In Sunday Funday, L.A. people give us a play-by-play of their ideal Sunday around town. Find ideas and inspiration for where to go, what to eat and how to enjoy life on the weekends.
While Bill Nye is a man of many truths — he’s a martini guy, a model train guy and a wife guy — he’s best known by the masses as the Science Guy. That’s fine by him. Because in 2023, 30 years after “Bill Nye the Science Guy” first aired on PBS, the bow-tie-clad educator is still sharing the message that we need science, maybe now more urgently than ever.
His 2017 Netflix show, “Bill Nye Saves the World,” tackled climate change, vaccinations and diets. More recently, he’s the host of Peacock’s “The End Is Nye,” in which he takes viewers through realistic yet nightmarish scenarios, like a supervolcano eruption or a worldwide blackout.
The allure is in the unsettling plausibility of it all. “You might think that when there’s a pandemic, people would want to watch romantic comedies or something,” Nye said. “But no, people watch disaster movies. They rent ‘Contagion.’”
Nye said the goal of the show, which he co-created with Brannon Braga and Seth MacFarlane, is to scare people into paying attention. While the first half of each episode lays out the disaster, the second half is about resolving it with science.
When Nye isn’t teaching viewers how to save the planet, he rides his bike, eats oysters and contemplates the universe with his wife, Liza Mundy. Here’s how he’d spend the perfect day in L.A.
8 a.m.: Have coffee in bed
First of all, I turn on the coffee. I use the expression “turn on” because I make the coffee in the coffee maker the night before and turn it on when I get up. And this is possible because — product placement — I use a Technivorm Moccamaster. Then I bring coffee to my wife in bed. For those of you men out there, bring the woman a cup of coffee. I’m telling you, it’s a hit with women of all ages, 60 years old to 106 years old. I’m just saying, those are data [points] I’ve collected.
9 a.m. Head to the farmers market
We go to the Studio City Farmers Market, and the three things we always buy are some croissants from Frogs Organic Bakery, some flowers from various vendors and some fish from this one vendor who claims all the fish is sustainably caught. And we often buy oysters on Sundays — we’ll get a half-dozen oysters, and we’ll have three apiece later in the day.
10 a.m.: Make scones
I lived in Seattle for many years, and there’s a scone mix made by Fisher. I get no kickback from this, but if they want to pay me, I’m on board, man. So Fisher’s scone mix is a shortcake. You don’t do anything but add water. And then you get these lovely, warm, yummy scones from the oven. And then we almost always will have a soft-boiled egg with the scone.
10:30 a.m.: Watch our favorite news show
We always watch “Meet the Press,” which we recorded, because I don’t need all the drugs that are advertised during “Meet the Press.”
11:30 a.m.: Do some chores
Most Sundays I sweep the front walk. I have a very nice tree in the front yard that provides a lot of shade. It’s very good, it’s a camphor tree. But it sheds these little berries, especially this time of year, so I keep a broom by the front door with a Rubbermaid hold-it-on-the-wall thing, and I sweep the front walk.
If I could get to the point where I felt my desk was cleaned off, or the workbench was cleaned off, or there was nothing wrong with all my freaking irrigation system stuff, that’d be really good.
Noon: Go for a bike ride
Noon or noon-thirty, I’ll ride a bike. I used to be very good on a bike. I used to be quite strong. Now I’m of a certain age, but I have five bikes.
I don’t do it every Sunday, but more than four times a year, I’ll take stuff to e-waste, and then on the way back, I’ll stop at Mt. Sinai cemetery and visit the grave of my neighbor who became a dear friend. When I moved in here 17 years ago, she was in her 80s. She would turn on the oven, and I would make scones and take them over to her house and bake them in her oven, and then we’d sit around and talk about the universe or what have you.
2 p.m.: Visit the toy train store
Sometimes I’ll take trips to the Train Shack. In the living room right now, I have a toy train set up. I ran it earlier today, blew the whistle and the horn. The smoke comes out of the engine, the giraffe ducks its head as it goes under the whole thing. It just fills me with joy. And my wife is an enabler in this. I gotta say, she doesn’t discourage the toy train thing in any way. It’s not for everyone, but going into the Train Shack, seeing Todd and Mindy and Chris and getting a new chimney for your Christmas caboose — that’s a good activity.
4 p.m.: Take a walk with Liza
We almost always go for a walk that’s about five miles up the hill here in Studio City to a lookout point. There’s a street that has a good view of the Valley, so we walk up there and back down. We’ll say hi to a few neighbors.
Bob Picardo, a dear friend of ours, was the officiant at our wedding. And he said, “You know, if you’ve been around them, they’re always talking. They’re just always talking.” Liza and I just talk all the time. And he pointed out to the audience, “Many of their conversations are interesting, but let’s face it, everyone. A lot of their conversations are just dumb.” And so one of the questions that Liza and I ask each other several times a day is this: “Is what we’re talking about dumb?” But it’s been agreed that if it’s about food, then it’s inherently not dumb. It’s an inherently worthy conversation. If it’s about oyster knives, that could be a half-hour right there.
5:45 p.m.: Shuck oysters and have martinis on the front porch
I’ll put one of my oyster plates in the freezer while I shuck the oysters from the farmers market. The oyster guy will have given us a small bag of chipped ice. When I’m ready to go, I’ll take that plate out of the freezer, put the chipped ice on it, then put the oysters on there.
Then we’ll make a martini. Now I, as you may know, prefer Bombay Sapphire gin. Liza prefers Hendrick’s, so we alternate. And then in the summer, or when it gets warm, rather, we both like to have Barr Hill gin, which has a little honey in it. So we sit on the front porch with a martini and oysters. That’s really a fantastic Sunday.
If we’re not on the porch — like, it was pouring down rain a few weeks ago — we’ll sit in the living room, sipping the drinks and having the toy train run in the background.
7 p.m.: Fire up the grill for dinner
And if it’s like last Sunday, we’ll have swordfish. I cook them on a grill. Now in the modern world, you don’t have to guess if the swordfish is done. I have the electronic temperature probe — it’s a Weber Grills product. It Bluetooth-ifies into your phone, so you wait until it’s the perfect temperature, and then you take it off and it cooks those last couple degrees Celsius. I do it in metric units, by the way.
8:30 p.m.: Catch up on “Ted Lasso”
What we’ll do now is watch “Ted Lasso” from a few days ago. There’s no gunplay, there’s no slashing, there’s no blood. Something we hope to try, and we haven’t really pulled it off, is watch two episodes — watching last week’s again, and then this week‘s — but we haven’t been able to do that. So it seems indulgent.
9 p.m.: Read a bit before bed
Liza is an avid reader. I’m a reader, but she is … look out, people. So we’ll read and then turn off the lights after a while.
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