Last night we went to dinner with another couple. The husband is a colleague of ours, and his spouse, who narrowly escaped academia, has a fantastic job which allows her to work from home, go to all the best cities for brief periods of time, and support the family in ways our university salaries definitely do not. Nonetheless, she knows us, and both departments, all too well, the entire cast of characters. We headed to a restaurant downtown that we all love, but had never been to together. To our surprise, they have a gorgeous, private little patio with tiled fountains and loads of beautiful trees that form an intimate canopy, kind of like a New Orleans courtyard (but with a California breeze). This is a tapas restaurant, so we proceeded with round one and a really nice bottle of cabernet, which no doubt set the stage for the rest of the evening—a marathon gossip session. From the completely self-centered, to the clueless, to the lazy bald-faced liars with (and without) redeeming value, we worked our way right down the list. While polishing off a second bottle, we figured out who would/should/could be chair when himself throws in the towel (cross your fingers, please). I really don’t care who chairs my department next (well, almost), but I am looking mighty forward to someone else chairing that OTHER department. So after paying a bill which really should have been enough punishment in and of itself, we hit the freeway, or should I say the freeway kinda came up to meet the car, with a pop that nearly scared the collective liver out of us. Turns out the engine cover beneath the car had come halfway off. We couldn't really stop, so we drove to our house with it scraping the highway for a good 8 miles, and then changed to my car to get our friends home. The damned thing is now back in place, so I guess all's well that ends well, bad karma or not. I've had a productive work day, although I did have to go in again for a few hours (mostly because I had to let mr. guest curator into the building). But no real complaints tonight (even though Sears did NOT, I repeat—not, deliver MP1’s bed). MP2 reports that he's had his first gig in Texas, playing second tenor in a big band at a restaurant/bar in Lake Dallas with some UNT grads. Good for him.