Shredding The Balloon…

Many people have asked why the space between posts as the team was well on track to deliver one blog a week for the year. Well to be honest the team pushed themselves to the extreme the last couple of weeks and really found their limits both mentally and physically. What is something that they normally wouldn’t consider doing the team decided to challenge themselves and raise a little cash for a good cause at the same time. Enter the Oxfam Trailwalker Series. A bunch of hikes designed to raise money to combat poverty around the globe as well as test those participating in the walk.

To start with the fundraising model is actually quite smart ensuring that each team raises a certain amount of cash before they do the walk. Not to mention the entry fee you need to pay as well. So before you even start the walk you need to come up with $500 and once that’s done you need to raise $1600 before you can actually start walking. Anything on top of that is a bonus and the more you raise the more things become accessible to you. Like what you ask well to start with there’s names instead of numbers on your race bibs, the opportunity to have your own portaloo at each checkpoint, the chance to win a GPS device for your team. Oh did we mention it was a team based charity walk? Well it’s a team based event consisting of 4 team members which we’ll introduce to you over the next couple of chapters.

With two options in length, of the walk people! Come on we aren’t talking about wood so get your mind out of the Bunnings catalogue. It was only natural we’d pick the longer of the two as our superman complex kicked in and we saw a need to prove a point to the doubters in our world. So straight off the bat the 55km was scratch off the list and 100km was signed, sealed and, hopefully delivered. By the end of this blog you’ll see whether we actually made it or not. Now to pick a team of suitable pundits to embark on this silly journey with. Here’s where the hilarity ensued as we tried to screen suitable candidates. Our criteria wasn’t as strenuous as some of the interviews we’ve attended in the past consisting of two main criteria.

The first being that they need to be able to at least make the majority of the distance, the second being that we needed to be able to put up with them for an extended period of time up to 48hrs. So with the hunt for team mates well under way it wasn’t long before we filled our first slot. For privacy reasons we’ll call him the ‘Legal Beagle’, part super lawyer, part dad, he was an easy pick for the team given his natural fitness and ability to entertain with his random fun facts. He is often referred to as Captain Google in close friend circles. The Beagles analytical nature and want to win all the time made the number pick in the draft to walk with, pun possibly intended there we aren’t 100% sure.

As the weeks dragged closer and closer it looked highly unlikely that we would be entering the walk as the Beagle and Boss struggle to find the third and fourth members of their team. No foursome meant no walk and no walk would mean, well they would both have a weekend to do whatever they damn liked without having to stress out about how they would make it through 100kms of walking. As other teams grew around them the twosome wondered whether they would indeed to the walk. Alas someone heard their pleas and came to their rescue. In the aid of what would be two unlikely heroes we’ll call them the Receptionist and the Accountant fitting names to round out the team.

In what sounds like a group of misfit vigilantes ready to keep the criminals off the streets of Brisbane the team of walkers were formed. Each one brought something different to the team, each one had a unique character that would come out and entertain the others at some point during the 100km walk. There would be moments throughout the walk in which they would need to lean on one another, draw strength and most all encourage each other to continue putting one foot in front of the other over and over again until they reached the finishing line. So with the team now assembled, they began training, well the majority did the Boss was a little busy re-living yesteryear on the hockey pitch and isn’t the biggest fan of early mornings walk around a mountain.

Lists were made, provisions purchased, maps read and supplies stockpiled. Many a review was read about the best shoes, walking poles, power gels, hydration and packs before they were purchased and apartment tested for the big day. So back to the two newest members of the squad the receptionist well he’s a character all in himself. He’s a contradiction of a man who loves fine things and yet has hippyish free spirit about him that fights with his want to be rich and have nice things. The accountant on the other hand seems to like to have a little bit of fun, enjoys a drink or two but has his head screwed on. So while the Boss frolicked around the hockey field the rest of the team trained most weekends in preparation for the walk.

With two of the team having already attempted to complete the 100km beast, there were no illusions about how hard it was going to be. But there is a difference between knowing something is going to be hard and actually experiencing just how hard it is. Which was a lesson that all team would learn over the of the 2nd last weekend in June. They would each have a different build up to the day but they would bind together once they started on a journey that would be mind changing and mind blowing well for some of them, that’s the thing with experiences and journeys everyone takes something different from them. They walk awaying with something that is everlasting, always a memory that they can reflect back on in years to come.

As the morning dawned the team were all up early and preparing to take on the challenge as best they could. Running late the Boss and the Beagle missed breakfast after planning a Maccas coffee and McMuffin but instead had to settle on a petrol station sausage rolls and pies. Discussing this down the track with the Legal Beagle it may have led to some complications for the Boss during the walk which provided the team with a lot of laughs throughout the walk but we’ll get to that later down the line and no doubt introduce you all to the wonderful world of walking. Walking you say that’s easy well that’s what our four friends thought before that buzzer sounded at 8:30am on Friday the 21st of June.

The team were a little delayed and ended at the back of the pack with plenty of people to wade past on there way to the finish line. This was due to the receptionist come Team leader giving a command despite the teams questioning of said command. So they finally crossed the start line and began a game that would last all day and through the night. Little did they know this game would actually spur them on and lift their spirits at the lowest of times throughout the walk. Along with the Boss’s need for a tune or two about walking or with walking lyrics and they were set with fun and games. If you throw in the Legal Beagle’s love of a good statistic or knowledge dump about science then they had the entertainment portion of the walk covered.

Set in amongst the national parks and reserves of Brisbane’s Mt Glorious, Mt Nebo and Mt Cootha the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker is like being on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight well at least that’s how it’s been described to us. Taking a look at the topographical maps we can see that there are a fair few hills to ascend and descend along the route with some dramatic changes in altitude as you start your walk through D’Aguilar National Park and wind your way towards Lake Manchester but before we get there we’ll give you an insight into the mindset and bodies of the team as they trek to waypoint three which is just under half way (45km). To start with the team were setting a cracking pace between the startline and checkpoint one walking a very decent clip of 6km p/hr.

Making their way to checkpoint two they were still setting a reasonable pace and had worked out they were faster up the hills than going down them. The minds were still strong and the legs were feeling great, spirits were high as they entered their second checkpoint for the day passing by a happy volunteer dressed as Zorro, with a foam finger motioning them towards the checkpoint, well we think it was Zorro but then again dehydration may have started to set in. They could fill up on water, get some food and recharge for a couple of minutes before setting out on the trail again. It was at this point that things started to get interesting for the Boss and hilarious for the rest of the team. Just a kilometer past the check the Boss started sweating profusely, yes the hills were strenuous but this was something else entirely.

Gut cramps wreaked havoc as he staggered along the trail. His team mates a little concerned at the amount of sweat pouring out of him. Finding a tree he urinated relieving some tension on his stomach but it still wasn’t enough another 500 meters down the track and he was wrench with more gut craps. Within seconds he was on the side of the track pants around his ankles releasing the demons from within. The nausea and pain he’d been feeling were now replaced by the pungent smell that covered the ground below him that he quickly tried to cover up with biodegradable baby wipes after cleaning his bottom. Oh and you thought this was over it was the beginning of what was dubbed the “Gascapades” and a severe case of swamparse. Feeling better well moderately better he trudged on with the rest of the team embarrassed and ashamed of what he’d just done.

With checkpoint three insight and the legs starting to tire, blisters and bruising starting to grace their feet the team strode into the checkpoint well ahead of the time they thought they would. The dinner was the best thing they’d had to eat in a long time and who would have thought a simple tuna pasta bake could taste so delicious. The Boss had rekindled his love of Tuna and the team were energized and ready to continue what was now starting to feel like a vietnamese concentration camp death march. Three BBB cream was applied to prevent chafe and aid those who already had chafe, massages were given, blisters lanced and water refilled. Off into the night they set head torches lighting the way as they stumbled towards the finish line.

With tired legs, chaffed arse cheeks, blistered feet and a range of other ailments the team found the second half hard going but surprises were a foot and swamparse, so was the methane power needed to get them up and down the hills. As they crossed a small creek a slithering friend reared its head as the accountant stepped right over it, kicked it and then ran for the hills while the receptionist decided to play Steve Irwin and attempt to flick the snake away. The rest of the team skirted around it as quickly as possible before the little slithering snake could take a chunk out of them or poison them. Although at the time they were probably hoping the snake would bite them and put them out of their misery.

Checkpoints passed and water packs were refilled filled, delirium began to set in and the Boss was not making a lot of sense as they stumbled along into the darkness. Foot after foot they continued minds and bodies fighting with one another. The body slowly getting ready to keel over at the first possible option and assume the fetal position. The mind willing on the body to finish to reach that finish line to cross the pain barrier and achieve something that people didn’t think they could or would achieve. As morale dimmed they leant on each other to provide a boost to the team that was sorely needed. Along with the cuppa soups and hot chocolates the sugar boosts were helping push the team along.

With the sun beginning to rise they climbed the last peak of the hike. The excitement grew knowing that once they reached the summit it was all downhill into the finish line. At least they could all roll downhill to make it home. According to the team whilst there was excitement that they were going to make it to the finish line and actually walk 100km in under 24 hours there was still the pain and ongoing internal struggle. Silence washed over the team as they ascended the peak and descended down the other side. A euphoria washing over them as they saw the finish line below, the green of the inflatable line like the lushest grass they had ever seen and actual grass. The shoes would be coming off and the wet grass felt between their toes.

Twenty three hours and twelve minutes later they had completed a course of 100km that wound up and down mountains, across creeks, over uneven terrain, having to use ropes and deal with both physical pain and mental pain including blisters, chafing, bruising and muscular cramping. When asked later what the toughest part of the walk was most of the walkers would agree it was the mental fight with themselves. The internal struggle of whether to give in to the pain or put one foot in front of the other and continue on. Whether to keel over and just sleep where their body fell the cold engulfing them as they rocked themselves to sleep. Literally what happened to most of the team once they made it home and had a shower.

So as we tally up the walk on an individual level there were over 25 litres of water consumed, over 8 sandwiches, 8 coffees, 2 cuppa noodle soups, 2 energy gels, half a box of glucose tablets, 5 muesli bars, a couple of bags of lollies and two bowls of Tuna pasta bake with croutons. That’s how much food was consumed on an individual level by each member of the not so funny titled team of Four Guys one Trek, some may of eaten more than others and some may have had more gut cramps and had to the crap on the side of the trail more than others. They had made it! The physical pain was over for the time being until delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) kicked in a couple of days later. They joy and elation felt as they crossed the finish line mixed in with other emotions.

As we close this chapter of A Mind of Its Own we take our hats off to the boys and the effort to raise some funds for a good cause and soldier on through 100km of torment. Those physical and mental pain barriers that were pushed through, the self doubt, the self loathing and self chafing. Well done guys, it’s an achievement and one done in a great time with a great bunch of blokes who pushed each other through to the end. If you are looking for a challenge and a good way to raise some money we recommend you look into doing this or just jump on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight.

Boys On The Docks…

Welcome back, we are halfway through the year and on track to deliver you another exciting piece of writing. We think we’ve finally found the answer to why those Mexicans south of the border are officially the worst. Aside from being the home of great coffee, Australian Football and Australia’s underbelly of crime. So slowly you are starting to get a picture of why Victorians are the worst Australians. We say that in jest having lived there for a short period of time however and it would go against all our morales to tar everyone who lives down there with the same brush but we just can’t escape the evidence mounting up against the southern state of Australia.

You know by now the team here like to read and we like to be as up to date on recent events as possible. We are big fans of free press and appreciate a good investigative journalist article. Hence why when we were doing a quick social media scan an article on Vice caught our interest. The guys over at Vice have been doing some of the most hard hitting, insightful and explosive journalism for years now. They are the guys that will bring you the pieces that people don’t want to know about but will read and left wanting more at the end. So getting back to our mexican friends with a little help from the lovely folks at the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). We were quite interested in a couple of reports written by the commission regarding waste water. You heard right wastewater and we bet you didn’t know they were testing your toilet water for drugs.

Might make you think twice about what you are putting in your body as well as what goes down your toilet. But then again if you are putting things into your body that aren’t really meant to go in their then you are obviously not too worried about what’s coming out of you and going into the sewers beneath our cities. So let’s backtrack as the sampling of sewer water has us intrigued and we wonder how long it’s been going on right under our noses or in this case our arses. And just FYI they are only testing the water not your poo. Why don’t we start from the beginning because after all every story needs a beginning, middle and end. We have the end, that’s the toilet water that contains all your drug infested urine and feces but where did it all begin? And no we aren’t talking about the jungles of Colombia or Peru, or a caravan in some trailer park with a pill press or myth lab in it.

We are talking about the waste water testing scheme. Starting in 2017 the scheme tests wastewater. The studies and results are shared and sponsored by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. Now in it’s 7th iteration the reports ran twice a year provide ACIC with a wide range of information regarding the drugs and alcohol being consumed and used throughout Australia. The program provides statistically valid datasets of drug use and distribution patterns across a large number of sites in capital cities and regional Australia, which are being used to build a comprehensive and increasingly detailed picture of national drug consumption. That last sentence was directly lifted from the ACIC CEO’s forward in the report. The aim of the reports and the data obtained is for ACIC to explore how they can use the data in the long run to combat the war on drugs.

What statistics are pertinent to the average everyday joe blow aussie you ask? Well considering the report covers over 54% of the nation, roughly some 12.6 million Australians, wastewater has been sampled. Spare a thought for the poor men and women who had to stick a vial in the shit infested wastewater to get a sample. That’s a job I don’t think we would want but someone has to do it. The statistics will surprise you, well we think they will surprise you, we were certainly surprised by some of the statistics. Surprised but not shocked because let’s be honest the war on drugs is somewhat of a failing. Governments try to fight the cartels and syndicates across the globe but at the end of the day money speaks to those in power and corruption riddles every government from the lowest levels right through to the top.

Here in Australia whilst we are somewhat lucky to be so isolated from the rest of the world, we also have our friends in the five eyes community to help us fight the war on drugs. From our customs and border protection teams to our navy patrolling the waters in which we are surrounded right through the police working at the street level working to stop the spread of drugs. We guess the teams at ACIC are also involved now with their shit water samples and universities who test said samples to see what Australians are shoving into their bodies on a daily basis.

There are 25 countries involved in sharing data from the wastewater and well guess what ladies and gentleman our fine land ranks quite high on the list despite our isolation from the main continents. When it comes to beating everyone we may as well be last because like Ricky Bobby said, “If you’re not first, you are last” and well ladies and gentlemen we only come in 2nd behind the US for combined use of stimulants behind the United States and well they are on the doorstep of Mexico who we all know love some feed and cocaine so they should be first. So what’s our excuse oh and if you wanted to know our number most used stimulant of choice around the country after alcohol and tobacco which we all know are both legal is Methylamphetamine.

After Meth its cocaine followed by MDMA so really that isolation isn’t helping us but keep in mind we are number out of the 25 participating nations, most of which are European and Canada. So if you included South America and Asia we may not rank as highly but we still take a lot of drugs whether that started out as band aid solution for people and morphed into a full blown addiction or you got caught up in the wrong crowd. Or you just do them recreationally when you are out and about or to relax from time to time, the long and short of it not is that your toilet water is now being tested and given the scientific advancements of the last 5 years it won’t be long till they can track it right to your toilet and the arse that drug residue came from.

Looking at the states it safe to say that our friends in NSW, Sydney in particular are paid too much as they seem to be doing the most Cocaine, while South Australia took out the Methylamphetamine award,Tasmania does the most MDMA, Northern Territory does the most MDA, the dirty mexicans aka Victoria has the highest consumption of Heroin, Tasmania make the list for a second time with the highest consumption of Oxycodone. The banana benders and South Australians share a love of Fentanyl. Northern Territory gets a second hit with it’s people consuming 5-7 cigarettes on average a day and if you are looking for who consumes the most booze stay in the top end because those mother fuckers love a drink in both their capital city and regional areas. Sorry for swearing kids, out bad.

We aren’t done yet, the South Aussies love the Mephedrone better known as Bath salts, drone, M-CAT, White Magic and meow, meow. We had to google its a synthetic amphetamine. New South Wales and Queensland share a love of synthetic psychoactives in Methylone recording the highest averages. And once again the South Australians love a bong or joint or two recording yet another high in the intake of Cannabis. Safe to say that Australia is a country that likes to sample a variety of legal and illegal drugs. Our cities tend to do the majority of them but the regional areas aren’t too far behind.

What can we take away from this little insight into Australia’s drug intake? South Australians love drugs, Sydneysiders do a lot of blow and Queenslanders love prescription drugs and well the Northern territory loves cigarettes and drink. The two really go hand in hand and big tobacco would be loving life should the industry not be in a steady decline already due to killing hundreds of millions over the centuries just as alcohol has. The only difference is they are both now regulated and heavily taxed in most countries but particularly ours. One thing the report doesn’t go into detail about is how law enforcement and the government are going to combat the war on drugs with their new data and information.

We did get some sweet acronyms out of the report though and a new love for the people that come up with these acronyms. Like SCORE which is short for the Sewage Core Group Europe, the group of countries that wade through their peoples wastewater to come up with the results for the continent. Which are then shared with the other participating countries who also share their shit and piss results contaminated with drugs. The next report from the ACIC is due out in the 3rd quarter of the and we are hoping that it’s just as fascinating the last seven reports have been. Will there be an increase or a decline across the states in drug intake will South Australia still be a hotspot on the map for drugs and alcohol?

We’ll have to wait and see and no doubt we’ll keep you in the loop and our friends over at Vice will no doubt have something to say about it all. We are always interested in seeing what our fellow Australians are doing along with the rest of the world when it comes to all things illegal. We’ll watch on with baited breath as we wait for the results and research the next steps to the war on drugs. It’s been one of the more interesting topics we’ve looked into over the years since we started A Mind of Its Own and we are appreciative of the fact that the ladies and gentleman over at Vice brought the ACIC report to our attention. We hope they continue to enlighten us and provide the intelligence needed to combat the war on drugs.

Below is the link to the ACIC wastewater report as promised by us:

https://www.acic.gov.au/publications/intelligence-products/national-wastewater-drug-monitoring-program-report

If you are enjoying the blog please leave us a comment or hit us up on social media, we’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and yes we don’t mind shameless plug every now and then plus besides you our fine fans, how are we supposed to spread the word and grow the following for A Mind of Its Own and bring you more and more pieces that fill the void in your week and allow you to escape. Yes we know its not the same for everyone and that we each have our reasons for reading this fine blog but we know that for most of you it’s a little bit of a time waster and we enjoy writing it for you.

As we close on what has been yet another piece of time wasting, toilet reading material we’ll leave you to think about the ACIC report on your toilet water and the drugs. Until next week we’ll leave you with a riddle, what black and white and read all over? Yeah you know it, you know the answer and it’s a great place to start if you want to understand what’s going on in the world. There are plenty of things we are always unaware of until we read a paper or watch TV, most of the time the details are polished over. The world around us is full of education and answers you just have to open your eyes, ears and most of all your mind. So without further deliberation we wish you a warm week and you’ll no doubt hear from us again shortly.

Who Are You Anyway?…

This week we let the editor-in-chief take the reigns and share a letter he wrote to himself in a drunken haze, while he had to do a lot of editing, rewriting and sometimes guessing as to what he had written we thought it would be a good idea to share it with you all as an example of when things go shit that you can often remind yourself that there is always a future out there that you control. Because when you are at rock bottom the only way is up and sometimes we just need the rope and harness thrown down to us so we can start pulling ourselves out of the hole, hand over hand. So without wasting anymore of your time we’ll handover the keyboard to the boss and allow him to hit Ctrl+V and paste the letter and allow you all to read, ponder and question like we did whether we should have him committed.

Dear Editor-In-Chief,

If you are reading this it’s for a good reason, you wrote this letter to remind yourself that despite how you are feeling right at this very moment in time, as your eyes move from line to line reading every word and taking it all in. Things will get better, they have to get better and you will heal, we all heal. It just takes times and time is something you have plenty of. Make the most of the days, weeks, months and years you have on this planet and continue to have no regrets. There’s a difference between doing something and paying it lip service but you have always known that. It’s ok to be sad and upset, it’s ok to be angry but most of all it’s ok to feel the way you do. It’s natural and it’s part of the process, they say you’ll go through all the emotions and maybe you will, maybe you won’t there will however be a process that you will go through. But remember this letter is to remind you that in time things will get better but before then you will have some choices to make. Some that are easy, some that will be hard but at the end of the day you are the one who gets to decide on them. As you’ve always said you make your decision and you stick by it.

 

Like an absentee voter on election day, you have been missing for the last couple of weeks. While your body fills the seat in which you sit typing this, your spirit and mind are nowhere to be seen. Like a lost cat of dog you may need lost & found posters stuck to every light pole in the area offering a reward for your soul and spirit to be found. They are truly missing and with them you have lost the rest of yourself. You are a walking husk that resembles a zombie more times than not lately. Sleep eludes you as you lay awake pondering the future, past and present. You’ve lost the ability to find joy in life and people are starting to notice. Your colleagues at work and friends question how much you are sleeping and what you are doing with yourself in your spare time. They worry about you as does your family. You’ve never been one to take things lightly and we know you’ll be assessing everything and questioning yourself and everything going forward in life.

You might feel that life sucks at the moment and your life is coming down around you. Those foundations you built and planned on expanding upon are cracking, splintering and starting to literally fall to pieces like some dodgy tradesman’s handiwork. What you forgot to remember was the one thing you’ve told yourself time and time again. No plan survives initial contact and what could possibly go wrong, will certainly go wrong. Life has a habit of throwing people curveballs and though you might not be able to see it in this point in time you aren’t the only person who is going through things at this point in time. That being said you have some decisions to start making and for that you will need the following things.

 

Firstly you’ll need a clear head so do yourself a favour and put down the bottle. Sit and ask yourself how much alcohol you have consumed since that fateful day in late April? How many hangovers have you had? Ask yourself how your body feels and whether it’s coping with all the poison that you continue to pour into it night after night alone in the dark attempting to numb the pain and loss you are feeling. Put on your big boy pants mate, pour the drink down the sink and start to take life by the proverbial balls, take it like a man, yeah wrong choice of words but you know what we mean. You need to take a breath and put your general wellbeing in front of your current need not to feel a goddamn thing. There is a lesson in all of this somewhere and once you clear your mind you’ll have a little bit more of an idea what that might be but until them the wheels will keep spinning in the haze of your mind.

The second thing you need to do is stop looking for answers and reasons as to why. All it is doing is causing your anxiety to sky rocket and your depression to drag you back towards to that dark pit. Having been there before you know it’s not a good place for you to be and you’ll just make things worse for yourself than better if you let this drag you down. You want answers we get that, but sometimes there are no answers and you know that better than most people. You can feel the pain and hurt that comes with each word spoken between you. The tears you’ve shed are only just the beginning of the rough road that you will need to walk over the next couple of months. There will be good days and bad days but firstly you need to stop looking for answers, they’ll come over time and at present there are no answers. There is no one to blame, there isn’t a single moment that lead to this, this is life and unfortunately it will surprise you from time to time.

 

Not having someone or something to blame can be hard but it gives you something a lot of people don’t get and that’s opportunity, an opportunity to still keep some form of friendship, some form of decorum between the two of you and most importantly a piece of your heart still intact. Having that piece of heart allows the memories of the good times to far outweigh the bad. But should you continue to search for answers your mind is always going to be second guessing everything and everyone throughout your life. You deserve happiness and to have everything you want in your life you just need reminding of that from time to time, reminding that at the end of the day you are both good people who deserve the best in life and to be truly happy. It takes courage to speak your truth, remember that as you forge through the fog that is currently your world.

Thirdly don’t close yourself off from everyone and everything, in times like these it’s easy to throw up walls to protect yourself. It’s also very easy to shut yourself off from the world and become a hermit. You though need human interaction, you will go crazy if you are left alone with your thoughts and feelings. We are not saying distract yourself and not think about things we are saying don’t become a hermit. Don’t become detached from all the things that make you who you are. Make you the person that started on this journey, the person you have always been, the person you will always be. You owe it to yourself to get one foot in front of the other and continue on in the world. It’ll be hard, it’ll be damn hard but what alternatives do you have?

Drink yourself into a black hole after working so hard to get yourself out of the pit, spiral out of control and watch your life to continue falling apart? Lose your job because you are two hungover to turn up to work. Your friends give up on you because you don’t want to help yourself and turn them all away as no one could possibly know the pain and hurt you are going through. All that self pity won’t be worth a damn when you are on your own and a full blown alcoholic who needs rehab but no one is willing to help push you there. The only person you have to blame is yourself, you had an opportunity to make a decision early on in the piece how you handled this. Hence this letter. You are better than that and that is exactly why you made yourself write this letter to remind you that no matter how bad things get there is always going to be some good come from the worst of pain and loss.

Chin up and straighten that upper lip soldier, cry when you need to cry and lean on your friends and family. You are not alone and things could always be worse than they currently are. This will pass and the pain will heal with time remember that and if you need a reminder read through this letter and remember all the good times. Until then you are loved and appreciated always remember that. Get back into a routine and get yourself back to the fit, fun, friendly person you know you are. It won’t make the pain go away but it will certainly help you as you’ll have something to focus on and a goal to work towards. Until then believe in yourself you are your own hero.

Your biggest fan and supporter.

You

When writing this the intent was to remind myself that no matter what the darkest days hold there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. While friends and family will be there to provide support and love they can’t be the ones to push you to forge forward with life that is on you and upto you to pull yourself through the fog into the light. It’ll take time as does everything when you are healing or trying to get past something that has hurt and saddened you to the core. At the end of the day i know I will be fine and I’ll be able to move on with life but for now I’ll shed a tear or two knowing that a chapter has finished in my life and that I have no regrets. Some of the best memories in my life have been made over the past couple of years and I’ve met some amazing and uniquely wonderful people who all have a story of their own to tell.

We all go through tough times in our lives, times that test us and show us what we are truly made of and what it takes to come back from the darkest of pits the lowest of days and highest of highs. Life, it’s never a guarantee that everything will be ok or go the way you want it to, that’s the thing about life it will continue to test you to ensure you know you are alive and show you that you are stronger than you thought. It’s shown me through all the tears that I am stronger than I thought and that at some point i will be ok and I will get on with life but for now, I’ll take it day by day and get one foot in front of the other. After all it’s all i can do while I heal and mend the wounds.

Friends and family are there for me and I am thankful to each and every one of them that has reached out and shown me that I am not alone through this time. Even those who’s support i feel I don’t deserve have shown me that there is a goodness in everyone and that people move on with time and are able to get on with things that means that you can two. They say life is what you make and well you’ve got yet another chance to make something of yours and show the world who you truly are and what you are made of. Though life is hard in these days, never give up for your day will come. Anyone who is a Bliss n Eso fan will know that one and the song those lyrics are from is something of an inspiration as it With Friends like you.

Two songs that remind us to never give up and that we are our own heros and when you reach rock bottom you will bounce right back. Not to sound like a broken record but over time things will heal and change for the better. Like the title of this weeks blog the coming months will be telling in answering the question of “Who are you anyway?” we are no doubt about to learn a thing or two about ourselves and who we are and furthermore who we want to be when we come through the otherside of all of this. With all this advice I have given I hope some of it has sunken in and I’m not going to ignore myself but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done the old, do as I say not as I do speech.

In what was one of our more heartfelt posts for the year we are hoping that we’ve provided you with an example of what you two can do when things aren’t going well in your life. A simple letter can be a constant reminder through the dark times that things will eventually get better. It’s not always easy to remain positive when things are falling down around you but all you can do it try and believe in yourself. It’s all one can do to get through day by day. Until next week remember you too can get by with a little help from your friends and its more than ok to ask for help, heck we should all be asking for help more often. Unfortunately that thing called ego often stops us from reaching out in our moments of need. Park the ego and get on with it. Until next week believe in yourself you are your own hero…

Halcyon…

The Webster dictionary gives us several options as the meaning of the word Halcyon, but we’ll just go with Tranquil, Calm, Peaceful. All things that when you switch on the news seem to things within a pipedream. While there may be pockets of beauty that people would describe as tranquil we live in a world that is far from Halcyon. Most people would say there lives are quite peaceful but what about those that don’t know or ever feel they’ll have inner peace? What about those that suffer from mental health issue will they ever find their own Halcyon or at least a little peace of it that will allow them to have a day or days away from fighting the battle that rages day in day out with there own minds.

When we first started this blog and it’s aptly titled self we never envisioned that we’d actually write several pieces that were personal and a slight insight into the minds behind the publication. Reading back through pieces we can see why people would think that we are mad, or at least a little angry with the world. The world we’ve created for ourselves in a bigger world where all we can do is try our best and be who we are. Not who people want us to be, or believe we should be. Our editor-in-chief has spoken several times about his battle with Anxiety and Depression. About the ups and downs, the highs the lows and the times he’s had to crawl out of that pit and put himself back together like a giant lego set. He’s not alone in going through this there are millions of people around the globe suffering but this isn’t something we haven’t told you before.

What does all this have to do with the word Halcyon besides everything of course. Think of Halcyon as a place in your mind. Now take that image and ravage it with the worst mother nature has to offer. All that chaos and destruction of the tranquil, calm, peaceful place is now replaced with uncertainty and fear. The more information we absorb the further into pit we fall. The black surrounding you like a blanket enveloping your skin and swallowing you up, stretching tighter and tighter around you until you can’t breath. Yeah that’s why this week we’ve gone with Halcyon to point out that you can go from a peaceful existence to a world of chaos within seconds and find yourself at the lowest of lows, you find yourself at Rock Bottom.

So what happens when you hit rock bottom and have to build yourself up again brick by brick. Do you have people you could rely on if this was to happen to you? Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what if? In today’s new age society we have plenty of life coaches that will tell you that you can’t think about the what if’s or have regrets because they’ll hold you back from obtaining growing, achieving and obtaining those future goals. But what if all those people are wrong and it’s not a bad thing to have what ifs and plan for the them. There is no reason you can’t have a future in which you protect yourself against a little pain and angst. Prior planning or preparation, prevents pisspoor preformances. The five P’s used by so many successful people around the world. That’s why people with Anxiety will often fall in a heap if something happens they hadn’t planned for or wasn’t part of their plan. They like to have routine and more importantly a sense of control.

Back to Rock bottom we aren’t talking about trying to prepare yourself for the worst but more so having some safety nets to fall into when the rug is ripped out from under you and your falling through the that floor towards the pit of despair. Because let’s be honest at some point in life we are all thrown a curveball or two that come out of absolutely nowhere and there is nothing we can do about it except stand there and swing. Swing with all we’ve got in the hopes of connecting and knocking it out of the park. There are those people that can bend and not break but for most of us that is not the case. Most of us break when thrown that curveball or proverbial rug is pulled out from under us. As we drift down through the blackness waiting for our bodies to slam into the bottom of the pit that for some people becomes bottomless, swallowing them whole, we are allowed more and more time to think. Time to reflect and this is where the what ifs come into play. By the time you reach the bottom your focus has turned to how in the hell are you going to dig yourself out.

Last time we check shovels and rope didn’t come at the bottom of a bottle but many a person turns to the bottle, while some people need heavier building equipment and find themselves nose deep in Columbia’s finest or Afghanistan’s brown being sunk into any vein they can find. The effects of drugs and alcohol on people’s inhibitions have long been documented throughout history. Hell the CIA and Army used LSD on soldiers during experiments and it was said to open their minds and mouths to things many had blocked out or forgotten. So it’s no wonder that a little dutch courage can have the tightest lipped people talking about their deepest darkest secrets and fears. Give them something a little stronger and they’ll tell you their unedited story word for word to the point your ears start bleeding. Every little nitty, gritty detail will come out, including things you didn’t need to know.

What does this have to do with the pit of despair and climbing your way back out or building yourself back up again. Well we are glad you asked because like always we have little insight and some advice we can provide. Like a shaken up bottle of soft drink it’s not going to spill over until you crack that lid open. Well to a lot of people wallowing at rock bottom in their pit of despair, drugs and alcohol are like those gimmicks people buy of those ridiculous TV advertisements to help them open tight lids on jars. They can often just have a placebo effect, in other cases they can actually work and crack the lid on all those thoughts and feelings that have been pent up well before but also during they time fell through the floor into the pit. Like Mount Etna erupting or that bottle of soft drink you’ve spent the last half an hour shaking. That pressure release can often feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders. As everything spews forth onto the ground around you or the people around you.

Too often though that need to be able to talk and get things out, before it spirals out of control, leads a lot of people become dependant on the bottle, bag or whatever crutch they are leaning on to help them through the dark times. But once we’ve pulled ourselves from the pit and put ourselves into some serviable order it will only hold us back from putting the final pieces of our puzzle back into place to create a new or continue our way forward in life. Whilst everyone will tell you that everything is going to be ok on your way down and then on the way back up their is a period where you gaze up from the blackness and wonder if it truly will be ok. That’s before you stub your toes on those bricks and either start to build yourself back up, decide to solidify your foundation or just build a little hut to wallow in all your self pity like a human hermit crab.

Whatever you chose to do know that rock bottom is a place that we can all come back from, the bottom of that pit allows us a solid base to build upon time and time again until we become that person we truly are or the best version of ourselves. You can learn a lot about yourself, about the true you in the dark recesses of that pit. You can learn about the person you want to be, ought to be and truly are. Out of despair, sadness and pain heroes are often born and as we’ve learnt from history, if you just believe in yourself you are your own hero. We have the unique ability to be able to rebuild ourselves time and time again in any shape and form we chose that best suits our needs.

Lean on those around you, do what you need to do but remember no matter how black the pit there is always a light at the end that we can climb towards either on our own of with the help of friends and family. Look after your mind, body and soul, you’ll need them in the weeks and months to come, they’ll be your greatest asset in the rebuilding and climbing phases you will go through. Times will be tough there is no deny that but you got this far so hang in there a little while longer and you’ll make your way out of the pit, hand over hand, foot by foot, inch by inch. You can find strength you never knew you had in the strangest of places. To quote Ayn Rand, for those of you who don’t know who she was, she was ahead of her time and a brilliant author. Pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged it’s a great read and a classic.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”

― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

At Rock Bottom we have nowhere else to go, we have no other options but to either give up and as Ayn said let our our fire go out or to spark and ensure our hero doesn’t perish. As we close yet another albeit brief chapter of A Mind of Its Own we are reminded that life will throw you the unexpected, no matter how much you plan or prepare for it things will happen, they will creep up on you and they will hurt you. How you bounce back from it though is in your hands, you hold the power, not that black pit you find yourself in. Until next week, when you find yourself at rock bottom there is always options and always people you can lean on to help you climb. Adios Amigos!

Losing My Religion…

Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to another week of the wicked sensitive crews blog that like its title takes on A Mind of Its Own. This week we’ve got a cracker install for you! It’s all happening and with Easter literally on our doorstep we’ve been down to the local Coles and raided the Easter isle for a sampling of the this years chocolate cause let’s be honest it’s become all about the chocolate and not some superhero from yesterday who was resurrected over the weekend. We got that right didn’t we? Hopefully all our Christian friends aren’t up in arms anymore than usual they’ve already had it tough this week losing their Wallabies spokesman and all round perfect christian Israel Folau. The poor bloke is on the cusp of having is contract ripped up over the easter period for being a downright knob and preaching hate. That would all but assure his religious weekend was ruined, can the man resurrect his career like his hero jesus did his life.

Speaking of religion it’s Easter and there is so much chocolate around anyone would think we’d stumbled into a bad version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and Donald Trump and his family were busy running around making all the sweets. But that’s not what it’s all about, or is it? You tell us, but it seems in recent years it’s lost a lot of its religious appeal and has taken on a more commercial appeal. People have taken it as having a couple of days off and spending time with their families over a couple of choccy eggs and a frothie or two. No longer do we pay attention to having no red meat on good Friday and heading to church on Sunday for Easter Mass. It’s safe to say in a modern world we have moved towards quality over quantity and by that, any chance to spend quality time with your family takes precedence over observing religious believe you may or may not believe in.

Like R.E.M sang we “we’re losing our religion”, ok, ok we are the most non religious people to grace the planet unless it comes to supporting the Swans then that’s our religion. We’ve never had one, we are more on the heathen, atheist side of the ledger. We are definitely the, going to hell in a handbag kind of people and according to Mr Falou’s recent Tweet we are certainly heading to hell with quote “All the gays, liars, drunks” well that’s us the politicians and half the world heading down to the fiery depths to play with the horny devil in the afterlife. Whilst his Twitter rampage has certainly put a cloud over his sporting career with Australian Rugby it’s found him a new set of friends in middle America, outback Australia and anywhere else they are caught in the early 1900’s way of thought. But at the end of the day that’s his problem and not ours. Whilst he is more than entitled to his opinion he does need to remember he is a respected, well was a respected athlete that young children look up to. The game of Rugby is in a bad state as it is in this country, it doesn’t need one of its best athletes turning away the prospective future of the game if they are gay?

What he has managed to do however is spark the age-old debate whether we truly do have freedom of speech and enrage a lot of rugby fans and a fair chunk of the Australian community. Whether or not he right or wrong in his religious spiel to the world you can be the individual judges. Yeah us on the other hand seem to agree that he is wrong, we live in the twenty-first century champion, love is love and Macklemore hit the nail on the head Same Love is still love. Whether you are Gay, Straight, or some other sexual orientation you are entitled and deserve to be left to your own devices without judgement or fear of judgement or some religious athlete telling you that you are going to hell. But on the plus side at least this time he wasn’t just attacking the Gay community he’s come after all of us that love a drink or two or three. Didn’t god drink wine? Have you had holy wine we hear that stuff will have you on your arse praying to the porcelain god as you expel all the demons from your system.

As an athlete does he not have a responsibility to the community to preach love and not hate? Or at least keep his opinions to the sanctity of his own house. Unfortunately like all athletes he has chosen to live a life in the spotlight and therefore has not only a responsibility to promote his chosen sport but also to be a role model in the community for people from all walks of life. Regardless of whether or not there is a code of conduct, there is a code of common decency. Whether you agree with something or not when you are on the public stage it does not give you the right to preach hate. If your religion tells you it’s wrong that’s between you and your god it is not your stage to stand and preach to the rest of the world. Like the American on the train in Sydney you are entitled to your opinion but there is a time and a place and that time and place it not social media.

In a world where we are so quick to judge, we often wonder if people think about the consequences of posting things on social media before they put it up. Did Israel think of the consequences before he posted his religious hate spiel? One would think no based on the fact that he his now fighting to keep his career alive. Remember with every action there is a reaction, with your dodgy actions your causing negative drama and if you know gods (That would be a Hindu god ladies and gentleman) law you best watch for Karma. We know as a staunch Christian Mr Falou probably doesn’t believe in Karma but surely he believes in what goes around comes around. While he may be able to stand there and preach hate it’s only a matter of time before videos surface of one supposed non-drinker either high as a kite off his face or legless like he’s been getting stuck into the churches wine supply all afternoon. We wonder where he stands on the molestation charges against so many priests, bishops and cardinals. Correct us if we are wrong but wouldn’t these acts be considered “Gay” in the eyes of the lord.

Despite the fact that these acts are not only criminal, but down right despicable and anyone involved in them should be hung and quartered these are supposedly highly religious people who share the same faith as Mr Falou. So sex in the eyes of the church with someone of the same-sex would be considered gay would it not, regardless of age and consent. Call us crazy but isn’t that a little hypocritical? Again we are all for freedom of speech but we didn’t see Israel speaking out against Mr Pell or any of his mates who took it upon themselves to use the guise of god and faith to do whatever they want, whenever they wanted. As we’ve said before love is love and we are against the use of the terms like “gay sex” again sex is sex and if god truly does exist he would surely want a world in which there is love for all not just those who attend church and read into a book written centuries ago based on supposed accounts but someone like Mr Falou would tell you that god himself wrote the bible.

Whilst we realise we are coming across as hypocritical ourselves using our blog to send the message that hate it is not ok. We do believe in freedom of speech and everyone’s right to voice that opinion we are at a point in history where for the first time ever we have the opportunity to all come together in this country and support each other. Unfortunately living in Australia we are still one of the most racist, bigoted, uneducated first world countries even in the modern-day. As a country we have a long way to go to becoming a nation that is supportive and more so inclusive of all walks of life. Like mainstream media we as individuals have an obligation to future generations to show them inclusion no matter what sexual orientation people choose and that’s the thing folks whilst some of you feel it’s a choice it is not a choice. You are born gay and no amount of religious brainwashing or spewing of hate is going to change that.

What it will do it make young children and adults question whether or not they deserve to live on “god’s earth”, this is why so many people are up in arms over Israel Falou’s comments. As an Adult, an athlete and someone who is looked up to by so many he should be ensuring that no matter your sexual orientation or station in life you can become something or make something of yourself. That is an inspiration, that is someone we want to look up to, that is a hero in the eyes of the team here. But instead he is alienating supporters and only being supported by fellow christians, racists and bigots. Or people who as a sporting professional or professional in any sense of the word, who is in the limelight, you certainly wouldn’t want to associate yourself with.

It’s never a good place to be in when you feel like you can’t have your say but as we’ve stated there is a time and a place and in 2019 hate against the LGBTQI community, that time is never and nowhere. In fact we can go as far as to say that hate, whether it’s religiously intended or not, against any community is not ok. Yes we are now in dangerous territory suppressing people’s ability to speak freely however, we are also responsible to ensure the message we spread to the communities, all communities is one of compassion, support and love. Listen to us preaching a future to you all, one in which we are all friends and you can go down your local and have a beer with all walks of life, not just the tradies who’ve knocked off early for a cheeky pint.

That’s what Mr Falou should be preaching instead of hate against anything that is considered normal by today’s standards. It’ll be a sad day when he looks back on his career and all those people who supported him. A lot of people that did, that sit in those stands week in, week out and cheer for him and his team are people that he’s condemned to hell. People that stood and cheered him on as he ran out in the Green and Gold to represent his country. Notice the word country and not god. Whilst he may feel his god was there supporting him he was presenting Australia and that to us and a lot of other people means he was representing the entire nation not just who he or his god tell him to represent. It’s a privilege to play for your country to have the coat of arms resting on your heart but it comes with responsibilities. Not just to your team but to your nation and all those within it.

So as we sign off for another week, Mr Falou are entitled to your faith and to your opinions on said faith but that doesn’t give you the right to preach hate towards others in the community just because your god tells you they aren’t living their lives right. In their eyes and the eyes of many others they are living their lives right particularly the LGBTQI community who are finally being given a voice and yet still have to put up with homophobic taunts, posts and media on a daily basis. To then have one of Australia’s best rugby players come out and tell them they are going to hell not once but twice is disappointing and somewhat upsetting for all of Australia. Take it as a form of cyber bullying that’s how we’ll look at it and any other preachers that tell us and our friends over at the LGBTQI community they are going to hell.

Once again from the team at A Mind of Its Own, we’ve rambled on enough for another week but the bottom line upfront or BLUF as it’s better known is this plain and simple. No matter who you are, what you do, who you do or what sexual orientation you are there is a place in this world and that place should be a place where you can do, say and be who you are without fear of judgement or persecution. We have a long way to go humanity. Until next week, be nice to one another and treat everyone equal, that’s every man, woman and child. Peace out people…

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!