A Week in the Life: January 17, 2020

I had another week of feeling messed up, but today I am feeling a lot better. It has been hard to motivate or be interested in things lately. Yesterday I had some clarity and realized that, of course, these are signs of depression (and that brains are dumb). After talking this out with Kirk and some of my friends, and going to roller derby practice last night, I’m feeling significantly better. I think part of the answer was just identifying the problem and articulating my feelings (spoiler: everything feels pointless because of climate anxiety). The other part is that it seems like I need a high level of activity to keep my brain chemistry in check. Plus, since I work from home, derby is my main social outlet. As exhausting as it can be to interact with people, it seems to be necessary.


Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.


book: Betraying Big Brother, the Feminist Awakening in China
Betraying Big Brother: the Feminist Awakening in China

This week I read Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China by Leta Hong Fincher as part of my ongoing non-fiction jag. I can’t say I know much about China, but I like reading about feminism so this book piqued my interest. I knew China was an authoritarian state, but reading the stories of the Feminist Five, five notable feminist activists who have crossed with the state, was illuminating. As much as I rail against the patriarchy, I can see that I have it way better than a lot of women in the world. Chinese authorities regularly harass feminists just for participating in activism like passing out stickers with messages against sexual harassment. Anti-women attitudes combined with the Chinese surveillance state are making it extremely difficult for feminists to speak out, but they’re doing it anyway. Leta Hong Fincher is bearing witness to their experiences and sharing them with the rest of the world.

Something else I found interesting in this book was that the obsession with “purity” and prohibiting women from having sex outside of marriage is also a part of China’s patriarchal culture. Although this is something I associate with Christianity, a Confucian value and another blunt weapon that men wield against women in the fight for bodily autonomy. Patriarchal bullshit has no borders.

Other reading on the internet:

  • Virginia Finally Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment via News and Guts Media. This news made me more emotional than I anticipated. With Virginia ratifying the ERA, there are now enough states approving it and it can move on to congress and maybe really become an amendment to the constitution. Being considered fully human by our government would be great.
  • Every Place is the Same Now via The Atlantic. This article really resonated with me. The thesis is that, by having smartphones that let us do any task in any place, we have made places lose their meaning. Everywhere is the same because we can do all the same stuff anywhere we go.
  • A Clear Menace via The New Republic. We make lots of buildings with a glass exterior to be fancy, but it’s actually horrible for the environment and we should stop.


We watched the original Star Trek movie from 1979. It was … something. There are excruciatingly long, loving shots of the Enterprise—like five straight minutes at a time of panning over the ship exterior. And there’s all the weird slowness and antics you’d expect from an Original Series episode. It was a strange experience, but I’m glad that I’ve seen it. Although we have been watching Star Trek in TV form for a while, this is the first movie I’ve watched. Kirk says the other ones are better and I hope he’s right.

Rampant Consumerism

newly installed stainless steel faucet
behold, my new faucet

The backpacks I ordered last week were delivered so now we have the beginnings of our emergency kits. So far, all that’s in there are our N95 breathing masks, some water bottles, and a couple of my old glasses, but I’m planning to gradually build it up so we’re ready in a crisis.

This week we bought a new kitchen faucet, and had some bonus house drama. Kirk attempted to fix a problem we had in the kitchen with the faucet only putting out a small amount of hot water, in comparison to the cold. Unfortunately, this resulted in even less hot water—barely a trickle. We called a plumber who, after some investigation, informed us that the problem was in the faucet itself and we’d need a new one. I was unwilling to wait for a warranty replacement, so we used some of the Home Depot gift cards we got for Christmas and bought a new one instead. The plumber came to install it this morning and now I can use the kitchen again. Praise Odin.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Something I’d been mulling over, but hadn’t acted on until this week, was changing my email address. I’ve had a gmail account since gmail was new in the mid 2000s. I’m used to it and I like it, but I am tired of so much of my internet use being mediated by big tech companies that are just here to make money off our data and meddle in the democratic process. Last year I started blogging as an alternative to facebook (and look how well it’s going!). This year, I’m taking on email. I own this site, and lindseyhalsell.com so I can set up all the email addresses I want. I decided to go for something simple: mail at lindseyhalsell.com for the new account. It’s been kind of a pain switching over subscriptions to the new address, but it’s been a good opportunity to unsubscribe from things I routinely delete anyway. So far I’m enjoying this process of internet self-sufficiency, although I am missing some features.

Derby Life

Roller derby started again this week and I’m happy about it. We’re doing two practices per week until we have tryouts in mid-February. It’s a good way to ease back in without too much stress. I was pleasantly surprised to not feel too physically strained at practice. I mean, it’s always hard and a lot of effort but I felt strong and I felt able to breathe. I’m not sure if altitude sickness put everything in perspective for me or my off-season workouts really paid off. Perhaps both.

I’m also excited because our head coach this year asked me to improve our new skater program. I have a lot of ideas and it’s going to be interesting to see what we can do.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my derby wifedom with Taco and Stomp (although is the date of our Rollercon wedding our real anniversary now?), and it was great to practice with them both. Here’s to four years together!

me, Taco, and Stomp smiling for the camera
Happy Derby Wife Anniversary!


me at the gym, wearing a pink shirt with a ham planet on it and flipping off the camera
ham planets against patriarchy

I made it to the gym twice this week. I had good intentions of going three times, but after Tuesday’s derby practice, my body felt kind of in shock from all the effort, so I took a day to rest. Today my knees were still feeling it but I did my best. I wore my Team Ham Planet shirt today in honor of a coach telling us that we need to get in shape. Okay.

Domestic Witchcraft

Saturday, we finally planted the vegetables we bought over a month ago. We cleaned out the garden bed and put in leeks, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli for some winter vegetable gardening. We are still learning what works well in our garden, but I’m hoping at least some of it grows and gives us tasty food.

I didn’t cook much this week, but this time because of our faucet woes. I was unwilling to dirty a bunch of dishes with no simple way to get them clean, in the absence of running water in the kitchen. But before all that, I made this chickpeas and orzo recipe, which was really tasty and I pickled some onions for kirk (it took two jars to contain the one GIANT onion I bought). I also made milkshakes again. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Knitting and Crafts

The photo says most of what needs to be said here, but I’m celebrating that I finished one sock and have knit half of the second. I got the heel turned and now am ready to pick the stitches back up to knit the gusset. I may even finish this weekend. I am a little annoyed with myself though because I thought I would run out of the green/silver yarn so I padded the length with the grey yarn. Nope. I’m almost out of grey and I still need to knit the toe of sock two. We’ll see what happens. Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to this knitting cliffhanger.

one fully knitted sock and one halfway knit
sock progress

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.