Peder with a D

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Archive for October, 2008

if they ask …

Posted by Peder on 30 October 2008

If they ask, tell them
I am first a citizen
of the world. And you?

Citizen of the World
Citizen of the world originally published by Komal Soin


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My New Job: The Germanic-American Institute

Posted by Peder on 30 October 2008

Click to Watch the Music Video

Hang on, I gotta crank some 99 Luftballons before I start writing.

Hast du etwas Zeit für mich?  Dann singe ich ein Leid für dich … von meiner neuen Arbeit bei der GAI.

In this great Fall of Change that is my Autumnal 2008, there is one constant I’ve been banking on the last few weeks:  The Germanic-American Institute.  Located on scenic Summit Ave, near downtown St. Paul this organization was originally developed as a cultural/heritage society for local German immigrants around 100 years ago.  Nowadays it still stands at the center of Germanic culture in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota.  They organize language classes, culture exchanges, dance lessons, wine/beer tastings …

I go there to teach – Ich bin Deutschlehrer.  I was first brought in at the end of September as a substitute teacher for a woman who went on maternity leave.  Seems now, by way of the mid-term course evaluations, the students have selected me to continue with them until the class is over in January.  I’m also starting to get some tutor students.  It appears all is good in the ‘hood.

Teaching isn’t completely new to me, in fact I’ve had a track record of success before.  I taught EFL in Shanghai for two years, first with these guys then with these guys (sorry, regular site is in Chinese & Flash).  I taught ESL and German for Berlitz as well for a stint.

I like teaching this group in particular.  First, they’re adults — infinitely easier to teach than children.  No one’s on a sugar buzz, everyone pays attention and I don’t have to use a “timeout” chair or the Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes song to keep the peace.  Second, they really like being there.  These courses are expensive and everyone is motivated to gain as much as they can from their time there.  Third, I learn so much from them — from travel stories, to cultural experiences, to what interesting things happened at work that week.  (I live vicariously through others’ work stories these days.  le sigh.)

Tonight we move further on our chapter regarding foods and being in restaurants.  We’re supposed to spend three weeks on each chapter, and this is our third week, meaning I have to make sure everything is covered.  Not a problem, normally, but two weeks ago we got behind with some games and lots of questions, and last week we were delayed by those mid-term evaluations and a surprise visit from the regular teacher with her new baby.  Cute kid and a welcome visit, but I couldn’t help shaking a feeling that her real intent was to check out what was going on and figure out why no one was calling her to come back and save her class from the ills of a substitute teacher.  Sorry ma’am, but there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Peder the Teacher.

Currywurt mit Pommes

Currywurst mit Pommes

But we’re cool, since we’ve gotten behind I have most of my lesson plan already written for tonight.  We got some grammar drills, a game and a stereotypical song about Currywurst.  All is good in the ‘hood.

– – – – –

(I’m a little surprised we’re covering food topics so late in the course.  I’d cover it first, if I were writing the curriculum.  A couple years ago a friend was leaving for a Peace Corps mission in central Sichuan.  He asked me which words he should first learn in that language.  “Food words,” I told him, “you can learn whatever else you need to know once you get there, but you’ll have to eat on day one.”)

– – – – –

99 Kriegsminister, Streichholz und Benzinkanister.
Hielten sich für schlaue Leute, witterten schon fette Beute.
Riefen “Krieg” und wollten Macht. Man wer hätte das gedacht?

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Screen Shot within a Screen Shot

Posted by Peder on 29 October 2008

Strange occurrence today:  I was reading my blogs via Google Reader and found a post from a blog I wanted to subscribe to.  So, using the features enabled by the Better GReader add-on I found my own reader opened inside my reader.  Weird.  Kind of reminds me of that Stephen Colbert portrait that was hung in the National Portrait Gallery or staring at a mirror when there’s another mirror behind you.

Anyway, back to work.  Today’s interlude brought to you by Soma FM’s “Illinois Street Lounge” radio station.  You stay classy blogosphere!

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He Ain’t Heavy

Posted by Peder on 29 October 2008

Let’s take this blogging down a notch.  Yesterday’s post was heavy.  I guess during this heated election season and with my having a lot of time on my hands these days I’ve used the time to take my opinions very seriously.  Well, here’s a very serious opinion:  This video is rad!!

Takes me back to the days in college when we used to play a lot of chess. Spending all those wintery days in Northfield, Minnesota we had to be a bit more selective when we spent time outside.  By my senior year we had our games down pat.  Chess was a big one.  We also played cards:  Euchre if there were four of us, Widow Whist if there were three, and Gin if there were only two.  If you were alone you had to play with yourself.  Zing!

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Posted by Peder on 24 October 2008

Tonight is the (likely) last show of my Rocktober 2008 experience.  I’m going to see Shiny Toy Guns play in Minneapolis.  It’s been a pretty good month, and the only regret I have is missing My Morning Jacket one evening when I had to work.  Seeing The Magnetic Fields could’ve been cool too.  So by way of tribute to the bands of Rocktober, here are some music videos ___

First, tonight is Shiny Toy Guns, who are releasing a new album next week.  I’m a big fan of their first album We Are Pilots, particularly this song, “Rainy Monday”.  It was the first song of theirs that caught me attention and left me wanting more:

Earlier this week I saw TV On The Radio.  Great, great set though I wish they would’ve played the ballad “Family Tree” off their new album.  Whatev, here’s “Staring at the Sun” off their first LP Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes:

A bit of an impromptu show on my part, I saw Broken Social Scene a couple Mondays ago.  They put a lot of musicians on stage and pulled it off beautifully.  Here’s “Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)” from their 2005 self-titled release.  It rocked!

OK, I’m cheating here a little bit by including some acts I saw in September.  But I don’t care because really, it’s all just part of my reintroduction to the Minneapolis music scene. So, this is Ratatat with their popular single “Loud Pipes” off their second album, 2006’s Classics:

And to start it off there was They Might Be Giants.  Here’s “The Mesopotamians,” last song on last year’s The Else.

I also want to give a shout out to Pete and Mike, my main co-conspirators in these extravaganzas.  Good times!

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Hockey Haiku, Teaching One Too

Posted by Peder on 23 October 2008

This first one goes out to Jacques Lemaire, who couldn’t have been happy with tonight’s result.

Not back on defense,
Soft goals, no forecheck, dumb kids.
It’s not good ‘ockey.

Next I have one about teaching:

Teachers and students
don’t know how much they don’t know
about the others.

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Pollack à la Peder

Posted by Peder on 23 October 2008

My lunch today was great.  Had some pollack fillets and veggies that I needed to finish up.  So I breaded the pollack in panko bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, cumin, curry, cinnamon, chili pepper and crushed red peppers.  I sauteed them in a mix of veggie oil, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and minced garlic.  Once they got started cooking I added onions, leeks, and bell peppers.  On the side I chopped some cucumbers and let them sit in Worcester and soy sauces.  Pollack à la Peder!

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Family Weekend

Posted by Peder on 23 October 2008

Last weekend I was with my mom’s side of the family in Fargo, ND celebrating my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary.  (They’ve been married longer than most people I know have been alive.  Wow.)  It was the first time I had been to Fargo since my cousin’s graduation in the spring of 2005. More importantly it was the first time in longer than that we had gotten the whole family together (minus cousin-in-law and proud papa Brandon, who’s with the Air Force in the Middle East.) Most importantly it was the first time I met little McKenzie Jane, my cousin once removed and the newest member of our clan.  In three days she’ll be six months old.  Here are a few pictures, but you can find a larger set on my Flickr account.

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new haiku

Posted by Peder on 22 October 2008

My muscles are sore.
I want some hot chocolate (now),
With a shot in it.

Courtesy of Rachel K.

(Depending on your pronunciation of “chocolate,” do with “now” what you will)

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Taking Another Look at Michele Bachmann

Posted by Peder on 22 October 2008

I just watched Chris Matthews’ interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and have to say I find equal fault with Matthew’s line of questioning as with Bachmann’s McCarthian-esque quote in the closing moments of the segment.

By ‘fault’ I’m referring to the circumstances that lead to the utterance of such a reprehensible statement.

Chris Matthews spent much of the interview doing two things:  Linking the terms “liberal,” “leftist” and “anti-American,” and pushing Bachmann into the corner where she ultimately stumbled. Chris Matthews is just as accountable for the impact of that interview as is the Representative, because he drove the conversation in that direction.

At the onset, the interview was about Obama’s connection to Bill Ayers.  But the intentions of the two participants became quickly clear:  Bachmann wanted to achieve mistrust of Obama by way of speculation and innuendo, and Matthews wanted to pin her in claiming liberals (or likely, Democrats) were anti-American.  I think the witch hunt comments at the end were just icing on MSNBC’s cake.  Like any good salesman who stops the sales pitch when the customer ultimately says yes, Matthews concluded the interview just after the Congresswoman’s call for a “penetrating expose” provided what will and has proven to be a damning sound bite.

I am troubled by the implication that those who are not supporters of the nation’s current direction are not “real Americans” – a term I’ve taken from recent Republican stump speeches.  I find it divisive and inflammatory.  Possessing alternative viewpoints and engaging in dialogue do not undermine our nation’s patriotic interests.  Bachmann’s comments reflect this implication.

At the same time, however, Matthews tactics were equally profane in the way they steered her into oncoming traffic.  Surely he knew where he was going and how he was going to get there.  He consistently linked those terms until his interviewee finally took the bait.  He spoke over her and cut her off.

Frankly I’m a little surprised Bachmann let him get away with this.  You can clearly see she does not intend the interview to go the way it is as her eyes widen and her words find pause. Were it me up there I would have stopped and said, “Whoa Chris, what are you doing where are you taking this?  What are you trying to say?”  That may have saved her political career.  Instead she fell into a thinly-veiled trap built by her party’s narrow-minded, politically-fueled definition of patriotism and a Democratic-leaning television station’s proliferation with creating sound bites. In the end, the single-term U.S. Representative was bested by a Washington insider who has a lot more experience in this game than she does.

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