My Charge to You

Let not your mind temper the whims of the heart. Instead embrace them in all their uncertainty and plunge forward with that fervor only the soul can muster. For it is these moments that lend meaning to an otherwise meager existence, making life worth the living. So hurl yourself headlong into those things which stir you, heeding not the consequences, pausing only long enough to smell the roses, laugh at the sun, and marvel at the sheer possibilities afforded you.

Vince on the Bike

Declaring Saturday an exciting night might be an understatement. Comedy, drama, adventure…the night had it all. It began with a wine party hosted by a couple of friends in downtown Cleveland that was, in short, a blast. The affair was held atop an apartment building on what turned out to be a beautiful, albeit blustery, night.

At some point that evening, I began to consider the notion of walking to my suburban home in Mentor after the party. The 25-mile trek from Cleveland to Mentor is a challenge I have often thought about and, for some reason ([cough]…wine…[cough], [cough]), an early Sunday morning departure from downtown seemed appropriate. So early Sunday, after lights-out and once our commandant had gone to bed, I gained my freedom by stealing away quietly into the night and pointed my feet eastward for the nocturnal sojourn.
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Counting Sheep

It’s late on a Monday night; late as far as I’m concerned, anyway. I have to get up for work at 6:00 tomorrow morning but as midnight approaches I find myself unable to sleep. So here I am staring blankly at a computer screen whose glowing phosphors serve as the sole source of light in the room. There’s something slightly eerie about sitting in front of a monitor, whether it be that of a computer or television, without any other lights on. Awash in its brightness, I feel exposed, as if the focal point of any eyes lurking in the darkness beyond.

I probably shouldn’t have taken that nap earlier; I think that kind of threw me out of whack. That, and I seem to have a lot on my mind, which is not unusual. I have always been hopelessly inept at shelving thoughts in the interests of falling quickly to sleep at night. Too often I find myself gazing toward the ceiling while lying in bed, thinking about what lay in store in the coming days or, more likely, what I have come to know in days passed. After the bustle of daily activity subsides and I lay in darkness, alone with my thoughts, I find myself finally able to get some real thinking done. There are no tasks to perform or conversations on which to focus; my mind is free to wander to those strange, mysterious places only the mind can go.

A-ha! It seems my suspicions concerning lurking eyes were not wholly unfounded. As I type this a small fly dances across the computer screen, apparently more concerned with reaching some point inside my computer monitor than getting any sleep. It seems perfectly content with the idea of being completely revealed by the one light source in an otherwise unlit room. As for me, I’ve had about enough exposure, I think. It’s time I retreat into darkness and my bed concealed therein. I get this feeling I’m going to be bushed tomorrow…

“Well then why are you in law school?”

It’s a question I’ve been asked numerous times to which I have no answer. Well, no convincing answer, anyway.

I have just completed my first year of night school. Our last final was this past week and, thankfully, I am not taking classes this summer. My spring semester came to a typical conclusion, involving final exams for which I was grossly under prepared. Over the course of my academic career, I have come to take a perverse pleasure from walking into a test (partially?) unprepared. I am not sure how to explain it except to say that when you sit down in front of a piece of paper upon which most or all of your grade depends and realize you are ill-equipped to complete it, the adrenaline starts flowing. It dawns on you that you are going to have to dig deep, if you know what I mean. And so the game begins.

For quite some time I have had little aspiration of becoming an attorney. It just doesn’t seem like me. Voiced aloud, this sort of confession invariably earns an utterance along the lines of the title of this post. My usual response is, “I really don’t know.” And that’s the truth. I have long held at least a mild interest in the law. I am not sure if it was that interest or boredom or perhaps a combination thereof that drove me into law school. I can tell you that I work 40 hours a week now and for me that’s PLENTY; I have no desire to work any more than that. Some people believe the choice to be financially driven. I don’t think that’s it, either. Those things that bring me the most joy in life have little to do with money. I suppose what it comes down to is that maybe I pursue the law more as an avocation than a vocation. Such a realization is valuable to me; it allows me to assume that role of a “casual law student,” thus avoiding many of the stresses normally intrinsic to the pursuit of a law degree.

I should make one thing clear. In my mind, the field of law is an inherently noble profession, despite any less-than-savory characters who might lead you to believe otherwise. It is a system of principles and rules based on fairness; that, at least to me, demands a certain respect. For all its flaws, abuses, and apparent shortcomings in execution, the judicial system in this country has remained progressively flexible and generally effective since its inception 200 years ago. That impresses me.

So perhaps I am destined merely to admire the field of law from afar as a mere spectator, rather than a player. As with everything else, time will tell.


Lately, I’ve been amused at the to-do over rising gas prices in this country. Myself, I just find it hard to complain when our European brethren are paying an average of over $5/gallon to fill up. But I suppose that’s typical. It’s likely that most Americans don’t view Europeans, or the rest of the world for that matter, as brethren. For some reason we tend to feel as if we deserve better. Put that way, I guess we really do have something to complain about.

As it turns out, much of the price of European gasoline is attributable to taxes placed on it. United States gasoline prices include tax, as well (around 50 cents/gallon is attributable to taxes, varying by state), just not as much. Much of this tax goes toward supporting the highway infrastructure which, in the case of the U.S., is the best in the world. So here we are paying less than half the price for the same gasoline while enjoying a transportation system unmatched in the global community. But let’s complain.

I think some twisted part of me hopes that gasoline prices continue to rise. In such an instance, maybe alternative fuels would become a more attractive option for car manufacturers and the traveling public alike. Fossil fuels are not the future; that much is clear. Perhaps rising gas prices will encourage the utilization of car-pooling and mass transit. People in this country have developed this notion that it’s their inalienable right to drive their very own 1-ton (and any in many cases 2-ton and beyond) vehicle for the sole purpose of delivering only themselves from the suburbs to the city for work. It’s the American way: wanting all the benefits without any of the effort. I admit, I am guilty of this myself. I get in my car every morning, drive straight to work, and return straight home afterward; no messing around with picking people up or catching a bus (though, if mass transit were an option for me I’d seriously consider it). But I really should complain, I suppose.

Is OPEC a monster? Absolutely. But until I see American citizens (myself included) and, to an extent, corporations putting forth at least minimal effort to mitigate the impact of rising gasoline prices, and at the same time combat them, you won’t see me feeling sorry for us. Until then, for me and the Jetta, it’ll be 87-octane, please. And you won’t hear me complaining.

Life IS Good

On the car ride home from work today I had one of those moments where everything just felt GOOD. It’s a warm day and I had the wind in my hair as a great song came on the radio. I couldn’t help but smile as I cranked it up, sang those lyrics I knew, and fudged those I didn’t. Worries melted away, everything around me seemed to radiate an incredible energy as I was reminded, irrefutably, that Life IS Good.

“I’m Never Drinking Again”

Well today pretty much sucked. The story is familiar: I went out last night with some classmates after our final Contracts class (good cause for celebration, to be sure) for a drink or two. Unfortunately, while I should have eaten, I chose to drink my dinner instead; not good. It wasn’t a conscious decision, of course; it just kind of happened that way. This morning was one of those mornings where I opened my eyes and immediately wished I hadn’t. I had just enough energy to dial-up work and call in some sick leave. I know, I know…not very responsible of me.

From that point on my day entailed a circuitous route between my bed and the toilet. Gazing down into the water, doubled-over, I had those moments where I honestly debated the possibility of losing an organ. There were times I swear I was close. I’m not sure if it was a kidney or spleen but something was on its way up. My sole comfort amidst the convulsions was the contrasting coolness of the porcelain against my hot skin. I just cleaned the toilets so I suppose that’s not quite as gross as it could have been. Each time I went to flush I remember thinking that I have no recollection EVER eating anything THAT color.

So now it’s Friday night. As you may well know, friends expect certain things of you on Friday nights, despite the prior evening’s indulgences. With that, I suppose I should go get a shower and prepare for a possible night out. I’m looking forward to giving solid food a shot here in the next hour or so, but one thing’s for sure: I am NEVER drinking again….

….until the next time, that is.


The purpose of this entry is simple: to memorialize my bold and controversial assertion that Cheez-It is simply the best snack cracker out there.

It’s a strange thing. I like crackers in general, I suppose, but to no great degree. Cheese is okay too, though again, I’m not crazy about it. Put them together, however, and I am presented with this snack cracker second to none. Sure, the serving container isn’t anything special and the idea that there is no plural to “Cheez-It” is unsettling to the faint-of-heart. But that’s part of the appeal: Cheez-It is all business. It doesn’t waste time with gussied-up packaging or fancy slogans; it’s just a damn good snack cracker. The cracker speaks for itself.

Now you might think this an unhealthy obsession with snack food. You’d be wrong, though. In a 27-cracker serving size, Cheez-It offers 4g of protein and some calcium to boot, at a paltry 160 calories; all that as well as great taste. Furthermore, I would suggest to you that STALE Cheez-It still maintains a tasty edge over 95% of the snack crackers out there. It’s THAT good.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of cautions when it comes to Cheez-It. First of all, only the original will do. None of this Mountain Jack flavor or bigger-sized Cheez-It. Neither can match the original taste and convenience of the real thing. Avoid reduced-fat Cheez-It at all costs. Second, it is inadvisable to mow down half a box at 3:00 in the morning after a night of drinking. Take it from me, it may seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll pay for it the next day. The resulting after-taste defies description, and not in a good way.

Other than those cautions, you should find Cheez-It a fulfilling and rewarding experience. I leave you with one last message in its regard.

And as for Fig Newtons(tm) being the supreme fruit-filled cookie on the market, that is a topic for another day…

The Magic Fridge

My name is Jeff. I’m 27 years old and I live with my parents.

Yes, it’s true. Seem pathetic? Perhaps. But I get along with the folks fairly well and other than the occasional butting of heads with the ol’ man (typical Alpha-male syndrome) domestic life is, for the most part, tranquil. Sure, I did the whole moving-out, going-to-college-for-six-years-thing like everyone else, but then I ended up back in the one place I have ever considered home. Besides, with work (more on that later) and school (more on that later) it seems that I spend little time in the house these days. So I float my pops a few hundred a month and live off the fat of the land, as it were. This brings me to the subject of this entry…

I’m planning on spreading my wings sometime in the next few months, during the summer break from school. Though it will feel good to carve out some space of my own in this world, I realize all-too-well how much I will miss the conveniences of “home life.” Of notable absence in any place called my own will be the Magic Fridge. See, my folks have this refrigerator, and it’s incredible. Each morning upon waking up or evening upon returning from work/school, I go to the Magic Fridge and open it; and each morning or evening I am amazed that it is well-stocked with fresh vegetables, fruit, luncheon meat, eggs, dairy products….you name it. I have come to love that Magic Fridge.

The Magic Fridge is not alone, either; for example, there are some Magic Cupboards in the kitchen with non-perishables and even a Magic Oil Supply in the garage to quench the thirst of my ’88 Volkswagen Jetta. It doesn’t end there. But the Magic Fridge serves to represent those things I take for granted living here. Despite my best efforts in bracing for non-Magical household appurtenances, I have a feeling part of me will miss this place I have called home the past 27 years.

In moving out, like everything else in life, with the good comes the bad; yet it’s been my experience that life deals us larger helpings of the good. It’s up to us to see that and make the most of them. In my case, I find myself wondering if that means trying to sneak the Magic Fridge out of the house while the folks aren’t looking. Hmmm….