Reason Is Treason…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Friends like you, Who needs Friends…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave the War with Me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beauty in the Bricks…

As the heavens open up and bathe the earth once again we thought it was about time we hit you with a dose of the best distraction pill available on the market. That’s right the doctor has spoken and prescribed you with a dose of A Mind of its Own to aile your woes. It’s been a couple of weeks since we last graced your screens with our rather unique brand of blogging, straight from some of the strangest minds in all of Australasia. Our off kilter approach to the worlds issues has the health authorities wondering whether they should have us all thrown in the loony bin.

For the first time in a while the team here stopped and took a look at the world around them. The ins and outs of what was happening in the world and the human beings ability to continue to adapt and overcome. There are plenty of unanswered questions about the world, particularly those about our purpose and how we came to be at the top of the evolutionary food chain. But all those can wait for another time and another place. If you wanted to read about that you’d have logged on to National Geographic or the Discovery channel website.

What do the people want to actually read about? You know it’s funny as human beings one would think we wanted to hear about nice things happening in the world but as the marketers say there are only two things that sell news papers. Sex and things that no one wants to hear about like murder, robbery and anything of the ill elk. Well sex isn’t really our forte and we promise you’ll never get a 50 shades of grey from us.The things no one wants to hear about, well they are rather depressing. Hence why the team here tend to have no idea what’s happening in the world. The news is never on and the papers are rarely bought and if they are it’s only to help start the fire at the manor.

So what does this weeks blog have install for the faithful A Mind of its Own followers, good damn question. With so much happening around the world and so much happening around us there should be a million and one things for the talented team here to write about but it seems like a case of writer’s block has infected the whole team. Without a dose of antiblocktics lying around we’ve had to tough it out and pull together something that will hopefully make sense and allow you to enjoy yet again another blog from our stellar team.

We’ve had some great feedback over the past couple of months from our followers ranging from great content to it’s an enjoyable read while i’m on the toilet. The last one was a little strange and disturbing but at least we now know that we are making toilet breaks around the world a little easier on the minds of those reading along while they void their bowels of their last meals waste. Sounds pretty shit it if you ask us, pun intended! So besides being a toilet break filler for those that need one, we tend to try and be educational, funny and a little on the crazy side when we can.

Speaking of the crazy side, the team has been playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2 as of late on the Xbox. An escape from reality as some of the wives continue to point out but never the less a distraction from the troubles in the world around us. The Rockstar games western themed second installment of the Red Dead series got us thinking about when times were a lot simpler. Simpler, yet harder in some aspects. Riding around America in the early 1800’s on a trusty steed with a pistol strapped to your thigh, the wind running past your face as you gallop through plains and meadows chasing your next dollar by robbing a stagecoach or train that’s if you wish to be an outlaw. You could be part of a posse chasing down those outlaws and bringing them to justice. Each to their own we say.

Oh how the world has changed since the days of the wild west, no longer is it socially acceptable to-day drink, well it is as long as you are at a function and it’s in a licensed venue or in the comfort of your own home. Office settings are not an acceptable place to drink or start a brawl when someone offends you and you need to defend your honor. You can no longer sit in the main straight swigging from a whiskey bottle, saying howdy and tipping your hat to every man, woman and child that walks past unless it’s concealed in a brown paper bag even then it tends draws a lot of attention.

A lot has changed since the days of outlaw gangs and cowboys. People no longer ride horses in gangs and have swapped the graceful beasts for the metal version on two wheels. They still tend to draw the outlaw tag and often are stereotyped into being part of a gang whether they ride for recreation or they truly are outlaws who run drugs, guns, prostitution and rob people or places in order to make a living. When we referenced that it was an easier time we were referring to the fact that towns or cities were small and miles in between, you could disappear for weeks on end and live off the land if you had to. Taxes were something you generally avoided and wearing chaps as a male was acceptable in all places aside from a strip club.

There were many other things the team came across that we noticed were different from back then till now. Hygiene wasn’t really high on the priority list with bathing happening every so often in some cases they took better care of their trusty mounts then they did themselves. You could camp where and when you pleased without the need of a permit and payment for use of the ground. Hunting just happened and tended to be your source of food while living off the land and there was no such thing as a balanced meal.

In fact everything that is now considered bad for you was considered to be good for from smoking through to sucking out the poison from someones snake bite and drinking heavily while operating firearms from a horse. Ok so maybe we’ve painted a picture that all cowboys were drunks that’s not the case but they did tend to drink quite heavily. Saloon brawls were a common occurrence and duels were an actual thing. Yeah fastest draw wins literally, their life and their honor back. Pace it out ten steps and fastest to draw their weapon and fire, it was as simple as that and it was done for money and for pride on a regular occurence with most of the town watching on..

We don’t think you could challenge the new graduate who mouths off around the water cooler to a duel, gun him down and walk away a hero these days. Firstly murder is not ok, secondly the workplace is not the place for firearms unless you work at a gun shop and thirdly today we are told to use our words. One thing that has changed overtime is chivalry, it is no longer deemed chivalrous to pay for everything and be a gentleman. People are just as likely to go on dates these days and the lady pays. Call us old-fashioned but some traditions shouldn’t change and good manners cost you nothing.

A lot of things may have changed for the better however there are a few things that make us turn around these days and think toughen the beep up. Where as in the old days you would be pushed in the mud and taught that it was not ok to not be tough. Hence the place we are in today where it is not ok for men to show weakness, compassion and anything that would not be deemed manly, it definitely was not ok to talk about your feelings as a man in the wild west. You would be labelled a yellow belly or a coward. But at least kids weren’t soft and got trophies for participating even if they finish last. As Ricky Bobby said “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.

So what have learnt from playing a game that is a lot like a my little pony simulator for men, teaching you to tend and care for your mighty steed? Other than being drunk in the 1800’s was a mandatory requirement each day. Being an outlaw was somewhat cool despite having to hurt and often murder people just so you could earn a living. After all you were your own boss, grifting from town to town, gang to gang. Stealing was a common occurrence and if you were good at it you tended to have your own gang. The law often appointed themselves and were just as corrupt as they still are today. The tobacco industry was in its infancy of becoming a world power, the church was its usual god fearing, preaching self and railway tycoons were the one true power throughout the land.

Much like today if you had money you had power, if you had power it often went to your head and you only wanted more of both. Whilst being a cowboy looks somewhat cool it would have been a hard life both mentally and physically. For now we are just happy that we were born in this century and have the luxuries that allow us to live quite comfortable lives. Oh and the fact that when we run out of ideas as to what to write about we can turn to an alternative source of inspiration. Virtual reality or augmented reality, well in this case video games that got us thinking about how life has changed and how we have a little more respect for ourselves and each other. We said a little…

One slow and we say slow because it’s still dragging its heels through the mud like a lame mare, change that has definitely changed is the way women were treated. We aren’t saying its in a good place now but it is certainly a lot better than back then. Like a caveman belting a prospective wife over the head with his club and dragging a woman into his cave. The wild west was not short of its share of violence against women. So the team are glad that has changed and there are no more damsels in distress requiring a cowboy to come along and defend their honor. These days there are a lot of women who would kick your arse at the mere suggestion. You go girls! As some of the younger generation are pointing out they can do anything including the things you thought only men can.

From the often confused and wonderful minds here it’s time for us to say farewell for another week, tip our hats, spit out our tobacco, slap our horses on the rump and ride blissfully into the sunset. We hope besides learning that day drinking was a thing and cowboys now ride motorcycles the message from this weeks post is that violence of any sort if not ok, especially against women. Until next week partners we hope you enjoyed another foray into A Mind of Its Own. Stay tuned for a double dose this week as we come at you with another post about god knows what but it is sure to keep you distracted somehow.

Fire for Effect – Teaser 2

Chapter Fifteen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Operation Awakening

California – Los Angeles – Vladimir

  • Double Canyon Power Plant
  • Universal Studios

New York – New York – Pravin

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

Illinois – Chicago – Ibrahim

  • Jardine Water Purification Plant
  • United Center

Nevada – Las Vegas/Boulder City – Mishka

  • Hoover Dam
  • Nellis Air Force Base

Virginia – Washington D.C – Natalia

  • Possum Point Power Plant
  • National Air & Space Museum

Texas – Houston – Asif

  • Lyondellbasell Refinery
  • Space Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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