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Jolly July and Amusing August, Issue 07-08/15

№249 ~10 minutes

In this month’s double issue of Keeping Up With the Erikssons: Lucien celebrates his 7th birthday, my brother and I battle it out Dubsmash style, my mom visits, I become undead for a photoshoot and we go to two different museums at two different times.

Welcome back dear readers, all 12 of you, I hope you’ve had a nice vacation. I know I have.

It was a nice, and much needed, break of two months.

I got to relax, recharge and even managed get a little bored as the itch to write returned.

And then faster than can you say, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the last of August reared its delightful little head and it’s that time of the month again—no, not that one, the other one.

So hold on to your butts—and tighten that sphincter of yours—and get ready for two whole months worth of events in this month’s double issue of Keeping Up With the Erikssons.

Jolly July

Take a moment and join me as we travel back in time, all the way back to yestermonth, when the weather was still nice, my beard was growing and you could get a hat for 10 shillings and a sixpence—except for that last one.

7 years and counting

As another year goes by Lucien goes from 6 to 7 and unlike my birthday, Lucien really wanted to celebrate his.

And as parents, we do oblige don’t we?

Lucien wanted to have a zoo-themed birthday party this year, where the guests would dress up as animals, with animal-themed party games, you get the idea.

A birthday cake designed to look like a piece of dirt, covered in grass.
And in keeping with the zoo-theme I thought he might like a cake that looked like a piece of dirt, dug up from the ground with worms and all.

And that’s the only pictures I have because I tried to enjoy the birthday party as much as possible and as a result I got no other photos at all.

Battling my brother

One day—out of the blue—my brother Christian decided to send me a Dubsmash video.

For those of you who don’t know what Dubsmash is;

Dubsmash is a video messaging application where users can choose an audio recording of a well known quote or song from a list and record a video of themselves in which they lip sync it.

Coincidently I had looked into Dubsmash myself some time ago, wanting to create some videos but not finding a good enough reason to do so. Until Christian gave me the perfect excuse.

Naturally we preceeded to sending video back and forth, each one trying to one up the other.

So in response to his first video, an impression of Beyoncé as Foxxy Cleopatra from Austin Powers: Goldmember, I replied with this.

To which he replied with a more sinister dubsmash of Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight.

The game was on and I wanted to lighten the mood.

At which point I had to bring my A-game, after all, he had just called me, “Lame,” and an, “Old man.”

I think it’s fair to say that I won this battle but the war rages on. Bring it, brother.

A visit from fammo

My mom, Lucien’s grandmother—or fammo as he calls her—came to visit for an extended weekend.

She tries to come visit at least once, or twice, every year and it’s always a delight to have her.

Aside for the obvious hanging out we also had reserved time to go up to London to take a tourist bus, with The Original Tours, around town.

All of us, taking a boat ride across the Thames.
We’re on a boat.

The weather was—for a change–perfect for sitting atop an iconic double-decker bus and take in all the sights that London has to offer. From Shakespear’s Globe and Sherlock Holmes Pub to Regent’s Park and Covent Garden, where we jumped off to go to their market place and was treated to a homage to Buster Keaton.

All of us, taking a boat ride across the Thames.
He pretended to steal a woman’s purse at one point, then started walking back and ran again once the audience exhaled. Hilarious.
The Eriksson family standing at Piccadilly Circus.
Surrounded by more than 8 million people. Photo courtesy of my mom.

We also introduced her to a board game from our growing collection.

Escape: The Curse of the Temple is widely regarded as one of the best family games of all time and at a hectic playtime of a meagre 10 minutes I would agree.

We rarely make it out of the temple alive and this time was no different as despite our best efforts, the temple caved in and swallowed our pathetic adventurers. And we hadn’t even found the exit.

In the middle of a game of Escape: The Curse of the Temple.
Unforgiving and excellent.

Time flew by and soon she had to return back to Finland.

But not before I had her join us as an enthusiastic participant in another super-scientific study of mine.

In the spirit of science

During my mom’s visit I had made plans for of us to partake in some of the beverages that the UK has to offer.

As a sneak preview I can tell you that we found most of the beverages to be quite disgusting.

But I haven’t quite finished writing about it yet so you’ll have to look forward to the entry titled The Great British Beverage Off.

Amusing August

That was July, next up we have the month that follows it, August. Let’s carry on shall we, dear reader?

Beards, Brains and Beauty

The Squiders website has served its purpose and the once, quite unique video, that has graced its Home page is now everyday and mundane. Because let’s face it, every design agency nowadays has a video on its Home page.

Hardly unique or memorable any more.

Kris, i.e. my boss, had a new idea in which I, and the rest of Squiders, got to take the day off work to do a photo shoot which involved more blood than anyone had imagined.

If you’re squeamish to the sight of blood, even the fake kind, consider yourself warned.

Read all about my experience as a zombie in the entry Beards, Brains and Beauty.

Brick City

During Lucien’s summer holiday he had written himself a list of things he wanted to do, including things like going to LEGOLAND® at The Windsor Resort—which we’re still going to go to one of these days.

Luckily for us, we didn’t need to travel all that far to experience one of the things on his list as Maidstone Museum is just a stone throw away. And they were having a Lego exhibit called Brick City.

Advertised as, “A stunning exhibition of architectural landmarks made in LEGO® bricks,” I have to admit that wasn’t overly impressed by their exhibit.

Most of the landmarks were small glass-enclosed creations which did little to impress my cynical world-view.

A medieval tavern recreated using Lego.
Welcome to Ye Olde Tavern.

Thankfully, Lucien isn’t quite as cynical and he really enjoyed himself, finding beauty in the mundane, like this guy.

A Lego window washer hanging outside an office building.
Even my dead insides lit up a bit as he found this little guy.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa recreated using Lego.
Ironically, this one's bigger than the original.

The only large installation they had was St. Pancras Station, which concealed an assortment of fictional characters, such as Harry Potter and Buzz Lightyear amongst a myriad of generic characters.

St. Pancras Station recreated using Lego.
Let’s play a game of, “Can you spot the top hat?”
St. Pancras Station clock tower recreated using Lego.
St. Pancras Station was actually pretty impressive.

Selfies with monkeys

Another thing on Lucien’s list was the National History Museum, featured in one of his favourite films Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, he was eager to meet the exhibits that come to life.

We explained to him that they only come to life at night—as per the films–which was why we probably wouldn’t get to talk to the exhibits when we went there.

The museum, which is home to some 80 million items, is famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—where you’re greeted by a cast of a large Diplodocus, that stands in the vaulted hall.

A fake brain covered in theatrical blood.
Megatherium Americanum, more commonly known as the Big Ass Sloth.
A fake brain covered in theatrical blood.
These creepy little fuckers were my favourite thing at the entire museum.
A fake brain covered in theatrical blood.
At three metres tall and almost six metres long this is the most intact Stegosaurus fossil skeleton ever found.
A fake brain covered in theatrical blood.
“Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's mind, which follows from the advance of science.” —Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882)
The shop interior of the earthuake simulator
Experiencing the earthquake of 1996 in Kobe, Japan. Simulated using actual seismic data.
Carlos taking a selfie with an ape.
Who’s really the ape?

And whilst we were in London we figured we would make the best of it by taking Lucien to visit one of the UKs favourite cultural icons, Paddington Bear.

Bronze statue of Paddington Bear at Paddingston Station.
Is it just me or does he look so sad?

The bronze statue of Paddington Bear sits under the clock on Platform 1 at Paddington Station—which is where the Brown family finds him in the first book.

And to be perfectly honest, it was pretty adorable.

That’s it for these months.

So, how was your vacation?

Jingoistic June, Justifiable July and Accepting August, Issue 06-08/16

Outstanding October, Issue 10/15

Beards, Brains and Beauty

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There are 35 more entries from 2015. See all the entries.