Pat Clark

It's not like I didnt' see this one coming

This, folks, is why the delete key is our friend.

Instead of going with instinct and excising the line in last week's column saying I maybe would see the Oscar-nominated films for best picture if they all popped up in town, I left it in.

Guess what? Four of five now are playing in Modesto, and the fifth still is in Merced.

Let me take this moment to reiterate the word "maybe" in last week's statement.

That same column attracted comments ranging from complimentary to a couple of e-mails from people who quite possibly think I'm a nut, though I've chosen to believe they are simply caring souls concerned that I am currently in the process of petrifying on my couch.

Either way, it's all good. I enjoy e-mails, even when their writers want to take me to task.

And fear not, kind readers, I'm way ahead of you. There was a past episode of "Nip/Tuck" where an obese woman's skin had literally grown into her couch. Being "Nip/Tuck," it graphically showed the in-house surgery needed to de-couch her.

Now, I'm neither obese nor that sedentary, but you just don't get an image like that out of your head, even when your hands flew to your face and you were forced to watch from between your fingers. I considered it a cautionary tale.

While I certainly can see how last week's column could give the opposite impression, I actually do get out of the house to experience entertainment. Just not for certain movies -- Oscar-worthy or not -- that sound, I believe the phrase I used was "dull as dirt."

Still, the way my plans to get out of the house Friday night devolved, I seriously began to think I'd brought some bad entertainment karma onto myself with those words.

I had tickets to see "Gypsy" at the Gallo Center and made reservations days in advance at my favorite restaurant. I knew what I wanted to wear and had a sitter arranged for my son.

But late in the day, my outfit suffered a, well, let's say a wardrobe malfunction. So I had to switch to Plan B on the rush. That made me late dropping off my son, which put me in a particularly harried mood. Then I got a call canceling my dinner reservation because the restaurant had suffered a kitchen malfunction, so I had to scramble for a fill-in.

There seemed to be a food malfunction at the restaurant we ended up at, too, since it came to the table lukewarm and my $22 steak was so tough it made my jaws hurt.

Walking up I Street to the Gallo Center in the rain and bitter cold after suffering through the worst $100 meal I'd ever eaten, I considered ditching the show and retreating to my comfy house.

Really, what further horrors might befall? Maybe my bad entertainment karma would prompt that lukewarm steak to make a return appearance. Or maybe I'd trip going up the lovely staircase and roll to the bottom in front of all those lovely theatergoers. Or maybe the show would just stink and the entire evening would be a big, ugly bust.

But I hung tough -- as tough as that steak -- and there was no meal revenge, no tripping. And the show was quite good.

So, I have taken heart. For one, I need to get out again if for no other reason than to get a better meal. But I've read enough praise to now want to see "No Country for Old Men" and "Michael Clayton" as much as I already wanted to see "Juno."

Maybe I'll see "There Will Be Blood" and "Atonement," too.

But, and I say this risking a repeat of bad entertainment-karma night, those last two still sound dull as dirt.