Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The People's Night Court

All rise... A brief recounting of the week when I went B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Or at least the supposed cause of it all; or the beginning of the end? Oooh, foreshadowing.

Monday, April 9
Typically, I come in every three weeks to work, mainly as a training person, sort of to hang out. I'm not consultant by any means, I'm just here to lend a hand to a few friends. I'd done it twice already, starting six weeks ago. It's a fun, growing, company and it's the only "job" I've had where I wanted to wake up early and be on time. Can't say that about a lot of things right? There's a lot of things to be done so anything I think I can help out with, I just do. Easy right?

This time down, same thing. Except now I think I'm planning to be here more than just a few weeks; it could be a summer thing, or longer. I meet a few new people, I get the idea that if I'm going to be here this summer, now's the time to make some changes. So I start thinking: How do I make things better/faster/efficient?

Training is going well but it needs to be revamped from the ground up. Quantity over quality is slowing us down and the actual process of training a new class is too physically and vocally draining. So we decide to rework the manual, rework the time frames, and rework training as a whole. We have some class work though, so we take some time to just go into cruise control and see what needs improving asap and what can wait. We've been pulling late hours already (albeit for silly reasons on Monday night), people are tired -- especially the regulars because they grind it out every day, I'm just here every few weeks so I feel fresh as a daisy. I'm bursting with fruit flavor.

Normal work day. Keep on working on training materials but mainly work with groups of new hires. Get them some personal attention, figure out how to incorporate some strategies; figure out what works and what doesn't. See things that should be immediately implemented to really help things out.

We hold a team meeting Wednesday night and manage to cover a lot of ground [IA] and celebrate birthdays to boot. Most of the items revolve around how to get us on the same page, etc. The meeting goes well, it ends around midnight. I'm ready to start rewriting manuals, action sheets, meeting notes, everything.

I'm so geeked I stay up practically all night in order to do this. It's fantasy company for me; and I love fantasy anything. The manual gets semi-done, some other things too, but not everything. Which is okay because we're planning for testing and implementation two weeks away. But we're moving pretty fast and I've got my brain on "Seek (Problems), Search (for Solutions), Destroy (Inefficiencies)."

I'm testing myself to make the manual and everything training related as quick as possible. Not quick for the trainees, but quick for the training manager. The most effort was going towards the least promising new hires, we were trying to flip that around.

Sleep? Two hours?

New training class. Running new manuals but old tests. Printing, copying, stapling, and using fresh unfilled binders to cut down on use of old materials. Training is pretty easy, but confusing for the trainees because the tests don't match up. But that's okay. Things are easy and gravy. We decide that maybe we can find some people to help us out with training. Talk to them, get them on board, they're in; we're ready to go. The other training manager is gone now though, so I'm soloing until next week. He's got work in another location.

Catnap at various points in the day. Mainly in a car. Tired but still mentally functioning and despite the pretense of not eating; I'm eating as much as I normally do anyway -- close enough. But people who don't know me don't realize how little food I can actually consume and be perfectly fine. Gummy vitamins man, it's the truth.

Two friends from NYC and SD come up to the house and hang out. Great timing and the perfect people to see; totally random appearance. I stay up all night talking to them. Drive myself to work early because I need the computer.

Roll out to lunch to figure out if we can expand the team. Things are shuffling around super fast, we're ready to implement the new training as soon as possible. Problem is, I can't reach the fellow training manager. But that's cool, we're ready to go anyway. At least to Beta test. Jobs are defined, roles are found, we're shifting in a new direction -- super fast and a bit chaotic but it's exciting and headed the right way. All aboard (at least I thought it was).

I elect to stay up all night on Friday night, sleepover at the office in order to write a proposed master manual for the managers about what kinds of things I think we should do from now on (how to run meetings, implement changes, interior decorate, security, roles, etc). The solutions that I come up with are simple and not hard to implement; and at the worst, temporary until a better more group orientated solution can be found. But I'm running out of time.

I need to be out of LA by a certain date (April 16th) and personal issues up North require that I be home quickly. I want to present the "plan" and get everyone thinking together. Then they can evaluate and implement and change as they please. I won't be back for awhile anyway.

I sleep maybe two hours before the morning class shows up promptly at 6am (their idea, not mine). I'm groggy, but not really that tired once things get moving. I mean, it's like playing Warcraft, surfing the Internet, writing on deadline, or building a webpage. I can stay up as long as I need to. I know I'll crash eventually; when I crash I'm not sure but I've done it before a lot. If I feel fine, I'm okay. Everyone knows I can/need to sleep a hell of a lot. My entire personality is defined by sleeping in weird times/locations/positions. Plus, this is cake; nobody stays up longer than video game testers during release week(s). And that's staying up admist intense boredom; this job is actually super fun for me; ironic no?

Super fun work day. Blasting music, finish lots of training materials. Get time to catch up on Internet time, interact with a lot of people. Did I mention the rejuvenating powers of music? Only downside is that now I'm thinking there's no way I can leave without presenting my plan. So I figure out that I can't go up North yet. Even if I had prior obligations the upcoming Monday. Cancel and disappointment people. The work thing feels more important. Sorry.

At this point I'm talking super fast, spitting out ideas like crazy, and I've already freaking people out. Especially when they're just trying to get me to sleep. I already was talking "crazy" on Thursday night when we were Wii-ing and hanging out. Getting frustrated because there seem to be roadblocks to how soon we can meet/implement. Need to chill the fuck out; I know, but I can't get anyone to listen to me for more than fifteen minutes. But they're tired and I'm sure, impatient at this point.

Go eat with the girls, chill the fuck out when we get to their house. Sleep plenty. Sleep great actually.

More work, more music, more fun times. Figuring that a Sunday meeting might be ideal, but scheduling won't work out (and neither did last night). Monday (16th) might be possible; but unsure of scheduling yet. Mentally the meeting has to be Monday or Tuesday night, but the longer we wait, the longer and faster my mind is going.

By now, I'm past business refinement, I'm onto life, religion, everything issues. I've never thought this fast or this clearly. I'm psyched but have no outlet for it. I'm texting/emailing certain friends and they're a bit weirded out but not more than normal. I'm quick-contacting them because I'm realizing their role(s) in my life and want to tell them. I keep saying "tbd."

Kitchen sink back in Fremont blows up (literally, not metaphorically). Great. I should probably try to get home to help out as soon as I can. Need to wrap shit up down in LA and get home; ideally earlier than I had said before. But I still want to meet and present.

Morning at work: Roll out to Target to get some sundries like hair gel, laundry detergent, office supplies, etc. Feeling right as rain and not tired at all despite the "long" week. Of course, I've been telling people that I haven't slept in "x-number of days" (true, but as everyone says it and understands it, it's not literally not sleeping for that long) and that I didn't want to die (reasons to be explained later, but I was pretty serious about this one actually). People are tripping; my bad.

By the afternoon, I'm still buzzing around and shit is going super fast. Well, my mind/body is still going super fast. The office is in mini-chaos because the things I usually organize aren't organized. I got in late at 10am-ish and had to put out a few brush fires. All of which I knew were coming because (a) the weekend provided no personnelle/time for HR moves and (b) I already had the notes that I made that weekend to catch things up and get it right. So I was expecting some chaos Monday until I could take care of the retroactive moves. People's modified schedules, permission slips, where things are, etc. I've never been this organized (literally and in my head) in my entire life. I've got like super stellar photographic memory for some reason. So I've got it all in my pockets, my murse, or in my head.

Hit a huge epiphany early evening Monday. Need to move on it hella quick. Don't quite get the movement I'm looking for. Start blasting out and chaining emails. Cryptic ones, designed Da Vinci Code-like, with a radius and blast center. Everyone got a piece but nobody saw it all. It was confusing, I know. But that's how I do things (to be discussed later). Some people are like "Dude, wtf." Some were like "Sounds good, I have no idea what you're talking about but sounds good." Some people were like "You're so weird." Anyway, four alarm panic is raised in some quarters and word's out that I'm going loco -- or something.

People have been hearing that I'm not eating or sleeping and now these strange, admittedly very brief and not lucid sounding, emails get out there. Emails were sent to maybe two dozen people -- two dozen of my closest friends and sent in little subsets of friends. The subsets went from people I rarely talk to (but I knew they would understand asap) all the way up to my very best friends and eventually, my sister. Freak out city.

I didn't go top down because really, the idea I had only makes sense if we're on the same page. Same page meaning you either worked with me, played fantasy sports with me, knew about computers; or had all three of the above. So I tried to go to the people I thought would understand first. Problem is, I did it too fast. Like ten emails whipped out in ten minutes. No time for anyone to read, much less react. But I was desperate to get my idea(s) out. Even if sloppily.

By the way, I think I can Sidekick type at about 60 wpm; I'm just afraid to try for fear of long lasting cramps. Unrelated note.

Anyway, from there it gets crazier. Needless to say, Monday night wasn't pretty. By Tuesday night I was on the way out of LA and headed toward SD to handle (my) shit. Work meeting I stuck around for and had planned (I thought) at 8pm Tuesday? Cancelled, or at least I wasn't going to be attending.
By the time my friends congregated on Tuesday night, I was just concerned with getting to safe places -- in my mind, that was church. I stopped wanting to go to church long ago; I'm not even religious, not by a long shot. But I wouldn't even leave LA until I had the assurance that I could get to church on Wednesday. I thought I was in The Game, Fight Club, Memento, the Bible, Ender's Game, you name it, I was thinking it. I was making too many connections and coincidences to NOT believe something was going on. Again, different story.

If I was in any way delusional or nutty, it was me thinking my life was exactly like Ender's Game. Exactly. I'm re-reading the books right now to see if there's anything going on there. I STILL think I'm in Ender's Game...

My caretakers (and many of my best friends) showed up and they tried to get me rest/food/sane. I followed along as best I could, but I had an agenda. Anyway, from Monday night and on, I'll explain later.

The gist of it is: I think I was fine. Not even that tired or hungry or any of that. I know my limits; I shut down when I need sleep. But nobody's seen me like that because it's usually when I'm super excited about finishing/doing something. Websites, blogs, video games, books, etc. All solitary pursuits. To those around me, three almost all nighters would be insane. For me, it's not de rigeur, but neither was it life threatening by any means.

Then again, throw in the talk about spirituality, my father's death, my sudden hyperness, moodiness, and alertness, and people were pretty much sure I was on something. I've never done drugs by the way. My drug of choice is the Internet and nicotine. However, I was angry, cursing, and going Bruce Lee by the end of Monday. I was getting angry because at that point, I was either too pissed off at the not listening around me; and then getting paranoid and/or convinced that anger was the only option. But I was dialing the anger up and down, even if it didn't seem like it. So I felt in control, except when I needed to use it. You know? Very few people have seen me really yell (aside from sports or video games), enjoy it while it lasted. Anyway. That's for Part II of the story; what happened Monday night. I don't even want to write it down to be honest. I'm not going to forget that part of it. It was scary/hilarious/unexpected. An old dog can learn new tricks apparently.

I hope this timeline helps to clarify things. At the very least, I need to clarify it. I'm using phone logs, time dated Gmails, receipts, and memory to piece it together. But to be honest, the timeline is all I've been thinking about all week so I'm 99% sure it's right. I was building a case for my sanity last week; since really, I can't afford Johnnie Cochran and I doubt I'd be lucky enough to get J.Ito.

Anyway, I'll stop here for now. Real shame I can't get paid 10-cents a word to blog; real shame.

I think I'm fit as a fiddle, and I feel like a Stradivarius, but who knows. I've been known to be wrong.
"I don't do catfights, I do choreography."
-Mikey Minden-

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