dancing mu-shu masters.

Have you ever really noticed the dance of human beings? It's more of a fugue, in 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time, like court dances of times past. The endless intricacies of how people drift together and apart, weaving in and out, an infinite variety of relationships, unique to the people involved, stretching and contracting, in and out, side to side, like a pulsing living thing, patterns emerging, disappearing, re-emerging at a distance, emerging, merging, submerging.

I haven't troubled to write, which is okay, as I've been decently busy. Who knew working from home with a relaxed project schedule could still leave so many pressures on time? I have to go to the bank, the grocery store, have to do laundry, get my car smogged (shit, I forgot about that until I typed it just now). I do have to do work, though, and that is a lot of fun and rewarding. I'm solving some interesting problems, and I have pretty total control over what's happening: the design and implementation, and to some extent the schedule is whatever I say it is (within reason--I think I have to have a bunch of stuff done sometime in July, and there's a subcontract for UMass involved along the way). And I'm not working for a company that cares more about the movement of little green pieces of paper than about making things that don't suck.

I like working from home, though, and I'm having a wonderful time with the project. The people are great, too, although I don't interact with them so much.

And I'm pretty much not sick any more: it looks like I managed to get phlegm out of my lungs, so I didn't get bronchitis. California is much healthier as far as that goes, I think, what with the small temperature range.

I'm going to say again that the terrorists won. I've spoken about this before, but people keep proving me right (another report of the same experience). How much longer will the world put up with the US putting itself on a pedestal as the beacon of democracy and freedom when we're so clearly and loudly unwilling to hold ourselves to that standard? Democracy and freedom aren't natural states that you fall back into: they're imposed on a human habit of allowing tyranny in the hope of removing fear. They require constant effort, constant vigilance, pillars which have slacked more in the past year than in the rest of my lifetime (at a quarter century not exactly breaking record, but not an inconsiderable length of time).

We doom ourselves more every day, by not howling about holding a U.S. citizen prisoner as an "enemy combatant" (civil rights? nope, we're fighting terrorism!), by not howling when people say it's not the right time to criticize the government or the president, by deciding that setting aside due process is okay for anyone--once they do it to legal immigrants, what's to stop them from doing it to you? Your family? Your friends?

Abdullah Al Muhajir is currently being held without a lawyer and without being charged. He is a U.S. citizen being denied his basic civil rights because the government says so.

If I speak out, am I an "enemy combatant"? If not challenged, the term could become a wonderfully convenient one for an administration that not only desires to protect the nation but also to stifle dissent. No wonder we won't press China on human rights. We've been studying their playbook.

Pick a country. The end isn't guaranteed, but it sure feels like America is dying.