Thursday, August 18, 2011

There has to be a greater metaphor in this, somewhere

When not at work, it seems that I only do two things these days:
  1. Workout.
  2. Sharpen my knives.
What about watching football? I do that whilst working out and sharpening my knives. It seems that I only watch football these days whilst on the elliptical, or bike, doing the shake weight. Either that or I am polishing or stropping some knife I own.

This is a funny thing when you stop to consider it. Most people only work out to look good at the night club on Friday or Saturday night. I never go to the night clubs.

Most folks only attempt to sharpen their knives every once in a blue moon, and they only do so after countless meal preps. I rarely cook anymore these days. When I do, most of it goes to waste. I just can't eat a lot of solid food right now. It retards my progress and injures my workouts.

I know that someday I will go to a night club. I know that sometime in the future I will cook gourmet meals again for guests. Hopefully, there will be a 3/12/1986 Pisces on that guest list. In the meanwhile, I sharpen. I sharpen my body and sharpen my knives.

I'm a little like the Shaolin super-monk who goes on top of a mountain to train incessantly, for a battle that doesn't ever seem to come, due to the fact that he is committed to the way of peace. He still trains relentlessly and polishes his kung-fu.

Each time I work out, I feel my capacity to do work increase. I get stronger and better each time. The ferocity with which I train grows. I run angry, not scared. The tasks get easier, and I have to increase the resistance. The Bod Pod says I am getting better and better.

Each time I put a knife to WorkSharp 2000 wheel, or sand it with a belt grinder, my skills in sharpening improve. My hand grows steadier and more confident. My angle-judgement is improved. The knife grows sharper.

Yesterday, I ripped 23 minutes on the Olympic rower burning 272 kcal. I averaged about 48 strokes a minute. The resistance was set for level 10. There were several power lifters training nearby. I caught them looking at me several times. They had the bug eyes. They were bugging out over how hard I was training.

A few minutes after I quit, a middle-aged woman [perhaps 50] took over the machine. She rowed slowly. She might have ranged between 15 and 18 strokes per minute. The power lifters were laughing at her. This was among each other, not in her face. That wasn't particularly nice, but I understood the reasons why. You have to wonder why she would take a seat on a machine unless she planed to train hard. That pace was not going to avail her much.

She must have had another agenda in the gym.

Most folks who cook every day, don't have any knives to compare to mine. Most of my knives will turn a copy of Sports Illustrated into a pile of confetti in 10 or 12 strokes. I can slash through the whole magazine with one quick stroke. The cut is clean and true. Some of my knives are better than others, but all of them can do this. They all have mirror edges that can reflect light. I reflect the evening light from my window onto my wall after stropping a blade. This is one of my tests to ensure I have a good mirror polish on the edge.

Carrots, onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and parsley have no chance against my blades. I can mince them to a fine powder in relatively little time. The funny thing is I rarely cook, so I rarely prep food stuff. Still, I sharpen anyway, knowing eventually the day will come.

Most people workout to look good. I mostly workout to improve my health, but I am interested in looking good also. I know it is better to be good than look good, however. I try to ensure the substance is there.

The substance does seem to be materializing.

Last night I had a minor dumping incident. I felt like was having a heart attack around 6:00pm. It was over after about 90 minutes. Around 8:30pm, my buddy Colin showed up. He surprised me by telling he wanted to begin training on the ROM machine again. Of course, I was happy to oblige him.

We started out by weighing him on the Tanita. The Tanita says Colin weighs 230.0 pounds. I was shocked. I am now officially 18 pounds lighter than Colin. I used to be 100 pounds heavier than Colin. This is a 118 pound swing.

We set the ROM resistance for 165 pounds, and Colin did the ROM upper body workout. He looked to me like he was going to have a heart attack. He almost passed out on my couch. I gave him about 10 minutes to rest, and suggested that he do the lower body workout. He was still winded, and almost unresponsive as he nodded his head "no".

I got board. Despite the fact that I had done the full ROM cycle in less than 20 minutes that morning, I decided to do the lower body workout again. The lower is a doddle. I can do four minutes at any time. I knocked off the four minutes yapping about how easy it was the whole time. I wanted to shame him into getting the other half of his workout. It didn't work. He was too overwhelmed by the upper body workout.

I decided to do the abdominal and oblique exercises again also. That wasn't quite enough for me, so I got on the bike and executed one of my 12 minute escalator cycles. This is where I constantly escalate the bike resistance from 160 watts to 210 watts over the course of 12 minutes. That's a butt whupper. It will get your heart rate to 160 bpm and make you sweat.

Colin was fairly appalled by how easily I handled all that work. He was surprised at how fast my heart rate and respiration returned to normal.

I didn't have the heart to tell him an hour earlier I had just finished recovering from a dumping event. I could have done better, if I hadn't had an adverse reaction earlier that evening.

There seems to be plenty of substance developing. I think I am a lot better than I look, and I don't look half-bad. I think I would surprise a lot of people if they put me to the test.

My knives are a lot sharper than they look as well. Many an Iron Chef would be pleased to use they knives.

It's funny that I've developed an obsession with knife sharpening skills lately. On the other hand it makes a lot of sense. Knife sharpening is a skill that requires a lot of concentration. Developing skill takes time. Real-time concentration on a skilled-task focuses my mind, and takes my mind off the fact that I rarely eat solid food these days.

Still, it seems strange that I seem use neither of these great capacities. Although my capacity is greater than that of many, I have not arrived at the level I want to be. I continue to train in both disciplines. Sooner or later I will arrive at the super expert level I wish to achieve.

Then it will be time for a show.

Come to think of it, a friend of mine is having a birthday pool party and BBQ this Saturday. I just may cook a Paella for the crowd there. This will give me a chance to show off what my knives can do. The pool party ... well... you know what pool parties are like.