These are actually from yesterday. I was at home with both kids today (after two days at home with a coughing Adrian) and trying to get some actual work done as well, so photography got lower priority.

As I was eating my breakfast porridge, suddenly the power went out. Other parts of the house still seemed to have power. That wasn’t the first time: sometimes we lose power in the kitchen when we turn on too many kitchen appliances at the same time. But this time when I checked the circuit breakers they all looked OK, and so did the ground fault circuit breaker.

I thought I’d go check with the neighbours. But when I stepped outside, I saw there was no point in talking to the neighbours. There was thick smoke coming out of the electricity cabinet at the corner of the street. Whoah!

I made my first-ever call to 112 which actually felt a bit cool. Less cool was that the fire department had no intention of getting here and doing anything about it. It’s electricity, so I should call the electricity firm, they said. And the electricity firm apparently didn’t really want to do anything about it either.

The smell of an electrical fire spread throughout the neighbourhood and dog-walkers and other passers-by kept stopping, looking worriedly at the cabinet and taking out their phones. After a while I just stayed out there so I could tell them that I had called the appropriate authorities and was keeping an eye on it. Which was actually rather scary: while most of the time there was only smoke, occasionally small flames shot up and muffled bangs could be heard. (I actually brought out a fire extinguisher just in case it got worse.)

Finally about 6 phone calls and 90 minutes later, a van arrived with two guys inside. They also wanted to call 112 and were mildly annoyed when I told them that I’d already tried that, and they were on their own. They cut the power to the cabinet and then poked it open, with a fire extinguisher at the ready. But when the cabinet door fell open, it was with a whisper and not a bang: everything flammable had effectively already burned. All we could see was a slightly larger poof of smoke, and a lot of carbonized equipment. It crumbled when they started tearing it out.

After that initial wait, they were quite efficient. Soon more guys and vehicles arrived, and then an excavator and a dumper truck. They dug out the old cabinet and installed a new one. Adrian and I cycled off to buy pizza.

Around 3 o’clock I went out to check what the status was. I found the last guy packing up his tools. Turns out they had forgotten to tell me the power had been restored a while already. (I didn’t notice because they’d told me to switch off the power entirely rather than rely on the partly-burnt supply.)

On the whole I guess it could have been worse, but I was surprised by the slow response by both the fire department and the power network maintenance company, and their apparently relaxed attitude about an ongoing fire.

Adrian is at home with a bad cough. We’re playing Carcassonne, 5-year-style: no markers, no scoring, just taking turns to build a pretty map – and with the occasional incursion by Lego ninjas.

Late afternoon boredom.

Adrian’s weekend mornings begin with Youtube movies early in the morning, before Eric and I get up. Late morning he is usually happy building Legos. During the day maybe we run errands or there’s something else going on around the house – and of course there are always Legos.

In the afternoon he starts running out of energy and ideas, and so do we. That’s when the boredom sets in. And he cannot come up with anything he wants to do.

In the evening things get easier again. There’s a bit of iPad time, then dinner, a bath, and before you know it, it’s bedtime already.

Sometimes pyjama boy wears pyjamas to preschool.
Sometimes pyjama boy gets tired on the way home.

Melanie is 10 years old. Like most 10-year-olds, she goes to school. Unlike most 10-year-olds, she is taken to school by armed guards, strapped into a wheelchair. After school she is taken back to her cell. She never goes outside that building.

Until one day, she has to, together with her favourite teacher. The world outside is not like in the stories her teachers have told her, not like what she’s read about in the books. There’s not much left of it, and it’s pretty deadly.

I really don’t want to spoil the story for you, even though I’m itching to write more. It’s clever, it’s thrilling, it’s scary. The world is unwrapped with such care, the people and their relationships developed so lovingly. Secrets and surprises are uncovered at just the right pace, with just the right amount of drama.

The girl in the title refers of course to both Melanie and the myth of Pandora, the story of which Melanie has heard in her lessons. So I guess I should have seen it coming but the ending still took me by surprise – in a really good way. When you think you know where this is going, no, you don’t.

A more in-depth review at io9 that manages to avoid spoilers.

The book strongly reminds me of John Ajvide Lindqvist by the way.

I knew I would be all exhausted on Sunday from a birthday party for a bunch of semi-wild 5-year-olds. The best way for me to recover from excessive exposure to people is to get away into nature. On my own I would perhaps have driven to some nearby nature reserve. But as a stroke of pure luck, I found a nature photo event for Sunday morning. So I got up at 4:20 and drove all the way to Gålö and then spent 4 hours photographing with a bunch of other photo enthusiasts.

I like nature photography, both landscape and macro, but I struggle with finding the right subjects. The subject needs to be meaningful for me. It’s hard for me to feel any real enthusiasm about photos taken purely for practise or exercise. Will I care about this photo a year from now? If not, why take it?

In the end I found two subjects/themes to document.

One was the peacefulness of the sea. A real contrast to the day before. This aspect of the place really embodied the feeling of why I was there.

My other subject was heather. It was almost as characteristic to the place as the sea itself. It’s a humble, simple plant. It’s everywhere, and we mostly just step over it and don’t think about it. I tried to really see it and show it.

Captivated by Minecraft.