The Latest Incarnation of the Doctor.

Now that everyone has had time to think about the announcement of Jodie Whitaker being the next actor to play Dr.  Who, I’m going to put my thoughts out there…
I think it is absolutely brilliant casting on the part of the BBC. They’ve been working up to this for years and it’s finally coming true!!!

Anyone who has followed my blog for a while, or who knows me via Facebook, knows that I am a massive Dr Who fan. I started with the Seventh Doctor (actually I started before that, but Sylvester McCoy was the first one I really remember and liked.) When they rebooted the series, I was ecstatic. I watched every single episode of the Ninth Doctor, the Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor.  I’m not keen on the way that Peter Capaldi portrays the Twelfth Doctor, but I love the stories, so I am willing to stick with the show.

Why am I so happy that the next Doctor will be female?

Quite simply, it means that the girls who watch the show with their parents now, will have someone as a role model that they are watching week after week, rather than once in  the cinema until their parents get the dvd / blu ray…

What? Does that shock you? I want to show you something… First you need to go and look at this article:

Then you need to scroll down to the fourth reaction and watch the video of the little girl watching the announcement. I want you to take a long hard look at the joy on that little girl’s face, and then I want you to think about it.

How many female role models does that girl have? If they’re not big name mainstream (Like Star Wars, Wonderwoman / Latest Ghostbusters) or if the show is older than 5 years (Xena, Buffy, Summer) or if they’re fixed squarely in the 16+ only bracket (Starbuck, Ripley, Sarah Connor) then today’s girls won’t have heard of them unless their parents are fans of the movies and shows.

The role models that girls now have are people like Beyonce and the Kardashians (Pop and Reality TV), Disney Princesses (I am beyond grateful for Brave, Frozen and Moana breaking the “need a man to be complete” image) and the young women who are playing the main roles in the Disney / Nickelodeon kids sitcoms or the ones on the CBBC shows. 
 
Dr Who taking on a woman as the next Doctor, that’s a game changer – it means that the young women and girls will see a blonde woman (or whatever colour hair she ends up with – I’m hoping for red, myself)  doing things that they are constantly told aren’t what they are supposed to be.
They will see her using her intellect, talking about science, asserting herself and saving all sorts of people – and hopefully they will see her doing it without the need to look to a companion for support. I’d love to see the first few episodes being about the Doctor and not the Doctor’s need for a companion in the same way that all the male doctors have “needed” a companion.
I will catch up with the stories from the Twelfth Doctor’s series, but can honestly say that I cannot wait for the Thirteenth Doctor to show us what she and the new showrunner and writing team have in store for us.
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Just in case you were wondering, I’m still working on the Re-write of The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning. The word count is notching higher and I’m hoping that what I’m adding is making it better than it was before…

Book 2 of The Secret of Arking Down, The Dragon’s Pendant is with my loyal group of  Beta Readers. It also has a wonderful cover that I will be showing off at the right time!

Book 3, The Second Door,  and Snow & Kitsune are also with the Beta Readers, so there are new books in the Pipeline!
If you like my writing whether here on the blog, or the books that I have published, I’d be ecstatic (yes, I have used that word twice in less than a thousand words; I like it!) if you chose to become one of my Patrons. Just go to https://www.patreon.com/KiraMorgana and click “Become a Patron”.
This will get you various rewards according to the amount you decide to pay, as well as help me towards the cost of publishing the books I have waiting… and I have a fair few waiting!

Well, I have to toddle off now, my youngest daughter is climbing the walls (not quite literally, but close) and I have more work to do… both writing and housework!

Toodles!
K.

Tinkerbell, Aspergers and fitting in…

I was watching “Tinkerbell” with my daughters today and unfortunately I’ve seen it so many times that my brain clicks into Editor Mode. It starts pointing out the plot holes and mistakes, so I find I have to go do something to distract myself from it!

This time, I decided to clean the grill.

As I was doing that, I realised that “Tinkerbell” is about girls with Aspergers. Now I can see all the Mum’s getting up in arms and shouting “It’s about a brand new fairy who is trying to find herself.”
And they are right, it is about that. But it is also about a girl who has been thrust into a new world, not understanding why she feels like she doesn’t fit.

My eldest daughter is nine. She has two years left at Primary School (they start high school at eleven around here) before she is pushed by her age into High School. She is also developing physically more quickly that her peers. To add to that, she is showing signs of Aspergers, so she is going through testing to check if it is that or something similar.

She has already admitted to feeling very out of place in her peer group.

A girl with Aspergers is difficult to spot. Girls are generally social creatures and when they are young, those in the group who are good at Social Behaviour will help their peers who aren’t. Girls are also emotionally biased, so they understand outbursts of high emotion and can help those friends that suffer with them cope. Thus a girl with Aspergers will be taught by her peers how to act.
And act is exactly what she does. By the time she hits high school, she is so well camouflaged that adults  rarely see her for what she actually is.

So why is “Tinkerbell” about girls with Aspergers?

Consider the plot:

A girl is thrust into a new world. She is told that she is a Tinker and that her life, from now on, will be about making pots and pans. But she doesn’t feel as if she quite fits in.

She makes friends who are pretty, well dressed and have more interesting jobs. Then she is told that these girls can also go off and have adventures.
Of course, she wants to do that too. She is quickly smacked back down when she tries to follow her nature and get to have adventures.

Still feeling that she doesn’t fit in as a Tinker, she tries to change who she is, to become like the other girls. Everything that follows is an obvious effect of trying to go against her nature and just makes her more unhappy.

Eventually she realises this and gives up, but not before the local bully, who is jealous of all the attention the Tinker is getting, helps her to wreck everything that the others have built.

Finally, the girl works out a way of fixing what she has wrecked by going with her nature rather than against it. She thinks about the problem from outside the box and shows why she was chosen to be a tinker in the first place.
Her reward is to be allowed to join her friends on their adventure.

Tinkerbell is our girl with Aspergers – she looks the same as the other girls physically, but knows that inside she is different. She thinks about things differently and can’t understand why, once she has learned to fit in, she still doesn’t feel right; like a jigsaw puzzle piece that is the right shape but with the wrong picture.

Now imagine our “Tinkerbell” moving from warm, comfortable Primary School (the old world) to cold, hard, High School (being reborn as a student.) She may have learned to fit in with her Primary friends, but at High School, the social scene is different. She is just different enough to garner attention from those who don’t like difference and may well get bullied (like Tinkerbell and Vidia) and her response is, more often than not, will try on different natures.
Our Tinkerbell will be Goth one minute, a sporty girl the next. She will change styles as fast as possible, trying to find that elusive hole to fit into so that she isn’t picked on anymore.
It may end up in a train wreck of a situation; or sometimes our girl will find her spot and get comfortable again. Her reward will be friends and a life she can relax into again.

Most often though, our Tinkerbell will take a long time to find her spot, her real nature.

Why have I written about this today?

Well, I watch my daughter at Brownies and School and I can see that, while she is comfortable in her current hole, when she goes to High School, she will be lost again. So over the summer, we picked one of her interests (music and singing) and sent her to a Theatre School Summer Camp.

She blossomed.

She’d found the right picture to match her shape. My daughter will still find High School difficult, but by sending her to Theatre School at the weekends, she will be able to cope with whatever the social scene throws at her and hopefully, she won’t need to go against her nature to find where she fits in at school.

If you have a child with Aspergers I can recommend the following books – they really opened our eyes to how NOS sees the world and how PT can be helped to navigate around the social scene of High School –

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asperkids-Secret-Book-Social-Rules/dp/1849059152/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412543447&sr=8-1&keywords=asperkids+secret+book+of+social+rules

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Queen-Bees-Wannabes-boyfriends-realities/dp/0749924373/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412543622&sr=1-1&keywords=queen+bees+and+wannabes

Some thoughts about Guns…

TOH is playing Watchdogs. For the most part, he likes it because you can sneak around playing the game without hurting any of the civilian characters that are wandering around the city.

There are puzzles and you can choose the way you play so that you become a Vigilante rather than Terrorist (the opposite end of the reputation bar.) You can protect civilians, stop them getting hurt and attacked.

The story line is quite an interesting one. It looks at the way that information is used in the real world and just how much information everyone puts out there that can be twisted or used to hurt. It’s a scary concept, but that’s not what I want to talk about.

Like with many of the games now, you get digital trophies for certain things – for example, the number of police scans you evade. Most of these are easy enough to do without hurting anyone. However,  TOH being who he is, likes to get all of the trophies, and there was one that he couldn’t figure out; you had to escape a level 5 police scan.

So he went online and googled the problem. He was not happy with the result, but try as he might, it was the only one he could find. So he did it this morning before he went to work.

He took the character to a crowded place, pulled out a machine gun and let rip. It must have killed between 15 and 20 civilian characters before the scan meter was at level 5. The noise was horrendous and it attracted both my attention (and made me muck up the pattern I was knitting) and the baby’s attention (she’d been playing with her ducky ball).

It was realistic and I started having a panic attack. I picked up the baby and cuddled her away from the noise.

Now I can think logically about it, it wasn’t what was on the screen that was panicking me. It was the noise. The realistic sound of the machine gun he was using on the game. It took me back to a particular incident that shaped my life without me realising it.

* * *

When I was 16, I was in the Air Training Corps. It’s the cadet branch of the RAF and I was seriously considering a career in the RAF at the time. One of the last events I went to was a joint exercise with the local USAF base. The Military Police there had put on an exercise for the local ATC units complete with full military training gear. This meant we were wearing the laser vests that they used and carrying blank adapted M16’s with laser equipment to “tag” the vests.

And yes, you read that one right. They were allowing teenagers to use M16’s. There were also two M60 ‘s set up the same way, one for each team. We were given the guns and put through training exercises – stripping, cleaning, reassembling in a set time, practice on a range with live bullets and on a stationary dummy wearing a laser vest with blanks in the gun.

All stuff we had done before at ATC with the 302 rifles we’d used for ages on our range.

We also were given a small strip of ammunition and allowed to shoot the M60. This was to show us how the rifle worked and make the point that the only people big enough to carry the things were two of the biggest boys I had ever seen in my life… and I wasn’t a small, dainty little girl.

Anyway. It wasn’t the experience of shooting the M60 that did the damage. That was funny because the gun moved me back in the heather by about 3 feet. It wasn’t even the “capture the flag” exercise we played next, albeit with the M16’s on our shoulders. We’d done that before with LR98’s and laser equipment on a RAF Base.

It was the Night Exercise.

We’d been told that we were being treated like Military Academy students and that when they were on exercise, they carried their guns at all times. So we had to. I literally slept that night with an M16 next to me. We were all in one camp, both teams together.

I say slept. Others slept. I didn’t. I couldn’t. The gun felt as hard and dangerous as a knife and while I knew it was loaded with blanks and the safety was on, I was terrified that it was going to go off in the night.

I fell into a half doze about three in the morning when my body refused to remain awake any longer.

At dawn the camp was attacked.

I lay in my tent, my hand on the M16, frozen with fear as an M60 opened up out in the woods around us and blasted us. Everyone’s laser vests started screaming at us and while some of the boys managed to rally and fire back, the rest of us lay there, scared out of our wits.

They were trying to make some kind of point apparently, because they’d noticed that some of the boys had got rather cocky, trigger happy and were being reckless. Our Officers had agreed and were joining in.

That noise has lived with me ever since.

I managed to complete the event without being hurt (normally I got an injury of some sort), cleaned and returned my M16. I even got a commendation for being able to complete the entire 1 mile obstacle course within a decent time.

I quit ATC  not long after that. My excuse was that I wanted to concentrate on my exams. The real reason was that I realized that the RAF wasn’t for me. At the time I didn’t want to think like that and I was being encouraged by my teachers to choose that career, so I acted out the charade a little longer and then when I got to University, I changed direction.

This morning, it was that noise. The machine gun going off on the TV that sent me straight back into my 16 year old self lying on the ground, listening to the M60 shoot over my head and the laser vest’s warning screaming in my ear.

I know now that should I have to, I can pick up a gun and shoot someone with it. To protect my life, to protect my children, to protect TOH, I will do it. But I’m scared of them, of guns. I’m scared that I found that in myself. I’m scared that I could kill another human being.

And I’m scared that all the war and violence that I ducked out of by not going into the RAF might actually happen over here. That I might actually have to pick up a gun to defend my children.