Sunday, 26 August 2012

'One small step for man...'

I was shocked and stunned today when I logged onto the internet to find news reports of the death of Neil Armstrong.  What’s more is that I was shocked to find just how deeply affected by this news I was.  Neil Armstrong was one of those people that I have known about all of my life, yet have never really taken the time to think about, but now I suddenly find myself doing just that.

The word hero is thrown around a lot, given to people who, whilst they have done great things in their respective fields, are not people that I would consider a hero.  Neil Armstrong, however, does deserve this title.

Serving in the navy during the Korean War, and going on to become a test pilot during the fifties Armstrong was already a hugely brave man, doing things that most would run from.  Then he joined the space programme. 

I am going to be honest, space travel terrifies me.  The idea of being so close to nothingness, of infinite emptiness sounds utterly horrifying.  So many things could go wrong, there is no guarantee of safety.  To choose to go in to space takes so much courage that it baffles the mind.

With the eyes of the world upon him Neil Armstrong went on to make history, to make his name one that will live on forever.  There will never be a time when people don’t know who Neil Armstrong is, or does not know the immortal phrase ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’. 

Neil Armstrong went from a man to a legend, a symbol of human courage and endeavour.  His example shows the entire world that anything can be accomplished, that no goal is out of your reach. 

Thank you for your courage and your dedication, you will never be forgotten.  Neil Armstrong, August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Amazing Spider-Man: Coming Home Review

'Coming Home' is the first volume of J Michael Straczynski's acclaimed Spider-Man run, and begins with a Peter Parker who has had his life turned upside when his wife, Mary Jane, leaves him.  Through the first few issues of the book we see how Peter tries to deal with the loss of his wife, about the difficulty he faces at moving out on his own away from MJ and his Aunt May and his struggle to find a new career path in life as a science teacher at his old high school. 

Though these stories are interesting and give us a great insight into Peter’s life, it is not the main focus of the book; instead Straczynski introduces a plot thread that shakes the fundamental premise of Spider-Man’s history to its very core with the introduction of another spider powered individual called Ezekiel who asks Peter an earth shattering question.  ‘Did the radiation enable the spider to give you these powers?  Or was the spider trying to give you these powers before the radiation killed it?’

Ezekiel goes on to explain about the powers of the animal totems and their roles throughout history, even attempting to explain away all of Peters animal themed villains as being attracted to the power of his spider totem.  Peter barely has time to wrap his head around this concept before he is hunted by an immortal named Morlun, who feeds on the powers of the animal totems.  And that is the main drive of this first volume of Straczynski’s run, Peter fighting against this ancient, nigh unstoppable foe.

Having a foe that doesn’t play by the normal conventions of comic book villains is a refreshing change, especially as he literally pushes Spidey to the edge of his limits.  Forced to fight for hours on end against a foe that can barely even feel his punches we see our hero brutally beaten to with an inch of his life.  Yet through it all he refuses to give in, to allow Morlun to go unchecked in his relentless destruction.

And that is what makes this a great book, if you take away the character growth you see in Peters personal life, or the shock revelation about his origin as Spider-Man and what you have is a book about what makes someone a hero, about their unbreakable will to do what is right, to keep fighting for what is right no matter what the cost to them.  Never before have I seen the phrase ‘With great power must also come great responsibility’ better portrayed in a Spider-Man story.

‘Coming Home’ is a great read, with some beautiful art work by John Romita Jr., with a cliff-hanger ending that will have you desperate to read the next volume.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Darkest Hour Review

The Darkest Hour is one of the latest in a long line of alien invasion/end of the world movies, but tries to do something more than many of the other films in this genre tend to do.  Shifting the focus of the story away from America to Moscow is a refreshing change, giving the audience a ravaged Russia, rather than the typically used New York or Los Angeles.

The alien invaders in The Darkest Hour are also something a little different.  It would have been easy for the film makers to create yet another reptilian alien or space robot from CGI, but instead choose to create an adversary that spends most of the film unseen. 

It is this element of an unseen foe that I feel the film does itself a disservice.  Whilst the survivors of the initial assault use the static given off by the aliens as an early warning system of their presence, illuminating bulbs and setting of mobile telephones, the potential for tense, creepy scenes feel oddly wasted.  The directors’ choice of action over suspense feels like an odd one, and the aliens’ uniqueness quickly looses its impact.

Following a group of survivors through the deserted streets of Moscow it quickly becomes a guessing game of what order the characters die in, and thanks to some very two dimensional characterisation it becomes easy to get it right. 

The latter half of the film changes pace and switches from survivors on the run into humanity fighting back against impossible odds.  I can’t help but feel that this happens too quickly to be credible, especially as the answer for survival comes from a crazy inventor who appears to have already been prepared for the surprise invasion of earth.  Along with an unconvincing romance subplot this creates an ending that feels overly rushed, and one that stick too close to Hollywood conventions to be considered original.

Despite this The Darkest Hour is an enjoyable enough film with an interesting alien menace and stunning death effects when the aliens attack.  With a running time of little over an hour and a half the film also doesn’t outstay its welcome.  So if you’re looking for a sci-fi film that doesn’t stray too far from convention, but has something new and interesting, The Darkest Hour is well worth a viewing.


Friday, 10 August 2012

The Devil Inside Review

Found footage horror films seem to be all the rage at the moment, with almost every other horror film being a shaky, static-y hand held journey through dark corridors and nightmarish situations and The Devil Inside sticks pretty closely to this pre-established formula.

The story follows Isabella Rossi, young woman who’s mother killed three members of the church during an exorcism in nineteen eighty nine.  Fast forward twenty years later and Isabella, along with camera man Michael, embark on a journey to investigate the truth behind what happened with Isabella’s mother and investigate her claims of demonic possession.

Travelling to Rome Isabella and Michael team up with a pair of priests specialising in exorcisms, exorcisms that the Vatican does not approve of.  Together the four of them enter the mental institution where Isabella’s mother is being held to perform a sneaky exorcism, opening the door for all of the horrors to begin.

Whilst I initially found the film to be an interesting take on the found footage genre, with its documentary feel and investigation of demonic possession versus mental illness towards the end it quickly began to descend into a by-the-numbers horror affair, running around in the dark, shaking the camera and lots of screaming.

The Devil Inside had the potential to do things different and make an interesting and unique film, but instead chose to stick to a standard formula.  Whilst some may consider this playing safe I found that the film did not benefit from this.  Coupled with an ending that I am sure most people will find rushed and disappointing the film feels like a missed opportunity, one that will be quickly forgotten.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Transgender Struggle

When I first told my mother that I was transgendered the first thing she was ‘so you want to be a girl?’  This might not seem like much, it may even seem like a sensible question, especially from a mother whose child is proposing such a monumental change in their life.  But for me, this will always stick in my mind and stand out for one reason, one word, ‘want’.

My mother is not the only person to use this word, everyone else who knows about my situation has used it in one way or another, from repeating my mothers comment to variations on it such as ‘you want a sex change?’  Want, what I want. 

One of the things that infuriates me the most is that people believe that this is something that I want, that I want to transition from male to female.  But it’s not, it’s a need.  There is this strong, uncontrollable need inside of me to be female.  It is almost hard to put into  words what it feels like, but unlike a ‘want’ this need is something that cannot be ignored, that won’t take no for an answer and doesn’t give me a single moment of peace.

Every moment of every day there is the knowledge that there is something so fundamentally wrong with me that it has changed my entire life.  Many days I find it hard to find the strength to leave the house, to just be outside around other people, especially women.  When I am alone I can almost forget that my mind and my body are at odds with each other and can just be me.  However, when I am around women it becomes a blaring siren inside my head.  ‘I’m wrong’, ‘I’m not normal’, ‘I don’t get to have my real life’.

This is what the people who know me do not understand, it never stops.  My friends have told me that I should try to ignore it as much as possible, to just try and be happy and forget about it.  One friend even complained that I let it get me down too much.  But how do you ignore something that bombards your very being every single second.  Not even my dreams are an escape from this hurt.  How do you ignore it even when your subconscious mind is telling you that you should be female?

So I pretend.  I put on a smile and hold my head high and act like there’s nothing wrong.  I watch TV, chat with my friends and do those things that everyone else does, all the while hoping that no one can tell that I’m dieing inside.  That it feels like my heart is being ripped to pieces every moment of the day.

For me the struggle is not the journey to becoming a woman, I’m not scared of taking hormones or having operations or anything like that.  The struggle is the wait, the time where nothing is happening.  How to I cope living a life that is a lie, a complete fabrication whilst time keeps on slipping past me?

I know that I’m not old, that twenty five is still young and that I have many, many years ahead of me, but I can’t help but think of those things I’ve already missed out on so far for the very simple reason of being born in the wrong body.  Having those girls’ toys when I was younger, practicing make-up with friends, or getting into clubs before you’re old enough and partying late into the night.

There are some many of these female ‘right of passages’ that I feel I’ve lost out on, that I’ll never have a chance to experience, and I’m scared of loosing more.  For me, that’s  the struggle, that’s the pain I have to live with, the thought that I’ve lost so much of my true life already, and the fear that I may never get to have it.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Gearing up for series 7!

Two words that are guaranteed to make me giddy with excitement, Doctor Who.  With series seven of Doctor Who only a few months away I’ve been finding myself increasingly excited about the prospect of returning to the Tardis.

Originally introduced to the quirky, mad and downright brilliant time travelling alien when just a kid by my grandmother I was quickly captivated by the sheer brilliance of the show.  An alien genius that travels through time and space fighting monsters and aliens and villains wherever they may appear, accompanied by a trusted companion or two.  Who wouldn’t fall in love with that concept?

With the show having ended many years before I was open to the whole world of Who, with seven Doctors to capture my imagination.  Despite this, timing, and my grandmother’s love of one particular Doctor, meant that the only Doctor I ever saw whilst growing up was Jon Pertwee.

Everyone has ‘their Doctor’ and Pertwee was mine.  Flamboyant clothing, mad vehicles, the U.N.I.T. family and a mean right hook made Pertwee one of the most over the top and engaging heroes I had when I was young.

So in 2005 when the BBC announced a new series of Doctor Who I was over the moon.  And that first episode didn’t disappoint.  It gave me everything that I wanted and more.  And this continued week after week, year after year as the show progressed.  Looking back now I realise that not every episode was as great as I thought it was upon first viewing, some were weaker, some were stronger, but as a whole the new series lived up to its predecessor.

Then Steven Moffat took over as show runner, and things just got better.  Dialling down many of the ‘childish’ elements that had begun to take over during the Russell T. Davis era of the show and began to tell complex, adult stories that unfolded across entire series.  Many of the stories introduced by Moffat two years ago are still playing out to this day.

And now series seven is upon us, and we’ve got loads to look forward to.  The continuing mystery surrounding Doctor Who’s new big bad The Silence, more of the Doctor’s new family in River Song and the Ponds, and the big question the show is gearing towards ‘Doctor Who?’

With the 50th anniversary of the show only around the corner I can’t help but feel that these massive story lines and intricate mysteries and vague portents of things to come are all geared towards making the 50th anniversary a spectacle the likes of which Doctor Who has never seen before.
Doctor Who has been a triumph of British television that has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world for five decades, and hopefully will continue to do so for many, many more.  And whilst I love watching the show and reading the books I would love more than anything to be able contribute to such an amazing legacy, to be able to write for one of the greatest fictional characters of all time and be able to inspire the next generation of fans the way I was inspired all those years ago.


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Hello, and welcome to ‘Trans Girl Writer’ my very first blog.

First of all, a brief introduction about myself.  My name is Amy Walker, and I’m transgendered.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it means that I was born into the wrong body.  My mind is female, but my body is male.

Though I have been this way my entire life, the realisation that I am transgendered came only within the last year.  Though once I knew it became obvious that it had always affected my life.  I have now reached the point where I can no longer carry on the way I am, living a broken, fake life, all the while seeing what I could have and be slip past me.  To that end I have decided that the only course of action that I can take to correct this problem is to transition from male to female.

This blog is here to help me order my thoughts, to chronicle my journey, and hopefully help others who may be in a similar situation.  However, this is not all just about my journey through transition.
I am also an aspiring writer, and have been lucky enough to become published by a small independent company.  Having taken these first tentative steps into the world of fiction writing I can see very clearly that it is something that I love a great deal, and wish to continue to do for as long as I possibly can.

Hopefully I will also be able to share with you my work to become a successful writer, through the ups and downs and hopefully some very fun times.


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