Peder with a D

[plays well with others]

Archive for January, 2009

Undisclosed Location, Belize

Posted by Peder on 29 January 2009

DSC00408, originally uploaded by Natsmiller.

My friend recently posted these after a hike through the Bladen Nature Reserve.

Absolutely stunning.

DSC00423, originally uploaded by Natsmiller.


Posted in Belize | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Trying Out Posterous

Posted by Peder on 27 January 2009

This is my first post to, seeing how well it links to my other online profiles.

To start, we’ll post a video of one of my favorite songs of the 80s.  Happy Tuesday everyone.

Posted via email from pederhanson’s posterous


Update:  I have parked my Posterous blog at I’m not quite yet sure what I’m going to do with it, nor how it’ll work with this blog and my Twitter acct, but it’s there and I plan to use it somehow.  Likely, I’ll post individual items there – those that are too long for Twitter – and combine them into larger themes on this blog.  I’ll likely post less here once I move to Belize … maybe once a week or so.

Posted in Communication, General Tech-ishness | Leave a Comment »

Stufen (1941), von Hermann Hesse

Posted by Peder on 26 January 2009

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.

Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will night fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf’ um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.

Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden,
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden …
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!

Like ev’ry flower wilts, like youth is fading
and turns to age, so also one’s achieving:
Each virtue and each wisdom needs parading
in one’s own time, and must not last forever.
The heart must be, at each new call for leaving,
prepared to part and start without the tragic,
without the grief – with courage to endeavor
a novel bond, a disparate connection:
for each beginning bears a special magic
that nurtures living and bestows protection.

We’ll walk from space to space in glad progression
and should not cling to one as homestead for us.
The cosmic spirit will not bind nor bore us;
it lifts and widens us in ev’ry session:
for hardly set in one of life’s expanses
we make it home, and apathy commences.
But only he, who travels and takes chances,
can break the habits’ paralyzing stances.

It even may be that the last of hours
will make us once again a youthful lover:
The call of life to us forever flowers…
Anon, my heart! Do part and do recover!

This poem hung on the wall of the teacher’s lounge at the Germanic-American Institute. While I had read over it before, I hadn’t really read it until yesterday, my last day of work there. It really spoke to me as I prep to leave … again.

Translation provided by Walter A. Aue and Bertram Kottmann.

Posted in Communication, Internationalism, Stuff That Gave Me Pause | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What the Obama presidency represents to an expat

Posted by Peder on 25 January 2009


Pragmatism a la 2004

I was 20 and in Germany during the 2000 presidential election. The night of November 7th, I sat up in my apartment until 4:00 am wondering what was going on with the numbers from Florida. By the time I returned from Europe, George W. Bush had been sworn in as the 43rd POTUS. During his first term I traveled to or lived in eight other nations, and as time wore on the questions about my President became more and more difficult. He was viewed as arrogant and ignorant — a horrible combination in leadership — and his unilateral approach to foreign policy was not well-received abroad, especially in its stark contrast to the approach of the previous administration. Suffice to say, George W. Bush made it more difficult to be an American overseas.

This morning I read an opinion article posted from an American living in Indonesia. Feel free to read the full text here, but I just wanted to republish an excerpt:

“A headline in one [Indonesian] paper summed it up: Welcome Back to the World, America. From Americans living overseas, this is the sentiment I most often hear. We’re not expecting miracles, but to have our leading spokesman again as interested in the rest of the world as we are, and as interested as the rest of the world is in him — this is a source of hope. And yes, that’s a change.”

It continues …

“In America, the big hope is that Obama can take care of some of the pressing domestic misfortunes — job loss, foreclosures, financial oversight. For the rest of the world, the bigger hope is that America is opening its eyes again, seeing itself as a partner in a broader future. For that latter group, [inauguration day was] a chance to say, yes, we’re watching too, and we’re celebrating.”

Photo credit: 10092007309.jpg posted by Yamica

Posted in Internationalism, Stuff That Gave Me Pause | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

writer’s block ku

Posted by Peder on 22 January 2009

Problem with blogging:
Lacking regular updates,
No one will read it.

C'mon .... ideas!

C'mon .... ideas!

Writer’s Block originally published by Ana June

Posted in Haikus | 1 Comment »

“Out of many, we are one.” – Barack Obama

Posted by Peder on 20 January 2009

Fifty short years past
couldn’t even vote.

Posted in Haikus | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

haikus are easy

Posted by Peder on 19 January 2009

Garrison Keillor
had it right in his op-ed:
Haikus are easy.

– Written in tribute to the original opinion published by the Star Tribune on Jan 18, 2009. [Link]

I like this government report saying that more Americans than before are reading novels and short stories — 113 million, in fact. Fiction is my cash crop, and that’s good news. Too bad, though, that the report was issued by the National Endowment for the Arts. A deep-down aversion to a-r-t is one big reason half of America stays away from fiction.

They’re afraid they’ll come across a sentence like, “She looked out the window and saw the reflection of her own pale face against the drifted snow.” Something girlish and moody like that.

These are guys who like to play video games in which you shoot people and spatter their blood on the wall. And what they might go for is manly fiction.

“Read my book, buttface,” said the novelist standing in the dim doorway of Brad’s garage. “Pick it up and read it.” “I ain’t gonna read your book, it’s got a lot of weird words like ‘languid’ and ‘luminous’ in it,” said Brad. He wondered if that was a real gun in the novelist’s hand. It was. BLAM BLAM BLAM. Blood spattered all over the garage and his workbench. Blood glittered on the gunstock that Brad had been sanding for his shotgun. He wouldn’t be sanding it no more. No sir.

Something like that.

People naturally want to be seen as sensitive persons of exquisite taste, and so America’s creative writing programs churn out MFAs to write stories in which she sees her pale face reflected. And the National Endowment for the Arts subsidizes that stuff.

But what readers really want is the same as what Shakespeare’s audience wanted — dastardly deeds by dark despicable men, and/or some generous blood-spattering and/or saucy wenches with pert breasts cinched up to display them like fresh fruit on a platter. It isn’t rocket science, people.

“Read my book,” the novelist said. “Are there breasts in it?” asked Brad. “Oh just grow up,” the man sneered. He didn’t notice Brad’s left hand reaching under the workbench for the .357 Magnum he kept taped there for just this eventuality. “I’m a serious novelist,” the man said quietly, “and I’ve won many awards.” But those awards weren’t going to save his skin from some serious perforation now. No, sir. BLAM BLAM BLAM.

You get the idea.

Unfortunately, writers are a gloomy bunch given to whining about the difficulty of getting published, the pain of rejection, the obtuseness of critics, etc. They sit at their laptops and write a few sentences about pale reflections and then check their e-mail and Google themselves. Maybe click onto a website where young women display their breasts like ripe fruit. They get busy messing around and don’t have time to write fiction so they write poems instead.

Poems are easy. A haiku is three lines of five, seven and five syllables. You can crank this stuff out with one hand, so people do.

But nobody reads poetry, thanks to T.S. Eliot, whose “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” we were forced to read in high school, that small dark mopefest of a poem about whether or not someone dares to eat a peach or wear his trousers rolled. And we got the idea that Literature is a Downer.

T.S. Eliot had no friends at all and he married a ballet dancer and they slept in separate bedrooms and she had a nervous breakdown. She wished she could’ve shot him three times in the chest, but they were in England at the time and there are no guns there.

A guy like that can’t be expected to write “Guys and Dolls,” and old Tom led a million writers down the path to writing reams of stuff that nobody wants to read. Literary quarterlies that sit on library shelves and nobody reads them except poets who want to be published in them.

“You got a problem with that?” said the poet. The columnist turned. He saw a beautiful woman with a gun in her right hand. Her long auburn hair hung down over her pert breasts. “You wrote this?” he said. “The part about looking out the window and seeing your pale reflection against the snow?” She nodded. He was going to say that hers was a reflection he wouldn’t mind seeing himself. But he never got that chance.

Posted in Communication, Haikus | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

coldest day in 5 yrs

Posted by Peder on 16 January 2009

On yesterday …

Even the raven
perched on the garbage dumpster
shivers this morning.

Courtesy of Peter “Mr.” B.

Bad Omens originally posted by Mallady

Posted in Around Minnesota, Haikus | Leave a Comment »

Live Blogging Every Commercial Flight in 72 Seconds

Posted by Peder on 16 January 2009

… Every flight in a 24 hour span, that is.

I’ve just been watching this back to back to back this morning.  I love how the volume of flights drops as night sets in, only to pick back up with the morning.  It’s really easy to see the main travel routes too.  #1 is easily North America <–> Europe.  At about 0:35 in you can just see the morning slew of planes descending westward over the Atlantic.  Lots of flights connecting Europe to Brazil and East Asia too, but not nearly as many trans-Pacific flights as I would have expected.

It’s fun to follow the paths least traveled too, like one originating off the SW coast of South America around the 0:10 mark.  Is that lone flight connecting Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia?  And what about his buddy originating from Buenos Aires 6 seconds later?  Think those two captains talk on the radio, and if so, what do they talk about?  Sooo … how ’bout that Antarctica, huh? Looks cold. At 0:28 they cross paths with an eastbound loner and I can’t help wondering why they cut so close to each other with all that space around them?  High stakes chicken?

Which path do you think is Oceanic Flight #815?

So here’s a live blog of the video:

0:00 – 0:10 — Wow there are a lot of flights in North America.  How come it doesn’t feel like I see that many when I watch the sky?  And look at Asia, they just have their own little thing going on there too, huh?  Hawaii gets a lot of love too.

0:10 – 0:20 — Ah, there’s Europe. Wake up sleepy heads!  The large stream from North America to Europe has dissipated, and did anyone else see how many connections there are between Brazil and Europe?  Must go to Brazil … Hey, who’s that little guy over the south Indian Ocean?  Where’s he going?  And there’s a dude up above Alaska!  (This reminds me of a trip my mother took.  Apparently Newwark –> Beijing flies pretty much right over the North Pole.  Go ahead, get a globe.)

0:30 – 0:40 — Europe is blossoming and the Americas have slowed enough to follow individual flights up and down the two continents.  That wave coming over the North Atlantic is pretty cool.  And then the USA/Canada wakes up — new flights following the sun.  Asia’s still humming.

0:40 – 0:50 — G’night Asia, good morning California.  North America and Europe are in full bloom again.  There are a bunch of flights shooting over the North Pole and Siberia, but no one’s crossing Antarctica.  A place only penguins dare to tread?

0:50 – 1:00 — Wow, there really is an ocean of land to cross in the interior of Asia isn’t there?  There’s a ton of flights there but they’re all sooooo spread out.  Looks like Europe –> North America is wrapping up for the day and the Asia <–> Australia flights are picking up.  And boy does New Zealand get an early start or what?

1:00 – End — Flights paint the Asian coastlines.  That little bugger in the south Indian Ocean is headed back east.  Lots of Europeans are flying to China and Japan, maybe Korea too.  Hawaii is booming again.  Woah, did you just see that flight over the south Atlantic blink and disappear at 1:04?!  … Oh thank God he’s back at 1:10, but where’d he go?  Flying under the radar?  The deck is 10,000 feet Maverick!

That was a lot of fun to write.  Here’s a little bit more about that video on Wired, and here’s where I first found it on Clusterflock. I got to that page by first reading this neat story, which I heard about on Kottke.  Lots of shout outs there, but you gotta recognize good things. Have a great Friday everyone!

Posted in General Tech-ishness, Internationalism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Remebering German Music Videos

Posted by Peder on 12 January 2009

A while ago I wrote about my job with the Germanic-American Institute, where I have a lot of flexibility in developing lesson plans.  As one of my classes comes to a close I’ve been looking for some different pieces to bring to the class.  When I was a high school German student I loved the songs my teacher would bring out.  Dorky as they were, they were really helpful in remembering vocab.  And as a professional language teacher I’ve learned adding music to a lesson is a fantastic way to boost language retention — almost without equal, no kidding.  Back in the day we sang Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich from the Beatles.  We ironically sang traditional beer-drinking songs too.  And we sang 99 Luftballons.

I love that song.  An symbolic anti-war song set to a rocking 80s beat.  If I had to pick a theme I’d paraphrase Vonnegut from Cat’s Cradle, “Where’s the threat, where’s the war?”  Here, enjoy it in all its proto-techno glory:

So here’s where am I going with this.  When I broadcast on Twitter that I was looking forward to teaching the song to my class, an old friend pointed me to some other less-heralded songs of the German persuasion … that I might einführ them instead.  Thus I present thee, die Ärtzte and die Prinzen.

“The Doctors” rock.  I’m a fan of their upbeat punkish rock.  Other favorite songs of theirs include Westerland and Wegen Dir.  Here is “Hurra” from 1995.

“The Princes” are significantly cornier, be warned.  But I had to learn this song in 10th grade.  Other songs we learned include Millionär and Küssen Verboten.  I can’t believe I’m admitting to this.  Whatever, here’s “Gabi und Klaus” from 1991.  The 1:25 mark is priceless!

Pretty sure I’m going to completely self-indulge and bring all three of these songs to class on Thursday night!

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