Emcee, Feline Actor, Passes Peacefully at 15

I’m bad with loss, so I don’t want to dwell too much. However, it’s important that I take the time to write a few words about one of my closest, most loving, enduring, and cherished friends. I felt that he deserved a proper obituary and tribute for his accomplishments, even if it was only on my blog page.

EmceetheCat

Alexander Volson Von Holden III, better known as TVs Emcee the Cat, passed peacefully last night, after the rapid onset of kidney failure. Surrounded by the ones that loved him the most, his end was dignified and painless.

Emcee enjoyed a brief period of fame on public access television, appearing in several live-action short films in the Defender of the Apartment series. He also appeared as a recurring character on SJTV’s The Video Cookbook, an irreverent comedy that mixed cocktail preparation segments with absurd bits of sitcom.

Emcee is survived by his adoptive parents Eric, better known as “Letter K”, and Amethyst, and his adoptive younger siblings Bagger the Cat and Mason.

Now, for my personal thoughts…

It was extremely difficult to watch Emcee slip away so quickly. One day he was plodding around, skinny but happy, lying on my chest for naps, meowing insistently for treats, and licking water from his custom water fountain. But, in a matter of days, he deteriorated to the point where we felt the need to take him to the local 24-hour pet clinic. There, it was determined that his time had come.

One of the hardest parts of taking your best friend to his end at the dead of night turned out being the sweet young clerk, who fought bravely to keep herself from succumbing to our grief, yet ultimately gave in. Still, seeing my baby boy finally at peace was calming; he struggled with old age for some time, and now he rests.

On our way out, one of the nurses said she was sorry that this was how we should meet. I told her that it was okay. After all, we were celebrating a great life, not morning a sudden passing.

I want strongly for everyone to believe that. I know Emcee was a part of many lives, and I want everyone to remember him just as he was: a purse-snuggling, shoulder-bopping, lap-flopping, horror movie watching kitten TV star that touched our lives.

As proof, I’ve put together a little show. It starts with my favorite, purposely poorly produced Defender of the Apartment episode, and is followed by Emcee’s biggest stand alone episode of the VCB, with all the drink segments and commercials taken out.

I love you buddy.

Low Fat February – Event Warmup

According to Matt Cutts ( and many others) a person can form a new habit, or break an old one, if they can create a continuous cycle of pursing that habit for thirty days.  I’m betting we can do it in twenty-nine.

Here’s the deal: my twenty-year high school reunion looms. My waistline expands. My body aches from inactivity. Something has to change, and soon. And, I’m not the only one.

I’ve done it before; changed my personal habits to promote exercise and proper eating. I drank less, I cooked more, I ran a simple cardio routine, and reaped the benefits to the tune of better health and the loss of fifty pounds. I’m going to do that again, without as much weight loss, and I hope you join me for the ride.

The rules are quite simple, really. Take better care of yourself, and you’ll notice a change. If we can keep it up, without falter, for the month of February, then studies show that it should be easier for us to continue for the foreseeable future.

Don't put yourself out. That gym membership totally pays for itself... through auto payment deductions.
Don’t put yourself out. That gym membership totally pays for itself… through auto payment deductions.

The way I lose weight and get into shape is simple, and does not conform to the insanely high standards of modern techniques. We live in a world where, not only do we want immediate results, we are bombarded by media and advertising that tells us we have to go from couch potato to CrossFit junkie the first day. Not only is this not the case, I feel it is counter intuitive for a majority of the population.

Of course, if I owned a company that thrived on people constantly starting up and failing dieting programs, I’d make it as hard to complete as I could, too.

Our biggest problem is fat intake, so that’s where we need to start looking. Fat is vital for our survival, and can’t be eliminated completely, but the amount of fat that we intake daily (and the kind of fat) is almost never considered. There are more kinds of fat than shades of grey, and some are good for you, in the right amounts. Saturated fat is the black sheep of the bunch, but also the most prevalent, and tasty. It’s recommended that you only get ten percent of your daily calorie intake in saturated fats, which puts that at 200 calories for a 2,000 calorie diet, but a Super Star w/ Cheese has twenty-three grams of saturated fat by itself, which is 115% of your 2,000 calorie daily intake recommendation.

Fats are everywhere, from avocados to walnuts to moo cows. The trick is getting the right ones, in the right amounts. For this event, I plan on reducing my fat intake considerably, while consuming 1/4 cup of almonds a day, to get my good fats. Lean meats are a crucial part of my plan. You can get very lean ground beef that isn’t so bad, especially when you brown and drain, but I prefer to stick with ground turkey and breast chicken. Yes, I say breast chicken specifically, because not all chicken bits are low fat.

Next, the plate size changes, and the arrangement shifts. Smaller meat, more veggies. Smaller plates means more hunger, especially with exercise in the mix, but there are countless healthy snacks out there to keep your motor running, and plenty of non-meat items are full of protein. Get used to reading labels, and packing fruits. But not juice, that’s another thing I’ll cut out. So many calories that can convert to weight gain, one small glass of apple juice is more than ten percent of your day. And, let’s face it, who drinks eight ounces of juice?

Water and black coffee are my new best friends.

I...hate...water...
I…hate…water…

Finally, cardio workouts. Don’t listen to the people that tell you the only way to get the body you want is to spend hours at the gym every day. Start with simple stuff. Doctor’s recommend to most people that they get their heart rate up for twenty minutes a day, five days a week, and that’s about it. You’ll be amazed at the difference, especially the quality of your bowel movements! Many people have an exercise bike just collecting dust in a corner of the garage. You can jog, too, if that’s more your game.

From there, if you want to do some basic toning of any particular area of you body (upper body for me) just look up some stuff you can do at home, with your own body weight. Us nOObs don’t need no crazy gym with its fancy weights. Believe me, pushing up your own two-hundred pounds is enough to start with.

And that’s the plan, all February long. I’ll be posting recipes I’ve created, and blogs about how I am doing. I encourage anyone and everyone to join me, and take the “29-day leap year low fat February challenge”. Post comments here or on my Facebook page, and tell me how you’re doing. Also, healthy meal ideas of any kind will be greatly welcomed. Give it a go, and who knows? Plus, just think, if you don’t like it, you won’t have to give it another go until 2020.

Even Survivor knows that a cardio workout is a good idea, if the beginning of this video is any indication. Keep your eye on the prize, like a tiger!

Why Me and What For

For the third time since March of last year, my poor little Sonic has been involved in a vehicle collision that was not my fault. With this latest repair cost (for the at fault insurance company, anyway) looming, I am almost certain that the twelve-month repair cost total will reach or exceed the original purchase price of the car.

Sitting in line at the fast food drive through always seemed a precarious endeavor to me. What is taking people so long, while you are trapped in a narrow lane of cars? Would it have been easier or quicker to just park and go inside? Why is that truck in front of me backing up while in the middle of a line…

Shit.

I suppose it's fortunate that I hadn't made it through the drive thru yet.
I suppose it’s fortunate that I hadn’t made it through the drive thru yet.

So I guess the woman driving and her husband got into an argument about their choice of breakfast stops, and the woman just put ‘er into reverse, without taking note of the line forming behind her. Karma dictates that I should be directly behind their enormous vehicle, undoubtedly hidden behind a high-rising tailgate, since I probably shouldn’t have been their in the first place; using a coupon that barely afforded me any discount, for a meal that my waistline could barely afford. Alas, there I was, and que sera, sera.

Even though the damage was minor, my front end is dented and broken in enough spots where they will probably have to replace all of it, leaving my driver’s side door the only part of the car’s exterior as an original piece.

Where am I going wrong here? Is my car too small and too dark in color for people to notice it? Is it because I, unlike many Americans, have lived in a personal culture of abstinence from the horn, so that I am now too slow to hit it when I need it most? I can’t imagine bad luck is the only blamable factor, since I had never been hit while driving my orange Bug, or my Mazda pickup, or my Century sedan.

While I worry about the future, as I am working towards giving this car to my wife, my experience opens up another question that I have long asked: why are there so many auto body shops? I mean, dang, they’re everywhere, in every city, dozens of them, all in rows like competing county fair food vendors.

The answer is clear to me now: because the business is there. Thinking back on it, the three times now that I’ve gone to body shops for body work, they have always had several cars completed, being worked on, and pending. My community college has a huge body shop program. Business seems to be booming, which begs the question: does the world need more body shop technicians, or better drivers?

I guess some people don't have a choice for insurance companies, other than the ones that will take them.
I guess some people don’t have a choice for insurance companies, other than the ones that will take them.

Luckily, auto insurance is a requirement by law. Unfortunately, its an easy law to break. The first two people to hit my car had let their insurance expire. Makes me wonder if my insurance company sued them for damages. Probably. Karma on the loose, once again.

My experiences with insurance companies have always been positive. Even when I caused an accident in my youth (that poor clementine orange Bug) the insurance company took care of everything without hassle. With these recent forays into the seedy inner-workings of the insurance industry, I’ve had to do little more than receive phone calls and go where I’m told.

I know this isn’t always the case, and that most people don’t share my glowing view of insurance companies. Does quality of insurance company have something to do with it? I’ve always had Allstate or AAA, and the guy that hit me yesterday had Farmers. All of these are big names in insurance. How many of those negative experiences surround companies that advertise extremely cheap rates by using minimum wage sign shakers and supermarket parking lot car fliers?

Regardless, my poor Sonic is up for another plastic surgery job. Here’s hoping I can keep her safe for the next seven weeks, so she keeps her annual trips to the doctor at a hat trick.

If things keep up the way they’re going, I’ll have a brand new car soon enough.