Some Wonderful Things from 2023
As the bulk of 2023 recedes from memory, I wanted to share some of the things from my media diet posts that stood out for me last year. Enjoy.
Succession. I did not think I would enjoy a show about extremely wealthy people acting poorly, but the writing and acting were so fantastic that I could not resist.
25 years of kottke.org. Very proud of what I’ve accomplished here and also genuinely humbled by how many people have made this little site a part of their lives.
Fleishman Is in Trouble. Uncomfortably true to life at times.
Antidepressants + therapy. I was in a bad way last spring and it is not too strong to say that finding the right antidepressant and arriving at some personal truths in therapy changed my life.
The Bear (season two). I don’t always love it (especially when the intensity ramps up) but there’s definitely something special about this show.
Barr Hill Gin & Tonic. The best canned cocktail I’ve had, by a mile.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Brutal and inspiring.
Crossword puzzles. A few times a week, a friend and I do the NY Times crossword puzzle together over FaceTime. It’s become one of my favorite things.
AirPods Pro (2nd generation). Am I ever going to shut up about these? Possibly not. The sound quality is better than the first-gen ones and the sound cancelling is just fantastic. I used these on several long flights recently and you basically can’t hear much of anything but your music.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Visually stunning.
The Kottke Hypertext Tee. Might be bad form to put your own merch on a list like this, but I’m just tickled that these exist. Putting an actual physical good out into the world that people connect with is somehow satisfying in a way that digital media is not.
ChatGPT. This very quickly became an indispensable part of my work process.
Downhill mountain biking. I did this a couple years ago and it didn’t click for me. But my son and I went last summer and I loved it…it’s one my favorite things I did all year. Gonna try and get out more in 2024!
Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland. Probably the best TV thing I watched last year. Listening to survivors of The Troubles talking about their experiences was unbelievably compelling.
Au Kouign-Amann. One of my all-time favorite pastries. Looks like a boring cake, tastes like magic.
Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America by Heather Cox Richardson. An extremely clear-eyed explanation of how Trumpism fits in with the Republicans’ decades-long project of weakening American democracy.
The Creator. I liked this original sci-fi a lot — more stuff that’s not Star Wars and Marvel pls.
Northern Thailand Walk and Talk. I will write this up soon, but this was one of the best things I’ve done in my life.
BLTs. I could not get enough of this simple sandwich at the end of last summer — I was eating like 4-5 a week. When the tomatoes are good, there’s nothing like a BLT.
The little hearts my daughter put on the backs of the envelopes containing her letters from camp. Self explanatory, no notes.
The smoked beef sandwich at Snowdon Deli. The best smoked sandwich I’ve had in Montreal.
The Last of Us. A bit too video game-y in parts but overall great. A couple of the episodes were incredible.
Photo of a Vermont vista taken by me this summer while mountain biking.