2023, But Monthly

My year in photos

Today’s the day that everyone on Instagram was posting their year-in-review photos, which typically gets the “oh how nice for you” response that it deserves.

But out of curiosity I started flipping back through the photo album to get an idea of what my own hypothetical version would look like, and I was genuinely surprised. I’d kind of imagined events spread out over the past few years, and I didn’t realize that we’d managed to cram so much stuff into 2023.

This was supposed to be my “gap year,” where I’d wrapped up my last project as best I could, and could take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime chance to just take a year off. Work on personal projects, maybe build up a portfolio, but mainly just relax. So I’d mis-remembered the year as being mostly uneventful, but in fact we’d been lucky to do a ton of stuff. Here’s that stuff in list form!


  • Went with a friend to see the Astra Lumina light show in Los Angeles
  • Went to a soft opening of Super Nintendo World at Universal Hollywood
  • Saw M3GAN, which was surprisingly fun and even bordering on insightful
  • Tried for a month to bring the friendly muttonchops back into style


  • Highlight of the month was our first Disney Cruise, to Catalina and Ensenada on the Disney Wonder. We loved it, and I instantly became a convert.


  • Drove up to San Francisco for a brief visit to the Game Developers Conference
  • Met with friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in years, at the tiki bar Last Rites
  • Went to a “Batuu Pride” event hosted by my friend Dave, and my fiance indulged us by taking photos while we goofed off with our light sabers in front of the Millennium Falcon


  • We got a new couch and felt like grown-ups
  • I caught COVID and felt terrible. Mostly because it inconvenienced other people more than it did me, and it seemed to last all month.


  • We went to a Star Wars-themed Disneyland After Dark event
  • I finally got to visit the Apple Park in Cupertino, along with the original Apple HQ on Infinite Loop


  • We visited Washington DC and saw Mount Vernon, plus a Yayoi Kusama exhibit
  • I spent my birthday at Disneyland, and then my fiance drove down to meet me and have dinner at Rancho del Zocalo. It’s a quick-service restaurant, but it felt really special, and that was honestly one of the best days of the entire year.


  • We went to Vegas, where the highlights were The Beatles LOVE show at The Mirage…
  • …the neon museum…
  • …and Omega Mart by Meow Wolf


  • We went to a live comedy event that seemed very much a “this could only happen in Los Angeles” type thing, where an artist was on hand, illustrating the comedian’s routines in real time
  • We met up with a friend and spent the day going to a queer book fair in West Hollywood, and then exploring around Little Tokyo


  • We went with friends to my second-ever Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal Studios. I still think it’s my favorite haunt event in the area.
  • Family came out to visit, so we saw Santa Monica and the canals in Venice.
  • I flew back to Atlanta to visit family, and while there I spent a day at my first DragonCon.
  • Not pictured, but I started my new full-time job.


  • More haunt events leading up to Halloween, including the interactive haunted house Delusion…
  • …and my second visit to Knott’s Scary Farm


  • We made last-minute dinner plans for our anniversary at a Japanese restaurant in the Hollywood hills
  • We went to an event run by IndieCade at the Music Center in Los Angeles, an open-air collection of video games available for everyone to play
  • We saw Wish at the Disney Studios lot


  • We made our first visit to the LA Comic Con downtown
  • We went to a Christmas party at the Disney Studios lot and got to see the company HQ
  • We saw Christmas lights at Disneyland and at Universal Studios

One special achievement this year is that I think I went to Disneyland at least once every month in 2023. That’s a big deal because it proves how much I live near Disneyland.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’m very glad to have the first New Year’s Eve in a very long time where I can look back on the previous year and be pretty happy with everything that happened. What I can say for everyone else is that I hope you have a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2024.