Hunting for Treasures

Geocaching is a great fun free family activity and an excellent way of turning a ‘boring’ walk into a treasure hunt adventure. All you need is a smartphone and the Geocaching.com website, downloading the app might make things easier, but the website works just fine.

Geo – meaning Earth, and Cache – a French word invented in 1797 meaning a temporary hiding place to stash items (such as weapons or jewels!) mash them together and you’ve got a worldwide treasure hunt – yay!

The first thing to know is how to properly pronounce ‘cache’ – its ‘kash’. You have now saved yourself a half hour argument and can get straight on with the fun…

As with any new activity it can be a bit confusing to start, so save yourself another half hour of fumbling despair and read the beginner’s guide – hidden away on their website, just like a cache should be I suppose https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=141

There’s even a charming video to keep you right:

It’s amazing how many geocaches there are scattered around that people who don’t know about the geocaching world, or ‘muggles’ are oblivious of. So on a chilly Sunday afternoon, I tore my son away from his screen and off we went to find our first cache. I had treasure in my pocket to swap with whatever we found (essential) and a pencil to mark the log (also essential). I knew the local area quite well, so it was easy to find the rough location from the online map. There was also a hint on the website which told us the box we were looking for was at the base of a tree, which really helped to narrow things down. Of course it’s vital not to ruin the mystery for others, so I can’t tell you which tree it was, but rest assured we found what we were looking for.

In these days of solitary screens, geocaching is a welcome tonic, an excellent way of getting family or friends together to enjoy the great outdoors and collaborate in the magic of a hunt. Yes we found the small treasure, but we also found something much bigger, quality time and happy memories to last a lifetime. We can’t wait to find our next one…


Happy New Year

Today I have been looking at inspiring acting quotes on Tumblr:

“Why sit around and say, ‘I’d like to do something?’ You’ve just gotta do it. You might fail at first, but your failures are what are going to allow you to move onto success.”

Joel Edgerton https://actingref-for-actorsandanimators.tumblr.com/

Speaking of failure, this background artist’s handiwork really made me smile:

So bring on the New Year and bring on lots of productive, spectacular failure.


Hamish Henderson

I cannot wait to utter these words on stage:

On the Radical Road celebrates the centenary of Scottish folk hero Hamish Henderson. Brought up by a Gaelic-speaking single mother in Blairgowrie, then educated at Cambridge; Hamish believed that Scottish people can not express themselves fully in English so was passionate about keeping the Scots language alive. He was an early pioneer of the Edinburgh Fringe, so it is apt that Theatre Objektiv is bringing his poetry and songs back to the Fringe to entertain and inspire a new audience, 100 years since his birth. A great introduction to Hamish and his work.

Hamish Henderson on The Radical Road is on every night at 8pm at the Scottish Story Telling Centre on the Royal Mile. Tickets are available on the Edinburgh Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=%22Hamish%20Henderson%3A%20On%20the%20Radical%20Road%22

To find out more about Hamish Henderson:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/5qyp1C7qj0tkkGZ6hq99kMw/hamish-henderson

https://www.makingqueerhistory.com/articles/2017/8/20/hamish-henderson

Gen Z

“80% of 13–20-year-olds, or “Gen Z”, believe that gender did not define a person as much as it used to… and only 44% always bought clothes designed for their own gender”

https://uxdesign.cc/designing-forms-for-gender-diversity-and-inclusion-d8194cf1f51

I wish I could remember what I was buying online, something innocuous like a toaster, and when I went to fill in the form to complete my purchase they asked for my gender. “What the hell do they need to know that for!?” I fumed. I couldn’t even skip the question to prove a point.

I understand that marketing departments like to know who is buying their products, but forcing anyone to answer this question may very well backfire and turn potential purchasers away. Gender can be a loaded question for many different reasons, particularly if the only options on a form are male or female.

And even if a marketing department found out that 80% of people buying that toaster identify as female – what are they going to do about it? Start producing it only in pink?

Young people increasingly feel that gender doesn’t define them, so capturing this somewhat arbitrary information can make companies look out of date.

It’s probably just as well I can’t remember the name of the gift company that I saw lots of adverts for on YouTube last year. A man was unboxing loads of neat tech gadgets. “That’s cool,” I thought. “I wonder what the woman is going to find in her gift box?”…. Makeup. Groan. If I hadn’t valued my laptop so much I might have thrown it out of the window.

A world that is, thankfully, moving away from gender stereotypes, benefits not just for the trans community but absolutely EVERYONE. So lets stop asking this question unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Just be you you want to be

Dance the same?

I must admit I never understood why we moved away from yellow faced emojis and found myself gritting my teeth while hovering over a white or yellow face. Isn’t it better we escape judgments about skin colour or looks in general while online?

However, I must admit I did a squeal of joy when I heard there were emojis coming out with ginger hair!  So perhaps your online presence is the perfect place to showcase differences you are proud of, particularly if they are under-represented or even maligned in the mainstream.

Actually, I think I shed a tear of validation when I saw there was a single mum emoji (thank you Christina Aguilera’s Twitter!) Single mums are typically portrayed as incompetent parents or benefit scrounging sluts, instead of the kick-ass grafters of insurmountable love and that we truly are. So finding ways to represent ‘not so perfect families’ like mine can give us the chance to show them off in a positive light.

So in conclusion, if you want to use a generic yellow face and celebrate commonalities: that’s cool. Or if you want to celebrate uniqueness and select from over 30 different nose shapes on Bitmoji: that’s cool too. Dance the way you want to… just enjoy the party… and don’t leave a mess.

App-alling

During an exercise that seemed like a serious bit of work but felt a lot like procrastination I checked the app permissions on my phone. Like all of life’s great mysteries the more I probed the more I developed questions rather than answers:

Why are 21 out of 45 apps using my camera?

Why do messaging apps need to know my location?

Why does the dictionary app need to access the telephone?

Why does Google need to access my contacts?

In fact, why does Google need to access EVERYTHING?

If I were an app developer I’d create a dating app that could read your heart beat then swipe automatically, as sometimes the heart knows what the head doesn’t.

Although that might accidentally match you with someone who just makes you angry…!

Welcome

As an actor, writer and rock singer it’s been in my mind for some time to create a website, having navigated the stage, the page, the pub gig, the choppy waters of Twitter and Insta and the high seas of YouTube with some success. So when a colleague introduced me to Edinburgh University’s 23Things, the stars aligned… So welcome to my shiny website.

Below you’ll find my thoughts on the performing arts world and beyond: on technology, family and day to day life, I hope they make you smile. Feel free to add comments, or if there are any topics you’d like me to cover get in touch via the Contact page.

Thanks for stopping by. I’m off to learn some lines…

Andrea x