Gary’s Brother

You know you live in San Francisco when…

your Uber driver starts telling you about his start up idea
he tells you about his start up idea for a solid 10 minutes
his start up idea is to throw parties to make money for charity
he asks you what company you work for
he asks you how he can get free products from the company you work for
he asks if he can call his mother
he calls his mother on his car’s speaker phone
he does not tell her she’s on speaker phone but he does tell her he doesn’t believe in astrology
he doesn’t believe in astrology but his horoscope has been really on point with his business ideas lately
he doesn’t believe in astrology but a friend of a friend is an astrologist and he wants to have an astrology reading done
he wants to have an astrology reading done to help direct his business decisions
he doesn’t believe in astrology
he is calling his mother to ask her for his birth time
he needs his birth time so his astrology reading is as “accurate” as possible
his mother doesn’t remember when he was born because it was over 40 years ago
his mother knows the exact hour and minute his brother was born
his brother’s name is Gary
his mother had an astrology reading done when she was younger
it influenced a lot of her life decisions
her astrologist died ūüė¶
his mother suggests calling the doctor that delivered him
his mother who gave birth to him doesn’t remember his birth time but the doctor who pulled him out may
he thinks that’s a *really* great idea
he tells his mother he is on his way to an important meeting
(I’m paying him to drive me to a spa so i can get a massage)
he has to hang up the phone now
they both say i love you
he hangs up
nothing is said for the rest of the drive
i truly love moments like these
i give Gary’s brother 5 stars

The Sunday Six

1. Illustrating What It Feels Like To Leave San Francisco.¬†After seven years in San Francisco, illustrator¬†Amelia Altavena says goodbye to the city in this touching comic.¬†I have said goodbye to so many of these things too, without having to leave San Francisco.¬†Goodbye to¬†walking home tipsy¬†from theme parties in the Lower Haight–a neighborhood I rarely visit anymore. Goodbye to friendships that were wonderful and then painful and then over.¬†Goodbye to having my heart broken. Goodbye to the creativity and art that used to saturate these streets but could not survive the rising costs. Goodbye to my 20s. To my prior¬†self. To a part of me that no longer lives here because¬†it no longer exists.

goodbye sf

2. My Bones.¬†Love this claymation video made by my creative [and hilarious] friend Lindsey. She never ceases to amaze me, whether it’s her acting, her comedy sketches, her craft skills or the fact that her headshots have an “add dinosaurs” feature.

3. This Quote From Henry Rollins.

“I have burned more hours than I would like to admit in slow agony, ransacking my brain for an idea to write about…The first draft is handwritten and then, often moments later, is rewritten into a computer for the second draft and worked on from there. When I am off the road, this is often my big Friday night out.”

4. A Surprise Visit.¬†This clip¬†of New Zealand newscaster being surprised on air by his favorite musician, Sharon Van Etten, went viral this week. His coworkers organized the surprise after learning he had tickets to see her that night but couldn’t make it due to a conflict.

His reaction is so lovely and unfiltered and moving.¬†“It’s pathetic really,” he says. “I’m 51 years old. But music sometimes, it just keeps you afloat, doesn’t it?”

5. The Horse Raised by Spheres. This horse basically knows exactly how I feel at parties / around strangers.

6. The [un]Lucky 13. Though not surprised, I’m sad to read of the possible plans¬†to close¬†San Francisco’s beloved Lucky 13 bar to make way for¬†condos. Though not surprising given the¬†demand for housing in the Bay Area,¬†it’s hard not to shake the feeling that San¬†Francisco has somehow become an¬†occupied ghost town.¬†Change is inevitable, of course; but often heartbreaking, nonetheless.



This incredible woman, Amaya,¬†submitted a¬†one-page piece of writing to NPR’s local Perspective series. Her submission¬†– a short piece dedicated to her beloved grandfather, centered around the subject of grief – was selected. Listeners located in Northern California will be able to tune into NPR¬†tomorrow, March 10th, to hear her read it. For those of you not near a radio or¬†located outside North America¬†can follow this link to stream it online.

Amaya is a writer, an actor, a musician, a Capoeira badass, and a dancer, and we have known each other since we were 13. I am excessively proud of her and consider myself lucky to call her a friend. For more of her writing, please check out and follow her blog.

These Wonderful Women

I have started a new writing project called These Wonderful Women. To check it out or subscribe, please click here.

From the About page:

These Wonderful Women¬†is a project born out of an experiment¬†to focus less on being ‚Äúmore creative‚ÄĚ, and instead on seeking inspiration from some truly incredible resources. I am surrounded by¬†women who are¬†fearless in their quest to build, tune and leverage¬†their talents, who explore new¬†paths in life, overcome challenges, and¬†intricately sew creativity into their daily lives. These women challenge the¬†traditional definition of what it means to be creative (they are not just artists, but athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists, care givers, fashion designers, and comedians) and face their fears either in their ability to stay the course or by¬†being¬†unafraid of constant change. My goal is to¬†ask these women questions,¬†pick their brains and seek their advice‚ÄĒto bear witness to their incredible accomplishments and share their stories with others.

Thank you!

First Song Cry

There’s a video going around of a father capturing his 4-year-old son Jackson crying at a song for the first time. It’s an incredibly sweet and special moment, though I will admit that I am glad camera phones and YouTube didn’t exist when I had my first song cry.

I was 6 or 7 when my teenage brother sat me down in his room, told me what he thought the song was about, and played Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for me. I cried and cried and just kept saying “this is so sad. this is so sad.” At least for the first 20 minutes of the song.

My brother was my musical Oracle growing up. Everything he loved and listened to, I loved and listened to. With that came the bad (I knew every Motley Crue song and had a pretty powerful crush on bassist Nikki Sixx) but also the good. 1 1/2 of my brother’s cassette tapes stolen by young Me provided the staples of my youth: Public Enemy’s album¬†Fear of a Black Planet, and Led Zeppelin I which was confined to one side of a recordable cassette tape, which boasted who knows what on the other side because fuck that side of the tape Led Zeppelin rules.

Many musical lessons were instilled in me by my brother before he left home for college. In his last two years of high school, he often babysat me during the summers on the condition, set by my parents, that he ensure that I practiced the piano and the cello. While the weight of this obligation often led to well-negotiated side agreements (“Okay, you can watch Terminator¬†with me if you don’t tell Ma and Daddy, and I won’t tell them you didn’t practice your cello today”) as well as a diet largely consisting of white bread, mayonnaise and Canadian Bacon microwaved until it turned black, for the times I did practice, my brother often joined me–sitting beside me on the piano stool and explaining to me the importance of the emotional component of music. If you don’t play with your heart, he told me (and I am not making up that a 17 year old boy said this), no one will really care if you get all of the notes right. I was young and impressionable, in awe of my brother, and these words never left me.

These are the memories that flood me watching this sweet little video of Jackson. The moment perfectly captures not only the powerful impact music can have on a person, but also a child’s total willingness to accept it.

The 10 Biggest Moments of My 2013

Hottubbing with Astrophysicists


Joel and I took a weekend away in February to go to Sea Ranch. Before living together, we liked to go there to share a house, cook delicious meals in a kitchen that could fit us both, walk along the water’s edge and hang out in the hot tub at night. I may or may not have also spent some of those nights away drinking two glasses of wine with dinner and falling asleep on the couch at 9:30 despite my relative youth.

One particular night, Joel and I sat out in the hot tub gazing up at the crystal clear constellations in the dark night sky. Sea Ranch is a beautiful place where nothing is around to be heard and the sky is clear enough to make out the stars. That night, not to brag about how romantic we are, but in perfect Courtney and Joel synchronicity, we both reached out and held each others hands as one of us said what the other was thinking: “man, I wish Neil deGrasse Tyson was here.”


Girls Weekend

girls weekend

Every year, my friend Ambyr and I take a weekend away together. This year she called me from Portland, OR and told me she had a wedding to go to on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and did I want to join her as her date. A month later I was crashing a stranger’s wedding photos amidst the palm trees and the sunshine.

Ambyr is amazing. She’s super smart and fun and a great mom and there’s no drama with her or around her because she’s too “life is short” and to the point. It’s inspiring. She even smiles in photos with me when my stupid hair is in her face. Ambyr in general and Ambyr specifically on our weekends away remind me that even if they live far away – whether out of state or out of country – I have some truly remarkable people in my life. It’s a good reminder to work on myself to be the kind of person that deserves these folks as friends.

Channeling My Inner Ron Swanson


For our four year anniversary in April, Joel and I wended our way down to San Louis Obispo to spend¬†a few nights at the Madonna Inn. We ate steak and drank whiskey at the pepto-bismol colored Gold Rush Steakhouse, climbed the rock walls of our room, played basketball on a turquoise and fuchsia basketball court and watched Game of Thrones from two pink cow-hide medieval armchairs. It was the greatest weird place I’d ever been to and a fun way to ring in a new year with my better (at least at basketball) half.

Being Told By A Guy With a Neck Tattoo of a Straight Edge Razor Dripping Blood That My Boyfriend and I Would Make Great Parents


So technically the wasted girl he was with said this to us; but she then asked this guy if he agreed and he said he did. It just seemed more genuine and powerful coming from him and naturally, I think he’s right.

Every Time I FaceTimed With My Nephew

skyping with liam 2

FaceTime has enabled me to see my nephew grow and change, despite living three states away. With the help of technology, I have seen him walk, say his first words, build blankey forts and play games with his silly dad, my brother. He has accidentally put Jay Z on my brother’s iPhone and danced for me, he has shared his dinners with me, and my favorite, we have played together during bath time. In one particularly special exchange, we were discussing his bathtime toys when his face got serious and focused and my brother immediately recognized and announced in a panic that Liam was pooping in the bathtub. My poor brother and his wife don’t find it as hilarious as I do because they are the ones that have to scoop poop out of the bathtub; but to me, it’s just my nephew exercising creative ways to end conversations.

This little tiny adorable human baby is dopamine personified. He brings me happiness, joy and a calm I can’t get elsewhere. Even when he shits in the tub like a god damned animal.

Discovering My First Grey Hair

grey hair

After having to skip out on a hair-coloring appointment, which meant waiting 4 months before my roots were touched up, I discovered that when left to their own devices, some of my hairs like to grow in grey.

A week after discovering my first one, I got on a busy train with my mary poppins could-fit-a-lamp handbag and my gym bag when a young woman sitting by the door generously offered me her seat. I was totally chuffed by her thoughtful gesture and, to my surprise, took her up on it. Later, when I recounted the story to Joel, he replied “she must have seen your grey hair.”

Meeting Lady Edith Thumplecock

lady edith

Lady Edith Thumplecock is by far the best new friend I’ve made this year (possibly ever). My friend Eric introduced me to her, and I will always be indebted to him as a result. Not only is she well connected given her history of rich ex-lovers, but she has the most amazing stories to tell and is always bedecked in¬†fabulous accoutrements¬†(she’s basically a simian Iris Apfel). ¬†I never quite know what she’s going to say next, and there’s always some new adventure she has yet to tell me about.



It’s getting harder and harder to live in San Francisco. The rents have become so astronomical that I can’t watch House Hunters without having to decide whether to cry or kill myself because someone says their budget for a 4 bedroom house is absolutely no more than¬†$175,000.

I’ve been living in San Francisco for 16 years and feel simultaneously at home and ready to leave. Almost all of my friends have left because they can’t afford to stay, and Joel and I – though successful and well-employed – feel like buying a house is an impossible dream in our beloved city. At a time when I had almost succumbed to my own bitterness, the story of Batkid gave me a glimmer of hope that the soul of San Francisco is still somewhat intact.

The Make A Wish Foundation, which provides wishes to children with a life threatening medical condition, put together a day for five-year-old Miles Scott to live out his dream of being Batman. Complete with saving a damsel in distress and stopping the Riddler from robbing a bank, the itinerary for his day ended up getting picked up by someone on Facebook and went viral on all the major social media outlets. When it came down to the day, over 12,000 volunteers had made their way to the streets of San Francisco to cheer him on. He was then presented with a key to the city as thousands of people, myself included, looked on. It was a truly powerful and wonderful experience – a reminder of the good in people and how precious life can be.

Extrovert Appreciation Society

extrovert appreciation society

2012 was the year of discovering and accepting that I was an introvert. I spent a lot of time in particular processing this and accepting myself amongst my introverted friends who understand me and give me the space I need to recharge on my own.¬†2013 was the year of remembering that I do have extroverted friends that also provide that understanding and space. I had wonderful exchanges and spent some great moments, in particular, with my friend Rose. She has always been the best at bringing me out of my shell since we met in high school: she was the person that got me to sing outloud in front of other people, she kidnapped me on my birthday one year and made me stand on benches at bus stops in the middle of the night to shout out improvised haikus. She was constantly getting me out of my comfort zone without ever putting any kind of pressure on me to do so or making me feel bad if I didn’t want to.

This past year, Rose and I have talked a lot about me accepting my introversion in a new way: without alienating myself from my extroverted friends in order to avoid upsetting anyone or out of fear of losing another extroverted friend. For cutting myself some slack for being an introvert, but also cutting some slack for my extrovert friends that might not get it or understand right away. She made me realize that balance is key, that I should never exhaust myself but should never comfort myself with too much time alone either (introverts can get lonely too!), especially when there are so many great people and things to experience in life.

Moving In With Joel

bernal hill and us

It took us a while, but a while was the right amount of time before we moved in. Things have been great.