Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday night, Los Angeles. Mulan has her friend Coco over for a sleepover. This is what we’ve planned: Fish sticks, cauliflower, or as we call it, “Cauli-Pop” (roasted cauliflower that looks like popcorn) and just so we can learn to be sophisticated: berry juice in plastic wine glasses. For your information, the berry juice is Dole, 100% juice, berry blend, expiration: Oct. 15, 2006. A fine 100% juice berry blend if you ask me. Then, we are going to watch “The Sound Of Music” – Mulan and I just got the DVD at Rocket Video where I was told that I owed many, many dollars in late fees from several months ago when I rented “Shampoo.” It slipped behind the TV and I forgot about it. And then found it two months later. And dropped it in the drop-in box and never went in. Ooops. (Turns out that that showing of “Shampoo” cost me $40. Oh Netflix, here I come!) We also bought microwave popcorn at Rocket Video, so during the screening, actual popcorn will be served, not just the yucky must-be-eaten-or-no-movie cauliflower version. Mulan is interested in seeing this movie because I am always singing, “How do you solve a problem like Mulan?” and now, it’s source will be revealed. While we were at Rocket, we ran into my dear friend Lynn Stewart, who I met at the Groundlings a thousand years ago and who, every time I see her, feel deep gladness that I live in Los Angeles where the chances of running into her are infinitely greater than if I lived in Spokane. Lynn was Miss Yvonne on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, “the most beautiful woman in puppetland.” Lynn’s rewatching Sopranos episodes. But for us: “The Sound Of Music,” and “The Girl With The Pearl Earring.” I am kidding myself if I think I’ll have time to watch Girl With before the movies are due on Monday.

So, I sign off on the blue-line for my book on Monday and that means that the CD/book (my 102 page transcript of the show) will be in my hands by Oct. 6th, in time for me to drive to San Francisco for the Freedom From Religion Foundation conference. Why has this taken so long, you may ask? I’m not exactly sure. I just… took a long time. A long time deciding on which performance was right. A long time deciding whether to include a transcript and then what it should look like and then I made a lot of mistakes that had to be redone. And anyway… It’s finally basically finished. It may be finished just as the interest in it has abated. Or… not. We will see. If you want more information about the time of the release for the CD/book (yeah, that’s how I’m referring to it now) please visit my website and click on the balloon that says CD.

And speaking of balloons, they are going away! Yes, the whole website is being revamped in the next couple of weeks. To get ready for the official release date of the CD/book which, by the way is OCTOBER 25TH.

This weekend I am spending almost all my time getting ready for some shooting this week and next at Cal Tech and at JPL. I am sort of hosting (we hate the word “host” – we haven’t come up with anything better so far) this two-part show that is going to be on PBS (like, in a year at the earliest) about some of the scientists at Cal Tech and JPL and their amazing may-change-our-life-as-we-know-it work they are doing. And also scientists who are just doing interesting research and we don’t care if it changes our life. So, as you might imagine, this is really a dream job for me. This wonderful person, Mark Mananucci, who is directing and shaping this series, has been researching scientists at Cal Tech and at JPL for months and he is so knowledgeable at this point on what everyone is up to, that in my opinion – he should really be the host (or… whatever the name for that job is…) But for some fluky reason they are still having me be part of this, so I am reading and learning and watching research DVDs. I got to be part of some of the initial interviews and I’ve had such a great time. For example, I got to ride in a robotic car. As a passenger, it seemed like the computer brain had been drinking but was still functional (I’d say two glasses of wine.) In any case, the van (or car) is amazing and thrilling and I realized with a new level of profundity what kind of computations we are all constantly unconsciously making, just to drive a car down the street. And, this is the one thing I’ve learned so far about the life of a scientist: you spend a lot of time waiting for computers to reboot. I mean, like… a lot. Like seriously, you could become a tennis pro if you spent all that time waiting playing tennis. Or a professional cellist.

Which reminds me that I am going to try to play the cello for one teeny part of one song that Jill sings when we do our show together again Oct. 10th. It may be a bust. I have never played a cello. But I have contacted a cellist for instruction. Also, I am thinking about cellos and cellists.

And I am remembering a sketch that Christine Zander and I wrote while I was on SNL where I played a matron trying to seduce the pool boy and my seduction chat was all about Yo Yo Ma to the pool boy's great bewilderment. I think the pool boy was played by... I can't remember. I just remember saying the lines, "You know what a cello is, don't you Johnny? It's a womanly instrument that you straddle with your legs and if you stroke it in just the right way it makes the most beautiful sound." I know Phil Harman played my husband.

And since I'm free-associating I had a dream about Phil Hartman the other night. He was floating in water and so was I.

Sigh. Back to the chillins.

17 comments:

Life Behind Bars said...

Hi Julia, I remember that SNL skit - it was Luke Perry.  You and Phil were both trying to seduce him.
Chris

Atheism Quotes said...

Julia, please let us know how Mulan liked the movie! I'm not a huge musical fan, but I do love that movie. The "Edelweiss" scene still chokes me up, especially since it would be nice to see people in our country today be able to join together and do something symbolicaly similar to that about the way we're being led down this awful road!

I'll be keeping my eyes open for that PBS series. I don't find it unusual at all that they asked you to host. I *would* have been surprised if they had asked some ultra-religious person to host, since in today's culture, science and religion seem to be incompatible to soo many people.

But getting a smart, sexy atheist to host? That just sounds like common sense to me!

Andrew said...

The Sound of Music - that one will never get old. We still pull it out and watch it from time to time at our house, along with Grease and a few other classics.

Andrew
To Love, Honor and Dismay

grayforester said...

Julia!

Great about the science show; you'd written previously of your vision of a science show and I'm probably not the only person who saw it too in your speaking. If it turns out to be a good fit it may enable you to create your own show in time. I'm looking forward to any and all of that.

Phil Hartman did beautiful work, and if you liked him I'm sure he himself was beautiful, too.

If you do end up seeing “The Girl With The Pearl Earring” I hope you'll mention, however briefly, your impressions of the film. From what you've written I expect you'd find it annoying for any number of reasons, most specifically the victim story. It seems just a little bit "Camille," although it's unflinching about the male domination of women. I hope never to see it again.

Are there really two audio recordings of LGOG, one performed for the listener and one performed for a theater audience? I thought that was a great idea but I gather you've settled on one approach or the other. Of course I am wrong about many things.

It's delightful to read new missives as you post them. Thanks for the effort.

Steven

TimWarp said...

Are you sure you're not just watching "The Sound of Music" to check out the "What is it you can't face" line? (Caroline Rhea has a new bit about it that had me ROLFWTIME, and made me want to watch the movie again.)

I thought "The Girl With the Pearl Earring" was visually stunning. It's perfect to watch on a hot day because it sucks you into this cold, cold world.

The science show sounds facinating, and I look forward to watching it!

Cheers,

Betty

bookboy said...

Netflix is the only way we watch movies now. We are working are way through "Deadwood". And Penn and Teller's "Bullshit".I had a feeling you would redo your web site. It's going to get a lot of hits.

Sheldon said...

Oh Julia, how I needed a quick fix of rationality from your blog! I'm here in my office on campus, trying to recuperate from an encounter with one of our Nursing faculty; after complaining about a knee injury, she snapped it up in her hands and performed "Therapeutic Touch" on it, much to my horror! It was a bit unnerving due to the age and gender difference between us, and the whole time, I was remembering that sketch of yours with Luke Perry! No, really! I was actually thinking of it a few nights agao, too, but it came back to me during this incident. And now you're discussing it on your blog. Eerie! To steal one of your lines, "It just makes you know there's a god." : )

-- Sheldon

Audrey Heffner said...

Sign me up for the book~! I just read an article about a new book by Sam Harris, in an article in Newsweek, Sept. 11, called The New Naysayers. There's 3 authors, actually. Shows some depressing statistics, but all look like a good read. I can't wait til your book comes out, as the chances of you doing your show in Florida is like a red state in hell's.

My son Bink, who is 8, when shown Some Like it Hot when he was 5, ran up to the tv and kissed it when he saw Marilyn. Unprovoked, I might add. We're still laughing.

Audrey Heffner said...

Sign me up for the book~! I just read an article about a new book by Sam Harris, in an article in Newsweek, Sept. 11, called The New Naysayers. There's 3 authors, actually. Shows some depressing statistics, but all look like a good read. I can't wait til your book comes out, as the chances of you doing your show in Florida is like a red state in hell's.

My son Bink, who is 8, when shown Some Like it Hot when he was 5, ran up to the tv and kissed it when he saw Marilyn. Unprovoked, I might add. We're still laughing.

Jenny said...

bbI know this will sound a little fan-atical but I really, really miss Phil Hartmann. He was one of my favorite SNL members, ever, and along with John Belushi, is one of the few famous people I continue to mourn, years after his death.

Then there's Bill Hicks, whose insights I really miss.

I find myself thinking, "How would Phil Hartmann have played George W.?", or, "What words of wisdom would Bill Hicks have had about the World Trade Center, or the War on Terror?"

I think the world is a worse place for not having those comic geniuses around to poke fun at the horror that ensued.

That said, I am so glad you're still with us, and hope you continue to find ways to stand up for what you believe in, with humor.

ShellyD said...

Is that SNL episode available or is the clip on the Net somewhere? Anywhere? It sounds hilarious.

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