Wicked Sensitive Crew…

It’s 2019 so one would think that people have the ability to overcome and adapt to the world around them, a world where people can be themselves without the fear of being judged or oppressed for their views and beliefs. That they would be free to ride the train in peace whilst reading a book. To not have to sit and listen to someone from another country preach anti-abortion and christian religious beliefs at them and a carriage full of people they don’t know. In an ideal world that would certainly be the case but in the world we live in where anything and everything goes, it seems to be the “norm” that anything that is deemed to be outside of the “norm” is strange and or just weird. Just like the guy on the Sydney train who, yes is entitled to his views and opinions should know there is a time and a place and that time and place is not on an evening train after everyone has had a hard day at work and just wants to wind down before getting home to their loved ones or pets.

Having spent plenty of time on trains across the country we and understand the need and want to just have a peaceful ride to your final destination. Why do you think so many people have headphone in and stare at their phones or tablets from the moment they get on the train to the moment they step off onto the platform. People like to use the time to decompress, the last thing they want is a raving American pushing religious beliefs and telling everyone he loves them. It’s bad enough we have a muppet in the white house let alone a religious nut on a train. If we were on the train we wouldn’t have been as nice as the man who eventually spoke up and asked him politely enough to shut up. As human beings we need to be more sensitive to others particularly in confined spaces. They say a comedian needs to be able to read the room with certain jokes, well the same goes for those who wish to get a point across as we said there is a time and place you just need to know when that time and place is.

Which leads us into this weeks blog, something that we looked at a lot over the week that has just flown by something that all our friends, family and followers out there with mental health issues might understand, something that is slowly changing and softening over time. In days gone by a man was defined by his masculinity, he was worshipped for his womanising ways and controlled the world through manly ways. But as Beyoncé said “Who runs the world? Girls” and any man worth his salt would know that. So why is it that men who are sensitive are seen as soft or less manly? If you are in touch with your feelings you are often on the end of some nasty name calling or ribbing from your mates at school or friends and family members? In a world where we are all striving for equality why is it that some women want all the same things as men and yet they still look for what they define as ‘A real Man’. They still have ‘man’s jobs’ or as we’ve come to know they as ‘Just the jobs they don’t want to do’.

So why as males are we become more sensitive, in an era where hipsters, trendsters and the LGBTQI communities are finally getting a voice. Why is it that the typical, fair dinkum, Aussie bloke become a softy? They say we are in the age of the Sensitive New Age Guy or as the ladies in CLEO, Girlfriend and other glossy magazines designed to create another generation of insecure, body image issued women refer to them as SNAGs. And yes that is a generalisation on our behalf we are well aware that it is not the intention of these magazines to portray a perceived image of what the ideal woman should look like. Perhaps that is just us being overly sensitive but there can’t be much of an argument against the fact that young ladies and women look at the covers of these magazines and subconsciously think that’s what I should look like or why don’t i look like that? Again we digress, and it’s time to get back on track to discuss the growing sense of sensitivity among young males.

When you think of masculine men we often think of the film stars of old that portrayed some of the most masculine characters you will ever see. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson to name a few. Just pick a male film star from the 80’s and early 90’s, the characters were all tough, masculine men who took charge and could easily fit that typecast of ‘A Real Man’ that we have been culturally accepting of for generations. Perhaps there is some fault in media that continues to push what a real man should be like. Men shouldn’t be sensitive, they shouldn’t cry, they shouldn’t have feelings and they certainly shouldn’t be worrying about how everyone else is feeling and whether or not they are ok. That is and has been male culture for centuries, since we walked out of the caves and began walking proud and tall we’ve always shown a tough, masculine, non-sensitive side to the world.

It’s a little like wearing a mask that is only taken off in the confines of your own house when no one else is watching. So again we ask what is it that is making men, particularly young men and perhaps more the millennial than generation Y morph into actual human beings with thoughts and feelings. We say that with a little skepticism as some of them are quite rude little bastards who have no manners or respect which is one thing we’d change if we could. Always respect your elders! They’ve been there, done that and a lot of the times got the t-shirt just to prove it. Those that have found some sensitivity and are in some ways redefining masculinity as well as showing future generations that its ok to be sensitive are striving forward with confidence, their heads held high and we might have a few ideas why. The A Mind of Its Own team compiled a few thoughts and reasons why we feel a generational shift is allowing men to become more sensitive with some resistance from an unexpected party.

Ok so is it more sensitive or are males just feeling it’s becoming more and more ok to just be themselves? Are we becoming more accepting of our inner self, of out thoughts, of our feelings. Of all the articles we read there was pattern beginning to map itself out before us. The shift wasn’t just in our minds as sensitive middle aged men writing a blog in between trying to finish a novel that’s been in the works for several years now. It wasn’t that people with mental health issues are more sensitive. It’s a generational thing that points to the fact that yes the world is slowly but surely changing but there is always going to be resistance. Women according to studies are looking for that softer man as they take charge of their lives and families in the 21st century feeling more empowered. We read several articles and blogs before stumbling across an article in Forbes magazine by Jules Schroeder that outlined the 7 following reasons she felt men are opening up to being more sensitive whilst redefining masculinity.

1. They Value Self Awareness. While traditional masculinity says “don’t feel,” modern masculinity says “dare to feel.” Millennial men are committed to knowing themselves on a deep and personal level—even if what they find is difficult to confront or conflicting. Rather than hide from or deny who you are, become curious about who you are and have the courage to represent yourself authentically.

2. They Are Non-Conformist. The rigid gender roles for men and women are becoming more loosely defined as millennial challenge the status quo. According to one international study titled “The Decline of the Manly Man,” the percentage of men who are staying home to care for children is rising today while women are slowly surpassing men in academic performance and closing the income gap. The evolved man isn’t swayed by gender roles or what society deems “manly.” He doesn’t need to be validated externally by conforming. He acts according to his own volition, and he isn’t threatened by women rising, either.

3. They Don’t Want To Compete With One Another. Instead of trying to gain empty status, the evolved man knows his worth lies within. He is secure within himself to the extent that he doesn’t need to put others down in order to feel better about himself.

4. They Value Authenticity. Men have no need to pretend they’re someone they’re not, because they’re not ashamed of who they really are. You can cultivate authenticity in your life by ensuring your outer self is aligned with your inner self. One Boulder, CO-based movement, called the Authentic Man Program, is dedicated to empowering men in their authenticity so that rewarding interactions are made possible.

5. The Want To Be Vulnerable. Outdated masculinity says men shouldn’t show any sign of weakness. But modern masculinity embraces vulnerability as an expression of courage.

6. They Act According To Their Values. A man follows through on his values. He values his own sense of self above others’ sense of who he is so he honors his commitment to himself first and foremost.

7. They Are Motivated To Grow. Evolved men don’t just stop at “evolved.” They are continuously looking for new ways to grow and develop themselves. You can be proactive about your own development by attending education-based events. You will be better able to see your own blind spots in the context of relationships, so considering joining a men’s group or starting your own.

One disturbing fact that came out of researching this piece was the amount of mental and often physical abuse that is brought against men and women. While the values and role definitions in relationships and culture are shifting so too are the figures when it comes to abuse. While men tend to react more physically, the alarming numbers of women lashing out at their partners has been steadily climbing in the last 5 years around the globe. Men are still 50% less likely to report abuse with most citing that it would be seen as weak to do so. Those that did report it stated that it started out as verbal abuse escalating over time, taking a turn and becoming physical. Police were also less likely to believe a male than female when it came to reports of physical abuse with some officers reportedly laughing it off and telling the complainant to just go home and sort it out.

It would seem even as we shift towards equality, slowly, like the hare and the tortoise and men start to become softer, more sensitive and as some females put it more feminine we as humans still feel the need to repress one another. Whether it be through cutting each other down verbally or physically lashing out we are still in the mindset that one sex needs to dominate the other, rather than finding that balance. Perhaps in our generation that is not possible while we still have cultural aspects ingrained in us from the past. But the millennial, perhaps they have an opportunity to lead us into the 22nd century changed where we are all truly equal and it’s ok to be sensitive. Sensitive towards yourself and sensitive towards others and a true picture of what a human being should really be. After all there are no rules that say you can’t be tough, strong, masculine and yet still sensitive, kind and caring. There is nothing to say you can’t have all of those great qualities.

While we feel that people who suffer from mental health issues are a little more sensitive than most people we believe this to be the case for one simple reason. They are more in touch with their emotions. Whether they are able to cope and deal with those emotions is a different question altogether but the fact that they feel on a different level to most people often allows them to understand emotions, feelings and thoughts a lot better once the tools are in place that allow them to filter and sift through them logically. When we set out to write this weeks blog the question we had in mind was why are we so sensitive or from the writers prospective why am I so sensitive? That wasn’t the question that we should have been asking. The real question is why are we always made to feel it’s a bad thing to be sensitive? Or in touch with our feelings? Why is it deemed feminine if we are empathetic, kind, caring and nurturing? Yes generally all female characteristics but nevertheless all traits that can also be shown by men.

Over time we may see a change and these qualities will be accepted in men but for now both men and women will have to continue in their set gender stereotypes that have been cast in stone for centuries. Because let’s be honest for just a second if we may, it’s not just men who judge other men for being sensitive, women are often just as judgemental as their male counterparts when it comes to the sensitivity of men. Still to this day, Friday 12th of April in 2019 it is seen as very unmanly to be in touch with your emotions and have a little bit of softness about you. How many times have you heard the words “You need to grow a pair”, come from the mouth of a woman or “You’re being rather emotional for a bloke”. Far too often as humans we tend to speak before we think, instead of letting our minds filter and process what we are about to say. For some people this may be a difficult process in itself as they feel justified in their position. For others though it is just purely about getting their point across whether they are right or wrong. We tend to refer to these people as the Last Word Brigade.

In another eye opener for the year we’ve learnt that it’s the kids once again leading the way rather than the adults who should know better having spent more time on the earth and experienced more in their lives. Perhaps we should just hand over the keys to the city now and like the lost boys in Peter Pan let the kids govern themselves. They seem to be doing a lot better job than we certainly are when it comes to being in touch with ourselves and the world around us. They say the children are the future and from the looks of things they weren’t wrong. While the kids continue to get it right and grow, we adults will continue to maintain the status quo only to bitch and moan about things rather than making an effort to change them. From the Wicked Sensitive Crew… here at a A Mind of It’s Own we bid you another fond farewell for the week and we look forward to seeing you all the same time next week for yet another install of the blog that keeps on keeping on. Until then Sayonara, yep Japanese this week just to mix it up from the usual European goodbyes.

Nine In The Afternoon…

Welcome back to another week, you know that means another blog as we continue to roll out the hits this year. Which mind you seems to be flying by like a seagull hunting stray chips down on the beach as you enjoy some good old fish and chips for lunch. Last week we geeked it up hardcore and played some video games while we wrote in order to pump out a piece about the potential downfall of civilisation as we know it through the release of a super virus created to control population growth. For those of you who are joining us for the first time welcome to a mind of its own, the blog that truly does take on its name and literally takes on a mind of its own each and every week. Not even the team that put together these well choreographed pieces of literary genius know how it’s going to turn out each week. That’s the fun thing about it, anything can happen and at the end of the day you still know it’s going to be good! Expected the unexpected!

So what tale of woe or rainbow of happiness are we bringing you this week, well to answer that you need to read on! See what we did there, marketing one oh one we baited the hook, dangled the carrot and now we just need to reel you in for the rest of the blog.But what to write? It’s hard coming up with good content week in week out and ensuring our readers are happy with what’s been put out into the ether better known as the internet. You know it’s funny, kids growing up these days have the internet and mobile devices readily available but back in our day and we honestly never thought we’d be saying that so soon in life we didn’t have any of this. Internet was dial-up and we can still hear that iconic sound of it dialing up and waiting for a connection. The first phone we had was a Nokia brick, most likely a 5110 before we got a cool upgrade to the 3310 and the also iconic game of snake… Remember snake what a great game that was, you literally grew and had to avoid your own body to get the apple or something. All your phone did was call and text, oh and play snake but that was it! Ah to a simpler time! These days kids have got their Facebook, instagram, twitter, foursquare, Bebo, MySpace, zoom and whatever bloody else social media on top of games and streaming services all in the palms of their sticky little hands.

Remember when you had to actually pick up the phone, the home phone? Does anyone have those these days other than the octogenarian we call grandparents? Remember board games like Risk, Monopoly, The Game of Life, Snakes and Ladders, Mousetrap, Scrabble and Squatter? Oh squatter was an Australian board game where you battled it out to become the next sheep farming magnate. We’ve were damn good too, couldn’t farm to save our lives but could board game farm like a baron. Fork we loved board games and cards, whatever happened to card games other than sitting back at the casino watching your hard-earned money go down the proverbial drain as you try to get blackjack or 21 whatever its called. Technology has changed literally every piece of our lives. There is an app these days that tells you the optimum times for your body to do a number two and it’ll even set you a reminder to go and void your bowel. There are sleep timers and water intake timers, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if there were timers for your timers. What would we do without it?

We’d probably go back to playing cards, board games, being outside and using our imaginations a lot more than sitting in front of a screen and dreaming of a brighter future. We might actually talk to one another instead of texting or instant messaging from across the room. Heck dating would go from swiping right to the good old days of courting. Wouldn’t that be a shock to today’s Tinder generation all looking for love or a one night stand within and application. They’d actually have to walk up to someone and say hello only to risk getting cooties or worse yet an actual face to face rejection. Technology ladies and gentleman is helping us to breed, lazy, like-minded, weak individuals who have no manners and expect everything handed to them on a silver platter. The verdict is still out as to whether they are actually smarter given they have information literally in the palm of their hands. That doesn’t stop them from being soft, hell we no longer create winners and losers we create tryers. Good job kids everyone gets a participation award and it’s not just the kids we hand them out to people who complete a marathon and fun run regardless of whether they come first on a world record time or 5 hours later as everyone is packing up to go home and thinking they are done handing out the silly participation awards.

So we guess this week’s blog will just be a jumble of things going on in the world that we can have a rant about. Perhaps it could be a weekly part of the blog… Rants off Fridays? What do you reckon? We could include something from our fans each week they want us to rant about. We just won’t rant about Anti-Vaxxing, Crystals, Herbal Tea and Oils as we’d have a lot of enemies from Byron Bay all the way to Tweed City. Might not be a bad thing now that we think about, it could give the team something to write about and respond to each week. The crazy cracks from Byron Backpackers proudly brought to you by A Mind of Its Own. Maybe we should go into marketing and jingles while we are at it? “Do you want your children to be just like Australian musician Ben Lee and Catch my disease? Well ladies and gents have we got the solution for you! Don’t vaccinate!!! It’s that simple! That includes your pets because we’ve all seen and autistic dog or two around the traps and no one wants an autistic dog”

And the budget what’s up with that? Little to no money put aside for discovering that the earth is flat or the environment in general? When will the politicians learn there is no Planet B! We have one earth and that’s it, we need to look after it for the generations to come so they have something to look at. Not just barren landscape filled with concrete jungles and no wildlife. Speaking of politicians we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t at the moment and heading into an election it’s not a great place to be. It’s like an episode of Noddy and Big ears with Scomo and Shorto running around being schoolyard bullies trading blows in an attempt to win the class presidency, neither of them has the people’s best wishes at heart. It’s just a big popularity contest to them at present and the little sheep that are the rest of Australian parliament are just bahing along behind them spending taxpayer dollars on supposed business jaunts until someone calls them out in an attempt to cover the fact they aren’t even a citizen of the country. We’ve seen kindergarten children organise the playground better than our so-called adults on the hill could organise a luncheon down at the press club.

In some ways this blog is aptly titled there are never enough hours in the day lately making a lack of work/life balance it’s no wonder the world is resorting to dating on the internet and monogamy is a dying art along with chivalry and just being a decent human being. But it does sometimes feel like nine in the afternoon. Which leads us to our next point, Forking Brunei and there backwards thinking, we wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled up the old dial-up internet, armed their soldiers with muskets, swords and cannons, banned the mobile phone and installed a gramophone in every household. We live in the 21st century for crying out loud. Stop oppressing the LGBT plus whatever the other letter are, community! (Sorry you guys need to make it easier there are way too many letters to remember) Macklemore said it best in his 2013 hit ‘Same Love’, “Our culture founded from oppression, Yeah we don’t have acceptance for’em”. Culture it’s so ingrained in us that we still feel, we need to follow the directions of books written centuries ago. The bible, the Koran we have a theory here at a mind of it’s own that we’ll go into after we are done with the Sultan of Brunei who apparently is such a staunch muslim that he needs to implement a strict sharia law that could involve the stoning to death of people involved in sex, that’s another thing sex, is sex people, whether you are gay, straight, black, blue, brown, purple, or whatever! Sex is sex!

Several celebrities have spoken out and even gone to the point of boycotting several hotels in the states that are owned by the Brunei royal family. Why does religion not just those that follow christ but also, muslim and several other religions paraphrase a book written centuries ago when man oppressed woman on a level that is still seen in some third world countries and strict religious regions. The bible has several references to homosexuality between gods disciples so why do we feel the need to condemn, judge, oppress and punish those who find the love with the same-sex. Same love people, love is love and in the 21st century the LGBT plus other letters community (Again sorry guys, girls and non-binary friends we’ll get it right one day) has gone through a lot of hurt and pain to get to where they are today. Still not a perfect situation but more acceptance than there was and yet so many of the community still be oppressed, repressed, suppressed. It’s not good enough and Brunei is just taking it all back to the dark days of burning witches at the stake, hunting vampires and living in the dark. Welcome to the real world, people are gay, get over it and move on! We should all be free to choose who we, what we do and who we do.

Now on religion in a topic in which we are sure to cope some outrage porn and no doubt abuse but come one we can’t be the first people to think what we are about to discuss. It’s no secret that the team are a bunch of geeks who love all things video games, comics, graphic novels and the weird wonderful world of collectables we what if Stan Lee and the guys who kicked off Marvel, DC, Valiant all the originals in the comic world weren’t the first to tell stories and tales of people with extraordinary powers, super strength, super sight, the ability to glide on a carpet of ice, extraordinary healing powers. In fact if you look at the bible one could make comparisons to several modern-day superheroes. That being said were religious books such as the bible and Koran the comic books of their time? Filled with tall tales of coming back from the death, fighting of giants, parting or seas. It has us wondering whether or not the bible is more comic book than religious reference book to live life by.

You don’t see us running around in red slicing and dicing people who do wrong thinking we need to be more like Deadpool because we read comics but that doesn’t stop religious nuts telling us we are going to burn in hell for our blasphemy, lack of faith and love and support of the gay community. Even the devil could be a comic book character with his fire, brimstone and horns in fact one comic book artist went as far as turning the sun of satan into a hero in the widely successful Hellboy series. So maybe the team are on to something! Maybe whoever wrote the bible and the Koran, was probably the same person which would turn out to be quite hilarious and a waste of a lives in the past as we fought wars over religion, land and wealth. Perhaps they were just the storytellers of their time after all comics are just stories with pictures not to be confused with picture books but often they do crossover these days as comic artist will write and draw for the junior crew.

Like the name of the blog this week we really have taken on a mind of our own from, reminiscing about the good old days when technology in the household was a minimum, kids had motivation to become exceptional and played outside whenever they could. Through to the bible and Koran being comic books of their day before someone decided organised religion was a good thing. In between we took a stab at the Sultan of Brunei and his ancient laws which gave us a Segway into the religious comic book spiel but we were appalled and a little shocked that in today’s society death for being gay would be introduced and not a quick death either a stone age stoning. Again it’s an interpretation of an ancient text that has been paraphrased and there are those that read way too far into the texts hence why we now have what is termed as radical Islam or muslim extremists who like all things are spoiling it for the faithful who wish to go about their lives in peace living among those who don’t believe in Allah. In some regards there is no such things as freedom of choice as someone will always find fault and or a problem with your choice or decision.

When we started at 3pm this afternoon the cursor blinked at us as a reminder that we haven’t put pen to paper for the week and entered the hearts and minds of the faithful fans. So you’ve ended up with the dribble above. Like an inebriated, wall less army we’ve spewed forth the verbal diarrhea that was on our minds and for once just written without little to no plan of that the hell we were going to talk about. And this it what you got a little rant here and there but no specific topic or theme, we guess that religion took center stage as it seems to seems to be dominating headlines week in week out. From dodgy cardinals to harsh sharia laws they can’t seem to win a trick with the hand they dealt for themselves. So we’ve learnt two things this week. Firstly we can write without having a topic in mind and or researched and secondly that we aren’t massive fans of organised religion it reminds us a little of a cult and the science just isn’t there for us for a lot of what is written to have happened or to be true. But as we say every week and like our anti-vax friends each to their own.

Until next week friends, family, fair weather fans and heavily tattoo prison inmates who have decided to fly the flag for us in the hope we’ll lend an ear to the plight that is prison. No i wouldn’t want a bed, toilet and three square meals a day. Come on guys you’ve got it better than the homeless on the streets. That being said we wish you a fond farewell and hope you have a great week, remember these sage words. Only invest what you are prepared to lose. That goes for everything in life! Be good to your mother and we’ll grace your screens once again next week Ciao! Yep Italian this week folks!

This Celluloid Dream…

Where is the line? A question often asked and yet never answered. Personally most people know where and when to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. But when it comes to matters that have potentially political ramifications we often have no idea where to draw that said line and say we’ve gone way too far. Recent international events have people up in arms over all sorts of issues that may or may not really have any impact of effect upon their lives. We’ve spoken about victimhood chic in a previous blog but it’s in times of tragedy, loss and of pure evil that we see it come out more and more. Fingers are pointed and everyone has someone or something to blame for the event or issue. With the evolution of the internet we have given a platform or soapbox for everyone with access to a computer or smartphone.

Despite all of that we’ve somewhat had a change of heart, well more a change in topic that we are way more interested in. Well maybe not so much interested but more peaked our interest in the premise behind it. We’ve never been forwards and going backwards here at a Mind of Its Own. We are a bunch of geeks, we love sports, we love comics, we love video games and we love books. After all knowledge is power and who is to say that a comic or graphic novel can’t provide you with information? There is something to be said for fiction that is based around a premise that potentially could become real at some point in time. One of the biggest things about providing something to the masses whether it be a book, video game or other source of media is its ability to appeal and the more likely that it could become real the more it tends to sell.

By now you’re once again asking where the hell we are going with this weeks blog. How outside the box is it going to be and what crazy theme if any will the bunch of clowns hiding behind their keyboards like chairborne commando ready to take Normandy give us? Well we are glad you asked because yeah there is some cray, cray as the kids say in this week’s edition of the nation’s number one outside the box, thinking blog. We aren’t just saying that for shits and giggles. As we dive down this weeks rabbit hole it had us asking some serious questions about what we’d do if the following events ever became reality. In some ways it pays to be a poor writer. Read on to see what we mean by that as this weeks piece come to life thanks to the brains in the office of craze, the wonder writers at a mind of its own blog. Coming soon to internet compatible device near you. (Yep shameless plug!)

As we stated before the team here are a little on the geeky side, we find beauty and creativity in things like comics and video games that some people would look at and go that’s a little childish. To each their own we say. The premise of this weeks blog comes from the story sitting behind a video game franchise. Despite the beautiful open world game that allows the player to explore the city they are in while completing missions. Behind the beautiful graphics and three-dimensional rendering there is a story that would have a massive impact on the world’s population if it were ever to come true. Ladies and Gentlemen we are talking about Tom Clancy’s the Division. Yes for those asking it is the guy that writes books. He’s had a few books adapted into video games and a few games that will adapted into books and movies.

To get to the crux of the story we first need to look at the condition of the world as it currently is. If we were to swear we could sum it up in one word but as it is every week this is a family friendly blog. Where to start is a good question, some people believe that we are overpopulating the world. We aren’t saying they are wrong or right but as our population grows so too does the demand for resources. Put simply our prediction is that future wars will be fought over fresh water and food sources rather than oil, land or religion. In calculation models prepared by the United Nations we are predicted to grow from 7.71 Billion people in 2019 to 9.7 billion people by 2050 and further increasing to 11.2 billion by the end of the century. Some of you are probably sitting there thinking that’s not a lot of people however you need to think outside the box for a second and what that increase could potentially mean.

In order to ensure their survival certain countries could take population control into their own hands. We’ve seen version of it in China through their one child policy or the holocaust during world war two as Hitler tried to exterminate the Jewish as part of his new world order in which the Aryan race was the only pure blood line. Population control has always been a concern for the worlds governing bodies and yes it sounds like a super villain from a Bond film is going to step into the limelight and ensure population numbers are controlled through some heinous crime but in reality that’s pretty much all it would take, one person or a group of people taking matters into their own hands to cause a worldwide problem that we may not recover from. There are no doubt those out there that will say we ruined the earth so we deserve whatever we get however our children and our children’s children did not have anything to do with crimes we’ve committed against the earth.

Let’s start with the story behind the hit game series Tom Clancy’s The Division and you’ll start to get a feel for where we are going with this weeks blog. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day on the American calendar and fastly spreading around the world as a day of sales where shops can clear out old stock before Christmas. The one thing all countries have in common is money and when it comes to sales there is always plenty of it around. If you wanted to control population what better way to do so than spread a virus amongst money to be circulated in the worlds largest day of sales. This is the premise that the Division is based on. A professor creates a smallpox like super virus that not only incubates faster but also spreads and takes effect quicker. The super virus is created with six separate pathogens: Dengue, Ebola, H1N1, Hantavirus, Marburg and Swine Flu.

As with all viruses it rapidly mutates making it highly difficult for conventional drugs or antibodies to identify and exterminate the virus. It also makes it extremely difficult for virologists to create a proper vaccine against the disease. Through distributing the virus via infected bills during Black Friday sales it ensure a rapid spread of the highly infectious disease. Initial symptoms of the virus display as new strain of flu that is extremely contagious and spreads rapidly. Given the premise of the game is for you to help a virologist find samples of the virus while fighting off factions of criminals, military, law enforcement and military contractors who have turned outlaws and are trying to wrestle control of the city from you and the other members of a joint task force you start to see the knock on effects of population control. Two words…

Civil unrest… They say the first rule of treating a virus is containment. Anyone that shows signs of the virus goes into isolation or quarantine as it’s better known when referring to infectious diseases. In the case of our man-made super virus what better way to contain it than section off part of the city and shove all the sick, dying and symptomatic people in there to fight it out over the little supplies dropped in each week. We’ll build some walls perhaps we’ll use Trump’s Mexican wall contractors. Outside that wall we’ll have guarded checkpoints manned by healthy or immune military or law enforcement. No one gets out and really who in their right mind would want to go in? Oh us as we hunt for clues on how to stop the virus and fight all the factions trying to take over the city that’s who’s stupid enough to go into the contamination zone or Dark Zone as it’s referred to in the game.

It’s at this point we start to realise that it wouldn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination for us to actually see this type of thing in the real world. Poisoned water supplies, food, air-conditioned offices, money. Basically anything touched by another human being could be a potential place for some crackpot scientist or world leader who seeks to cement their place at the top of the new world order to contaminate with a virus and watch it spread. Heck the TV show the Last Ship is pretty much based around a virus that decimates the world’s population and trying to not only survive but find a cure. There have been plenty of examples throughout history where biological agents or warfare have been used by armies. It might be a little stretch to say by an individual hell-bent on world domination but then again we’ve had some rather disgusting people throughout history who thought they could create a better world or were that dilussional that they thought they knew what was best and should rule all humanity. See what absolute power does kids, it goes to people’s heads, that’s why we have checks and balances on our governments. No one wants to live under a dictator. For all that’s wrong with democracy it’s doing a lot of things right.

The fact that the United States Government has simulated and war game this type of outbreak is a little scary to say the least. The code name giving to the mock bio-terror attack was also a little on the bleak side. In June of 2001 the United States carried out a mock attack of weaponized smallpox code-named Operation Dark Winter. While the operation was designed to create preventative measures against such an attack it also outlined just how inadequate the national services response would be to such an attack. With a localised attack on one city the mock attack showed just how quickly events could spiral out of control. Concerns of such an attack would spark pandemonium in the communities and in all likelihood spread quickly through continental United States rapidly. The sheer logistics required to contain a virus had the team somewhat mesmerised thinking about all the things you’d need to do. The transportation industry would grind to a halt, travel industry, well as we think about it most of the industries would stop while medical and law enforcement attempt to get containment protocols in place.

Here in Australia I don’t think we would even be prepared to contemplate such an attack or outbreak let alone contain it and start the search for a cure. If there is a government contingency for such an attack or outbreak unlike our American friends it’s not broadcast to all and sundry. All hell would break loose we’d have the Cronulla riots times ten. Imagine all the Southern Cross tattoos that would come out then. Heck you’d see more bogans than usual looting the local chemist. We are an isolated country yes but we are also allies with the world’s most hated country and we aren’t doing ourselves any favours by letting Jim Henson’s creations govern our great land. The fact that we’ve sat and not only thought about it but contemplated what would or could happen in the event of a virus, man-made or otherwise is a little concerning. It shows we are in a great time of uncertainty in the world.

It also has the team thinking that great Minds being the Division might be onto something and we as Australians should be training up a batch of sleeper Agents to be activated in times of emergency to bring peace and order to our great nation because let’s be honest without order there is chaos and chaos uncontrolled is just pure mayhem waiting for someone to come along and organise it. So why not have a group of dedicated individuals both men and women with the skills to rebuild a nation hidden away for when you need them. Or for when our neighbours to the north finally decide to invade after they bought up most of our land and primary industry. A little like a resistance against the anarchy and chaos that would no doubt ensue after a virus wiped out half the population. Heck our hospitals are already bad enough can you even imagine the trouble and outbreak would cause for the Australian Health system. Safe to say the last thing we are prepared for is a major viral outbreak man-made or not.

As you can see ladies and gentlemen whilst the premise of the video game might be fictional it doesn’t take much of an imagination to see the real world application for the use of a man-made virus to control the world’s population or take over another country through biological warfare. There is a big fear the next war will be nuclear but in our eyes it’s the things you don’t see that you really should be watching out for. With Man’s incessant need to mettle, manipulate and tinker with everything in an attempt to make it better or perfect we have created some absolutely horrific viruses or weaponised strains of viruses that occur naturally in nature. We are in a sense our own worst enemies. Only humans have the ability to create death and destruction in a vial all in an attempt to get the upper hand over each other. Safe to say we are somewhat always attempting to wipe ourselves off the face of the earth through our own attempts to discover, to learn, to be better, you could say we found a way to tie in our opening paragraph. Where is the line and where do we draw said line when it comes to trying to play god.

While we pray to the heavens or in our case a thunder-cloud as the rain engulfs the house we are currently writing from as we don’t believe in God or religion. Again each to their own, we certainly hope that this all stays fiction and no one tries to control the world by releasing a deadly pathogen. We are certainly thinking all those crazy preppers around the world might be onto something. Perhaps we should build a mind of its own shelter, an inner sanctum in which we can continue to spread the word on all things no one else wants to. But in saying that the internet might be down. Maybe investing in an old print machine might be an idea. We could make paper out of hemp this time instead of cutting down trees.

Who would have thought a guy running around in a flannelette shirt, pants and some hiking boots

Until next week we’re going to wander off into the waste land that has become Washington D.C and attempt to restore some order to the good ole US of A and cure a virus. Hopefully we won’t have to fight a super Oompa Loompa who’s looking to build walls around things and makes saying China sound more like Vagina. Although in saying that his Space Force isn’t ready so it is a fight that we might win beside our fellow agents at the Strategic Homeland Division (SHD) or simple The Division. Adios amigos and stay tuned we’ll continue releasing a new edition each and every Friday just in time for your weekend incase you get bored, sick or stuck on public transport.

Beat Up Car…

As I sat in a Cafe waiting for my over priced flat white and a fat filled ham, cheese and tomato croissant I found myself watching the people around me. Something that I often find myself doing when I am sitting on my own waiting. Most were busy chatting with there friends or colleagues as they too waited for their overpriced caffeinated beverages prepared by the underpaid barrister who seemed to know everyone who walked into the cafe. Amongst them was the odd person who caught my attention through their anxious, nervous behaviour. Like the bleached blonde who continued to tap her foot as her eyes darted around the room like she was waiting for someone to jump out and mug her. Or the gentleman who was attempting to tuck himself deeper and deeper into the corner in the hopes of burying himself in the brickwork and avoiding everyone in the room.

It was the first time I had consciously noticed myself looking for people displaying anxious behaviours. Was it because I myself was feeling anxious? More than likely it was, I was in a city where despite having grown up it no longer felt friendly. I had burnt a lot bridges here and when my anxiety was through the roof I often feared running into people I knew. We’ll call it FOBS (Fear of being seen) which unlike FOMO (Fear of missing out) often has me ducking and weaving particularly when I don’t want to speak to people. I guess you could call me the Ninja of avoidance at times. It was all in the avoidance of having to have those conversations where despite the sincerity often behind them you still can’t help but feel some judgement particularly by those who thought you were going to go places.

That’s not to say I haven’t, I’ve been plenty of places and tried plenty of different things only to fall back on my passion and a job that allows me the flexibility to write when i want and what I want. Had someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life 10 years ago the last thing on my mind would have been to become a writer. Over the years though that urge to tell stories both real and make believe has grown stronger and stronger to the point where I look forward to putting pen to paper or sitting in front of my laptop with a cold beer and tapping out a short piece for a blog or working away on my book. It’s also become a very useful tool in my battle against anxiety and depression.

Through writing I am able to give a voice to the things I struggle to say or speak about with family and friends. I am able to give my demons a face and therefore recognise them in the dark times I find myself in a pit of self loathing, insecurity and pain. Most of all I am able to make sense of why I am feeling the way I am in that particular moment. Like the parting of clouds allowing the sun to shine through I can once again see what is in front of me and live in the moment, rather than worrying about the past. There are some people who would say that writing is another escapism and allows me to once again avoid dealing with the heart of the issue. But it’s to those people that I now write.

Too often we are quick to judge what we do not understand or what scares us. We are quick to point fingers or give labels and throw stereotypes around before we’ve we’ve even considered the ramifications of doing so. Mental illness and I can’t speak for everyone but I can speak for myself does not define me or govern what I can and can’t do. It does not make me any different from you or the people around you. In fact chances are that one of your close friends or family suffers from some form of mental health issue given that statistics say one in every six people is a sufferer.

Again with the labels, sufferer, yes there are days that I struggle, there are days that I go from feeling on top of the world to wallowing in a dark, dank, stinky pit of depression, rage and anxiety but I am not suffering. In fact these days I am probably more the norm than the exception. The only difference you might find between me and you as you read through this is that whilst I might not physically talk about I have learnt that it is ok and I talk about it through my writing. I give a voice to all those who still can’t but will grow and develop on their own journey to learning that it is ok to talk.

Whilst I might be able to put all this down on a page and spread a message to 100s if not 1000s of people around the globe the sad truth of it all is that I am still unable to often talk about it all with my wife, my friends and my family. I struggle to voice when the pendulum is swinging and I am going from high to low but like a beat up old car I will get there in the end. I will get there because without those people in my life I would not be where I am today. I would not have the courage to share my battle with you nor the ability to articulate to you that opening up and expressing yourself, your feelings, your thoughts it’s all ok and you shouldn’t hide from it.

For years I found it easier to hide from it all and bury my feelings only to become that over sensitive person who wanted to have a deep and meaningful after a few beers at the pub. I was that guy that portrayed complete happiness on the outside only to be a minefield on the inside. One wrong step and I exploded, firing off from the hip without a single thought of what was coming from my mouth. My wife often refers to it as my mindless rambling and the point where she knows that I am not ok as what comes out of my mouth makes absolutely no sense. It will take me a couple of hours to come down from my somewhat convoluted high horse of jumbled thoughts and irrational behaviour. Only to enter the feedback loop from hell and get angry at myself for getting angry.

Even now writing this my mind wanders back to all the times I’ve lost my shit, become over anxious, made myself physically sick by over thinking and more often than not tried to numb it all with alcohol rather than talk about what was wrong or how I was feeling or most importantly what had triggered me and why I was feeling it. It also churns over with ideas on how I could have handled things a lot better. All I needed to do was take some time and think about things. Slow down and allow my thoughts to collate, manifest and be reflected upon before they are splurged out into the world as incomprehensible sentences to later be deciphered on my therapist’s couch as I recollect my latest episode where my anxiety and depression got the better of me.

Yeah it still gets the better of me no matter what I techniques or methods I use to get it under control actually sorry that’s not the best words to use. Manageable is a better word to use, whilst there is a part of me that feels one day I will control my anxiety and depression at this point in time I manage them not control them but simply manage them. On a day to day basis I manage my mental health. Sometimes I’ll go weeks on end without it really getting to me or getting me down. Those are the weeks that I have everything in sync, my routine is tight, I’m exercising and I’m being creative whether it be writing, painting, drawing or building something. Ok so keep my mind busy and active it helps me out, except when I am trying to sleep but I’ve found reading tends to send me into dreamland pretty well.

As I finished my croissant and watched the blonde lady continue to tap out an anxious beat I gave her a reassuring smile to let her know that everything will be ok. The world may not be black and white, it may not be clear cut and dry and it certainly may not always be predictable but it is what you and I choose to make it. Despite those days where you might feel you have control over nothing in your life you do have the options and ability to change things. It was a lesson that took me over twenty years to learn and one that I no doubt thought I never would as I became more depressed and anxious overtime that I wasn’t a somebody and swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.

In those often fleeting moments where I find myself people watching and wondering what there lives are like and whether they often struggle I am reminded of the greatest, most precious and real piece of information I will ever receive. I am human! We are the only species on the earth that is able to feel a raft of emotions and think cognitively for ourselves. We are the only species that is allowed the freedom of thought. Whether we can voice those thoughts is a different question all together and not one that I am willing to broach in this price of writing. My point being we are blessed with imaginations, thoughts, feelings, pain and the ability to experience it all in the way we want.

Your mental health issues do not make you a monster that should be hidden away from the world. Sure it can be monster that needs taming and made beautiful from time to time but it does not make you a bad person, it does not make you someone who should be a social pariah or shunned by friends and family. It makes you a superhuman in my book. You are someone who battles day in, day out. It makes you often more human than those around you as you feel everything and often have the ability to feel and read people’s energy when you enter a room.

Mistakes will be made, things will no doubt fall apart but just as there a bad times there will be good times and you are human. Your mental health is important and you are important remember that. We each have a story to tell and something to contribute. As the sun dawns on another day and I board yet another flight for another city I urge you all to find your voice whether that be interptive through one of the arts or through speaking with friends and family or even a stranger. It’s ok to talk and will become more and more encouraged as we rid the world of the stigma that mental health issues are taboo and shouldn’t be discussed.

As I write this I know there is much more that should be said and could be said but I have already taken up enough of your time with this health check and sanity piece. On behalf of the team and myself at A Mind of Its Own we appreciate your readership and constant support as we bring you a new piece each and every week. I promise I’ll hand you back to the team next week to give you a zany take on a topic that comes to us in the early hours of the morning when we should be fast asleep dreaming of tropical beaches. Until next week take it easy. TC…

Caveman’s Land…

With a growing amount of anger, fingers race across the keyboard in an effort to not only shed light on this weeks blog but also to outline the injustice that often goes on in a world where the undefendable are taken advantage of. It’s hard for a team to sit there and start this week’s blog with all the bullshit that is going on in the world. Sorry for swearing kids, really sorry but the world is going to hell in a handbag. And where did that saying even come from. Why does hell reside in a handbag? Does it have a orange oompa loompa that is its president? Perhaps he’s riding horseback with his former russian counterpart. Yeah ok this week’s topic has got under the teams skin and we are a little worked up to say the least. Why as humans do we feel the need to interfere with the natural order of the world? If it’s not trying to engineer the human genome we are trying to assert our dominance over the world? Well ladies and gentlemen this week we’ll see what we can do about answering some of those questions or at least giving you a no holds barred opinion of the scum that we share the planet with.

Whether you believe that god created the earth and all that is within it, or like us you believe in science and the Big Bang Theory. We live on a beautiful planet that is full of wonder and enchantment. Sharing the earth with creatures great and small, who have adapted and evolved to the changing environments as we humans continue to destroy the natural beauty around us. Why do we do it you ask? Well that would be the draw of the almighty dollar, greed has fueled man’s ambitions since the dawn of civilisation. With money comes power and with power comes, well comes a lot of arsehats who think that they are the most important people to walk this earth. They will stop at nothing to keep their power and their money. Often they can be linked to sociopath or narcissistic behaviours and very much have a me, me type of atittude when it comes to other people and their feelings.

Given that money makes the world go round, a lot of people tend to just throw money at their problems or the problems of the world. The problem with doing that however is that there is always the leeches of society who see an opportunity to take advantage of the situation and make a quick buck. With greed fueling the economy and our markets both the free market and the black market it’s no coincidence that destruction of our planet and its inhabitants go hand in hand with people making money and often millions upon millions of dollars from suffering. From dodgy land grabs to digging up the earth, right through to war and the sale of arms, greed fuels the men and women who we often view as disgusting and irresponsible. This week we are taking a look at a topic that often brings tears followed by anger and outrage when you see images of the suffering and death caused by the money grabbing scum of the earth.

This week we start our adventure in the one place on earth that everyone immediately thinks of when they hear about this topic the one place outside of a zoo where you can still see a lot, but not many of these majestic animals roaming free. Also the one place that sees it’s fair share of death and destruction on a daily basis. Not only do we see the innocent slaughter and destruction of wildlife habitats in the search for gold, oil and other rare earth elements. But also the murder and capture of animals for their skin, bone, oils and other body parts as part of the illegal black market sale and trade of rare and exotic animals. Across the globe atrocities against animals occur on a daily basis as greed and quest for money drives poachers to capture or kill animals. It’s a billion dollar industry that will only continue to grow as the average salary goes up allowing people who have never had access to Animal products before a glimpse of the market. In Africa the sale and exportation of Ivory ranks as one of the biggest threats to both the Elephant and Rhinoceros. In order to remove their tusks or horn poachers will either kill them outright or hack them off leaving the animals to suffer and die from the injuries inflicted during the removal process.

It’s not only the slaughter of innocent animals for their ivory to be made into some desk ornament or object on a wall for a wanker who needs pretty things so he or she can feel validated in their office or den. But the removal of animals from their natural habitats for sale on the black market to collectors that pushes each species prayed on by poachers closer and closer to the edge of extinction. From Gorillas to species of Birds and reptiles they end up in peoples backyards around the globe left in conditions that are often below humanitarian standards and almost torturous to the poor animals who were once free and able to soar or roam across the landscape. Adding to all this is the ever increasing growth of the human population and the destruction of habitats allowing for building of communities and cities often with very little thought or concern for the native species whose areas we have invaded and destroyed since the dawn of time, once again forcing them to either adapt, evolve or perish.

For centuries eastern medicine has used certain animal organs including Tiger Penis as part of their recipes to aile the sick and dying. Apparently Tiger Penis is just an aphrodisiac and was once thought to give virility and endurance. We’re pretty sure eating a penis isn’t going to give you virility and help you conceive. Just be be sure we asked the gay community who confirmed you will not boost your ability to get pregnant. Just like a bears gallbladder and the bile created by said gallbladder that is made into herbal remedies will not help with liver or gallbladder problems. China and Southeast Asia is home to many of the illegal sales and trades of Animals, Animal products and Ivory. For centuries they have used animal parts to ward off spirits or take on the attributes of the animals fresh they are indesting. The ownership of furs, ivory and other skins or horns is seen as a status symbol.

What we tend to find is that these people who like to show their wealth and affluence have no care in the world if an animal becomes extinct, in fact the more endangered a species becomes the higher the price and the more they need to have it. These narcissistic, often psychotic and certainly degranged people only care about themselves and having power and money. They will do anything to get what they want and care very little for authority and the rules. The same can be said for the men at the top off the business organisational structures, the more money that comes across there desks, the more demand and the more they want more of it. The calls go out to their networks and the hunters go to work across the globe. They go to work hunting down Elephants, Rhinoceros, Bears, Gorillas, Monkeys, Pangolin, Tigers, Snakes, Other reptiles and birds. Some they kill others they capture. The carcusas of those they harvested organs or appendages from are found fly blow and often encircled by scavengers.

Those that they don’t kill like bears or tigers are often transported to farms in China where parts are extracted or removed piece by piece. Until such a point the animals bodies give in and they go to a better place. A place away from the pain and torment. For those animals that are sold to private zoo’s or collectors, they are lucky enough to escape the torture and pain and often death. Whilst they are still removed from their natural habitats and this often causes trauma, anxiety and depression they are still alive. This means when authorities do get their acts together they can attempt to reintegrate them into their natural environment. Man’s punchance for greed makes us do disgusting things to other humans and the animals that walk this earth.

We often purely blame the hunters who yes we are agree should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law but even conservation groups aren’t helping to stem the tide. With all the infighting and political agendas as well as petty jealousy and personal ambitions of members often there ends up being very little done to project the animals who are being preyed upon. Whilst illegal poaching has now become a mainstream issue for governments around the globe they to face the same issues as the conservation groups and once again we see the animals continue to suffer and preyed upon by hunters feeding a market demand. In Africa wildlife reserves have employed Rangers who have the power and authority to arrest poachers caught on the their grounds. Often this is the first step in severing the chain but without tougher laws around the globe directed at all levels of the pyramid poaching will continue. Anti-poaching laws often only focus on the collection and distribution of animals and animal associated products and whilst it is illegal to own ivory in certain countries being caught with it is often no more than a slap on the wrist or fine. A fine to a lot of these people is chump change, nothing more than a minor annoyance.

What we need is governments to band together and ensure that poaching laws are enforced and the harshest of punishments are handed out. Taking a life any life whether human or not should warrant jail time. Both the poacher themselves along with their bosses or partners and the purchasers should all have the book thrown at them. When this starts to happen perhaps we’ll start to see some changes and we’ll be able to keep some of our animals off the endangered species list or from extinction. The sad thing is that unless we do something in the near and we mean the very near future it may already be too late for some of those majestic creatures. We certainly won’t be sitting idly by watching in the hopes that someone does something. While we can’t physically pick up the team and move them around the world or pick up a weapon and work against the poachers we can certainly add our voice and work with those by providing financial support to those who are actually doing something. Those that don’t want to sit by and wait for committees, governments, organisations to wade through their own political messes.

Around the globe the Rangers combating poachers are often sadly outgunned both literally and figuratively. There weapons are archaic, the people they are working against often have technology helping them to avoid detection and have the backing of multi-million dollar criminal organisations. The poor rangers are often sporting AK-47s that have seen better days and use old tracking methods to follow poachers. A lot of the time it is too late and they are already on their way to deliver their trophies to ensure they have a payday coming their way. With technology and funding the Rangers and volunteers that make the anti-poaching task forces around the globe will be on a an even playing field with those out to do harm and capture animals all with intention for making a dollar. Animals can’t defend themselves against man and our weapons. We have to stand up for them and have to stand up for a future in which we can see these great and unique beasts in the wild.

Everyday whether it be in the news or social media we see the death and destruction caused by men and women seeking fortune and fame at the expense of defenseless animals. It makes us sick and sad when we see these graphic images of animals dead or dying all in the name of money and man’s need to feel power. The team at a mind of its own have certainly had enough, we’ve read enough news papers, watched enough documentaries and read enough books to know that man is responsible for all the death and destruction going on in the world. We also have a responsibility to future generations to ensure they are able to see all the animals in the kingdom in the wild not at a zoo or museum. It’s time for us to stop living like cavemen and start looking to the future before it really is too late. All creatures great and small deserve to live in peace.

Until next week folks dob in a poacher, dob in a dealer and dob in that wanky knob who has bear heads, elephant tusks and tiger skins draped in his den. It’s not the 1890’s and anyone wearing a pith helmet deserves to be punched in the junk. Poaching whether you are the hunter, seller or buyer will never be ok. We are on the path to extinction and only we can divert the course. You hold the power to ensure a better future for your children and your children’s children. Last thing you want is to be showing your kids a stuffed elephant in a museum in 15 years time knowing we could have done something to prevent the needless slaughter of a beautiful species. We often try to give both sides of the story but this is one topic we will never waiver on, we like knowing that some of the bigger beasts are roaming the jungles and savannas of the world. Be good to yourself and look after what you can, until next week! Peace out!!!

Golden Years…

As a children our minds are at always curious, they are always questioning, always wondering and forever exploring. Our imaginations run wild as we play and develop, but over time we are able to determine what is real and what is make believe. Yet there are still things that even as adults still intrigue us and have us asking questions and believing in things that may or may not be real or exist. So with that said ladies and gentlemen it’s time to put down your laptops, phones and whatever else you are doing head out to the shed and grab a shovel, bucket and anything else you might think will help, if someone has a metal detector that would be great and head off with us on a real life treasure hunt. Yep treasure hunt, like children intrigued by tall tales and legends passed down from generation to generation the idea of buried treasure has grasped us by the balls and got us hooked.

Like many people we are fascinated with history, learning about the past is always interesting, but when you throw in mystery, intrigue and a treasure hunt you’ve got us hook, line and sinker. Well we’ve managed to find a treasure hunt that continues to trouble people and only raise more and more questions over time. To us it seems to be the ultimate treasure hunt with more twist and turns and just the right amount of mystery to keep you wanting more and more. With theories involving pirates, the knights templar, the British, the French, Portuguese and a few well known people throughout history the mystery behind the treasure will draw in even the most doubtful of people. Now before we lay it all out and get you all excited about a treasure hunt we do need to point out that some of the theories behind the stories are a little wild and outlandish.

Having been warned lets sink our teeth into the mystery that is Oak Island. Sitting in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, Canada. The privately owned island in Lunenburg county sits 200 metres from the shore of mainland Canada and is connected by a causeway. The tree covered island has been the setting for treasure hunters for over 200 years. As far back as 1700 people have searched the island for treasure. With links to the Knights Templar, Marie Antoinette, Blackbeard, The British Army fighting the American revolution there is no shortage to the amount of theories surrounding what treasure is buried on the island. When we first heard of the mystery of Oak Island we were somewhat a little dubious with a few of the theories around the treasure. The more we read and the more we researched, oh ok there was also a show about it that we just happened to stumble on that made us go wow this is cool. Modern day treasure hunters that’s something we can get our heads around.

The Oak Island mystery refers to stories of buried treasure and unexplained objects on Oak Island in Nova Scotia. Since the 19th century, a number of attempts have been made to locate treasure and artifacts. Theories about artifacts present on the island range anywhere from pirate treasure, to Shakespearean manuscripts, or religious objects of great importance. Various items have surfaced over the years that were found on the island, some of which have since been carbon dated and found to be hundreds of years old. Although these items can be considered treasure in their own right, the significant main treasure site has since been lost. The site consisted of an original shaft which was dug by early explorers, now known as “the money pit”. Oak Island has been a subject for treasure hunters ever since the late 1700s, with rumors that Captain Kidd’s treasure was buried there. While there is little evidence to support what went on during the early excavations, stories began to be published and documented as early as 1856.

Since that time there have been many theories that extend beyond that of Captain Kidd which include among others religious artifacts, manuscripts, and Marie Antoinette’s jewels. The “treasure” has also been prone to criticism by those who have dismissed search areas as natural phenomenon. Areas of interest on the island with regard to treasure hunters include a location known as the “Money Pit”, which is allegedly the original searchers spot. There is also a formation of boulders called “Nolan’s Cross”, named after a former treasure hunter with a theory on it, and a triangle-shaped swamp. Lastly, there has been searcher activity on a beach at a place called “Smith’s Cove”. Various objects including non native coconut fiber have been found there.

As Legend goes 7 people must lose their lives before the island will reveal the treasure. To date six people have lost their lives hunting for the Oak Island treasure in what can only be described as accidents. The mystery as to who and why it was put there on the Island still eludes us to this day. For over two hundred years people have explored, drilled, dug, dived and even blown up the Island in an effort to find the so called treasures buried beneath its surface. To tell you the full story and really get you hooked we should go back to the beginning and give you as much information as possible. We’ll say it now, if you are more of a visual person there’s a History Channel show called the Curse of Oak Island that documents and follows a group of modern day treasure hunters who have been captivated by the story for years. There goes half if not more of our readers, let’s face it if people can watch something rather than read they are going to take the easy option. Humans have become inherently lazy.

According to the earliest theory, there is a pit on Oak Island that holds a pirate treasure buried by now other than the infamous pirate Captain Kidd himself. Kidd reportedly conspired with Henry Avery(we had to google who he was), and Oak Island became their community pirate bank, wonder what there customer service would have been like. Another pirate theory involved Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, who said that he buried his treasure “where none but Satan and myself can find it”. An additional proposed explanation is that the pit was dug by Spanish sailors to hold treasure from a wrecked galleon or British troops stationed there during the American Revolution. Others claim that British marines dug the pit to store the loot acquired from the British invasion of Cuba, valued at about £1,000,000 pounds (about $180,000,000 in 2015). John Godwin wrote that given the apparent size and complexity of the pit, it was probably dug by French Army engineers hoping to hide the treasury of the Fortress of Louisbourg after it fell to the British during the Seven Years’ War.

Yet another theory for what is hidden beneath the Island lends it hands to Marie Antoinette’s jewels, missing except for specimens already in museum collections, there are theories the rest were reportedly hidden on the island. On October 5, 1789, an angry mob of Parisian working women, incited by revolutionaries marched on the Palace of Versailles. According to the undocumented (so it’s hearsay?) story, Marie Antoinette instructed her maid (or a lady-in-waiting) to take the jewels and flee. The maid fled to London with the jewels and (perhaps) other treasures, such as artwork or documents, secreted on her person or in her luggage. The woman then said to have fled from London to Nova Scotia. Using royal connections, she contracted with the French Navy to construct the Oak Island pit. In late 2017 the first possible evidence of this theory seemed to have been validated by the discovery of a 500-year-old brooch containing a large garnet.

In his 1953 book, The Oak Island Enigma: A History and Inquiry Into the Origin of the Money Pit, Penn Leary wrote that the pit was used to hide manuscripts indicating that Francis Bacon was the author of William Shakespeare’s works and a leader of the Rosicrucians.Leary’s “The Second Cryptographic Shakespeare”, published in 1990, identified ciphers in Shakespeare’s plays and poems which pointed to Bacon’s authorship. Author and researcher Mark Finnan elaborated on Leary’s Oak Island theory, which was also used in the Norwegian book Organisten (The Seven Steps to Mercy) by Erlend Loe and Petter Amundsen and the TV series Sweet Swan of Avon.

In his book, Oak Island Secrets, Mark Finnan noted that many Masonic markings were found on Oak Island, and the shaft (or pit) and its mysterious contents seemed to replicate aspects of a Masonic initiation rite involving a hidden vault with a sacred treasure. Joe Nickell identifies parallels between Oak Island accounts, the “Secret Vault” allegory in York Rite Freemasonry and the Chase Vault on Barbados. Freemason Dennis King examines the Masonic aspects of the Oak Island legend in his article, “The Oak Island Legend: The Masonic Angle”. Steven Sora speculated that the pit could have been dug by exiled Knights Templar and might be the final resting place of the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.

Another theory holds that the Rosicrucians and their reported leader, Francis Bacon, organized a secret project to make Oak Island the home of its legendary vault with ingenious means to conceal ancient manuscripts and artifacts. Researchers and cryptographers such as Petter Amundsen and Daniel Ronnstam claim to have found codes hidden in Shakespeare, rock formations on the island, and clues hidden in other 16th- and 17th-century art and historical documents. According to Daniel Ronnstam, the stone found at 90 feet (27 m) contains a dual cipher created by Bacon.

Author Joy Steele suggests that the money pit is actually a tar kiln dating to the historical period when “Oak Island served as a tar-making location as part of the British naval stores industry”. When marine biologist Barry Fell attempted to have the symbols on the stone translated during the late 1970s, he said that the symbols resembled the Coptic alphabet and read: “To escape contagion of plague and winter hardships, he is to pray for an end or mitigation the Arif: The people will perish in misery if they forget the Lord, alas”. According to Fell’s theory, Coptic migrants sailed from North Africa to Oak Island and constructed the pit. However, Fell is not considered to be credible by most mainstream academics.

So with abundant theories and mysteries surround what if anything is buried its not lost on this this here blog that even some of history’s well known faces would get involved in the Oak Island mystery. Not only was he a major investor in some of the digs performed on the island but a young Franklin D. Roosevelt himself participated in a dig on the island. Famous actors Errol Flynn and John Wayne had both sunk money into the island over the years as an attempt to uncover or in this case unearth the mystery that is Oak Island. Vincent Astor heir to the Astor family fortune, his father was the man you all laughed at the first time you saw Titanic who falls off the back of the ship and hits the propellers on the way down. After Daddy died aboard the Titanic young Vincent sunk some of the family fortune into finding fame and further fortune on Oak Island.

We come full circle to our modern day treasure hunters, Oak Island now has several different owners which include treasure hunter named Dan Blankenship, who partnered with “Oak Island Tours Inc.” run by David Tobias. Oak Island Tours eventually dissolved, and in February 2019, it was announced that a new partnership had been formed with a company called the “Michigan Group”. This group consists of brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, Craig Tester, and Alan Kostrzewa who had been purchasing lots from Tobias. It is unclear who is involved to what degree as Blankenship only revealed Kostrzewa’s name to the press saying he was “on board”. Blankenship owns 78% of the island with the Michigan Group, while the remaining 22% is owned by private parties. There are two permanent homes and two cottages occupied part-time on the island.

What does all this mean well it means the Lagina brothers and Craig Tester along with the Blankenships are digging in the ‘Money Pit’ sinking over $2 million into the mystery on top of what they have already sent they are building sand castles in Smith’s Cove while putting some divers down into the Money pit and couple of other holes they’ll dig in an attempt to unearth the treasure. We here at a mind of its own are hoping for maybe some connection to the Knight Templar or at least some pirate treasure at a bare minimum. Whatever they unearth will no doubt be exciting as the Island slowly reveals its mysteries to the world. We just hope that no one else has to die in order for the treasure to show its shiny self. Wouldn’t it be exciting if the Francis Bacon theories were true or the Ark of the Covenant was unearthed, it would certainly change some of the way history has been viewed.

There is so much more to the story of the island and the treasure, we’ve briefly skimmed over the top of it for you in order to give you a taste of the island and its rich history. A history that if true could make someone a very rich person indeed. The answers are out they they just require people brave enough to go and find them. The Lagina’s have been intrigued by the Oak Island mystery since they were young boys. Now successful businessmen they are able to try and shed some light on the theories surrounding the Island, its treasure and the overall history of the Island itself throughout time. The team will continue to track the story and any developments on the island as they hunt for the treasure in the key locations that have become the focus of many hunters throughout history.

As we hang our pith helmets and place our shovels, metal detectors and shifting trays back in the shed for another night. We leaf back through the pages of history and wonder what other great treasure mysteries are yet to be solved. What great mysteries await those who seek to find answers and what in our own country can we dig up to make us rich and famous in the world. That’s something we’ll explore for another day but leave it with us we’ll no doubt unearth some goodness over the coming weeks in which we’ll be able to keep you entertained with. Until next week happy hunting! Oh and kids don’t go and dig up the backyard and if you do perhaps ask your parents first! Adios amigos!

Into The Abyss…

The world we live in is often strange and perplexing particularly when it comes to people’s points of view or theories. As we’ve mentioned before, Ideas are like arseholes, everyone has one. Ask anyone in the world and they will tell you there is no shortage of myths, legends and conspiracy theories. The team have even attempted to tackle one or two of them in the past like when we tried to raise the roof off the house that is the anti vaccination movement. Like the anti-vaxxer movement there are several conspiracy theories that have come to light in recent times that grow support from the strangest of places and often perplex everyday people as to how or why people could think such a thing.

Unlike the Anti Vaccination movement however this weeks subject to sit in the Mind of Its Own interrogation chair and the cop waterboarding treatment (We never signed up to the Geneva convention) does not really have a leg to stand on. It’s amazing how and again why this theory has managed to develop such a following particularly with today’s technology and our knowledge of the earth. As we sat watching a documentary on the topic thinking what the fork are these people on about and how haven’t they been committed to the closest mental health facility yet. It began to pique our interest as to how they’d originally been introduced to the topic themselves and how there believe had grown to what it is today.

Going through school you are taught one plus one equals two, you breath oxygen because without it we’d die and the earth is the only inhabited planet in our solar system that we currently know of. What if everything you have ever been taught is a lie? What if the Earth isn’t real and all of this is just some giant machine that we are a part of? What if we are all just plugged into the matrix and were never to be given the choice between the blue or the red pill? We’ll if you believe that this week’s topic is true, which we are about to  pull it apart like a Bakers Delight six share loaf at smoko, then you are pretty much of the opinion that everything you have been taught, everything you know is one big fat lie. To this day you are being lied to about any and everything in what would be the world’s greatest conspiracy since religion was born. Sorry to all our religious friends out there but with Cardinal Pell being done for kiddy fiddling we are of the opinion that the catholic church is full of seedy old men who like to get their jollies by touching little kids and it makes us sick!

We don’t know about you, but at school we were taught the earth is round and rotates on an axis, we have a north pole and south pole. The earth is divided into a northern and a southern hemisphere and we rotate around the sun in what gives us a calendar year (365 days). We have gravity, it affects the tides and brings meaning to the saying ‘what goes up, must come down’. Outside of Earth there is space, within that space are other planets, stars, suns, moons, galaxies and countless other civilisations no doubt that we are yet to discover or don’t want us to discover them for fear we’ll ruin their planet just like we are ours. So going back to the theory of what if it was all just one big lie, what if none of what we know is true, what if it was all made up as part of the largest conspiracy theory to span the globe. Every government in the world is in on it like a massive April’s fools joke waiting to punch you in arm and scream April fools as they jump out from behind the curtains in your mother’s living room.

If you are a Flat Earther then as far as you’re concerned a lot of the things you have been taught are a lie. The earth is not round, it’s flat like a disc and the north and south pole well they are just part a massive ringed wall of ice that hems in the world. Those ice walls rise up to the sky in an effort to keep us in or to keep people out? Either way we aren’t too sure how this theory even grew legs in the modern era given the scientific breakthroughs and discoveries over the last century. Does that mean we live in a dome? Like the Truman show we are all just wandering around on a giant film set with no idea on what is actually happening around us or that everything is fake and giant lie. According to flat earthers this is exactly what is happening to all of us on a global scale. We puppets or pieces in a giant game where we have little to no say in how our lives are governed and what we are taught. Sounds a lot like living in Australia or America in 2019 where we are governed by Oompa-Loompas and balding fat old men.

We’re sorry but in what world other than George Orwell’s 1984, would every government come together to create such a glorious lie. We can’t even agree on global warming so i’m not sure how on earth they could continue to cover up that the earth is flat and not round. We’ve fought wars over religion, over resources and over peoples rights but it’s all just a big lie according to our Flat Earth Friends. The moon landing, putting astronauts and cosmonauts in space, building an international space station, sending probes off into the far reaches of the galaxy and satellites that take photos of the earth and surrounding planets. Telescopes that allow us to see into the vast distance of space. Need we say more about the technology and large well funded organisations involved in proving that the Earth is indeed round and not flat? Or is that all fake too? Just another part of the real life Truman show we all live in?

But if you ask a Flat Earther and yes that’s what they call themselves in what we, here believe is the dumbest conspiracy theory to ever gain notoriety, they’ll give you an answer to every question you have around the topic and why it is true. They’ll even tell you that scientists are stumped by some of the hypothesis and theories they have brought to light in proving that the earth is flat and yet the academics & scientists can’t use their beloved science to prove the Flat Earth theory is incorrect. One particular scene in the Netflix documentary titled Behind the Curve it shows Youtuber and leader of the Flat Earth movement Mark Sargent (He’s a conspiracy theory nut from way back, a true middle american) looking out across a lake at Toronto or some city (We can’t remember as it was at this point we started questioning the sanity of these people) claiming that if the earth was round he shouldn’t be able to see it but because it’s flat he can see the city in the distance across the flat lake. Yeah good one Mark you’ve made us believers….pause…Not!

Apparently it’s a no brainer, the earth is flat, gravity doesn’t exist and the next thing they’ll be telling us is that space doesn’t exist that’s just the pretty lights of the dome, that would make shooting stars falling light globes and global warming is only happening because the giant air conditioner is broken. Stuck on heat mode it’s melting the ice walls of the dome causing sea levels to rise and weird weather patterns, until the governments of the world can stop bickering over who has the better haircut and send the repairmen up there and fix it. Once that’s done global warming will disappear altogether, they can pull the giant bath plug and let out some of the sea water out so that water recedes to an acceptable level. From their we’ll all go back to continuing the giant lie that the earth is round, covering up the fact the earth is flat not round as we’ve all been lead to believe for our entire lives.

In a disturbing turn of events it seems there is actually a fake space movement, we haven’t looked into it or done any research as we are still trying to wrap our head around the old world theory that explorers will sail right off the edge of the earth as it’s flat. From what we have seen though on twitter and youtube again follows the vein of global conspiracy that we are all being lied to. Wait till flat earth and fake space societies team up and create the we’ve been lied to all our lives society and nothing is real. What we can’t understand is that if the earth is indeed flat does that mean that science is also a fallacy and everything we’ve discovered and know is also a lie. Are we even sitting here typing out this blog for you right. All our combined years on the planet and we still have people whose belief systems aren’t based on sound or measured data that can actually prove their theories. At one point in the documentary they dispelled there own theory through one of their experiments which went down like the Hindenburg in a ball of flames.

What we really struggle to understand is the proof or lack thereof that can prove their theory of a flat earth. Just because we tell you that this is the best blog you will ever read does that make it true? No to prove that you would go and read other blogs before coming back and telling us we were right. You will search for proof, for answers, for data for something measurable against our claim to prove or disprove it. Trust us though we are a great blog. The main claim of the Flat Earth society focuses on the premise that we are and have been lied to by our governments, by NASA, historians, scientists, the list goes on of people throughout history who have lied or helped to continue to cover up that the earth is flat. We are still searching for any data that can prove their theories or that there is a major global cover up underway.

The idea that what we are being told, taught, passed on over generations is a giant lie and that we only believe it to be true because that’s what we know or have been told is a similar argument our good friends at the Anti Vaccination movement also tried to tell us. You know what there is some truth in it. You shouldn’t believe everything you read but you should also do your research thoroughly. It would also help if you have some credible scientist, scholars and spokespeople to help with your cause.  We are yet to see one Flat Earther take a film crew and sail completely around the edge of our supposedly flat earth, documenting either the drop off into the abyss or the giant ice walls that ring us in. But apparently they’ve already supplied us with enough proof that the earth is indeed flat and domed in shape kind of like a giant snow globe just waiting for someone to come along and shake it.

Watching Mark Sargent throw tiny globes into a trash can stating that they are no longer needed and we should be teaching our children about a flat earth, a truthful earth made the team want to go out and find tiny flat earth discs and throw them off the edge of the planet along with Mr Sargent and is band of followers. As he sat there talking about how flight paths of aircraft prove that the earth is flat and not round as they don’t fly curved paths on the computer screen in front of him it dawned on us that this guy was a little from than just nuts. Looking into him a little more we discovered that he is a true conspiracy theorist from Area 51 to 9/11 even so far to say there was a secret government city under the Denver airport. Mark unless the flight paths are in 3D you aren’t going to see the curvature on your screen mate, what you are looking at is a two dimensional image. It’s true people do really listen to and follow morons!.

People put the crack pipe down, stop taking the crazy pills and most importantly wake the hell up. We had a few other choice words in their that we thought were better left out incase any of our younger subscribers were reading this. The earth is most definitely not flat, gravity does indeed exist, beyond the earth is space and we are certainly not alone there has to be other civilizations more advanced than our own who also know the earth is not flat. Oh but you believe in aliens just not that the earth is round, good one Flat Earthers! Out of all the conspiracy theories in the world what on earth would make people think that it’s flat. Is it the lack of mountains, the lack of round appearance as you look at the sky or the pictures taken from space? Whatever it is this is one theory the team can’t even open their minds to. Science and its discoveries have given us a lot over the last couple of hundred years. When Christopher Columbus didn’t sail off the end of the earth we thought the flat earth theory was dead but no it’s sadly lives on in the hearts and minds of people all around the world.

As always we advocate the right to believing whatever you choose, freedom of speech, expression of ideas, theories and hypothesis, we just aren’t on board with the theory that the earth is flat and there is one giant global cover up going on to stop us all from finding out the truth about the earth. If you believe in a flat earth we are happy for you and your 1800’s views just please do us a favour and at least come up with some measurable data to prove so. Until next week ladies and gentlemen, look to the stars for they hold the answers and don’t be afraid to go boldly where no man or woman has gone before. From the team here we wish well and we’ll be gracing your screens once again next week with another installment of A Mind of Its Own…

Cheating At Solitaire…

We’ve been at this for close to sixty posts now and we’ve tackled a lot of good things over our time bringing you A Mind of Its Own so far but we made a promise to ourselves and to our fan base that 2019 was going to be a big year in the blogosphere for us. We’ve got a few things happening in the background that will hopefully take us to the next level and we are looking forward to expanding our reach across social media and various other forms of media. When this blog was first started it was started as a way for its founder to help combat his anxiety and depression. For months blog post after blog post, just sat idle on his laptop waiting for him to find the courage to put it out there in the ether for people to read.

It was about this time last year that courage started growing like a wildfire and the idea of A Mind Of Its Own was born. The premise being that no topic was too big or too small to be tackled and each piece could in fact take on a mind of its own. Since then our writing has grown and we’ve begun to develop our own style, own views and most importantly our own confidence that no matter what the topic people will read it and whether they like it or not is of no importance to us. We write because we can, we write because we want to and most of all we write because if we don’t who it going to tackle the topics that people really want to hear about? Life is a lot bigger and better when it takes on a mind of its own.

So without further delay we launch into this weeks blog, masterpiece, comedy session and advice column, editorial and puff piece all rolled into one. With a lot happening in the world we thought we’d take a look at the months to come. It’s that time of the year where we can pack away the cricket gear, not that it was out much this year given the way the Australian team performed over the summer at home. They may as well of done some ball tampering it might have improved their performance. The big bash final concluded on the weekend and unless you are from Victoria no one really cared when the final was between to Melbourne sides. The soccer is all but done no idea who won this years who cares cup in either the mens or the women’s, while the Women’s AFL is underway and Carlton have finally won a game after 12 months.

We are in the lead up to football season here in Australia and the team here are hanging out to see the mighty Swans kick off their 2019 campaign. We’ve lost a few favourites but picked up some guns to try to fill their shoes while hanging on to our bigger guns which should see us in top four contention for yet another season in a row. The NRL will be underway with no doubt plenty of scandals for 2019 surely we will see some home videos of animals being harassed, cocaine being snorted, ladies being harassed, sex scandals galore along with public defecation and no doubt other acts of indecencies from men with IQ’s lower than elite golfers handicaps. Then there’s the Rugby Union, the private school boys who have brought out every pair of Chinos and cotton shirts they can find before running around on the weekend shoving their heads up the bums of their teammates in what is better known as a scrum.

If that’s not enough sport for you then the Yanks have the silly men skating around on ice, several Aussies shooting hoops in the NBA and baseball season is about to kick off. What we are really looking forward to is the Pro Kabaddi league in India. If you haven’t seen a game of Kabaddi we recommend you google it and get on board. It’s like tackle british bulldog but for grown men and women. Oh and how could we forget the lingerie football league or for the ladies the topless summer league. There’ll be finals and playoffs around the world in all forms of sport and we almost forgot our favourite sport, netball will once again grace our screens on free to air tv. With so much to watch the DVR will be running hot to ensure we don’t miss a minute.

Which finally brings us to amateur sport in the great land down under. We’ll see children, men and women from all walks of life gracing local ovals, courts, fields, tracks and whatever else in their attempts to seek glory in their chosen sporting field. Heck even the grumpy old man in the office here is strapping on the shinnies and having another run around with the Kingscliff stingers in an attempt to go back to back in the Gold Coast stickball league (Field Hockey) he’ll no doubt pull up sore and have some issues with his back and hamstrings but he has assured us that this is the last stand for him in the top grade before retiring down the grades and helping to bring the youth through.

With that said we thought we’d give you a quick overview of teams to watch throughout winter 2019. That being said we’ll start with the women:

Brisbane Firebirds – Netball

If you believe everything you read the Lorna Jane (Yep shameless sponsorship plug there) Firebirds are the most successful elite netball side in Australian history with five grand final appearances and three championship wins over the last eight years. With former Sydney Swan Kurt Tippet’s sister Gretel leading the charge in the front half of the court the diamonds goal attack has been in fine form for the last couple of seasons. Back up by her good mate Gabbi Simpsons the Firebirds will be looking to make their way to the big dance once again.

North Melbourne – AFL Womens

One of the two new kids on the block in the women’s AFL the Shinboners known for booting their opponents in the shins have hit the ground running and are currently three from three in their inaugural AFLW season. Picking up big names like Hope and Ashmore from established clubs the Kangas have been exciting to watch so far this season. Former Hockeyroo Georgia Nanscawen or how ever you say it, the aussie ranga has followed Collingwood big gun Georgie Parker in defecting from stick and ball and found herself a home at the Kangas. Make sure you watch Kaitlyn Ashmore the 27-year-old has impressed in her previous seasons at the Brisbane Lions.

Sydney Swans – AFL

The bloods have been impressive over the last two seasons with Captain Josh Kennedy leading from the front. Big Buddy Franklin has provided a target up front and the swans midfield is one of the best in the league with the likes of Kennedy, Heeney and Parker providing pace and experience. Add in McVeigh who seems to only get be better with age and the pace of Zak Jones the Swans have recruited well over the past couple of season with the likes of Ronke, Papley and Hayward showing their worth in 2018, the swans picked up a few new faces for 2019 who will no doubt be keen to show their value and commitment to the club.

Canberra Raiders – NRL

This year we are thinking it’s time to hang up the blue and yellow of Parramatta and jump ship to the Canberra Raiders who are due a top four spot after recent years of coming so close. Secretly we’ll still be praying that the Eels find some form or half their players get released from jail in time for kickoff but we won’t be holding our breath so come on the green machine. Does Laurie Daley still play for them? What about that Croker guy? Do we know one single player, probably not we just looked at the ladder for the past couple of years and knew we were on to a winner,. $100 on green for a top four finishing? The odds are pretty good in our favour.

Waratahs – Super Rugby

With one of the best lineups of Australian Rugby talent the Tahs are a serious contender for the Championship yet again in 2019. To rattle off a few Hooper, Foley. Kefu, Hunt, Falou, Staniforth, Beale and Ashley-Cooper sounds more like a Wallabies lineup than a Super Rugby side. With plenty of speed and talent these movers and shakers are keen for a big 2019 Super Rugby season. We’ll certainly be pulling on our Tahs jerseys in support of the boys from Sydney as they attempt to bring the trophy back to Australia and instill some faith in the union supporters community. Like our cricketers our Wallabies haven’t been doing to well in recent times.

Las Vegas Golden Knights – AHL

The new kids on the block had a stellar first season in as they chased Stanley Cup glory only faltering in playoff games to miss a ticket to the dance. Not since the Edmonton Oilers and Harford Whalers in the 1979-80 season and a team clinched a playoff berth in their inaugural season in the league. Continuing their run of good form the Knights from Vegas set several records on their way to the big dance. Unfortunately they fell short in the Stanley Cup playoffs to a polished Washington Capitals outfit. Seeking out their first cup the desert dwellers are keen to hit the ice in 2019 and show they are serious contenders for the cup.

Kingscliff Stingers – Gold Coast Hockey League

Rounding out our teams to watch in the winter of 2019 the beach boys from across the NSW border have a point to prove in 2019 as they attempt to go back to back after taking out last year’s premiership against a tough Labrador outfit. While the team has gone through some changes in the off-season. They return with almost a full compliment from the 2018 final, including a few new names to the roster and the stepping down of several key players from the top grade. Making way for youth is a priority for the club and head coach from olympic gold medalist Nathan Egglington, who made his return to the club last season after spending years in Western Australia in the Australian set up as both a player and coach after retiring from international duties. 2019 is set to be a big season for the green and black.

So with plenty of sport happening over the next 6 months there is no reason to get bored. We’ll keep you updated throughout the months and weeks as we watch teams chase glory on their chosen stage. We’ll also watch the angry old man in the office come in on a Monday morning whining about how sore he is from the weekend’s game. We certainly know one thing, we’ll have plenty of sport on the idiot box to keep us occupied over the coming months and with sport comes a few frothies and some time with mates at the pub. Whatever your poison when it comes to sport, support your team loud and support your team proud.

The the team here at A Mind of Its Own wishes you happy viewing and an amazing winter, rug up and stay warm if you’re south of the Sydney and for all us coastal kids we’ll make sure we enjoy the sun for you when it comes out and about to say hello. Until next week we bid you a fond farewell and hope you’ve enjoyed another installment of the blog to kill all blogs. We’ll leave you with this little piece of food for thought. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius

This is All Now…

Look at the people around you, they are just like you, but they are not you. They may walk, talk and act like you but they are not you. They don’t know your story, they don’t know where you have been or where you are going. We are all individuals on our own path, following our own destiny. We make decisions based on the information we have on hand at the time, some may be right and some will definitely be wrong but for the most part we learn from our mistakes. So what does all this have to writing blogs, novels and putting ourselves out there you ask? Every now and then you come across pure strength, guts and determination. It’s these displays of strength and pure determination that inspire us and are often the driving force behind A Mind of Its Own…

When we talk about pure strength and determination we often think of inhuman feats of strength and trials of survival that are unimaginable. However if you look close enough you will see examples of this strength and determination in everyday life. People going against what is deemed as normal. These things often start as a ripple and work there way out sometimes like a tsunami, fast and furiously reaching their peak and sometimes taking their time to reach the hearts and minds of those standing against change, against progress, against equal opportunities and basic human rights. But in the end most people come around. Just look at Gay marriage it took Australia a lot longer than most of the world to work out that love is love and you should be able to marry whomever you like as long as it’s not your sister, brother or cousin.

So why is it when people do something that goes against the perceived “norm” that portions of the public become outraged or feel they need to always comment? Says the person the behind the keyboard typing out this blog. But you get our point. When people do something for themselves or that goes against what is deemed normal in society what gives people the right to comment and or have an opinion? Is it directly affecting you? Are you suffering from this person doing something that A. May better there life, B. Is something they really want or even C. None of our god damn business. Chances are the answer is no, it is not directly affecting you in any shape or form but being human you feel you are entitled to your opinion and need to voice said opinion. So we are all for people having there own opinions and voicing them but on some occasions there is just no need.

Which leads us into this weeks Mind of Its Own and the topic which was a little strange for us to pick up as really none of us have experience in the field nor are we able to really even empathise with someone in this situation. Single mothers or more important mothers to be and more specifically those strong determined woman who choose to go down the donor route. Utilising In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), the procedure in which sperm is injected into a egg and then placed back inside the uterus or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) in which sperm is placed into the uterus via a small tube just prior to ovulation. These strong and determined woman feel a calling that only other women would be able to describe and empathise with, a calling to reproduce, a calling to give birth to their own flesh and blood. That calling to be a mother.

Whilst many people will argue we are put on this earth for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to reproduce and create life. There are many though that do not feel the need to be parents, to bring life into this world. But for those that do it is a magical, wonderful journey. For women, as men writing this we have absolutely no idea the pain and changes your bodies go through in order to carry a child for 9 months in the womb. What’s even more amazing is the changes going on inside you as the child develops from a single cell into a little human. Over the weeks of development the foetus takes on a personality of its own and takes on traits from you and the male, whether that be your partner or a sperm donor. They get half of you and half of the male. But back to the strong women who choose to go it alone. They are no different from any of us, apart from the fact that they have one thing that we often lack.

Courage or drive if you will to do something that a lot of people would shy away from or in some cases find someone they were happy to settle with in order to get what they wanted. In this case a child. But then there are those that have a unique strength within themselves to go after what they want and are happy and driven to do it without needed anyone beside them. They are the true heroes of the world, the women that are truly pushing equal rights and opportunities by showing they don’t need men beside them to have a baby just there sperm to do so.

It was about half way through writing this blog that it struck us that we really do have no idea what women go through when they decide to have a baby let alone what it is like for a woman that chooses to do it on her own. We aren’t qualified to talk about it our to really even comment other than saying good on them for going after what they want and showing that true heroes don’t need to wear capes and tights. It was at this point and perhaps part of our fever induced ramblings from the Man Flu that we decided that all of above is our opinion and ours alone. We don’t pity nor would we treat any woman who decides to have a child on her own any different from a woman with partner, husband or wife. All we can say is that we are in awe of them and respect the decision and drive they have to bring a child into the world.

So to all the baby mummas out there raising children or who are pregnant and doing it on there own we raise our hats and salute you. It’s not courage, guts, strength or some other cosmic drive that has told you to do so but love, love for yourself and love for the little human you are carrying or have carried in your womb for the past 9 months. From the team here at A Mind of Its Own we are going to leave this topic for those in the know and for those who have been through it and can shed some light on the ins and outs of going through IVF in order to have a child. Yes we know that couples often go down the IVF route for a mirriade of medical reasons as well but we are solely reflecting on the women who choose to do it on there own because they want a child.

So from the Man Flu crew we wish all of our fans a great week ahead and to those who have just joined us welcome to the A Mind of Its Own Blog and yes we literally do let the writing take on a Mind of Its Own. We often have no idea how or what the blog is going to end up like. Hence this one we started on a straight track, hit a bend and went off on a tangent to end up talking about single mothers and IVF. It’s not often we stay on track unless its a quest spot or we’ve taken weeks to write a post but no matter what there is always a laugh, something interesting and a little bit of randomness. Peace out…

What it Feels Like to Be a Ghost…

We are back, we’ve finally crawled out of our hole we’ve been hiding in to write you something to write you something, this week you will get two blogs to ensure we are back on track to hit our target of one blog a week at a minimum for twenty nineteen. Whilst we won’t be disappointed if we don’t reach our goals it is still always good to have something to aim at. Goals are a good thing to have and here at A Mind of It’s Own we have plenty of goals and plenty of ambitions for the next couple of years to come.

After a week in hiatus and having to shut down the office in order for a hazmat team in to come in and decontaminate the place the team are slowly starting to bounce back. It’s been a week of antibiotics, steroids lots of tissues, snot, and absolutely not the glamour that we are used to. Gone are the designer suits, shoes, shirts and watches to be replaced by the daggiest clothes we could find. When the term “Netflix and Chill” was created we doubt they had the image of 30 something year old males coughing and spluttering on the couch while watching reruns of their favourite shows from yesteryear. Such has been the way of life for much of the team over the past week.

Having been struck down with a vicious case of the “Man Flu” and yes it is just as real as thigh chafe and bra rub two of the more common ailments our female friends tend to suffer. So this week’s blog is solely dedicated to the plight that thousands of males go through, that’s right we’ve dedicated this weeks blog to the Man Flu. It’s taken us over a week to recover and we are still working through the remainder of what is the worst Man flu to hit the crew since the Black Plague ripped through Europe from 1346 to 1353 and killed millions upon millions. It’s time to wake up people Man flu is a real thing. Yes all those wifes, girlfriends, lovers are groaning and palming their faces, shaking their heads and mouthing “whatever” before looking at every sick man with disgust.

Firstly for our readers who don’t know what it is the ‘Man Flu’ according to both the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, that’s right ladies and gentleman it is now in the dictionary and defined as ‘a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms’. Another reference taken from Urban dictionary called it ‘Wimpy man syndrome’. Commonly used the term could be describing a constitutional character flaw of men who when felled by cold or flu embellish the severity of their symptoms. That however is about to change, no longer will man need to feel bad for being afflicted with the Man Flu.

Over the centuries women have pointed at, made fun of and even spoken down to the sick man. They’ve said men become sooks or as pointed out ‘Wimpey’, painful and don’t know how to deal with pain or how to handle a little common cold or the flu. Well ladies and gentleman stress no longer because the good people at Memorial University of Newfoundland, that’s in Canada ladies and gentleman. Our good friends over in the land of maple syrup, hockey and Michael Buble have done men the world over proud by actually going out and proving once and for all that men were right for once in their lives .

In what is thought to be the first study of its it’s kind headed up by Doctor Kyle Sue a clinical assistant professor, a team analysed relevant research and found evidence that adult men have a higher risk of hospitalisation and higher rates of influenza associated deaths compared to their female counterparts regardless of underlying diseases.Furthermore the good doctor also found that men, yes ladies men are more susceptible to complications and higher mortality from many acute respiratory diseases, while some evidence supported that those with a dick and balls suffer more from viral respiratory illnesses than women because sadly we men have less robust immune systems.

That little hormone that makes us different from our female biped friends, you know the one, some old men get it as part of replacement therapy as they start to run out of it later in life. Testosterone that thing that athletes and big burly men often spray across the floor of stadiums and sporting fields in order to impress women, get women and often scare off women, could be the one thing that is causing the Man Flu. Testosterone the thing that makes us men, the one hormone we have more of than anything is else the one thing that could be ensuring we are forever to suffer from the dreaded Man Flu.

Thought to suppress the immune system, testosterone could lead to men’s inability to combat things like the common cold and the flu unlike our female counterparts whose sex hormone is believed to boost their immune system. So looking at the research we are sure doctor Sue has helped plant a flag for men around the world and helped to wake people up to the plight that is the Man Flu. It also helps to explain why men are more susceptible to secondary infections and viruses.

For years we have been banging on that we are misunderstood and the man flu was real, now we can finally say that someone has actually done some research, that potentially will forever change the perception of Man Flu. Like all things that people don’t understand our good friend Man Flu will rise up from the ashes and totally shine a light on the fact that it is indeed a real ailment, it is indeed not a myth, not a false claim but is indeed a real life thing that men all around the world have been suffering for centuries. So from all the men around the world thank you to Doctor Kyle Sue and his team for painting some light on our plight.

No longer do we need to be spoken down to in our moments of need, our moments requiring support and most importantly a little compassion and love. Man Flu is real, it is now, it exists and most importantly it defines why we cop a bad rap when we are sick. So without further adieu we bid our loyal fans goodbye for yet another episode and start preparing for next week as well as finishing off the previous weeks blog. With a tonne of writing to get to we’ll leave you with this, if someone is sick or unwell just treat them the way you’d want to be treated it’s the best thing you can do and it’s also pays to be nice. That being said we’ll leave you to it for the week. Long live Man Flu!