on. It’s like the following metaphors or mental models:
Stepping stones – using what you’ve learned as a means to an end
Building blocks – using what you’ve learned to make a whole
Two birds in one stone – doing something efficiently
The lack of this practice would render, in my mind, a very messy backlog of things that, as time goes by, makes it even harder to make sense of because it became a giant tidal wave of mumbo jumbo — a real counterproductive practice. Forgetting them won’t simply do because experiences are a treasure trove of lessons. So the smart thing to do is to extract and carry on.
An important aspect of extract and carry on highly depends on the frequency of doing it. Imagine a correlation between time and memory relevance and reliability.
Our memories simply work that way — as time goes by, we tend to not remember things the same way. From a different perspective, we tend to forget. The saying, out of sight, out of mind captures its essence best.
As memories fade away, the way we retrieve or remember them, and the way we interpret them also change — even with the aid of digital documents. It might help you see and remember literal evidence of how many balloons were there in your fifth birthday but memories are different from ephemeral experience. That’s why if it’s not in the now, it’s not wholly what you experienced but a memory of your experience.
For how long until you will feel that your backlog is already a giant tidal wave? Don’t let it reach that point. If you could wrap up your life weekly or monthly, then that’s more manageable than wrapping it up once a year.
Looking back a year long when you’ve got a weekly or monthly chunk of the important stuff would be easier, and could actually be an enjoyable activity without the arduous stuff of remembering and extracting.
Pushing this idea to the extreme, I ask myself if I could save only thirty-six photos of a particular month, which could these photos be? It could mean forgetting about the rest of the photos that didn’t make the cut. That could also solve the problem of digital storage, but that’s a different story.
You get the idea — extract and carry on aims for a hangup-free and richer life.
Woke up early morn scampering to find all the knickknacks that once filled up my backpack. I emptied it since March early this year and retired it into a forgotten corner of the house. The quarantine’s end wasn’t in sight, after all. All the things that I think I might need when in the office were all lined up on my desk — they are the following:
notebook and pen
The bag? Yes, it’s nowhere to be found. I was about to check a mountain of luggage one by one and thankfully, Jaycelle was half-awake to tell me that it might be in a box full of bags. There it was, my old army green friend.
Grabe! One would exclaim in a local language (Tagalog) as exaggeration of a feeling or an event. It’s part of my daily expressions, and exaggeration is one I consider a great tool in my existential musings.
Two persons are in danger, who will you help first?
How do we handle a very long string here?
Will you eat turd for a million dollars?
What would you do if a love one is gone tomorrow?
Yes, simple questions, albeit provocative. The scenario might less likely happen today but what if it does? What would you do? How would you react?
In talks of exaggeration, there’s a pitfall to avoid, though — when facts are misrepresented for manipulation with malice. On the other hand, thinking in extremes helps us in realigning our principles and values with how we think and who we are now. It helps us be prepared for things unforeseen.