John Butler, Ocean, 2012

John Butler has been playing this song his entire career from busking on streets to stadiums. Like his career it has morphed and changed over time, and like one of his shows is unique each time he plays it. Many artists have ‘signature tunes’ that become canon. This is his. So cool to see a) a piece of music that is essentially a part of who the man is that he never seems to tire of playing b) someone in such complete command of their instrument while simultaneously channelling something from somewhere else.

I remember years ago when a friend of mine played me a different version of this and it blew me away. This was/is like discovering it all over again.

From the YouTube description:

“OCEAN is a very interesting aspect of my life. It is part of my DNA. It conveys all things I can’t put into words. Life, loss, love, spirit. As I evolve so too does ‘Ocean’. The song was first recorded as part of my first album/cassette, “Searching For Heritage”, which I sold when I busked, then for my first self-titled studio album 12 years ago — “John Butler (1998)”. The song has been watched online incredibly over 25 million times in various formats, nearly always live, be it from MusicMax Sessions or from one of the many festivals I have had the pleasure to play. I’d like to thank you for your continued support over all these years; it means so much to me. I would like to thank you by offering this first studio recording of ‘Ocean’ in over a decade as a free download. I recorded it in my favourite studio, The Compound here in Fremantle Western Australia, a studio you helped me build. This marks just another fleeting moment in a career that is very much ongoing. I look forward to bringing you many new songs and albums into the future and continuing this amazing journey with you ALL. THANK YOU, J.B”

John Butler

Apple ‘Light’ Phone Experiment

My buddy Steve posted over on his site about ordering up one of the forthcoming Light Phone 2’s – basically a stripped down phone that does calls, messaging and that’s about it.

The prospect was appealing to me, and fatefully enough checking with my mobility provider tells me that the contract is up on my trusty iPhone SE at the end of this month. Fate? I dunno.

I’m painfully impulsive when it comes to things like this so as hard as it is, I’m going to exercise discipline and not pull the trigger immediately on a Light Phone. Instead, I’ll use Steve’s experience with it as research.

However, it occurred to me that one could practically render the iPhone a ‘Light Phone’ by dumping all the apps, or as much as the OS will allow, so as an experiment, I decided to do that. The surprise was that it was really hard to think about not using some apps, let alone deleting them – a telling indication for sure and perhaps a reason I won’t be able to go for the actual Light Phone in the long run, but we’ll see.

For the record, I’ve neutered my phone down to:

Lean Mean Home Screen
  • Activity App – Syncs with my Apple Watch;
  • App Store – must use, can’t get rid of it;
  • Calendar – even thinking about getting rid of this gave me the shakes. Trying to keep track of 6 family members without access to this would be a nightmare. Probably the reason right here that I’ll never go Light Phone;
  • Camera – can’t get rid of it;
  • Clock – can’t get rid of it;
  • Contacts – basically for phone/messaging purposes;
  • Facebook Messenger – still my main source of comms with many people;
  • Find iPhone – can’t get rid of it;
  • Health – can’t get rid of it, and I actually use it;
  • iMessage – can’t get rid of it, don’t want to;
  • Music – this was a tough one, but I use the phone to listen to music on the bike trainer and other places, so I kept it. I don’t use it in the car or at work though;
  • Notes – I use Notes for everything. All the time. I’ve got so much stuff in there;
  • Phone – can’t get rid of it, don’t want to;
  • Photos – can’t get rid of it;
  • Safari – can’t get rid of it;
  • Settings – can’t get rid of it;
  • Wallet – can’t get rid of it;
  • Watch – can’t get rid of it, well, if you want to use the watch;
  • Weather – I can get rid of this, but I need it in order to display weather on the watch, which I do use often.

I buried all the apps in a folder on the task bar at the bottom because they can mostly be accessed by a swipe right and/or search. For the most part, swiping right, Siri is pretty good about knowing what app I’m looking for and offers it up via witchcraft.

Notable exclusions/things that gave me pause about deleting:

  • Email – yup. No more email on the phone. This could prove problematic as lots of family business and updates are sent via email, but we’ll see;
  • ScannerPro – an app that I used to scan paper documents to GoogleDrive. Very good at what it does and useful for getting rid of paper clutter. I don’t use it often, but when I do, it’s great. I’m already thinking I will re-install this the next time I want it without hesitation;
  • Banking App – not sure how often I actually used this – guess we’re gonna find out;
  • Password Manager – all my passwords are still accessible on my desktops, but sometimes I had to look one up;
  • Chrome – I loathe the Safari mobile app. Also use Chrome on my desktops so I won’t get bookmark/history sync anymore;
  • Feedly – I can access this on desktop too, but on the phone it was my go-to time-killer. Got a few minutes? Find some articles on Feedly. Guess I’ll have to stare at a wall, or – gasp – talk to strangers now.

So that’s it, one screen. I’ll see what this gets me. Going to go two weeks from today and then review how things went and post up here.

The Surly Big Easy

I wouldn’t say I have regrets (Sam Harris would argue I could never have done differently than I have in the past anyway) but with the benefit of hindsight, there are things I would do differently given the choice again.

When we moved to our current house my kids were little and we settled in a rural location because we liked the peace and quiet, the big yard and it was affordable vs. closer to town. In hindsight, I would have liked to live closer to town and tried to adopt – if not a car-free lifestyle – then at least a ‘less-car’ lifestyle.

The fact is that my house is only about .8kms from a multi-use trail that I can use to get into town, but I’m still almost 15kms out – and in the winter, it’s snow covered. I love the ride, but the reality is that I can’t get to work and get everyone where they need to be on a bike, on time, and still get sleep each day. Thus, cars.

Would I be able to do it if I lived closer to town? Still not sure, at some point when the kids were old enough to not be able to be hauled, they might have rebelled at being forced to ride. We’ll never know, but I certainly could have done more errands, groceries and commuting if I was closer to town.

I have been eyeing Surly’s cargo bikes and trailers since their launches, but can’t justify them at the moment as they would more than likely not get ridden enough to justify the expense. Maybe once all or most of the kids are out of the house. I don’t know that I’d go e-version, but it’s tempting. I do like the Big Fat Dummy platform a lot though.

Taking a Stand by Sitting

“Sit down, shut up, and watch yourself for awhile, every single day until you figure out what the hell is going on – well, you’ll never figure out what the hell is going on by the way – just a hint to the wise, but that’s a better strategy than hitting someone up with my opinion on it, and taking a stand. My taking a stand is taking a sit – and you can join me by sitting here like this for awhile.”

Brad Warner