Personal Blog

Christmas in Brisbane

Although the lead-up to Christmas can be a a trying time, with everyone trying to get everything possible finished off in time for the break and the end of year, it can also be quite a beautiful time … if you can take a step back, forget your worries for a moment, and ignore the crass commercialism that comes with it all. Switch off your mind, and just enjoy the pretty lights and the wondrous look on the faces of small children. Admittedly you probably won’t see that wondrous look on the older kids, as they’re too busy figuring out how to scam mum and dad for that Xbox One, PS4, or new laptop.
Andrew Mercer (Bald White Guy)
Andrew Mercer
I'm a Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing consultant based in Brisbane, Australia. I've consulted on or managed several large BI systems in New Zealand, Australia and Latin America.
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Contact Info
Please use the contact form on this site.
Or phone 04 5704 1640 (Australia)
Latest Photo

Old-timer with a machine gun. Vintage War truck in 2015 ANZAC Day. Flag with original Australian (and ANZAC) colours is held in the background.

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Congrats Brisbane, on a well run G20

The last couple of weeks have been interesting. We’ve had lots of late night overflights by military helicopters - and landing in the RNA Showgrounds about 2kms from my house. Maybe its the sound of the neighbours’ air conditioner in this hot weather - but I seem to hear the sounds of helicopter rotors being left running for hours late at night over at the showgrounds practicing for President Obama’s arrival. There’s been a huge visible police presence and, last weekend, the city caught a glimpse of heavily-armed soldiers running around Eagle Street Pier practicing for an anti-terrorist operation. At work, we’ve been drilled to be prepared for mass protests, bomb threats, shutdowns and the unexpected (such as actions by Black Blocs which have disrupted G20 events elsewhere). Read More...

Brazilian Election

Today is election day in Brazil, when the governing Workers’ Party (known locally as Partido dos Trabalhadores or PT) face off against the Social Democratic Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, or PSDB). This is an important election, with PT facing its first real electoral challenge since gaining power 12 years ago under Lula da Silva. The government of the current incumbent, President Dilma Rousseff, has been rocked by huge corruption scandals and launched a desperate campaign to cling onto power. Rather than responding to corruption allegations, Rousseff and former president Lula da Silva have responded by resorting to gutter politics and a smear campaign. They’ve been especially vicious against the opposition candidate, Aécio Neves - referring to him as a playboy and drunkard, accusing him of beating women, and made a ridiculous assertion that he is intent on persecuting people of Brazil’s northeast like the Nazis did with the Jews in World War II. Read More...

Save Cairns' Flying Foxes

In our recent visit to North Queensland to experience the Great Barrier Reef, we passed a night in Cairns. The idea was to book a luxury resort hotel so we could make good night of things for my birthday - also splurging on a fancy dinner in a chic restaurant on Cairns’ glorious waterfront. It would be nice relaxing follow-up to our Port Douglas trip, and our fun afternoon whitewater rafting along the Barron Gorge with the nice folks at Raging Thunder. Cairns truly is a fantastic city, blessed by its natural location. Aside from the Reef, it’s located close to the Daintree Rainforest - which is less well known but harbours equally astounding biodiversity. Our so-called “resort hotel” was the Novotel Oasis. It looked nice and fancy in the brochures - and our assumption was that a well-known chain would have high standards. However, aside from being a hugely disappointing place to stay, I discovered the hotel is also playing an unsavoury role destroying the same biodiversity that visitors travel there to see. Read More...

Whitewater Rafting in Cairns

Today I had a wonderful experience whitewater rafting with the nice folks from Raging Thunder along the Barron Gorge here in Cairns. It was my beautiful wife’s plan to do something special on the last day of our holiday. Not being the outdoorsy type she was actually quite petrified thinking that it was going to be dangerous and frightening - however it turned out be the most fun we’d both had in ages. Now she wants to go back and do it again. My highest compliments go to the Raging Thunder team, and our guide Rob, for such a professionally organised trip and for their good humour along the way. Read More...

Diving the Great Barrier Reef

Today I’m in Port Douglas, North Queensland, and realised a long-held ambition to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Thanks heaps to my wife, Rose, for organising it as a birthday surprise - as well as the professional crew on the tourist vessel, Silversonic. I’m not much of a swimmer and much less a diver. Becoming a certified diver through PADI is one of those things I thought might be cool to do - but expensive and unlikely to be something I’d keep up in the long term. Nonetheless - I’ve been curious to try it just once ... and there’s no better place to start than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Guided dives with no experience necessary. Read More...

Responsive Site Redesign

This site has been languishing for the past 18 months as a result of priorities on my work, as well as my parallel Pantanal Escapes website project. However, in an effort to kickstart things again I’ve revised the site with the implementation of new responsive design. This means it should still look equally readable on mobiles and tablets, as it does on your desktop or laptop computer. Read More...

Tribute to Oscar Niemeyer

It was with considerable sadness yesterday that I learned about the death of Oscar Niemeyer. He was just ten days short of reaching his 105th birthday. Niemeyer has long been somewhat of a personal hero to me - not only as a gifted architect, but also as one of those larger than life personalities who enrich our world. His career spanned spanned almost 80 years, with him still being active and advising on projects until recently.

Although Niemeyer designed many buildings throughout Europe and North America, his most well-known masterpieces are in his native Brazil. These include the Congress, Cathedral, and other major state buildings of Brasília.

Dear BBC. Thanks for Michael Palin's Brazil - but ...

I’ve just finished watching the Michael Palin series, Brazil. I’ve loved Michael Palin’s travel shows since his original Around the World in 80 Days. As you can probably tell from this site, I’m a serious nature lover - and I especially love wild and exotic places such as the Pantanal. This is why I was upset by the content of the last episode of Michael Palin’s Brazil. It featured the Pantanal region which, IMHO, is the best area for wildlife in all of South America - even better than the Amazon. There were obligatory shots of Palin with oohs and aahs as he gazed on the region’s natural beauty and fauna. He then retired to enjoy a traditional Pantaneiro barbecue with local cattle ranchers who also espoused their love of the environment, and their efforts to protect it. The problem is, the BBC obviously didn’t do their research. Read More...

Bats Have Returned - But They Need Help

As an apartment-dwelling Brisbanite, it’s always great to see local wildlife returning into the heart of the city. With the arrival of the spring breeding season, there are once again hundreds of flying foxes passing by my building every evening at dusk. I’m dismayed that many people, my wife included, don’t like bats - they find them creepy and somewhat ominous. They are kind of noisy when they squabble, and I admit their musky pheromone smell can be overpowering when they’re close. However, my first apartment here overlooked a small garden on the balcony below, where bats were frequent visitors. Read More...
© 2015 Andrew Mercer