Year-End Favourites 2023

It’s that time again! Time to go through everything that brought me joy in 2023. The categories? Random. The results? Arbitrary! The value you get out of this? IDK, hopefully something sticks out to you! Without further ado: my year-end favourites 2023.

Favourite Film Stocks

  • Elektra 100: a respooled aerial film from the Cold War. Could any film more appeal to everything I love? I honestly cannot tell you how stoked I was to find this film. Not only is its history super neat, but it’s the closest film to my own editing style!
    • Places photographed with this film: Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Kodak Portra 800: The GOAT forever. The light, airy, and timeless quality of Portra 800 is just unmatched. Well, it used to be matched with Fujicolor Pro 400H but we don’t talk about that.
    • Places photographed with this film: Cannon Beach, Oregon; Seattle, Washington

  • Fuji Superia 400: My new Ol’ Reliable, readily available and up to any task I throw at it. I love how the tones in this are rich without being overly saturated. Great for testing out new cameras, too, like the Canon TX I bought in Missoula because I forgot my Olympus OM-1 in Seattle.
    • Places photographed with this film: Missoula, Montana

  • Kodak Gold 200: Was not planning to use this film this year but I completely dropped the ball on buying film before my Michigan trip. Thankfully, Bartell’s was there for me with rolls of Kodak Gold 200. And I have to say, I’m glad this was my film for this trip. It captured the state beautifully
    • Places photographed with this film: Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula

btw, did you know I sell travel prints? decorate your walls with cool photos from places i’ve been!

Favourite Albums

  • St. Lucia “Utopia”: My absolute favourite album this year. It’s come with me all over the US, through every mood and season. St. Lucia have been my favourite indie band since 2012 and they keep knocking it out of the park with every successive album.
  • JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown – “Scaring the Hoes”: This album is weird. It is not for everyone. But it is good. It is an achievement in verse and production. It’s exactly my level of weird. It samples “Escaflowne”!! Start with “Burfict!” and if you don’t like that song, you’re probably not going to like the rest of the album.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen“The Loveliest Time”: the queen of pop quietly released the best pop album of the year. “The Loneliest Time” was a great album but this just hits different. It’s pop production at its finest. And it’s super fun in concert. Yes I did see CRJ in concert twice in one year. That was revenge for missing her in 2020 thanks to Miss Rona shutting it all down.
  • Tyler Childers “Rustin in the Rain”: full disclosure that this is not my favourite Tyler Childers album. But it is a wonderful collection of songs, from “Luke 2:8-10” to “Percheron Mules.” And you can’t tell me “In Your Love” isn’t an incredible song, especially considering its music video! Anything that shows that country is for everyone and makes the bigots mad is great with me.
  • Sofia Kourtesis“Madres”: “How Music Makes You Feel Better” is one of those songs that just quietly came out and was song of the year material. The whole album is just a vibe.
  • Beirut“Hadsel”: I love everything Beirut put out. This whole album encapsulates the mood from 2020 to 2023. It feels like moving from isolation to connection. It also feels so much more cohesive than the last album. Genuinely just excited he’s still making music.
  • Panopticon“The Rime of Memory”: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to distill my whole vibe into one album? Because it’s this. A little bit country, a little bit Norwegian black metal. Like, peep the runtime on “Winter’s Ghost.” It’s 20 minutes long. It starts as haunting country, builds into a dirge, and ends as black metal. It’s perfect.
  • PoiL“Yoshitsune”: This album is weird. You probably won’t like it! But I do. I love noise as a genre (Nisennenmondai’s “Neji” is a forever fave). Cyclical, discordant noise just hits for me. Also it’s about our boy Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Checks all my boxes.
  • Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective “*1”: I love seeing Vietnamese groups in new genres. For the longest time, it’s felt like everything that I could find was traditional or adjacent to that. And that’s fine! But that’s not always what I’m looking for. Tihs album is fantastic. It’s got bits of grime, it’s got bits of trance. It’s experimental and an entire vibe.
  • Brìghde Chaimbeul“Carry Them With Us”: It’s bagpiping. It rules. I promise. Also all the titles are in Scottish Gaelic which absolutely rules.
  • Lankum“False Lankum”: Haunting Irish doom folk music. This album connects with something deep in my soul while also already existing in my soul. idk man I’m Irish, what do you want, this hits for me.
  • Margo Cilker“Valley of Heart’s Delight”: Hello. Do you like female country singers? Do you like crying? You will like this album. You will also cry. I’m sorry in advance.
  • 파란노을 (Parannoul)“After the Magic”: The only way I can describe this album is: winter vibes. It’s relaxing but soaring. It’s energetic without being pulsating.
  • Killer Mike“MICHAEL”: Killer Mike is probably my favourite rapper. So when this came out around the two year anniversary of (bummer alert!!) my mom being in hospice, I knew it was gonna hit. And then my mom took a turn for the worse. And then she passed. And I was very thankful to have this album. Mike spills his heart in a way that resonates on so many levels to me.

Favourite Podcasts

  • Shutdown Fullcast: The internet’s only college football podcast. The amount of college football content varies.

  • Well There’s Your Problem: Do you like engineering disasters? Are you an actual leftist? Do you also have or surround yourself with people with ADHD? You will like this. It has slides.

  • Vacation Bible School: Hello, I grew up evangelical. I have Feelings about that. Thankfully, the internet has connected me with people who also have Feelings about their evangelical upbringings. And who are whip-smart and witty. Jason and Emily read through the Bible and realize we were not actually taught a dang thing that was actually in the Bible. It’s fun!

  • Lions Led By Donkeys: A military history podcast that’s actually good and not just weird propaganda. Joe does an amazing job of researching and breaking down conflicts and just weird moments in history. A podcast for war dads and war dads at heart.

  • My Brother, My Brother, and Me: An advice podcast by three goobers. The advice is questionable but the goofs are elite. Genuinely the first podcast I listened to on the reg and the highlight of my Mondays.

  • True Anon: I should have been listening to this years ago but here we are. I finally jumped in and it’s been a delight to unravel and do deep dives into myriad subjects.

  • The Idolcast: Selfishly, this is one a friend of mine produces. Wait, don’t scroll away! She’s incredibly smart with cutting analyses on both current trends in pop culture and Asian music and a wide and deep understanding of music history.

Favourite Travel Spots

  • Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: My best friend has been campaigning for me to visit MIchigan basically since the moment we met. She was right: Michigan is even more incredible in person. I adored Traverse City but didn’t have more than a few hours to explore it. I absolutely fell in love with the UP and already have at least five trips back planned in my head.
Marquette, Michigan Lower Ore Docks
  • Ketchikan, Alaska: A place I’ve wanted to visit for years (which I will explain in a longer blog post later). I could not have asked for better weather in late October to explore this lovely little town.
Totem on Elektra 100 film
  • Sitka, Alaska: Sitka is one of those places I immediately felt like I could live there. Not just because it’s gorgeous but because the people are so lovely. I can’t wait to go back to Sitka.

Favourite Session Locations

  • Lake Kachess: One of my favourite adventure sessions this year! It was a joy to get to be at an out of the way spot and create memories with this sweet family.
  • Tipsoo Lake: Another spot that’s been on my bucket list for years!
  • Alki Beach: Great spot close to home! There’s nothing like Alki in the sunshine, especially in the fall.

Favourite Book

  • Hell is a World Without You by Jason Kirk: I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t read a lot of books this year, and even fewer ones that came out in 2023. And technically, this one doesn’t come out until 2024. But I was able to read an advance copy of it and it was gorgeous. The prose was beautiful and bittersweet. It was like reading someone narrating my life in high school as a misfit, tryhard evangelical. I can’t say enough good things about this book. Available wherever books are sold or with proceeds going to charity at Shutdown Fullbooks.

Favourite Recipes

  • Kleftiko (Greek lamb in parchment): I made this for my best friend and her family in Michigan the night before our trip. It sounds more complicated than it is (in that it sounds complicated and it’s stupidly easy). If you can chop veggies, you can make this. And you should make this.
  • Lemon Garlic Butter Orzo and Fish Parchment Packets: Another one that’s stupidly easy and comes together stupidly quickly. An amazing meal when you want food quickly but don’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen.
  • San Diego Carne Asada: I found it. Eureka, I have found it. Being from San Diego, I am so picky about my carne asada. I have been tweaking marinades for decades to try and replicate the ones I had at taco shops in San Diego. And I finally found one that does. I might have cried.
  • Crab Rangoon Dip: Sometimes it’s nice to just have a munchy dinner. And we munched out on this one. It was literally almost gone before it ever made it to the dinner table.

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