The sachets that were delivered say "combat stimulant," which lead me to believe that Ethan had somehow managed to get his fingers upon some kind of military supply box that managed to fall from a truck. Further investigation revealed some kind of crazy cross-marketing scheme between Octane and Sony, for the launch of the game Killzone.
"In a drawn out fire-fight, fatigue is a soldier's worst enemy. If you feel tired or run down, maintain peak mental and physical performance levels by applying Octane stimulant immediately."
I was feeling rundown at that particular point so I rubbed some into my face, neck, shoulders and behind my ears, as encouraged by the other side of the sachet. I wasn't in a fire-fight at that particular time, but I might have been later on.
Nothing happened at first that I can recall—the process is gradual. It builds up and eventually gets the mind racing as promised. But "better concentration"? I found it hard to concentrate my mind was racing so fast. I have heard rumours of this particular product putting someone to sleep and making them miss their stop while on a train. I couldn't sleep for feeling the brain-juice run through my head at ridiculous speeds. Anxiety was rife—but I was used to it, as it was a frequent result of the caffeine binges I'd endured as a child. This in itself was not enough to thoroughly understand this product. I devised two tests that would see if Octane really did bring out my peak physical and mental performance.
Test 1: 2.5km run + 3km swim + 2.5 km run
After a long day at work (when I'd planned to undergo this particular test), I find that I'm fatigued, so I felt that rubbing some of this performance enhancer would help me out for stamina and wotnot. The first half of the initial run leg was as normal, but soon after, the brain-juices thing started happening again, and I found my mind starting to wander.
I fail to recall exactly what I was thinking when I showered down with some old and sweaty man who'd just walked out from the sauna, and prepared myself for the swim leg of the test. I was worried that the pool would wash away the precious goo that I was supposed to be assessing, but it wouldn't have made much of a difference. It was inside me now—I could feel it coursing through my veins.
Concentration was a thing of the past and my mind was in other places, doing other things. Asking stupid questions that I normally don't have time to care about. Who was the new lady running the aquafit class in the next lane? How long is this bonehead in front of me going to torture me with his slowness before getting out? Both are mysteries, as are the other things I was wondering about, but had no time to answer before new questions would pop up.
If a swimmer is asked about "what do you think about while you're training" and they say anything other than "umm...counting laps" then they're either lying or water-logged. The point of counting laps is so that you know how long until it's time to get out. This invigorating wipe-on stuff had distracted my mind so much so that I found myself having to re-swim about 12 laps because I'd lost track of where I was at. The leg and feet cramping began about 10 laps shy of my target, but I persevered, as I felt confident that Octane would have something to conquer that sort of thing.
But it didn't.
As I ran back out into the night to complete the final stage of this test, my calf muscles cramped up so much that they were visibly distorted. My calves went concave, but my mind was elsewhere as I ran the rest of the way home without incident.
That night I failed to sleep, as my brain was so witched on, that I had nothing to do but stare at the ceiling until I eventually passed out from boredom.
Test 2: Baseball
Baseball is a game where you need your wits about you. Total concentration is needed, and the ability to know what is going on in a few specific locations around the diamond. This is where the ADHD-like properties the Octane yielded unto me actually came in handy. My mind was sharp, and could track the ball better from the outfield (much respect) and I was seeing the ball better from the pitcher's ugly hand. I was a jumpy bastard all game and drove everyone nuts with my jitters and slight stammer on some words.
We lost the game, which is irrelevant, but their catcher was a total knob, which isn't.
Octane definitely has an impact on how your mind and body work. Don't put it in milkshakes. Don't get it in your eyes or nose. Those warnings (apart from the milkshake one, but it SHOULD be) are on the package for a reason. I'd recommend using this stuff a long time before bed. Or you don't have to—I'm not going to tell you how to live your life.
Reviewed on Sunday, 14 November 2004