The ‘suspended iris’ as a signal of mental instability


I can’t believe how much goes on here that I don’t remember having heard about. Every day the news is infused with items of mayhem, death, cruelty, random viciousness, so maybe it’s not much of a surprise that I don’t remember this incident from April 3, 2010 that happened in Malibu.


It appears to have been a tragic confluence of events that culminated with the death of 13-year-old Emily Shane of Malibu as she stood on the shoulder of Pacific Coast Highway. She was struck by car driven by the maniacal Sina Khankhanian, a suicidal motorist supposedly intent on ramming his car into a light pole, which he partially did, but in the process of doing this, struck the girl, propelling her 30 feet in the air. Khankhanian survived the accident and was eventually charged with second-degree murder charges. Khankhanian’s defense team attempted to have a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter added as an option the jury could consider in its deliberations, but the judge denied the motion. The defense claimed that this essentially put the jury in the unenviable position of voting not guilty for a man who had obviously killed a 13-yer-old girl with his vehicle. Even his attorney relented that Khankhanian was guilty of manslaughter. The jury’s predicament was not whether he ran over Emily Shane; their burden was to decide whether Khankhanian’s actions on April 3, 2010, constituted second-degree murder. Or not, in which case he walked. The defense position was that to merely give the jury only the choice of a second-degree murder conviction was unfair to them and might derail the trial since second-degree murder might have been perceived as too “harsh.”


By all accounts, Khankhanian was a pretty messed up individual. He had recently lost his job at a Winnetka animal hospital and allegedly suffered from autism. His girlfriend, Mardi Martinez, testified that he had expressed suicidal thoughts in the week prior to his vehicular rampage. On April 3, he left Martinez a suicide note and a check in her name. He expressed his intent to commit suicide by car. That Saturday he drove his Mitsubishi Lancer wildly on a 17-mile berzerk out-of-control race that elicited four emergency calls reporting his erratic driving which included speeding, tailgating, rapid lane changes, in addition to 2 after he struck the girl. If he had suicide on his mind, his behavior obviously included the possibility of a touch of homicide and Khankhanian got his wish when the young girl happened to be the only person standing between him and the light pole he so boldly averted striking devoutly enough to kill himself. For this reason alone, Khankhanian should face murder charges. Khankhanian claimed to have drunk 4 glasses of wine along with a host of other prescription pills, a real witches brew of highway hell, most of which he’d scored from his girlfriend.


Now it turns out that Judge Katherine Mader (the same judge who threw out the defense’s request of an optional manslaughter charge) has ruled a hung jury in the case after jurors were unable to reach a consensus on Khankhanian’s second-degree murder charge. The hung jury means a mistrial and the prosecutors can decide in the next month whether to pursue another trial which they most likely will. Perhaps they will now anticipate the defense oratory of insanity by autism. Whatever the case, Khankhanian has that EYE which is always a sign of bad news. Beware people whose iris floats in the upper portion of the eye leaving a glimmer of white swimming below it. Khankhanian has this.


This is the big picture:



And the hovering iris affliction. This is analogous in humans to the hissing of a rattlesnake.



What the hell is it about suspended irises that arouses and provokes such instinctual leeriness in me? I’m a firm believer in the power of physiognomy as an evolutionary tool. In other words, our physical traits coincide with deeper personality characteristics and have been for thousands of years. Enough time that we have evolved an instinctual knowledge and foretaste of human behavior signaled by typical facial and bodily characteristics. We still experience these but in our liberated, everyone-is-equal era, we refuse to believe people ever “look” the part. God forbid we “profile.” Profiling is such a bad word.


However, someone with Khankhanian’s suspended irises should be psychologically tested before getting a driver’s license, not after, at which points it’s usually too late.


In fact, I’ll go one step further. I think a repository of all abnormal and dangerous mental pathologies should be kept on file with the attendant visual physical characteristics of each. If you look the part, we are keeping on eye on you!



I will be mad when I see mirrors everywhere


I’m often consumed with the possibility that I’m going insane.


Only the possibility, not the fear.


This is not fear. I don’t care if I sink into insanity. Isn’t the definition of insanity that you don’t know it is happening? It’s like death. It’s like being afraid of something you can never know. I might go crazy tomorrow. I might not have ever seen it coming. I might wake up a blubbering fool crying about the roses growing in the pool. It’s all nonsense. Still, I am consumed with the possibility.


I imagine what I would be like as an insane man.


I often wonder if synchronicity does not lead us into the yaw of madness.


If too many aspects of your life inexplicably coalesce, you might be mad. Sorry, but it’s true. Your life has many divergent and convergent paths and your sanity is what keeps them all separate. In fact, I would argue the definition of insanity is that moment when the paths all intersect inauspiciously at a dark corner deep in your Hansel and Gretel forest. Insanity is when everything blurs and treads the same path that your mind attempts to foster separation.


Sometimes my life blurs and I find I’m stricken by a disorienting sense of deja vu, an unnatural familiarity. I feel like the world will explode any moment. Or my head will.


If my life remains segregated from itself, all is well.
My mind freaks out when elements fuse and become synchronous.


Today I felt I was losing my mind.


The most comical situation at the bus stop this morning. When I arrived there were 2 short, old, squat women waiting for the bus. I’ve seen them before but each was alone. This time they were together, conjoined like a pair of bulbous frijole masses. Two short, squat really gross women. These ladies are in the “I’d rather cut my dick off than fuck ’em” territory. They are really gross. And squat. I’m the shortest dude in the world and I still felt tall in comparison. One of these ladies wears a mumu and she has massive Rhino legs encased in cracked sunburnt skin. So I stood there and soon, another short, squat woman waddles up to our bus stop. I’ve seen her around as well. She is every bit as repulsive as the other two. She is a very nice lady but how in the world did it happen that at this moment in time, I was standing at a bus stop with three every short, squat, unattractive women waiting for the same bus? Three women I’ve seen many times on the route but never at the same time? In fact, that old joke about how they might be twins (or triplets) because I’ve “never seen then in the same room together” came tumbling down this morning.


As if this wasn’t reason enough to send me on a downward spiral of tumultuous self-implosion, then I go to Facebook and find more enigmatic replications. Is it Facebook? Is it me? Who is mad?


Where is the maddness?


Am I mad?
Is fate mad?


Who do I question. I’m overwhelmed with the synchronicity.
What is up with my friends on Facebook replicating each lives like driven DNA?


Is it mass hysteria?







And a few hours earlier, some unrelated Facebook friends posted this uncanny anthology. What is going on here? I missed the memo. I always do. I always feel left out, I missed something here.


Alienation nourishes insanity.







Insanity’s strongest legacy is paranoia.
And paranoia is what I feel when the world conspires to recite the same chain of events to which I was not privy.


Insanity is not fitting in to other mysteries and being canny to this disjunction.


One day I will wake up in another bed that is my own, live another’s life that was my own. And I will be mad.



They are right about one thing: I am indeed a pathetic monkey

When buried in the depths of those solemn moments of despondency when nothing matters, when all I do seems for naught, there is always my beloved Askimet smart spam filter which catches like 99.8% of all spam garbage to soothe my broken spirit. Occasionally it overreacts and quarantines a righteous comment, but that’s OK, I can live with this. This is why bloggers must routinely check their spam moderation folder. We must consider the possibility that a legitimate comment has been trounced into the corner with the rest of the global detritus that is known as spam. Once in a while, inexplicably, a piece of spam comment refuse sneaks slyly into the comments section requiring swift action on my part. Sometimes spam is so cleverly designed so as to elude my wary eyes on first glance. Spam has several trademark signatures, however, that will eventually stand out and expose their sneaky motives.

I think addressing spam as a post subject is actually quite cheesy of me. But of course, I’ve never been one to resist cheesy. I’m not that principled.

Askimet, the popular spam filtering service used by many blogs, is a “smart” recognition software that continually tracks global spam sources and stores all the data in its extensive communal memory allowing it to instantly recognize spam before it attaches its ridiculous and embarrassing tentacles to your precious blog comments. Almost every night I scan my spam folder in order to assure nothing decent and legit was unfairly detained in my own cyber version of Guantanamo. Once I’ve confirmed that all the spam are indeed what they are accused of, I delete them for good. The reason why I say Askimet is my own personal “bridge over troubled waters” is because nearly all spam messages are coated in sycophantic bullshit that heap loads of syrupy praise on the blogger, much of it outrageously undeserved, especially in my case. Even though you know it’s spam, it sill feels nice to hear all these sleazy spam subordinates tell you how wonderful you are. Talk is cheap, spam is a whore.

Here is a nice example of one such spam kiss-ass I found sequestered in my moderation folder earlier.

Yeah, been “gone a while.” That’s called prison, you jerkoff. Don’t remember the old castigation “16 will get you 20?” Actually, you sick sack, in your case it’s more like “9 will get you 45.” I see they finally gave you computer rights. Good for you, better for me. I’m glad you’re back. You know what they say about beggars. Just don’t take me for granted or I might revoke your commenting rights around here. I’m sure that just tears up your cold little heart, doesn’t it?

A lot of spam are interchangeable. They are like form letters that are sent out in mass postings and they are the same except for a few additions or subtractions from comment to comment. Many times they follow upon the heels of each other. Very subtle, these quacks. I found these two adjoining messages. It’s like a telemarketing version of a spam attack. These 2 were probably sitting in adjoining terminals typing from a script. So imaginative and creative! What’s their next stop? Hollywood?

Most spam messages are in this shaky badly translated style of self-conscious and comic English. Synchronicity baby! Two complete strangers commenting on my admirable typing style, although the first translation indicates that someone probably is not even familiar with their own language to begin with as they advise me that I like my own typing style. How do they know this? I would say that my typing style is not one of my strengths. I have bad posture and lean on my wrists. I type too loudly. I beg to differ with these Eastern Europeans. I appreciate their thoughts but they must be thinking of someone else’s typing style. They both reiterate they will return, just like my other spam prisoner commenter. I did not realize my posts were informative. In fact, that is the last thing I think of when I think of this blog. But thank you anyways, Vlad and Olga. Back to your workstations now and good luck defeating Askimet on your next mission.

Now what I’ve shown here exemplify the general tone of most spam messages. Brown-nosing illiterate foreigners trying to make me click on garbage links. Like a famous, dashing handsome movie star, the cyber adulation loses its luster. It means nothing to me and I nearly ignore most of the messages, but tonight I saw an unusual one. None of this sycophantic toe-sucking here!

Now we’re talking! This is a seller who obviously does not care to earn my business. I respect this. This is a dare! The PUA community geeks would call this a “neg.” Don’t kiss my ass and intrigue me with your cold indifference. Just lay it all out there and make me bite. Good job. It’s not bad enough that they call me a monkey, but a pathetic monkey at that. Now that is spam with humor and irony. It worked, because I opened that URL from an anonymous proxy service I subscribe to…and was sorely disappointed. Ah well.

I am a pathetic monkey and I sling my shit across the cyberscape.

The Invention as a timeless tool

I’m reading an excellent book called About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang by Adam Frank. I love thinking and contemplating about “time” as an independent cosmic element, just like mass or velocity. Time is elusive and untenable. It is the most mysterious of all the elemental building blocks that comprise our physical (and emotional) reality. Time is not often the subject of scientific literature as a subject in and of itself, but Frank tackles the slippery subject splendidly. He begins with a vast sociocultural history lesson spanning back to prehistory. While on my way to work yesterday, I read this passage in his discussion of the advent of modern time-keeping (it’s difficult to comprehend the world before hours and minutes structured our life in such an encompassing manner).

It’s tempting to behold each great invention in the march of mankind and extrapolate backwards in futile attempts to lay “blame” for our present civilization at the foot of said invention. Certainly Frank places much of the “blame” on the invention of the mechanical clock as the impetus that accelerated society toward its modern time-fixated, rushed pace. However, his tone is one of neutrality; his tone is one of fascination and awe, not cheap “blame.”

It’s sad to think some nameless, unrewarded monk was ingenious enough to congregate several mechanisms and basic gravitational levers and pulleys into one contraption that standardized the measure of time independent of the sun’s arc or the seasonal perturbations of the planets and moon. The clock was indeed an astounding cultural landmark. Up until the middle ages, time was approximate; whereas the annual and seasonal march of time was more sharply defined, the 24-hour chunk of daily time was diffused with solar approximations. The human world subsisted on markers that were arrived at by consensus. Time was indeed “relative” in a manner of speaking. The mechanical clock structured our daily progress in a tangible and subjective method that we internalized as a second consciousness in subsequent centuries. Our day become segmented and the hourly measure of progress was indelibly written on a mechanism of gears and which transformed over great reaches of time into today’s ubiquitous digital displays driven by crystals and oscillation. Our existence is parceled and driven by time. We are time conscious and our life is a progressive march of deadlines and appointments. The profound impact this has had on our cultural mind is nearly indefinable.

Imagine a world without a coherent, explicable sense of time. In other words, imagine that all time keeping devices suddenly vanished, now. At 2045 PDT. Imagine. The world’s functioning would grind to a halt. Thousands and millions of people would probably perish as the bowels of the global technical infrastructure which routes the lifelines of modern civilization would be thrown into disarray. We would have no choice but to rely on the heavens. When the first hints of dawn begin peering over the horizon we can be reasonably sure it is about 6 or 7 in the morning. As the sun extends its journey across the sky, we become less sure of the exact time. We can approximate. What becomes of appointments and time clocks and reservations, plane schedules, or worse, medical and health schedules?

Eventually, what becomes of our psyche over the generations of a timeless society? In the absence of time’s reliable partitions, what becomes of everything else? Like a house of cards, our reality becomes muddled and collapses. Nothing is exactly where we expect it be and precision flails. Precision and predictability, intrinsic components of a dependable timekeeping structured society, no longer steer our expectations. Time as a leverage of modernity is abandoned.

The mechanical clock transformed life permanently as we live it.

Inventions and technological progress, in retrospect, seem all the more spellbinding when witnessed through the prism of the ages and the transformation of human civilization in response to the inventions. There are few inventions which have been solely responsible for the greatest upheavals of mankind’s consciousness and deflected the trajectory of social evolution for ages. Computers, and their spawn, the internet, are one such momentous historical refraction that will catapult human social evolution toward unforeseeable paths of fate. There is a tendency to “blame” the ills of society on technology but this is missing the point. To blame technology or said inventions does not unearth the true phenomena. Inventions don’t spring from a void. Inventions are the spawn of a society’s innate desires and intellectual status. A society’s inventions are an expression of its evolved desires, and ultimately a manifestation of that which mankind is ready to acculturate into its new reality. Society gathers its yearnings and produces the tools that will propel it forward on its preconceived course. Inventions are not accidental. They are the thermometer of our communal psyche.

Inventions are the tool we’ve been waiting for to leapfrog into the next stage of our world. The unknown designer of the medieval mechanical clock merely heeded the call of a world that sought new levels of structure and ascendance over the ambiguity of this materializing existence we sought to fulfill.

And we are still seeking to fulfill.

Men in East L.A. that scare me


I was at the local “convenience mart” earlier this evening.


“Convenience” store is such a euphemism, isn’t it?


Most convenience stores are in fact very convenient, but the problem is, you pay through the nose for convenience. The only people who buy groceries from convenience stores are hood specimens who need that gallon of milk now and are too lazy or inopportune to drive an extra mile to the grocery store. So they spend more for the item, an excess which is essentially a surcharge for the almighty “convenience.” Convenience marts are only good for select items. Liquor, zig zags and lottery tickets. Lottery tickets are the bane of my existence. I do not gamble. Lottery tickets delay the line, and if the idiot buying them doesn’t know what he wants and dawdles at the counter while trying to figure which scratcher to buy (because it will be THE one that enables him to leave the barrio finally, and live the life of a baller which is nothing but a trashy persona fronted by a healthy bank account) and meanwhile, you could have finished the bag of picante-flavored corn nuts you have in hand. By the way, corn nuts are the only other redeeming convenience store offering.


These damned scratcher buyers are a plague upon me. Whatever. Good luck to them. Just quit holding up my line. I need these corn nuts now.


Only ghetto specimens lack the good sense, patience, long-term planning and sense of economy that drive them to crash a convenience store at 9:30 pm to buy bleach only to come home to an apartment complex to remember they can’t use the washroom after 10 pm. But at least they have a full container of bleach. This is the ghetto way of life. It’s like they have just thrown in the towel on good sense and liberty. They will go down with their sinking ship, damnit. They will not go quietly into the turbulent, drama-whore night. They will go in full-steam ahead and make all the bad moves imaginable. Ghetto specimens don’t show any genteel manners or subtlety. They do stupid shit full blast. It’s all or nothing, and all is a lot for these people. They don’t make one bad move and two good. They aren’t fond of the principle of one step forward, three back. These people do four back, and the promise of one forward (which comes on the wings of a lottery ticket it took them 10 minutes to decide to buy after grabbing a pack of double-priced diapers that are too small for their infant but that’s all there was!).


There I was at this neighborhood convenience store earlier. It’s only important to note that it was not a chain.


Chain convenience stores are especially thief-ridden. Plus, their selection sucks and they don’t offer all the niche goodies that independent local convenience stores offer. This is actually the best thing about the convenience store market. This is one arena in which “mom n pops” are actually doing as well as the chains. I would bet that if you have a chain convenience store sitting next to a mom n pop convenience, they would both do equally well, and in fact, the mom n pop might surpass the chain if its owners escaped the prototypical Asian ruthless unfriendliness, but that’s not likely. Most Asian independent convenience store owners are very friendly and embrace the local hood community to their own misfortune. In fact, at tonight’s convenience store journey, I was behind the line in a group of 3 people.


They didn’t have enough money to buy all their tall bottles. They began asking for store credit. These people were from the ‘hood. The Asian owners were trying to bargain with them. And they did. They relinquished to credit which is unheard of at convenience stores. But the hoodlums are powerful in the barrio. But let me explain.


Finally, the other owner began asking people in line to pay separately. He was attempting a Walmartian strategy of speeding up the line! It was great.


So one person was in front of me. He was serviced in the “alternate” line while the group of 3 squabbled and stalled over their their insufficient funds.


While the guy in front of me paid, I began paying attention to the stallers.


What a crew. They were bad news. This convenience store is in the barrio but it feeds off a lot of adjacent middle-class neighborhood scumbags as well. The nature of Los Angeles.


One of the guys looked like Steve O of Jackass fame. He was tall, skinny and had some serious large-gauge flesh tunnels in his earlobes, the chick looked like a garden variety hood slut trying to act respectable (in other words, light on the thick mascara and light on the fat rolls), but the other guy…


There are men out there who have heedlessly thrown in the towel.
There are some guys who signal their presence interlaced with overbearing doses of malfeasance and viciousness. They don’t give a fuck. They do not give a fuck about your world. They surely do not give a fuck about your life. Oh, they don’t give a flying fuck about your precious children or your shiny car. The more you come in contact with such human scum, the better for all of us.


Many guys think this, very few show you. Very few wear their misanthropy like the Liberty Tax sign. But I run into guys occasionally who wear their deadly petulance like a visible mark of pride.


This guy in the convencience store line tonight did that. I rarely encounter men I feel immediately threatened by. The ones I do are 1) really big-ass black guys with hardcore street cred, 320 pounds and a lot off tattoo chatter on their arm, 2) Mexican psycho dudes with tattoos on their face.


See the commonality?


Once you etch shit in your face you are telling the world that you have ceased belonging.


This is a clear signal of danger. Animals use subtle aromatic spear to ward off predators. Man now uses skin ink. Heavy skin ink. None of this fancy boy skin “art.”


Whereas the typical child molester or serial killer attempts a semblance of normality in order to subvert the paradigm, the facial tattooed killer tells you up front that he is your tormentor.


Their implicit evocation of fear is thankless. It declares clearly: back off. Keep your eyes down and pay for your corn nuts. Go ahead, argue with the owner all night about your non-existent credit line.


A spider web tattoo on your forehead and a jumble of other chaotic indistinguishable ink on your face and arms is your free pass dude.


I’m not hard. Not like you. You are that vague, media-delivered threat, that underlying danger that warns civilized people to pay our taxes and act like we care about Washington DC.