Personal Blog

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...

Welcome to the Official Airline of Middle Earth

Never one to miss a good marketing opportunity, Air New Zealand have definitely gotten into the spirit of Peter Jackson’s new movie, The Hobbit. Their latest safety videos feature a full cast of hobbits, elves, dwarves, wizards, orcs, and even special cameo appearances by Peter Jackson and Gollum. To give Air New Zealand credit, they’ve done just about everything possible in the last few years to spice up those stodgy old Airline Safety videos and actually make them watchable - with variations featuring the All Blacks, 1980s fitness guru Richard Simmons, Snoop Dogg, and puppets.

You can take a look at the Air New Zealand’s latest efforts below: Read More...

Thanks Brisbane for another spectacular Riverfire

It’s that time of year again, when the city puts on a spectacular finale to the Brisbane Festival. The RAAF F-111s, with their fiery “dump and burn” may have gone, but the Royal Australian Air Force still has a few tricks up its sleeve - sending in their newest F-18F Super Hornet jets dumping flares as a signal to kick off the main event. Read More...


Feijoada is Brazil’s national dish, and is one of the things (along with Brazilian Churrasco BBQ and Caiparinhas) that you must try when visiting the country. It’s a black bean stew of Portuguese colonial origin, although is more commonly associated with slave era when when slaves would fill out the stew with the less desirable cuts of pork which their slave-owners refused to eat. Nowadays, its made using better quality cuts of pork, bacon and chorizo sausage. Read More...
© 2015 Andrew Mercer