Surfing The Deathline – Full Course

Eddie Cartridge, and Janelle Tan – Machine Intelligence researchers and former partners.

Separated following the takeover of their mutual employer, which saw Eddie made redundant, life has lead them to radically different outcomes. Eddie is homeless, unemployed, down to his last few dollars, and living under the streets. Janelle is engaged to their former employer, living in a penthouse, and travelling to work by helicopter.

Eddie has been offered a job – subvert a Machine Intelligence for a critical window of time. The job has a payday large enough that he can escape this awful city – a middle-class-authoritarian city state, where the streets are always clean, and welfare benefits are tied to medical tracking implants which monitor sobriety, amongst other things.

The first problem, is that Eddie is not fast enough to out-react, and out-think a Machine Intelligence. He’ll need an edge, in the form of The Deathline – a neuro-accelerating hallucinogen.

The second problem, Eddie has never used The ‘Line before, and has no supply contacts for this highly illegal substance. He must reconnect with Janelle, who consumed prodigious quantities during their time together, to find out if she still has access to anyone who can supply what he needs.

For Janelle, contact with Eddie has contained a revelation which forces her to question her recent past, and to reassess her relationship with her fiancé. Will she abandon her comfortable, “perfect” life, and be reclaimed by the world of The Deathline?

The world is one in which Machine Intelligence is the supreme power, where a failed nuclear strike has fractured America into three separate nations, Europe is stricken by secessionary conflicts, and new Machine Intelligence-equipped non-geographic distributed states are beginning to emerge.

This book is published in DRM-Free Fixed-Layout EPUB format.

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2022 – Week 3

Another quiet one under the faux-dome. Nothing much done this week, most of my my time was spent watching the lizards in the courtyard, which has been a delightful way to spend a week.

One thing I did, was get my bike out for a serious bout of maintenance, including breaking the chain, cleaning every link, and degreasing all the drivetrain components. It’s a very satisfying, zen experience.

2022 – Week 2

Getting into a full week of the new year, and the full horror of how badly the plague has been handled is starting to dawn. I wonder how long it will be before we look with wistful longing back to the dome, and lockdowns.

2021 – A Wrapup

Well, that was a year.

Things started with dental and optical problems, which remained an open issue due to pandemic waves keeping me away from practitioners.

On the medical front, I was vaccinated, second vaccinated, then third vaccinated. Each dose hit me hard, and we’re still cowering in place for fear of the plague. My overall health seems fairly static. I haven’t been able to ride my bike as much as I’d like, so I’ve lost some condition, but at the end of the year I started addressing that – before the borders opened, and plague came back.

My powered cooling suit continued to be an issue, as the supplier was unable to get spare parts. Speaking of cooling, we had a new air conditioner system installed, and most of the year was spent fine tuning the control system, which it seems the original installer didn’t set up properly. Eventually a guy, who was a professional fitter and servicer for the system we have, and who had contacted me via Whirlpool after seeing me post about it, came out and sorted it all for us. It seems to be working well.

This year I did a big project abandon – giving up on my studio in a box. That’s a difficult one for me, because I’m usually a person who won’t give up on things, even when they’re past saving. It’s sort of progress for personality, because my inability to let go of things has been a problem for too many things in life – so I refocussed on a smaller goal, which will hopefully be achievable. That project is to just build some shelves that can go in the hallway, and will let me roll my gear out to the carport, via the wheelchair access ramp I bought.

With the gear able to be moved in and out of the house, I resumed my welding practice, and am making some real progress on getting to grips with the gear.

Speaking of the house, towards the end of the year we looked at a new place, and even made an offer, but other people bid higher than us. It would have been a great one to get, but sadly not to be.

The major non-abandoned project, the project that’s consumed me for 20-odd years, was completely finished. Surfing The Deathine as a collected volume was done, and with it, my new fully independent Fastspring store was set up, so that I’m able to be completely free of Apple. It was a long complicated process, involving completely rebuilding my entire production pipeline, but it worked in the end.

Speaking of Apple, this was the year I really lost the faith. Not only did I lose interest in anything new that Apple is doing, I also lost interest in any media commentator, or content maker, who talks more about Apple products, than they do about Apple’s terrible labor practices, or abusive market tactics.

This year, the technology I rely on to work continued to be awful, but there was a bright spot – the technology I use to be entertained…

I bought a new games console. The XBox Series X is a delight of a system, and a joyous thing to be near. Its size, proportions, matte-blackness, it’s all wonderful.

So overall, it was a year of consolidation – of just trying to get by, of fixing and refining things, and of trying to snatch moments of normality wherever they were.

I expect 2022 to be worse.

2022 – Week 1

Post-xmas and new years. The plague has descended, and we are all living in blighted, cursed lands. Made up martinis for the first time, which were wickedly strong.

The baby lizard came back from the wildlife refuge, where he’d been recuperating. We released him into the garden during one of the few sunny days / moments we had. He didn’t want to leave on the first day, but second time around, he ran off into the undergrowth (after being very aggressive, which is I guess your best option when you’re small). Good luck fella.

2021 – Week 52

Catastrophe to end the year. The people in power, who have clearly taken leave of their senses, throw open the borders to states with wildly out of control Covid infections, and Qld now has wild out of control Covid infections. The rhetoric has turned to ubiquitous Covid, from zero Covid only a fortnight ago.

Shops and restaurants are closing, as their staff become infectious. 300,000 people enter the state bringing plague with them. The “open up to get business moving” crowd have been shown to be the idiots they are, as people stay home to avoid getting infected. Where once they had local business, now their have neither local, nor tourist trade.

2021 – Week 51

Did some more welding practice, and made some reasonable progress:

Had to rush over to wildlife rescue, as one of our local magpies was attacking one of our local baby bluetongue lizards. Poor fella was a little beaten up, but seemed to come good once he was at the wildlife rescue centre, and the blood that was completely covering one of his eyes, making me think it was lost, had cleared away.

2021 – Week 50

On the down side, we didn’t get the house.

On the up side, I got the welder back into operation, and started experimenting with different tip geometries, using my nifty new electrode grinder, which has made life significantly easier.

I picked up a third welding curtain and frame, thinking I’d join it to the existing pair, linking them as a single folding unit, that’ll let me screen off more of the carport, while meaning no increase to the amount of feet the screens use, as the middle one hangs between the other two. However, it proved unworkable as a solution, because there wasn’t any overlap between screens, which could have represented a flash hazard to anyone walking past. So after futzing around, I had three separate screens again.

I also picked up a third air-grinder, because they’re ridiculously cheap and therefore just having a different one for each type of grinding wheel – a sander, a grinder and a cutter, is easier than changing wheels. I also bought a cut-off grinder, which is like an angle grinder, but the cutting wheel is perpendicular to the handle, rather than parallel in a normal grinder. Again, they’re so ridiculously cheap that having dedicated tools for specific circumstances – the cut-off one will be for slicing thin rod, makes more sense than making-do with a less well suited tool.

2021 – Week 49

Not much going on this week. The weather has seen torrential rain and humidity, that makes welding a little problematic. However, I spent a fair bit of time going through all my documentation for the welding processes and getting everything noted down. Plan, plan, plan – get it all right, then execute on the plan.

Someone stole the Kreepy Krawly pool cleaner off the end of the hose from the building’s pool.

Saw the new Dune film. Eh. It’s OK.

2021 – Week 48

Finessing the lengths of steel box section for the hall shelving unit, before I begin construction, so that everything is nice and square.

Continuing to look at this house, as it may be within our means, with a small mortgage. So I am once again losing sleep to SketchUp modelling. The goal is to convert two small bedrooms at the back of the property, along with a laundry, into a self-contained dwelling, by constructing a new room on the back, and changing the outer rear wall, into an inner wall.

2021 – Week 47

Rode my bike once or twice, but mostly feeling like crap post-covid-shot. Looked at a house that had a lot of potential, but I suspect will go for more than we can afford. Unfortunately that’s always an unhealthy thing for me to do, and I ended up with broken sleep, being kept awake at night thinking about said house, and said house’s potential.

Gotta focus on my shelf-making welding project.