Reason Is Treason…

Well it’s all over red rover! We are back in the office googling funny pet videos pretending to work instead of being out on road driving past, cane fields, more cane fields, cows, more cows, oh look some sheep for something different! A beach, a lake or a river! The trip has come to an end which sitting in an office all day listening to people drone on about spreadsheets, finances, sales and other crap, that is offending our minds still set in holiday mode has made us want to crawl up under the desk and cry a little. It did make us wish that A Mind of Its Own was a travel blog… OK only for a split second we take on all the things other people want to avoid and travelling is certainly not one of them.

After last week’s piece on Outrage Porn and if you didn’t read it go back and read it before you start jumping up and down going what the fuck and being morally outraged that a decent publication like ours would even talk about porn. Like so many kids have said to their parents “It’s not what you think” so just read it before you make your mind up. Getting back on track after last week’s piece we’ve been worried as to what we’ll be able to come up with this week that will be so provocative that readers will want more and more. What topic can we absolutely kill in our quirky way that seems to work for us, what can we make the third post of the year all about? Who can we offend this week without trying, as we morally outrage people who just need to be outraged about something for their week to function normally.

Well we took one look at politics and the words, “not a chance”, reverberated around the room in a continuous echo. Between Trump back at his wall building best and our own politicians coming up with hairbrained ideas the world of politics is well a little like a circus you could say. Maybe politics isn’t such a bad topic to cover after all there is always something hilarious going on or someone coming up with a stupid idea on how we can run the country just that little bit better or build a wall, start an army for space or in our case eradicate a pest problem we’ve had for years through our work for the dole scheme. Thanks Pauline you are our favourite clueless, racist, Ranga!

As we walked past Parliament House, yes the team are once again in the Nation’s capital soaking in the sun and dry heat, on another work excursion which will no doubt have a travel disaster story somewhere along the way. It got us thinking about the big playhouse on the hill. Have you ever watched Question Time on ABC? Well if you haven’t we suggest you do, try turning the volume right down and do what we do. Make up the words for them, they only argue like school children anyway, speaking over the top of each other and yelling out abuse if they don’t agree with something or someone. It’s quite hilarious even with the volume on. In a sense it is literally like watching kids on the school ground argue about which spice girl is better or whether G.I Joes are better than transformers.

If it’s not Pauline telling us how to fix the Cane Toad problem like they are cans at a recycling centre it’s old mate Scott Morrison our current PM telling us what we supposedly want to hear after his holiday on NSW central coast. Apparently old ScoMo ran into some locals who told him exactly what all Australians wanted and needed for the country to run successfully. Our question was how many schooners of Tooheys New were consumed before he found his balls and asked the yokels. We certainly weren’t asked, were you? That’s the thing we’ve always found with politicians, they are all professional liars. They’ll tell you one thing to get your vote and then either forget about it or make up a lame excuse as to why it couldn’t be done. Parliament reminds us a lot of the school yard, it’s made up of jocks, nerds, bullies and geeks the only thing they all have in common is they want power and are happy to stampede over one another to get it.

As Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker “With great power, comes great responsibility” well unlike Spiderman our politicians are anything but responsible. We’ve got Neonazi members of parliament attending rallies and throwing down white supremacy salutes, we’ve got a former fish n chip shop owner who sold her shop to people of chinese descent after claiming that we are being overrun by the chinese and should be fortifying our position. You’ve got a former farmer / deputy prime minister who got his staffer pregnant, yeah the media cried scandal as soon as they heard that news. We’ve had more politicians resign due to their dual citizenship than we have cricketers who got off the mark against India in the recent test series.

Where can we really go from here? Surely we can’t find anything else that could upset the children in the big school yard on the hill? Ah we would all be oh so very, very wrong! There was bullying in the parties and even some sexual harassment from a female member which whilst might not be that shocking to hear but it’s usually our over privileged male politicians doing the inappropriate fondling at events. There are plenty of those stories and none of them unfounded, as the MeToo campaign continues to grow around the world more and more women are speaking out against sexual harassment, misconduct, assault and workplace bullying. Suggestions a plenty flood in as to what we could be doing better in Australian Politics.

One of the first things that comes to mind would be to keep a Prime Minister for their full term regardless of sex, gender (Apparently they are two seperate things these days, the non-binary thing still confuses the hell out of us) race, age and anything else that could be considered discriminatory but instead of doing that we have party back backstabbing like we are fighting over the popular boy, girl or non-binary at school. Which results in a change of Prime Minister every 6 months or so. It’s no wonder world leaders giggle at us, points at us and laughs at the commonwealth colony that can’t get their act together while the rest of the world continues to develop.

The state of Australia’s leadership on the world state is almost as laughable as Donald and his wall. We said almost the fact that he’s still banging on about building his wall and that it will lower crime rates has us rolling around the office in fits of laughter. Drug cartels already have a way around the existing walls along the US/Mexico border and like all immovable objects there are always ways around them. Has Trumpasaurus Rex been paying attention to the tunnels dug under the border at all? We think not, what’s to stop the cartels using other methods to move their merchandise? Narco submarines, airplanes, cars, human mules. Yeah nah your wall is going to make all the difference just like your taupe and oompa loompa tan Mr Trump.

Twenty Nineteen could see yet another change in leadership of this great island nation as we head into an election early in the year. Before too long your TV screens will be flooded with scare campaigns about what will happen if you elect the Liberals or Labour, National Party, Greens, One Racist Party, sorry we mean One Nation. Scandals a plenty will grace the front pages of newspapers and the country will go into shutdown while a caretaker government moves into office until the results of the class presidency are readout to the plebs whom they govern and make decisions for. We’ve hit google several times already this week to get its advice on who we should vote for. Like a magic eight ball it pretty much told us to try again later once they received some brown paper bags from one of the parties who’ll want to come back top of the search results list.

No conspiracy theories here right? Every government acts above board and is forthcoming with each and every decision they make right? History has a habit of repeating itself and judging by the amount of dodgy dealings that have gone on throughout the years around the world we doubt that the Australian government, both current, past and future have all kept their noses clean. We know backroom deals are a done thing in politics, business and even the dark recesses of the world where shady shit is the norm. So why would we feel that electing one shady official over another was going to lead to our government being open and honest with the people it serves? Yes it is a privilege to serve the people of a nation not a right but a lot of politicians can’t see past their own ego to realise that.

They say if you have a problem with something you can either do something about or you should be quiet. Well i think the last thing the Nation needs is A Mind of Its Own running off on tangents every time there was an important decision to be made. They want to open a detention centre in the visitors centre at Uluru? And A Mind of Its Own sure build another 4 new boats for the Navy or better yet let’s create another branch of the military for space!Why should Donald have all the fun. While we are on the topic can we build a wall between us and New Zealand? There are far too many Kiwis hitting our shores every year and not returning! The Gold Coast is full of them! Deport them all we say. See what we mean? The A Mind of Its Own team getting involved in politics is not a good idea! We’ll write about it, comment about it, bitch and moan about it but not get involved for the simple fact that like the blogs name the people that write it are just as random as the content often is.

For all our Australian readers, as you head to the polling booths on the 18th of May this year, please, pretty, pretty please do your homework on who you want to run this country at least for the six months after the election. Based on trends their own party will want them out within the year as they fight amongst themselves as to who should lead Australia on the world stage or who looks better in a pair of budgie smugglers on the north shores of Sydney. We just hope who it is starts to do things important for Australia to continue growing and developing as a nation. Invest in the things that actually matter. Education, Health and Australia’s declining sporting ability should all be top of mind come Federal Budget time on the hill.

So once again we’ve skirted the edges of a topic that could well and truly be controversial, we’ve ignored all the important things and focussed on the lack of ability to govern nations and take into account the things the public really require and we’ve focussed on all the things that the politicians are well known for. In the political world it’s all sex, drugs and rock n roll as we head into the election period. As Pauline once famously said ‘I don’t like it’ which gave the nation one of the best political parody songs of the last decade. But didn’t seen to do any damage to her political career as our bigoted country folk continue to vote for her and her racist ways. Is Pauline a secret Neonazi? Does she have history with the Aryan race? Heck we could write a bunch of conspiracy theories relating to the ranga from Queensland who built her political career covered in batter and chicken salt.

Closing another chapter on a discombobulated Mind of Its Own we look at a blog that makes little to no sense and attempt to summarise into something that resembles intelligence and English. The 18th of May 2019 make sure you vote and vote for someone your values align with and you want to represent you as a world leader. Oh and remember all those sneaky little backroom deals. Just watch those if you vote for an independant, they aren’t as independent as they make out and tend to align themselves with a major party. From the team here in the Nation’s Capital hangout in the gallery above parliament waiting for the kids to come in swinging with their verbal punches at one another we bid you farewell and good tidings until the next installment of Australia’s soon to be favourite blog.

Lazer Gun Show…

It started with a whisper and grew in size as it gained momentum like a train picking up speed along the tracks, clickety clack, clickety clack. An idea that would take the team on an adventure to parts and places they’ve never been before into the great unknown. Ok well maybe they won’t be going into the great unknown. Everywhere they’ll go will be populated so nothing is unknown at all, but it sounded good so bare with us as we hit you with this diatribe. For 10 days we are putting the team in a beat up Subaru Forester and hitting the wide open road. Starting in northern queensland (Townsville) we’ll drive all the way to Nowra, making plenty of stops along the way as we ponder life and all that surrounds us in this big brown land.

While a lot of people find traveling to be somewhat boring the team here at A Mind of Its Own are somewhat used to living an airport life, hoping on a bus or riding a train if they aren’t sitting in the driver’s seat of the company Prius feeling somewhat emasculated. There is nothing worse than sitting at the lights and performance car pulls up next to you, the throaty sound of the engine as it revs next to you. The engines power vibrating through the roads surface. Meanwhile you put you your foot to the floor and hear the whiz of the electric motor in your overpowered golf cart. Ah to be rich and or famous we could have a fleet of priuses to save the environment with despite the fact we have to mine rare earth minerals to make the batteries. No contradiction there at all folks, hybrid is the way of the future.

SO getting back on track, to start the journey the team decided to head back to where so many laughs and blogs were created throughout last year. Yes the journey is starting in the leafy gold coast suburb of varsity lakes. Namely the train station, fortunately there are no plastic fantastics or cashed up bogans about for the team to get distracted and write yet another blog around the latest plastic surgery or body enhancement craze. Oh in case you were wondering the latest craze is botox. For men and no not in the face or lips but right in the mummy, daddy button, yeah we live in a wonderfully fucked up world sometimes.

Varsity lakes train station, where we loaded up the teams supplies of bottled water, MRE’s and first aid equipment. Come on guys we are going north not to some unexplored area of the amazon. Finally we set out for Brisbane airports domestic terminal. The train ride is somewhat sobering after the blitzed feeling we are left with having just come from a team lunch down at Coolangatta surf club where one too many beers was consumed and a few jokes here and there were made about the impending travel. Nevertheless we made it to the train station and sat down for awhile twiddling our thumbs waiting for the latest version of the Bombardier train system to rock up.

Early as per usual the team waits around for hours in the Virgin lounge for their flight, is it the free beers or just being able to utilise the facilities? Good question but whatever it may be they are certainly making the most of it as they chill with plates of food and free drinks being downed like a bunch of bin chickens around the kfc dumpster after closing time. The old man is once again grumbling about his flight being delayed continuing his run of luck with flights into the New Year. The team are keeping their distance as the vein in his neck starts to bulge and his cheeks flush red with anger. Red Hulk could be making an appearance in the Virgin Lounge if he’s not doused in beer soon.

Having calmed the boss down with more beer and the odd whiskey we’ve been given the task of getting notes down for the trip and working out who’s doing what blog over the 11 days. So that being said we looked at stops planned along the way and groaned when we noticed that Kingscliff/Terranora had been included on the list. From Airlie Beach to Yeppoon to Kingscliff well now that’s a drive but there are places in between that we could stop at and check out if the boss wasn’t being so tight with the petty cash. Once we’ve hit Kingy it’s on to the new Sydney for a quick catch up with the Hemsworth’s and every other Australian Hollywood A lister who now calls Byron Bay home.

Once Byron has been tamed we’ll move on to the home of the Honey Badger and hopefully avoid the Bachelor fan girls lurking along the beaches of Port Macquarie in the hope of seeing him in his natural environment. It’s a hop, skip and a jump to the next destination on the road trip as we throw caution to the wind and visit the set of Mad Max. The stunning sand dunes of Stockton Beach which we will be calling home for a few days as we fall down, slide down, slip down and run down the dunes. Heck depending on the weather we may even throw a line in off the beach and see what we can catch. Who knows, we might land a tuna or two, chances are more likely that we will land a shark and have to cut the line but you never know until you try.

The next destination has yet to be decided but there may be a stop in Sydney and if not it’ll be a nice old drive straight on through to Nowra where we’ll spend a few days exploring the shoal harbour region and south coast before dragging the team back to work and making them earn a living which they will all hate. There are plenty of things to see and do and hey you can actually swim in the ocean down there. They still have sharks but other than that you are good to go. As our names are called over the lounge PA system, our flight has finally landed is available to board. Naps seem to be the entertainment of choice as most of the team can be heard snoring their little heads off in the rows to the left and in front. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Landing in Townsville the first thoughts are it’s a massive city, turns out that everything you need to see is within a couple of kilometre radius along the waterfront. But swimming is a no, no! If the crocodiles don’t get you, the box jellyfish, sharks or stingrays will. What a great place to live by the water that you can’t really swim in! Northern Queensland is more deadly than a redback on the dunny seat. We’ve only been in the airport for 5 minutes and we’ve seen more cowboys jerseys than home match and 1300 Smile stadium could fit. The hit of musty hot, humid death hits you as you leave the frigid comfort of the airport to what is one of the worst designed airport pickups you will ever see. It’s like a formula one race course.

Piling into the 2004 Subaru Forester that will carry us the some 2000 plus kilometers on our journey we notice two immediate things. One Townsville has more RBTs setup on a Friday night than they have police and two the airport is somewhat in the middle of nowhere compared to where the main part of town is, it takes a good twenty plus minutes to make our way to our accommodation for the night. The building looks quite recent, well compared to most of the apartment blocks we’ve seen on the drive in that look like they were built when Captain Cook landed on our our shores and claimed Australia in the name of the British empire.

What looked nice on the outside turned out to be a mattress on the floor and the world’s dirtiest bathroom. The tub was so dirty even the mould was growing mould and the team decided they’d rather hold it all in than risk using the toilet for fear something might crawl up from the sewers and make its way into their nether regions only to grow and reproduce like t something from a Science fiction movie or horror film. In what turned out to be restless sleep where we were all woken rather early by a little old lady making tea and flicking the light switches on and off like it was a laser gun show out at the army barracks. Safe to say there were a few tired heads the next morning.

As we sign off on another blog, we will keep all our faithful followers updated on the adventure via a weekly blog and if you can’t wait that long head on over to our instagram or Facebook page which will be updated regularly with photos and location updates. Once again we bid you farewell for another week and the first blog of the new year! We’re starting it off with a bang and hitting you up with a travel diary of sorts to keep you on the hook well in to the year and hoping you’ll want more and more as we tackle the best topics for 2019 and beyond. As always if you have any suggestions, comments or questions please hit us up, we are happy to take requests and tackle any topic, big or small there is nothing that can’t be given a mind of its own. So Asta man yana amigos!

With Friends like you, Who needs Friends…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, there’s toys in every store if you head to the toy section all year round not just at christmas and if we go to the butcher we can guaranteed unless you are going to play with your Christmas Ham they aren’t going to have toys so the song is doing a little false advertising but that’s ok. Like Easter though as soon as one major event is over it’s time to roll out the next. In this case most shopping centres have been rolling out their christmas decorations since October. Christmas tunes are blasting our years as of November and come the start of December there is no escaping the fact that Christmas is well and truly upon us, followed very closely by new years and then before you know it Australia (Invasion) Day. After Australia/invasion Day you can finally relax and enjoy some down time until easter but you will start to see easter eggs as of the 27th of January.

We’ve lit the candles on another cake and started the macarena in order to celebrate in style. The padlock has come off the drinks fridge and someone has said it’s time to party like it’s nineteen ninety nine. Does that mean we should all hide and worry about the Y2K bug or channel our inner Prince throw on our best purple velvet suit and rock out? Who knows but for the team here it’s GO time and time to celebrate all the good things that came with the year. Time to let the hair down and time to throw the rule book out the window along with all our cares in the world. So tip your head back, throw back a drink or two and settle in with us to celebrate. By the way the title has nothing to do with the Blog as per usual and we are still waiting for someone to tell us what they all have in common…

So with the year creeping rapidly towards a close and A Mind of Its Own reaching yet another major milestone with this post. We thought why not look back on the best of the blog through 2018. With the half century now posted on the scoreboard we are waving our bat and saluting the crowd unlike the Australian cricket team who are still suffering from the ball tampering incident earlier in the year and are coping it from the Indian’s currently tourning. As we salute the stadium and our fans (that’s you guys) from being such good sports and being so patient with us throughout the year. We thank you for providing us with some great feedback, your continued support and your viewership on a weekly basis. Without you guys this blog wouldn’t work and we certainly wouldn’t have managed to write about some of the more stranger topics that we have covered over the year like Trump’s Space Force which we are still super excited about if it ever grows legs. It’ll be the best thing he’s done since the apprentice.

We also wouldn’t have entered contests like shit blog weekly and dunny readers anonymous or the Australian Blog awards. Saving that last one for our 2019 debut into the blogosphere. Truth be told we’ve loved every minute and every edition on of A Mind of Its Own in 2019. We’ve grown the family and added two office dogs who do very little to contribute other than tearing up the cease and desist letters we fail to receive on a weekly basis as our mail clerks seem to spend more time chewing them, than reading them. In some ways we are lucky that we are a totally digital platform otherwise I can guarantee a lot of these blogs wouldn’t have made it to print with those to furballs.

In what was a big year we managed to make a mockery of the Commonwealth Games, attack the plastic fantastics on the Gold Coast on more than one occasion, Harass Trump on several occasions, find the infamous owl statue in Canberra that looks more like a penis, no we are not joking about that just google owl+penis statue+Canberra and laugh continually at the bosses run of misfortune when it came to travelling for the job that keeps the doors open to this fine establishment. The writing was superfluous, we handed over the reigns on more than one occasion and even let the office pooches have there say or two. We put ourselves at the edge of our comfort zones and pushed our bodies to the limit to give you what we call life in a nutshell. There were diets and fads, gym sessions and drinking, fashion and travel. There wasn’t a topic too big or too small that couldn’t take on A Mind of Its Own…

From bumper stickers to ball tampering we covered it all and gave it that special twist that you’ve come to love and respect from the team. There have been heartfelt moments, tears, more than a few tantrums and on the odd occasion a little blood in our endeavour to bring a voice to the topics our fans want covered. A lot pain goes into finding things that people don’t want to talk about. We are raw, open and honest with our thoughts, feelings and often criticism as we poke fun and holes in things throughout each blog. Inspiration has been found through various different mediums whether it be an event, a situation or a person, something has inspired us to write the 49 blogs that have come before this one and the however many that will certainly follow. The team are not done yet unravelling the mysteries of the world around us. With a new year there will certainly be a whole heap of new topics coping our no holds bar approach.

So what did we cover over the year? We started out with Music and discussing everyone’s theme songs before moving onto Arsegate The Commonwealth Games greatest shame, the bunnings sandpaper bonanza, a look at Australia’s most favourite and endeared bird that should replace the emu on the coat of arms. We touched on questionable tattoos, athletes decisions, man’s need to fuck things up. There wasn’t a topic that didn’t make it to the drawing board in the office before some bright spark in legal told us it was a big no, no to write about that or unethical, in fact the works politically correct were used on more than one occasion forcing us to stop, look and listen like we were crossing a mental road. We continue to advocate that it is ok to talk about mental health issues particularly if you are a man and we even reviewed a video game or two.

We’ve renewed our free subscription to Google in order to search for any information we don’t have on hardfile or can’t get off the streets or our trusty informants who continually drop knowledge bombs like red spots specials at your local supermarket. We are also entering into the PodCast arena with a sweet little doozy that will be called ‘Blankety, Blank, Blank powered by A Mind of Its Own’ Your favourite blog gets a real voice unfortunately both James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman were way too expensive and also unavailable so you’ll be stuck with the not so dulcet tones of the boss as he nasals his way through a different topic each week with hopefully some special guests and hosts otherwise it may not be a long living podcast that you will all grow tired of fairly quickly.

From year to year we’ve set goals, this year was all about discovering our style and setting up a fan base. In the new year we’ll set some big goals and like Buddy Franklin wheel around to our left and let fly from fifty through the middle. Why will we achieve our goals? That’s simple because of the people that read this blog week in week out. It’s you guys that make this blog, it’s you guys that we’ll continue to write for and continue to work hard at bringing you the topics that really matter both home and abroad. So with our 50th blog we thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read our weekly post. Our fans are our biggest source of inspiration.

Without further adieu happy 50th blog post to us, at the beginning of the year had someone asked us if we’d write almost a post a week we probably would have said NO, but it’s become a religious thing for us by which we feel extremely bad if we haven’t posted for the week. We have some amazing fans who continually leave us comments on the website or for those that know the writers and personally comment to them about one of the posts or a specific line. Again we thank all of the fans from the casual readers to the die hard never miss a post fans.

To the next milestone we are thinking we’ll do it in quarters but who knows we might just let you all know once we’ve cracked the ton and can wave the bat around for the second time proudly knowing we’ve achieved another major milestone. But like they say you have to celebrate the wins no matter how big so we’ll celebrate when we can. In the office we’ve cracked open a nice bottle of scotch shared a dram or two and stumbled out to celebrate with friends and family. Or in some cases on our own or with the office hounds.

Until next week and another new post we bid you farewell and hope you’ve cracked a can or two in our honor. If you don’t read next week blogs we wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate this time of year. It’s a time for family and friends. And as a side note we don’t condone drinking, we do condone celebrating, enjoying yourselves, having fun and by all means being safe! As long as it’s in moderation! Adios Amigos!

Leave the War with Me…

There is something to be said for finding your happy place particularly in times of need. Go to your happy place… It sounds like something out of an Adam Sandler film perhaps it was Happy Gilmore as he attempted to putt for the millionth time in order to get enough money to get his grandmother’s house back from the debt collectors but whatever it was he found a place in which he could be happy and himself. So what’s your happy place? Given it’s Christmas and it’s often a hard time of year for so many who are battling their own demons, we thought it appropriate we look at anxiety and depression and how to cope with them throughout the silly season.

Once again we’ve handed the reins over to the the creator of this here fine piece of media to discuss Anxiety and Depression through the holiday period. Knowing it’s a time of year when things start to become a little tiring, a little stressful and somewhat difficult to cope. We handed over the writing of this weeks blog to the Grumpy old man of the office after all it was the least we could do considering we didn’t get him a christmas gift. He has all sorts of coping mechanism for dealing with his anxiety and depression but his best and favourite outlet or his ‘Happy Place’ if you will is sitting right in front of a keyboard listening to the click, clack of keys as he taps out some writing from the original mind of its own. So without further adieu we hand over the keys to the kingdom to the man, the myth, the legend? (Insert questioning face emoji)…

It’s good to the see the team still have a sense of humour after I’ve banished them all to the naughty corner and told them coal is on the cards this christmas unless they get their acts together. It’s been a long year here at A Mind of Its Own, a long but enjoyable year. We’ve covered so many topics and continue to advocate that its ok to talk and more importantly it is more than ok not to be ok. The challenge comes in knowing it’s not weak to ask for help but takes more strength than most people realise. It’s at this time of year that I genuinely become drained both physically and emotionally. As people, we often don’t realise how much we give to others throughout the year. We support both friends and family in some cases so we don’t have to deal with what is going on in our own backyards and in other cases because it’s just what we’ve always done. We’ve always been that shoulder to lean on, that bag to punch, that friend that is always there when we need them.

We do it all without little regard for ourselves and our own physical and emotional wellbeing. Like most things though in life, we can only take so much before it all comes crashing down like a proverbial house of cards. For me it manifests itself in various ways but one in particular is sheer tiredness. I find myself sleeping more and more and feeling somewhat lethargic throughout the day. I struggle to keep my emotions in check and find myself leaning more and more on my coping mechanisms. The big one for me being my writing and spending my time my happy place. There is something cathartic about putting all my thoughts and feelings down on paper whether it be with a pen or taping them out in the virtual world. To me nothing beats that sound of the click, clack of keys as my thoughts appear on the screen before me.

Overtime I have learnt not to fear what I write and more importantly to share it. Whether that be with close friends and family or strangers through this blog. Having to get past the vulnerability and being scared of what and how people will perceive my writing has helped me to not only share my story but helped in my day to day struggles as I battle my own mind, thoughts and insecurities, as i get them out for the world to see. It took me a long time to be ok with letting people know I suffer from mental health issues, but now that I have I realise i am not alone and there are so many people around the world battling day to day like me. Spreading the message that its ok to talk and it’s ok not to be ok is something that didn’t come easy at first but now it’s second nature and hopefully by putting myself out there I am encouraging other who a struggling to speak up and seek some help or confide in a loved one or friend.

Having multiple projects on the go at once allows me to pick and choose depending on my mood, emotions and feelings which one I work on. It also allows me to plan for the future in terms of my writing. When things get really dire I find myself exercising a lot more and even meditating to keep myself balanced. Whilst the brain is a beautiful thing I find that mine can often be destructive and troublesome given the time to wander and analyse life way too much. The constant question of self and those around me becomes tiring and at some point once that fuse it lit and begins to burn out I know there will be an explosion. How it all comes to a head is anyone’s guess. It can be any emotion from anger to sadness or a mixture of them all that leaves me feeling ashamed.

Ashamed that whilst I have gotten better over the years, I still can’t master my emotions. Being reflective I know that I only have myself to blame. I’m the one that takes on too much, who tries to be there for everyone. Who carries the world upon my shoulders as though it is my duty to ensure everyone is ok. Without looking after the one person I rely on the most. ME. It’s a flaw that I own, that I know I can work on overtime. During this holiday period I urge everyone to make sure they take some time out to look after themselves. Self Care is so important and is often overlooked. I can honestly put my hand up and say that my own well being is always the least of my concerns. Finding excuses is not hard, there is always some doing it tougher than I am or going through something that requires immediate attention. Like I said finding an excuse to not have to deal with myself is always easy. Its doing the hard things we often shy away from.

It’s usually this time of year that things will bubble to the surface, those questions that have been haunting me all year, the self loathing, the feelings of being stuck in a dead-end job and the unreasonable insecurities that tend to rear their ugly heads as I have way too much time on my hands to think and over analyse. In years gone by I have busied myself with as much as possible, cramming my days full of things to do as a way of distracting myself from the thoughts brewing inside my head. Hence why for me in particular the holiday season is a good time for me to do a lot of self care and to get as many of my thoughts and feels down as possible. It’s a time in which I can utilise all the tools and techniques I have learnt over the years while I reset.

Whilst it is important particularly over the holidays to ask if people are ok and to be there for friends and family it is so important that you stop, take some time out for yourself and ask yourself if you are ok?. Do the things you need to recharge. Go get a massage, read a book, go to the beach, write, see a movie, go for walk, be active. Whatever it is that helps you find your happy place, a place where you can be you and have no worries. As Bobby McFerrin sang ‘Don’t worry be happy’. Some people will read this and say you are just bandaging over the problems and you are not getting to the root cause of the issues that are making you anxious or depressed, i am inclined to agree with them but I will also caution that, that is an ongoing journey and not something that is going to be fixed overnight like a pantene advertisement.

So this Christmas give yourself the gift of Self Care, you can still be there for everyone but it is important that you do look after yourself and not just those around you. Do the little things that make you happy and stick to your routines. If you gym every morning make sure you do that, if you meditate than do that, if like me you write, than write till your little heart’s content, whatever it is that makes you feel good do it. There is nothing selfish about looking after number one. After all how are you expected to look after everyone else if you can’t look after yourself. The little coping mechanisms you use to get through the days will be so important this holiday period as you will often find yourself with more time on your hands as businesses shut down for Christmas and New Year and without work as distraction for some of us that gives our minds plenty of time to wander.

One thing I often overlook is leaning on friends and family myself, whether it’s a pride thing and having to admit i need some help and can’t do it all on my own or whether its purely because I prefer to listen. I know this Christmas I will have to lean on those around me at some point. I will need my friends and family even if it’s just for an hour, a day or a week. I am only human and at some point I will fall into an emotional heap. There have been times in the past where my wife has found me on the shower floor in absolute tears because everything has become to much or my hands will make fists and hit a tree only for to realise that was stupid as it swells and requires ice. But without my friends and family to lean on it would be a battle that was constantly draining. The hardest thing again is realising its ok to vulnerable in front of them. You don’t have to be tough all the time and letting down that guard will often save you a lot pain and suffering on your own.

The holiday period is a time to catch up with friends and family but don’t feel obligated to do so. I am forever reminding myself that just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean I have to. There is nothing worse than dragging yourself along to something when the last thing you feel like doing is being around people and having to make small talk. You don’t have to make up excuses, don’t even need to explain why, what you do need to do is what’s best for you. If that means not attending something because you need time to yourself than take. All too often we feel we have to do things because it’s the right thing to do, the socially responsible thing to do. At the end of the day I say what’s best for you is the socially responsible thing to do, holidays are a time for doing what you want, with who you want. It’s nice to be invited places but that doesn’t mean you always have to say yes! It’s ok to say NO thank you.

If you take one thing from this blog today it is to look after yourself over this holiday period. Easier said than done, I know. I know better than most but I also know that without self care and those around me to lean on instead of everyone leaning on me I’d be a shell of emotions come the new year and questioning whether 2019 was just going to be a year of the same circles going round and round once again. Self Care does not mean you have to ignore everyone it just means looking after yourself and doing what you want and need to be the best version of you. You can still be there for friends and family you just need to put yourself first for a change. Look after you and you’ll be able to spare some emotional capacity for those who need and want your help.

For me everyday is R U Ok? Day, I will forever ask it and I will always be there to lend an ear or a shoulder for those in need. I also know that I need to look after myself in order to do that. Finding my happy place wasn’t easy but now that i know what it is i’ll always have an outlet or coping mechanism to help me through the bad days because there will be bad days. These days the good far outweigh the bad but it has taken a lot of work both mentally and physically to get to this point and the educating is far from over. There is still so much work to be done before I can truly say I am OK.

So from the main mind here at A Mind of Its Own, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Remember it’s ok not to be ok and it’s certainly ok talk. You do you as they say and look after number one this festive season. That self care is of utmost importance during the silly season. Friends and family will be there for you, as you are for them. Lean on them if you need to, there is no shame in asking for some help. From the team and I until the next episode which by the way is another milestone edition! As the title say leave the war with me and I’ll continue to fight it… Peace out hombres…

Bottom of the Ocean…

What starts with W, Win, walk, wife, wall, wish there are literally thousands of words that start with W in the English language. Wanker yep that’s one of them but not the word we were searching for and yes there are a lot of them in the world. We are sure you’ve called people one before but no the W we are searching for is the W Hotel. That’s right ladies and gentleman this weeks A Mind of Its is Own is coming to you live well not so live as you are reading this but at least we can say it was written from the 28th floor of the W Hotel in Brisbane. What a place! The team minus the paw patrol who have brought you so many good reads decided that it was time to live the high life.

Ok it was the bosses wedding anniversary and he decided to stop being a tight arse and pull his wallet out to treat the wife and the rest of the schmucks in the office as long as they wrote something on tour. So we sit here tapping out a piece sipping on beer he made us buy from the bottle shop instead of paying for drinks from the minibar. So he may have pulled his wallet out but he didn’t pull it out all the way and sort out the juice that lubricates the amazing minds that bring you a piece writing that is often boarding on Pulitzer Prize winning or at least a Nobel laureate. Well at least in the minds of the people who write them for you, our loyal, amazing fans.

What this week you’re wondering to yourself? Well have we got a piece for you! Sitting with our founder, editor and chief writer and big cheese we started brainstorming ideas for A Mind of Its Own and where it could go next. Podcasts have been on the books for a while now with the team and as we head into the festive season we’ve decided it’s about time we put last years Christmas presents to use and got to work on the first installment of a podcast that will no doubt have you rolling around the floor laughing as we tackle some of the hardest topics around the world.

Forget the experts because well let’s be frank no one listens to them anymore anyways so we decided to get the average joe off the street to give us the real deal. There are a million bloggers out there who have no certifications, degree and or knowledge and yet we listen to them on Facebook, instagram, twitter, MySpace. Ok maybe not MySpace but all the other current social media platforms that men and women give us advice, guidance and their views for free without having to go to university.We thought why not jump on the bandwagon and utilise these self-proclaimed experts on our latest platform for you the people.

Our only problem now is what topic do we start with, well for that went to leading topic expert for online talks. That’s it folks we sought some advice from the one, the only Ted. Famous for his talks we must admit when we first heard about them we were hoping it was the lovable bear character created by Seth MacFarlane. The same man responsible for American Dad and Family Guy the animated tv series that like South Park pushes the boundaries. You can immediately see our disappointment when the team found out that Ted Talks were about important topics, that intellectuals actually want to hear about.

It wasn’t long before our disappointment faded and the entrepreneurial side got the better of us as the ideals began to form. Yep like the Chinese we saw an opportunity to rip off someone who had made something from nothing and earn ourselves some street cred with those pesky students who only listen to professors or skinny bikini models drinking green juice on instagram. Then there’s the YouTube crowd who also need taming before they run wild with there crazy ideas on the internet, spreading them across the world.The team decided it was our social responsibility to ensure that you get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Come January 1 be prepared to have your ears assaulted. In a good way, it’ll be nothing like listening to death metal in a padded cell before being waterboarded. Safe to say there will be no torture techniques thanks to our friends in the CIA who we hope never read any of our posts as we’ve shared a lot of classified information over the year. Area 51 is real, the Illuminati run the world, the Rockafeller’s blocked a lot of renewable energy, there already is a cure for cancer sitting on a shelf somewhere at one of the major pharmaceutical companies. By no means are we conspiracy theorists but there is certainly a lot of shade being thrown by some of these organisations.

With literally thousands of topics to cover including 3D printing, how many 3D printing experts are there in the world? Apparently enough that nine different experts have made ted talks on it and its applications in the ever-changing world we live in. Other topics ranged from Technology including science fiction applications in the real world through to war and the application of the Higgs boson theory in battlefield planning. The last one wasn’t a real topic however we’ve just submitted it to Ted to see if he’ll bite at the idea. We could certainly see someone like Patrick Stewart or Neil deGrasse Tyson talking their way through the applications of theoretical physics on the battlefield.

Grab a voice like Morgan Freeman, so god like and soothing and it would be the most peaceful talk about potential killing application you have ever heard. Come to mention it James Earl Jones would be another great voice to listen to voice any Ted talk topic. Instead of those great voices our listeners will get Trent from Punchbowl or Mick the Kiwi from the Goldie who’s been in Australia for over 10 years and still sounds like he’s only just hopped the ditch and landed at Coolangatta for a new life amongst the plastic people or the southern Queensland.

No matter what the topic you can be assured of one thing when you listen to our yet to be titled talks powered by A Mind of its Own… What you ask? What will you be assured of? That you are getting the topics that matter most to you our readers and soon to be listeners. Like our blogs if you ask we will deliver and we’ll make sure that it’s fun and enjoyable whilst being always informative. You might laugh, you might cry, you might even switch it off and ask yourself why? But it will be the continued quality that you have come to expect from the team. We’ll still hit you up with a written piece every week but you can expect your ears to be bashed every second week by a plethora of different topics.

Until then continue to enjoy our writing and as always if there is something you want the team to tackle hit us up in the comments section and we’ll give you a shout out as we write our take on your topic. Until next time, be nice to your parents and opinions are like arseholes… Everyone has one… Unless you are one of thousands of people born each year without one.

All Excess…

Firstly before you go down this rabbit hole we’ll give you one of those disclaimers that the physicians should have given you if they already haven’t. Reader discretion is advised this blog contains arguments for and against a topic that will no doubt cause fights in households around the nation between couples. With that said it’s on to this weeks blog…

After a week in hiatus we are back baby, bigger than ever, the team took some time out to unwind, sit back relax and let the good times belly flop in the shallow end of the piss filled kiddie pool. But now we are once again feeling refreshed and ready to tackle some of the more taboo topics of the year. We decided to listen into the heated debates raging around the water coolers of the nation and take a crack at once and for all settling them with some clear and concise answers from Wikipedia.

Just kidding we’ll try our best to get some solid, factual answers and if all else fails we’ll post a link or two from google allowing you to make up your own damn minds. So with that being said the team decided they’d launch right in this week and tackle one of the most heated debates to the face the nation, no the world and possibly the entire universe. Folding versus scrunching, which one is better for your bum and the economy? Well actually they decided that could be a topic for another day and this week we’d tackle whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate that is the question!

It’s a question that many parents ask themselves each year, whether you are expecting your first or it’s time to give little Sarah or Johnny another sibling. Do you take the plunge into the unknown and get your kid the jab? What’s in the jab? And how have vaccines changed in the last 20 years? Well the team will do their utmost best to give you the answers from both sides of the story. The facts can speak for themselves and as always you, the public can decide whether or not vaccination is good or whether it is the evil brainchild of the big pharmaceuticals that conspiracy theorists make it out to be. We will try to be unbiased in our approach however we can’t make any promises.

Ok so like any good debate it needs to start with a single question and we can only guess the question that is asked the majority of the time would be whether to vaccinate or not? So where to start, well the first place to start is with yourself. Were you vaccinated? Did you turn out ok? Aside from the little things you do that annoy your husband or wife, those are traits and we don’t believe they’ve created a vaccine against them as of yet. Although Netflix is a strong candidate. So what are the benefits if any of being vaccinated?

According to the Australian Governments Department of Health website the single greatest benefit of vaccines is that it works with the body’s immune system to become stronger allowing you to fight bacteria and viruses quicker. Ok so that seems like a no brainer, why wouldn’t you want to get vaccinated after hearing that? Some of the other benefits of immunisation are that you protect and pass on a natural immunity to newborns and make it easier to control diseases in the community. Those are the main benefits so why are the anti-vaxxers so against creating immunity against diseases that the human body has struggled to fight for centuries.

Vaccination has eradicated smallpox and is well on the way to wiping the polio virus off the map throughout the world. Other diseases such as measles are also on the eradication map with vaccinations now preventing over 60% of deaths from the disease. Vaccines have brought a total of seven diseases under some degree of control. Smallpox (Eradicated), Diphtheria, Tetanus, Yellow Fever, Whooping Cough, Polio and Measles. These facts and figures came from the UNICEF website after a quick google search on ‘what diseases have been eradicated through vaccination’. You wanted facts and we’ve given you a small dose of what’s to come. Pun intended!

Vaccination has been heralded as one of mankind’s greatest inventions. The ability to help the body develop an immunity and stave off infections has become invaluable. Through vaccination the world has managed to protect people of all ages against diseases that would have previously decimated the population. With all the good that vaccines do, why are there so many people now turning against vaccinations in general. The anti-vaccine movement and it’s followers known as anti-vaxxers are heavily opposed to vaccinations and believe to have linked vaccines to increases in autism around the world as well as SIDs, paralysation, decreased brain function and worst case scenario death. According to medical journals this has now been debunked along with a lot of other theories that have been put forward.

We promised we’d give you both sides of the coin, so to the other side of the coin we go, to look at things from the anti-vaxxer point of view. All parents whether they are for or against vaccination only want the best of their children. So it is understandable when you begin to hear and read the anti-vaxxers side of the story as to why they are not in favour of vaccination. There are hundreds of stories of children who have had either passed away or had adverse reactions after being vaccinated.

So what are the concerns or arguments that the anti-vaccination movement brings to the table? The arguments against vaccination have changed very little over time. Many of the arguments focus on a growing distrust in medical science advancing the notion that vaccines are unavoidably dangerous because a nebulous of toxins are being introduced into the body via vaccination. Through our research we did find that small amounts of aluminium is present in vaccinations acting as an Adjuvant (Adjuvants help strengthen the immune system’s response to the antigens in vaccines. In some cases this means fewer needles are needed for a child to be fully protected against a disease.) however the amount per vaccination is less than a baby would receive through breastfeeding in a period of 6 months.

There is also the argument that children are purposely ‘Poisoned’ through vaccines because it benefits the bottom line of Big Pharmaceuticals and the physicians they work with. Other arguments stem from the claim that vaccines overwhelm the immune system and that natural immunity is better than immunity introduced by vaccines. The list goes on for arguments against vaccination. Several papers have been written linking vaccination to autism and as previously stated worst case death.

So to vaccinate or not to vaccinate that is the question, but it is a question that should only be answered by you and your significant other. Before making your decision you should ask as many questions as you can, research as much as you can so you are as informed as possible to make your decision. We are living in a world where we have information available to us at the push of a button. Vaccination is one of the most researched medicines around the globe, more and more studies are done each year on the ongoing effects and the effects of current vaccinations.

From the team at A Mind of Its Own, whatever your decision we salute you and support you but remember it’s your choice and your choice alone. Until next week we hope we’ve cracked the lid on another topic that causes waves.

Are you still having fun…

With Thursday the 13th of September being R U Ok? Day, we asked our editor and chief if he’d sit in his seat and discuss anxiety and depression with our readers along with telling us how much talking and writing about it has helped him over the past couple of years. As they say a single conversation could make someone’s day, their week or their year. It’s ok to talk and more men and women need to be educated that is ok. SO over to you chief fire away and don’t bore the readers too much please…

Well with that introduction I’d better ensure to make this an easy, breezy read for the folks at home. If you had of asked me to write about this a year or two ago the answers would have varied from Aww hell no to a few expletives followed by a staunch no. The fact that I am now able to sit here and talk about it is a testament that if you can find that one person and start opening up, the more you do it the more you become comfortable doing. In saying that I still struggle to speak with people about my anxiety and depression that I don’t really know or that I am not comfortable with. Even writing this now has a me a little anxious as to what people may or may not think.

Like thousands of men and women across Australia and around the globe I suffer from anxiety and depression. I have my good days and yes I certainly have my bad days, my wife will be happy to attest to that. The good news is they are coming few and far between, I won’t lie and say it was easy to get to this point but I will say that it took a lot of hard work and honesty. Firstly being honest with myself and secondly being honest with those that I care about and love. Being honest and admitting to myself that there was something wrong and I needed help was probably one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life.

No one likes asking for help especially when they often can’t put their finger on exactly what the problem is or why they are feeling that way. So when people used to ask me what was wrong or why i was being quiet I would often just say nothing and try to disappear into the background. I tried changing the topic and more often than not I would ask questions and listen so I didn’t have to deal with my own thoughts and feelings. We all have days when we are feeling a little blue so I put a lot of what I was thinking and feeling down to that. At the time I was living in Brisbane, a long way away from my family and close. Yeah I had some good mates around me but none that I was comfortable talking to at the time.

It wasn’t until I started to display physical symptoms that I knew I had to do something, I had to see someone. I remember one day sitting on the floor of the bathroom feeling nauseous, there was a tightness across my chest and I was actually physically sick and I couldn’t control my thoughts. It was something I had never experienced before but it was something that would happen to me more and more over the following months until I saw someone. Now I would love to say that I plucked up the courage and went of my own volitions however I didn’t. I was given an ultimatum but it was the one that I needed and deep down I knew it was for my own good.

With my decision made I then struggled for some time as to who do I go and see, do I get medical help, do I go straight to the psychologist or psychiatrist, do I talk to friends, family. What do I do? It was daunting, I searched online, I read articles but at the end of the day it was a conversation with my father in law that changed it all. You see we don’t often get to see what goes on behind closed doors. We don’t ask questions that are personal and as men we just choose not to talk about our feelings. Its ingrained and beat into us from birth, strong men don’t talk about their feelings.

This one conversation though set me on the right path, through opening up I learnt that I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only person to go through this and there is nothing wrong with asking for help and knowing that it is ok to talk. Now my journey to seek the help i need may be different to a lot of people. I had a Skype call with one of the nation’s top professors of Psychiatry who then pointed me in the right direction and made recommendations. From there I saw my physician and on that back of that we setup a mental health plan that suited me.

My next hurdle along the way was having to take medication, it got me down and made me even more anxious that I needed to take a tablet each day to ensure my highs and lows were kept in balance. It honestly made me feel miserable but what it did do was allow my brain to slow down and process things a lot better. The more I researched what I was taking the more comfortable I became. I would talk about it in my session with my psychologist and together we began forming a plan to put in place the strategies and techniques to allow me to cope with my anxiety and depression if I ever came off the medication.

Over time my dosage has been adjusted, slowly becoming less and less as I become more and more comfortable with my own thoughts and feelings. How I manage and process them has gone from one of confusion and often being overwhelmed to now being ok with them and letting the thoughts and feelings come and go as they please. I’ve also learnt that talking about my anxiety and depression or writing about it has helped me a great deal. Being ok and realising that it is not a weakness but a strength, a strength that shines through in the day-to-day battle with my mind and thoughts.

The uneducated will make comments like what have you got to be sad about or are you suicidal. A lot them won’t even attempt to understand and will shy away from people with mental health issues. The truth is that mental health issues affect everyone differently, yes it does overwhelm some people to the point they want to the pain to stop that’s the sad truth but they are often the people who need our help the most. They are the people who just having a conversation with them could make their day. It could save their life, the problem is a lot of people still feel the shame and stigma that comes with mental health.

Conversations have helped me over the past couple of years, just having them has opened up my eyes to the world and to the fact I am not alone in my struggle. It has helped me understand my mind, understand my anxiety, understand my depression and most importantly understand that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to talk, its ok to ask for help. It’s ok to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. Take a leaf from the young females of the world they put themselves out there on social media on a daily basis with there blogging and fashion posts but they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable often for a good cause.

I’ve been humbled this week by several people reaching out to me and sharing their stories and asking for help. Whether they were inspired by me finding my voice and asking for help or not is irrelevant the fact they were able to speak up and say there were struggling made me both proud and humbled at the same time. They were taking the steps to find their feet once again and work on themselves. Most importantly they were learning to love themselves once more. The biggest part of any healing process is accepting that you are going to be ok and who you are.

So it is to all those who are struggling in the world, you are not alone, there is a good chance the person sitting next to you right now is going through the same thing or has already been through. Do yourself a favour and ask people are you ok? What you give you shall receive tenfold as the old saying goes. Pay it forward, look after yourself and take care of those around you. It’s ok to talk, its ok not to be ok, and most importantly it is ok to ask for help. From myself and the team here at A Mind of Its Own, R U Ok? Start the conversation even if it isn’t for you.

Fire for Effect – Teaser 2

Chapter Fifteen

Ibrahim glanced at his phone for what was the second time in the space of a minute. He willed it to vibrate once again. Struggling to contain his excitement Ibrahim paced around the living room of his penthouse apartment. With views of downtown Chicago, he was able to look out over the sprawling cities skyline all the while thinking of what was to come. The message he’d received two minutes earlier had lit a fire in his belly. Ibrahim had been waiting for years to receive this particular message. As soon as he’d received it he’d opened up a second secure texting application to send off several messages to members of his cell. Inviting them to his residence, they would be briefed on the mission to come. Surrounded by his fellow warriors he now impatiently waited for further instructions to be sent via the encrypted messaging application installed on his smartphone..

Throughout houses, mosques, churches, apartments and secreted rooms all over America men and women of both Russian and Arab descent sat doing the exact same thing Ibrahim and his cell were doing. As they received orders they memorised them before deleting the message or burning the piece of paper that it had been transcribed onto. Some of the orders were directions for weapons caches buried outside major cities, others included targets and some were cryptic that only those closest to Yuri and Fatima would understand. Plans that had been decades in the making were now being kicked into gear all over continental United States.

By 9:00 that evening Ibrahim was standing over a map of Illinois placing pins across the state as the cell members crowded the trouble. Each person in the room had been given a specific task to complete.Three sets of different coloured pins were dotted around the state of Illinois, each time a pin went in the map Ibrahim referred to the copy of the Koran he had carried with him since entering the country 6 years ago. There were only 3 red pins dotting the map, while the rest were either green or yellow. The majority of the pins sticking from the maps surface had a green head. The green pins were safe houses or exfiltration points for the cell members who would not become martyrs on their missions for Allah. The yellow pins indicated weapons drops dotted all over the state and the surrounding boroughs of Chicago.

His group of Holy warriors sat reading reports, looking at surveillance footage, youtube videos taken by tourists and websites dedicated to travel blogs around Illinois. They jotted down notes and conferred with each other on approaches and exit strategies to locations, weapon drops and safe houses throughout Chicago before screwing them up and throwing them into a steel trash can that would later be set alight destroying all evidence of their meeting. They would file out of the building one by one over a period of several hours. Some would leave through the front of the building while others would leave through the parking garage at the rear of the building.

The plan for Ibrahim and his followers was to head through the great lakes into Canada where they would hide out for months if needed before hopping a flight back to the middle east where they would be greeted as heroes of the war against the infidels. Ibrahim knew in his heart that none of them would make it home they would die on foreign soil taking the fight to the infidels as Allah had intended for each and every one of them.

Over in New York, Pravin spoke to his cell with passion and commitment to the cause as he pointed at photos pinned to the wall behind him of his garage. A white sheet hanging from the ceiling acted a screen while he showed showed video footage of major tourist attractions that had been taken by members of his cell on a projector borrowed from his work. Like an army general he pointed out their ingress and egress routes. Discussed response times of the NYPD and the likely weapons they could expect. Each man and woman sat before him was to memorise their role in the operation. They were given an alias and told to learn it before the next time they met.

In Washington D.C and Los Angeles two more cells worked on the finer details of the plans that had been slowly evolving since the late 1980’s. In years to come when the world looked back over the events of the next couple of weeks they would slowly, come to realise that the Russians had indeed won the cold war. They had created an alliance that would serve them well into the next two decades bringing terror and fire to their enemies doorsteps. All the while they would publicly denounce the actions of such terror groups while behind the former iron curtain they were rejoicing at the destruction of the western world and their cold war enemies.

The six cells were spread across the United States and operated independently of each other. They were all tasked with their own missions and whilst each mission was similar in nature. Yuri and Osama had been specific in their wishes before they had passed on their vision to their son and daughter. Each of the six cells would split their cell into two teams, one of the teams would cause maximum terror attacking a major landmark while the other team would take out a designated infrastructure target. Yuri Junior had picked out the infrastructure targets while Fatima had picked the tourist attractions that would be hit, her sadistic nature being fed with each location she picked and the thoughts of lives that would be taken from the world..

It had taken Fatima’s father years of meticulous, careful planning from his safe house in Pakistan. He had sought Yuri’s council on several occasions. After the success of the 9/11 plans in which they had hijacked several commercial jetliners to use as missiles by piloting them into the twin towers and the pentagon. Since 9/11 the US had beefed up their homeland security presence in all major cities quite significantly. Planning often ground to halt as intelligence gathering exercises stalled for months on end as it became increasingly harder and harder for the members of the cells who were of middle eastern appearance to move freely around the cities without scrutiny.

The majority of intelligence gathering was then left to the Georgian and Russian members of the cells. There caucasian appearance allowed them to move freely around the cities, often playing the role of tourist as they snapped photos in front of targeted landmarks or hours of footage walking through the cities. Each cell was comprised of 10 couples or 20 twenty people in total, once the cells split into the fire team for their separate missions they each had 5 women and 5 men who were all highly trained in the use of explosives, small arms and long arms. They had been trained by former special forces soldiers in the woodlands, deserts and tundra of the American landscape.

Across the other side of the world Yuri and Fatima sat watching the small monitor as Catherine slept in her cell. Still under the influence of drugs pumping around her system. Slowly they would either break her in interrogation or she would become addicted at which point they would stop injecting her until her body craved it. Most people would then sell their deepest, darkest secrets just to get their next fix. Over the last couple of days they had changed strategies and started injecting her with heroin instead of the truth serum. Her body was becoming addicted as they increased the dosage with every interrogation session. Fatima stared menacingly at the screen before turning to Yuri and pulling him closely. ‘What is it my dear you look worried? she said.

Sighing deeply he turned back to the screen before speaking, ‘My father warned me of this, of the Americans and their stubbornness. We may kill her before she spills her secrets my that troubles me. We need this to work! I promised my father and your father that I would see their plan through even if it killed me’. His voice was mixed with both anger and worry.

‘My dear you think too much, by this time tomorrow the American whore will be begging for her next hit and will do anything for it. That includes betraying her much loved country, I promise you’ Fatima said before kissing him passionately and leaving him with his thoughts as she began preparing herself for bed. Sitting there for a moment longer staring at the screen, Yuri removed a piece of paper from his pocket. He had carried it with him for the past 5 years, it was always on his person no matter what he was doing. Over the years he’d thought of destroying it but everytime he come close he’d look at the words on the page and pocketed it before he could go through with it. Today was no different, he stared at the page before him knowing that he had memorised every line but Yuri could not bring himself to part with the page until the mission was complete.

The page was split in 6 sections within each section there were two dot points under a major location and a name. The first of the dot points was a major infrastructure target like a power plant or water purification plant, the second item was a major tourist attraction. Scribled at the top of the of the page in chicken scratch were two words that had only been spoken in selected circles over the years in Yuri’s home.

Operation Awakening

California – Los Angeles – Vladimir

  • Double Canyon Power Plant
  • Universal Studios

New York – New York – Pravin

  • Nine Mile Point Power Plant
  • The Intrepid, sea, air & space museum

Illinois – Chicago – Ibrahim

  • Jardine Water Purification Plant
  • United Center

Nevada – Las Vegas/Boulder City – Mishka

  • Hoover Dam
  • Nellis Air Force Base

Virginia – Washington D.C – Natalia

  • Possum Point Power Plant
  • National Air & Space Museum

Texas – Houston – Asif

  • Lyondellbasell Refinery
  • Space Center

It was all there before him on the page as it had been written years earlier with Fatima, the two of them had painstakingly researched their targets to cause maximum damage and fear in the hearts and minds of the infidels. They would strike a blow for mother Russia and Osama’s AQ, forever forging a relationship that had been created all those years ago in Afghanistan.

Across the hall Anatoly stared at the roof thinking of his father, his mind wandered forever questioning whether he was doing the right thing, What would his father think if he could see him now, would he agree with the choices he’d made, the friends he was keeping and more importantly his unrelenting urge to help his uncle’s crusade against the West.

His thoughts soon drifted to the woman in the cell below them, he imagined her without the bruises and cuts that dotted her body. He had seen her naked and knew she kept herself fit, she had a great figure and reminded Anatoly of the women he used would chase in bars when he was a much younger man on the streets of Moscow. It had been years since he had enjoyed the warm embrace of a woman. His tour of Afghanistan and now his uncle’s mission had put a stop to life as he knew it.

His wife and child didn’t even know he was alive, as Anatoly saw it they may never know he was alive. He knew his uncle’s plans would be seen out and if he didn’t agree to participate he may likely be killed like all those he had seen brought before his uncle who had refused. As he thought he knew he needed to talk to the American woman. It was her only way to survive and she could also be his only way out from under his aunty and uncles spell. Smiling he closed his eyes and found a peaceful place as a plan formulated in his mind.

Forcing her eyes closed as her body began to tremble as it went into the first stages of withdrawal. She’d watched Fatima smile every time she tapped a vein and depressed the plunger on the syringe. Euphoria washed across her body as the drug threaded its way through her veins into the nervous system covering her with a warmth like a blanket leaving Catherine feeling relaxed and carefree. She would feel her brain slowing down along with her breathing and in those moments she would step into another realm as her brain drifted away from the reality of the world.

With withdrawal effects began to wreak havoc on her mind and body, Catherine knew it would not be long before she gave in to Fatima and Yuri telling them all they wanted to know about the CIA’s mission to uncover what they had dubbed the ‘The Bin Laden Connection’. Weeping to herself the nausea finally became too much as she rolled over the side of her cot vomiting violently into rusty tin bucket that had been placed next to her bed. Catherine looked down seeing a plastic water bottle, whilst her mind was clouded with the effects of heroin there were moments of clarity. In this particular moment she knew it wouldn’t be long before they realised she was awake and escorted her off to another session of torture and interrogation.

She would get her next fix, in the recesses of her mind a dark whisper found its way out and hoped that with the next fix she would overdose or her body would simply shut down before she spilled her secrets with the new Bin Ladens. Catherine had lost all track of time and days, she no longer knew how long she had been kept prisoner nor what time of day it was. It was only the brief outings where she was chained up like a dog that she got to see the sun or moon high above the castle.

The castle remained quiet in the early hours of the morning as the waves crashed against the cliff face that protected Swallows Nest from a direct attack from the sea. Yet tonight something stirred in the seas surrounding the castle. The men on guard could feel the cold sap through their clothes entering their bones as though death were approaching on the wind. Search lights combed the darkness for threats lurking amongst the blackness that seemed to be enshrouding the castle more and more as night wore on.

Here Comes the Boom…

It’s another week of doubles as we attempt to make up for your lack of exciting reads in the past week due to being led around the country by our ties like a greyhound ready to chase that bunny around the track. In this instance the track like greyhound racing could be related to the business arena in which the bunny would be the client and we the dog are the dollar signs for the big corporate who see the cash flowing as we cross the line first in a mad sprint to secure new or existing business.

As we sat back in the airport, no not in the lounge that would cost the company further money they aren’t willing to spend to ensure the people bring in the big bucks would be comfortable while they waited for yet another flight in what had already been a long week a recurring thought popped into our head. You aren’t valued, you are just another body to them who is replaceable. Whilst right about now most of you are starting to think oh great another person who is going to write a woe is me peice and fill the airwaves and internet with their sob story about how they are undervalued in the workplace.

Well a part of you would be right but that’s not necessarily where we are going with this blog. What we wanted to explore was the change in culture and when did it all change from employees being valued to being just another number that helps the company continue to bring in the money, money, money. Small businesses whilst yes being small still manage to value their employees, recognising and rewarding them for doing a good job or when they go above and beyond to ensure the success of the company and yet looking at the mid to large-scale organisation there is no shortage of disenchanted people slaving away day in day out.

We spend over ninety percent of our lives working. We work to ensure we have food, shelter and are able to support our families. There are those that do it tough slaving away in blue-collar jobs while the white-collar workers continue to live comfortable lifestyles and often get richer all the while the poorer get poorer. So spending ninety percent of our lives at work, most people want to do something that they are passionate about and inspired to do, day in day out. But what happens when that passion and inspiration is overshadowed by corporate greed and the management’s own concerns for themselves and not the worker bees doing all the work to ensure the company continues to tick over?.

What happens is you have a workforce who very much feel like the work they do isn’t valued. You could be a top performer bringing in millions of dollars of revenue for a company and yet your input, value and knowledge are always overlooked when it comes to decision-making. Your level within the organisation isn’t one of influence and yet you treat everyone as an equal despite their role within the organisation. Everyone has something to add from the people who clean the workspace to guy sitting at the top but if you don’t value each individual for the skills, knowledge and experience they bring, before you know it they will start to feel like they aren’t valued or appreciated.

Just hearing the words ‘thank you’ or ‘great job’ can often make someone’s day but unfortunately in today’s workplace it often gets overlooked by management whose only concern is to report up that they are doing a great job watching over you all the while offering little to no support when it is needed the most. As long as their million dollar bonus comes in then there is no issues for them. So this is where it leaves the team at A Mind of It’s Own begin to question whether we have become a society of self-absorbed arseholes? Sorry for the swearing but their seems to be a common thread that shit flows downhill and we have little to no concern for those below us on the totem pole.

Here’s where all the positive people pop up and start saying if you don’t like it change it, unfortunately your average joe’s influence over what doesn’t and doesn’t happen in the organisation they work for is limited to the sphere of influence they have around them. Yes they can go and look for another role but their in line another conundrum in the fact the glass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side either. Most of the time what they want isn’t something that will cost the company money and therefore eating into their profit margin.

If you were to ask most people though what they wanted out of their job, what would give them career satisfaction most of them would say the following. Most people want to feel valued for the work they do, they want to be respected, every now and they’d like to be recognised and perhaps rewarded for the work they put in. Give them opportunities and a career path with the tools to help get them there and you are doing more than a lot of managers and bosses are already doing. Continue to support and develop them and what you’ll get is loyalty and support from that person. They’ll pass it on to the next person in the chain and that knock on effect will see your company thrive.

At some point in the last Thirty years we have transitioned from being connected with our staff to almost treating them like just another number on the balance sheet. Perhaps technology is to blame, perhaps it’s globalisation but at some point we have started to lose touch with humanity and what its like to be a human being and treat everyone equally. Woman across the globe are slowly and I say slowly being given the opportunities they deserve in the workplace, equal rights again are slowly drifting in but we still often lack the basics when it come to treating everyone equal and like human beings.

To all people managers out there no matter what level you are within an organisation take heed of the following for your sake and that of your staff. EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO ADD and EVERYONE LIKES TO FEEL VALUED. Stop treating your staff like dollar signs and go back to treating them like the people they are, valuable employees who have something to add to your organisation. If they didn’t they wouldn’t have been hired in the first place. Men and Women around the world in workforces are there because they choose to be that doesn’t mean they should be treated without respect. A little empathy goes a long way in life.

From the team at A Mind of Its Own, we hope that you’ve found some value in this blog. Remember you need to be happy in your job and you should always feel valued. If you are doing a great job and it feels like your contribution is always overlooked there is something wrong. Work should never be something you despise and hate going to. It should be a place you are inspired to go to and driven to succeed in, after all you spend the majority of your life doing it so happiness should be a key condition of all those in the workforce. Until next week, we hope work is fun this week and feel free to flick the link to your boss…

Limelight…

What a week it has been, we’ve been jetting about this amazing land of ours for our job that actually pays the bills. Adelaide and Canberra have felt the presence of the Mind of Its Own team this week in our travels. We’ve tasted the wines of South Australia and got to hang out in the halls of parliament with some of the MP’s. OK it wasn’t the halls but the flight from Canberra to Sydney on our way back to god’s country. Ah that would be Northern New South Wales. OK, OK enough fibs we caught a glimpse of them from cattle class where we barely had any room to move and our knees were up around our ears. Oh and not to mention our beers were overpriced for the portion size.

We did however get to spend sometime at the War Memorial checking out there new exhibit ‘From the Shadows’ focusing on Australia’s special forces past and present. We can safely say it was a very humbling experience walking the halls of the memorial dedicated to the men and women who have fought to protect our country. Ok so maybe not so much protecting our shores, there was a brief period where Japan was knocking on our doorstep during world war two but for the most part we have always gone to war on behalf of the crown or to support our American brothers across the sea.

So after our visit to the nation’s capital and the city of churches with exhausted minds and tired bodies we returned to our place of peace to enjoy some time away from the office. Hence why your weekly edition is so late. Apologies to our supporters, we may be late but we have finally got here for you. So this week we wanted to look at Anxiety and sport particularly with finals just around the corner across multiple sporting codes. From our elite athletes to our amateur sports men and woman, being a part of a finals campaign is something that whilst exciting can often become very overwhelming.

Whilst athletes at the professional level will have access to sports psychologists, your everyday joe playing in their local competition during finals time does not. Often when it comes to big games, whether it be semi finals or a grand final it can be overwhelming for people who have never experienced the pressure that come with a finals campaign. Even those who have played finals year in year out can still experience pre-finals jitters. Speaking from experience we know that it can be an anxious time as you wait for your game to start.

More often than not athletes will play the game over and over in their heads before they’ve even stepped on the field or court. The anxiety that builds up before a game can see even the best of athletes run their race before it starts. Within sport there are two main types of anxiety in Sport, trait anxiety and state anxiety.

Trait anxiety is more general and enduring, suggesting a predisposition to anxiety in all areas of life, not just in sport where as state anxiety is transient and specific only to the particular situation an athlete finds themselves in.

They display themselves differently in each individual. From the athlete that spews before each match to the basketballer on the free throw line whose mind is his greatest obstacle. In training they make every single shot, never miss, but during the game they struggle to overcome the anxiety that builds every time their feet touch that line.

So to our amateur athletes across the country experiencing any of the following symptoms just remember that it is a natural to feel these things and the best way to overcome it all is to discuss it with coaches and teammates. Some of the symptoms you may feel could include the following…

  • Cognitive symptoms relate to thought processes, including fear, indecision, poor concentration, loss of confidence and defeatist self-talk.
  • Somatic (physical) symptoms include muscular tension, clammy hands and feet, increased heart rate, sweating and butterflies in the stomach.
  • Behavioral symptoms relate to patterns of behavior, including inhibited posture, fingernail biting, avoidance of eye contact and uncharacteristic displays of introverted or extroverted behavior.

Here at a Mind of Its Own, we’d like to say, good luck to all those participating in the big dance throughout September. And for those that aren’t there is some quality viewing as all! The football codes are entering finals time, netball oh wait that’s done the Sunshine Coast Lighting took that title, there’s some golf tournaments, some over paid tennis players running a court, table tennis tournaments from south-east asia and home-grown lawn bowls finals and all your other favourite sport can be found across the channels you pay for with your fox sports package.

Remember why you started to play the game and remember to be nice to those that officiate it. But most of all have fun out there whether you play at the elite level or amateur so you can taste those sweet victory beers without the scrutiny of the media or your sponsors. It’s all about the enjoyment and we all make mistakes. So until the next time we grace your screen, peace out and enjoy September…