...make a post, the saying goes. This has been a bit of a nothing week. So a pot-pourri update to let you guys know I'm still around:
The advantage of shopping in the immigrant areas is that stuff is cheaper, and you can get a more interesting range of food (and chocolate spread which counts as ethnic food in this country!). But another advantage is that the junk food is halal, so I ate some meat for the first time since ploni_bat_ploni's wedding in summer. Also, kebabs make me nostalgic for Oxford.
Things I never learned growing up in a temperate country: if the ground is icy, it's a really bad idea to just sling a bag over one's shoulder or carry it in one hand. It's worth taking the time to make sure everything is properly balanced, to avoid falling over painfully.
I succeeded in arguing with a shopkeeper in Swedish the other day. That definitely makes me feel better about my linguistic competence. And I got the advertised discount on several pairs of brightly coloured leggings.
Two brilliant essays on fannish topics: kassrachel on Midrash and fanfic; catvalente on awesome. Darcy, you have to read both of these, but anyone interested in quirky, scholarly takes on internet culture should have a look too.
I was supposed to go to an important meeting about the future of education in the Jewish community. When I turned up, noone was there, so I was running around town in a blind panic trying all the other places I might have mistaken for where the meeting should be. And then I was really stressed that I'd somehow got the time wrong and missed the meeting, and therefore let the Progressive group down because I was invited as their delegate to the general community. A week later, after much prodding by me and the Progressive chairman, they admitted that they'd postponed the meeting sine die and forgotten to mention it to me. Well, at least I didn't screw up, but that's really, really annoying!
Now to finish preparing my Torah reading for tomorrow...
I think your disagreement isn't really a disagreement. I think you're talking about a different linguistic phenomenon. There's the word as fashionable among young Americans, which is just the current term for "cool" and as such, you're right, it doesn't mean anything except for bland approval. But catvalente is talking about a very specific linguistic community: the people on the internet, and primarily on LJ, who write fanfic and have discussions mainly about TV shows with occasional SF books thrown into the mix.
If you read her article carefully, she's talking specifically about awesome as a noun: made of awesome, full of awesome, teh awesome! This is a linguistic group you don't have much reason to be aware of, I think. Maybe it is overused even within that community (one of their distinguishing linguistic features is that they use a lot of hyperbole), but it's still used in a different way from the common meaning of awesome.
That reminds me of a question that occasionally pops to my mind but that I haven't expressed yet.
Is halal meat also kosher, by definition? Or, conversely, is kosher meat always halal?
Or, to put it even differently, I don't know the details of either, but I believe they require some similar things, especially in the way meat is prepared, and I'm wondering whether the requirements of one are a subset of the requirements of the other, such that meat that is "A" is automatically "B" for some permutation of (halal, kosher).
Technically, a kosher slaughterer must be Jewish, so that halal meat is not considered kosher to the standards of public certification, even though the procedures are identical. (There is a rider here; hindquarter meat is effectively prohibited to Jews but Muslims have no such restriction.) Conversely, Muslim friends regularly purchased kosher meat from our synagogue shop but I understand that, on a strict interpretation, this is acceptable only if halal meat is not readily available.