because pigeons

A good friend asked me the other day about my favourite animal. I replied that I like birds, but especially pigeons and eagles. She could understand why I chose eagles, but seemed perplexed by why I would like pigeons.

When I started thinking about the reasons why I like pigeons, I realised there are several reasons, and the full explanation is quite long. I instinctively thought that I must’ve written a post about this before, but all I could find were a post about Peregrin falcons (in which pigeons get a mention) and one about why I like wedge-tailed eagles. If you search my blog, there are a few other posts where pigeons are mentioned briefly or in passing, but nothing significant. Continue reading

a logophile’s quandary

For the longest time now – like, seriously, I can’t even tell you how long – I’ve been meaning to write a post about some of my favourite words. At one point I even started compiling a list, but then I realised that there were just too many words for one post. Then I thought of that A-Z blogging challenge that some of the bloggers I follow participate in from time to time, and I thought that’d be a good way to space it all out, but then it’s so much effort…

Let’s be realistic here – it’s probably never going to happen.

And I can’t just write about my most favourite word because that always changes, and mostly it’s just too hard to pick just one word at any one point in time. What I did notice along the way, however, is that I seem to have an affinity for words containing the letter C, or words that have a C-like sound in them. This does not, however, mean that I like all words that fit this bill. I’m also not sure if the presence of the letter C is just a coincidence (which it could be because I also like words that are C-free).

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It is finally cold here. In the last few days, the temperature has dropped, the chill has set in, and it is finally cold.

It’s the sort of cold that makes me shiver and makes my teeth chatter. It’s the sort of cold that makes my fingers freeze as I type, and makes me contemplate searching for my gloves (but I probably won’t). It’s the sort of cold that gives me hope that maybe – just maybe – we will have a “proper” winter this year.

It is gloriously cold.

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one in a million

I’m just going to say straight up that this entire post is going to be about Maroon 5. If you do not listen to their music, or do not like their music, I highly recommend skipping this post (also, why don’t you listen to / like their music??). Feel free to go and read something more worthwhile. I can give you suggestions if you’re short on ideas.

Anyway, my music taste is pretty mainstream, so obviously I’m a big fan of Maroon 5 (they’re pretty mainstream, right? I mean, they get played on the radio so much… Not that I’m complaining…)

Last night, I went to see their concert and, since I did a post for The Script’s concert (actually, I’m pretty sure I did at least two posts for them), I am definitely writing one for Maroon 5. (Side note: I’d say The Script is also pretty mainstream, but less so than Maroon 5.) Part of me wants to draw comparisons between the two concerts, but I think I’ll just write about this one on its own merits.

First off, honorary mentions to the support/opening acts: Conrad Sewell and Dirty Loops. Pretty good performances from them both; got the energy going, etc.

When Maroon 5 got on the stage, though… wow… They smashed out a lot of high-energy songs at the start, one after the other. There were some nice chill moments when Adam Levine was just kind of chatting to us, but I’m kind of impressed with how many songs they fit into that concert. And they played some of their old songs, among which were my favourites, “Sunday morning” and “She will be loved”. According to Adam, they wrote “She will be loved” in about 20 minutes.

I particularly liked the acoustic intro they did for “Pay phone”, where they were all standing together in the middle of the stage, kind of in a huddle. And whenever they got the audience to join in and sing parts of the songs – there was something about that that just put a big smile on my face (as I sang along).

And the drum solos, the guitar solos, the frickin’ light displays and everything were all amazing. (Can you tell I’m kind of still on a bit of a high from last night? Might also be all those exercise-induced endorphins from my run earlier, but whatever..)

During the night, I also found myself looking around at the audience a bit, too. Just glancing around to marvel at the fact that all these people came out for a concert on a Monday night because they love this same music that I love. There were actually a lot of people in their 30s and 40s (and maybe even older) at the concert, and they seemed to be the ones who were most into the whole thing. I mean, they were all up off their seats, dancing and singing along, while some younger fans actually seemed content to just sit down for most of it.

There was one thing I was kind of disappointed with, though. It wasn’t about anything that Maroon 5 did (although I was slightly, slightly disappointed that they didn’t perform “The man who never lied”, but I never really expected them to do that song anyway, so I suppose that’s ok). What I was (kind of) disappointed with was the audience’s enthusiasm and persistence during the “fake end of the concert”. Basically, they played “Daylight” and then acted like it was the end of the show, said goodnight and left the stage; and this was when everyone was supposed to cheer and clap and whatever to get them to come back (seems to be a thing that artists do at concerts, like a test or something).

Now, I only really have The Script’s concert to compare it to, but when The Script pulled the same stunt, the energy from the crowd was tremendous – it just built and built until the band came back on stage. Last night’s crowd, however… Well, it could be because a lot of them might have been at work all day (and we all know how Mondays are) but the energy kind of just came in waves. There was still pretty incredible force behind it, but based on my previous experience, I was expecting more.

Overall, though, it was such an amazing concert. I would list all the songs they did, but there were so many. I was pleasantly surprised that they did “Lucky strike”, which I’ve actually just heard and taken a liking to this year. (Props to you if you made the connection between the title of this post and “Lucky strike” before getting to this paragraph.)

Of course, they saved “Sugar” for last, since it’s their big hit at the moment. But they also played “Locked away” and (omg!) Rock City made a guest appearance just for that song. Frickin’ unreal! Too bad they couldn’t get Christina Aguilera to come in for “Moves like Jagger” but I suppose Adam did a good job of it anyway 😛

I think I’ve said this before, but there actually isn’t a single Maroon 5 song that I do not like – and I know a lot of their songs. I knew all the ones they played at the concert, and for a lot of them I knew the lyrics too, so this was kind of the perfect concert for me.

aquila audax

I mentioned in my previous post that I was considering writing a post dedicated to the wedge-tailed eagle, my most favourite animal, so that’s basically what I’m going to do here.

From a very young age, I’ve had a fascination with birds. I remember as a kid, I had a poster of various Australian birds. It was a lift-out from the newspaper, so it faded over time, and I eventually took it down (and replaced it with a postcard mural), but it was there, on the wall above my bed, for many years. I’m not sure what it is that I really like about birds, but I have a few theories.

For one, they are beautiful. They are unusual but they are beautiful. Secondly, they can fly – something that we humans could never execute or replicate with the same finesse. Note here that I don’t have a great affinity for flightless birds (emus, penguins and the like). I mean, they’re ok – I don’t have anything specifically against them – but, to me, they don’t compare to birds that fly.

Of course, there are probably birds out there that I just do not like at all. I just can’t think of any right now.

I used to wonder if my affinity for birds was related to my desire for freedom, or if it had something to do with my fear of falling (I’m ok with heights as long as I’m confidently secure, so I consider it a fear of falling rather than of heights). As a kid, I particularly liked birds of prey. Perhaps that’s saying something too… But then I also liked more peaceable birds. Yes, despite their ubiquity, their reputation as “rats of the sky”, their general lack of anything that usually recommends an animal to “favourite” status – despite all this, I like pigeons. Such simple, unassuming creatures they are.

I was going to include an actual picture of a wedge-tailed eagle but I couldn't decide which one of the many Google results was the best photo, so I'm just giving you my trademark stick pigeon that I drew in about five seconds on Paint.

I was going to include an actual picture of a wedge-tailed eagle but I couldn’t decide which one of the many Google results was the best photo, so I’m just giving you my trademark stick pigeon that I drew in about five seconds on Paint.

But amongst all of these birds, one always stood out for me: the wedge-tailed eagle.

While reading “The Anatomy of Wings” (by Karen Foxlee), I mentioned to a few colleagues that small detail about the protagonist (Jenny) having the same favourite animal as me. I was then asked a few questions about the wedge-tailed eagle (you know, just out of interest), and I realised that I actually didn’t know a whole lot about them.

I probably knew a lot more about them at some stage in my life (probably in my high school years when I had better access to resources that could tell me a lot about them, and when I had time to read such things) but that day at the lunch table at work, I couldn’t confidently recite any facts about the wedge-tailed eagle. A bit concerning, maybe, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Nevertheless, this prompted me to question why it is, indeed, my most favourite animal.

At one point, I wondered if it was kind of similar to how (I would presume) Americans might like bald eagles because it’s an iconic American bird. (The “audax” part of the wedge-tailed eagle’s scientific name translates to “bold”, which is kind of similar/close…) But the wedge-tailed eagle doesn’t feature on our coat of arms, or on any sort of official emblems and such. So it’s probably not a patriotic thing. (If patriotism had anything to do with it, I’d probably like emus more. Not that I don’t like them, but they can be scary. Cassowaries too.)

As a kid, I probably just thought they looked cool. They’re such mighty, majestic birds: so much power in their talons, so much strength in their wings. Perhaps, then, they are a sentimental favourite: they made such a big impression on me as a kid that I’ve just liked them ever since. This is very possible.

What else is odd, however, is that I don’t really have anything to show or suggest that I like wedge-tailed eagles. Sure, toy stores don’t exactly sell plush eagles and whatnot like they do for dogs and tigers and bears, but if you went through all of my things, I doubt you’d find anything eagle-related, let alone wedge-tailed eagle-related. You’re more likely to think that owls or cats were my most favourite animal. (I do like owls and cats, though, so that’s ok, I guess.)

In “The Anatomy of Wings”, Jenny says she doesn’t really have a definite reason why wedge-tailed eagles are her favourite bird. They just are. I guess the reason doesn’t really matter; there doesn’t have to be an explanation. Wedge-tailed eagles are my favourite animals just because.