Thursday, May 27, 2004

IT'S BEEN A WHILE, I know. My excuse could be that I really didn't have anything interesting to say, but when has that ever stopped me?

  • The D.C. branch of the Olives restaurant chain (family trivia: Jacqueline held her bridesmaid luncheon at the Las Vegas location) served me a nonsensical but wonderful entree: tenderloin steak atop spaghetti sauce. Sauce bolognese, more properly, but still. It was weird. And it was wonderful.

  • Jacqueline has become an avid Scrabble player. And she finally tried Korean food. I'd be exaggerating, but not by as much as you'd think, if I said this ranked right up there with certain standard male fantasies. She not only tried it; she liked it. Wow. The Korean food, that is.

  • A Las Vegas trip is near.

  • It's French Open time. And I've broken a racket, so I get to shop for a new model. Oh, I have another racket -- another three or four rackets -- but at my lofty level you must have a matching set. Which makes that eBay purchase of a single rare model look dumber and dumber, while still a lot of fun.

    Other than that, it's been several weeks of threatening weather and hellish working conditions and a house that's falling apart even as it rises in value beyond our wildest dreams.

    Tomorrow (and by that I mean "today") we meet with some very nice, very competent architect-design-builder types whom we trust very much, aside from the fact that they're trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from us. A really nice presentation could win those dollars, but I'm betting on their winning only paranoia and recriminations. And it's mightily depressing that the decision on whether to spend those dollars must depend partly on how firmly we believe the Capitol Hill neighborhood will remain intact and non-radioactive for as long as it takes to pay off that home-equity line of credit.

    In addition to the aforementioned work nightmares, there's the whole Lynne Truss thing, which I suppose is bothering me more than I thought it would. I can stand Patricia O'Conner's brilliant "Woe Is I" being a bestseller and my "Lapsing Into a Comma" being just a cult favorite, but I'm not sure I can stand "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" making Lynne Truss a millionaire while "The Elephants of Style" can't even merit a review -- good or bad, uh, anywhere.

    In my own newspaper, George Will and Michael Dirda go on and on and on about the jump-on-the-bandwagon bestseller about punctuation that can't even get basic punctuation right in its title. I don't expect cheerleading, but a tiny mention would have been nice. Of course, a tiny mention would have required knowledge of my book's existence, which clearly wasn't there. Publishing is a rich-get-richer industry.

    With all the crap going on, one thing it's taken my mind off is the same-old, same-old fear that city dwellers face: street crime. A return of that fear was not exactly what I needed, but what spurred this long-overdue post was a rattling of the front door in the wee hours as I played computer hold-'em, inspired by the "World Poker Tour" episode paused on TiVo. I was used to the rattling, and the resultant scurrying of the cats, as a common consequence of the wind, but this time it happened over and over in quick succession. Accompanied by male voices.

    I made the 911 call and dealt with the very slow, way-too-methodical, not-exactly-standard-English-speaking D.C. operator, and the police eventually did arrive. By that time the guys who were trying our door had moved on to other doors and I was largely over the scare. But what else am I going to have to deal with? I'm at my limit.

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