Mark Allen's Top Seven for January 26th, 2004:

1. Life in an alternate universe
    In the midst of the throbbing excitement of a hot and steamy email discussion about how I thought Jim wanted to see me nude and in a butcher's smock and rubber pig nose with a German opera 78 rpm blaring on a nearby gramophone (and he let me know he really wanted to see me in that and a top hat and chinese braid ponytail, with a tub of festering entrails next to me, set in a giant Lego diorama recreation of Jerry Garcia dying of a heroin overdose), Jim sent me this altered photo version of himself. And it got me thinking.
    You know... there comes a time when we need to heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one. There are people dying! And it's time to lend a hand life (which is the greatest gift of all). We cant go on pretending day by day that someone, somewhere will soon make a change. We are all a part of God's great big family... and  you know, the truth is; love is all we need. I've found that when I'm down and out, and there seems to be no hope at all... if I just believe... then there's no way I can fall. We need to realize that a change can only come when all we stand together as one. As God has shown me... no us, by turning stones to bread; we all must lend a helping hand. There's a choice we're making; we're saving out own lives. Its true we'll make a better day, just you and me. We are the world.

2. This photo of Amy
    Every once in a while... an image of something catches your eye and makes your day. Kind of like when you first saw the poster for the movie Jaws as a kid (if you were little in the 1970's) ...or maybe the first time a sweaty, starving, dehydrated Lewis and Clark pushed an Indian out of the way and gazed at a real, living ermine for the first time. As you look at the image, or whatever it is you're looking at marvel! You realize that everything that has crossed your eyeballs in recent time has been sub par compared to that image... and you gasp in hiccups of uncontrollable laughter or amazement at said thing, as it hits a nerve in your brain that is in perfect contrast to a perceived internal reflection of whatever emotions you may be going through during that period of your life... but that you haven't been able to put into words... finally: an answer! Closure!
    This photo did that for me. This is my friend Amy (whom I met through Jim). I did not take this photo... I found it on Amy's Friendster profile. It was taken in last year's Gay Pride parade, on the float for the famed female-centric sex toy shop Toys in Babeland. Amy has a very strong personality, and knowing her is kind of an ...adventure. She is very eventful to hang around, and she knows everyone. So here she sits in all her glory... just another day for her. Queen Amy.
    I don't think it's the giant vagina costume that's making this image work so well for me. It's the casual and totally-happy-in-her-own-skin (wrapped in a giant vagina skin) look on Amy's face... her glasses... her hand devil horns symbol...   the cooler next to her... the back of the person's head that's driving a giant vagina down 5th Avenue... the fact that the photo was taken at a moment when there isn't really a crowd behind them (it is a parade you know)... the bizarre, surreal, ultra-generic sign Amy is holding that looks like a prop from a TV movie with a pro-dildo demonstration scene in it...
    Thanks Amy.
    I guess I write about stuff that makes me optimistic.

3. How adorable is this?
    Am I a total vagina for finding this adorable? Perhaps. I haven't called yet but I'm trying to think up some good names.
    I've always wanted to have a kid one day... I'm set on a boy's name: Thor. Isn't that a good name? Thor Allen? But a really great girl's name has eluded me (I think the name Palace is an interesting name... but Palace Allen as a name that eats sawdust... so no Palace). I haven't called these people yet to give them my suggestions. It would help to know what their last name(s) were. Maybe I'll call and ask them that first... then call back. If you can think of any good names... email them to me and I'll tell them when I call.
    I guess I write about stuff that makes me optimistic.

4. Mr. Pete
    Jim if you're reading this... then please stop reading this.
    Speaking of making babies... my new obsession? Heterosexual human fornication! Particularly of the cinema verite variety, and involving a straight guy in straight porn named Mr. Pete. In the impossibly dull world of gay(zzzzz) in porn, my discovery of Mr. Pete keeps things dangerous and exciting for my starving need for danger and excitement from a safe distance. His presence in the industry is described as "shadowy" ...and he is notorious for fetishizing women's asses. He's recently started directing his own films - where he straps a camera to his body and then plows through orifice after orifice with a telephoto "point of view" lens. According to some inside porn gossip websites he has a reputation for getting relentlessly stoned on set and then plowing through a room full of women's anuses like a madman. His face lies somewhere between Adam Horovitz and Sean Penn, and he also has this really cool mole on his right (face) cheek. His body is a perfect temple of non-gay un-body sculpting, complete with a smattering of mid-quality, prison-ish tattoos. To be honest he's a little scary. His short gait, zany cockiness and goof ball facial contortions make him seem like a totally delicious nightmare dream boat who hangs out in heavy metal concert parking lots and yells a lot. God... girls are so lucky.
    Here's Mr. Pete's massive filmography. Mmmmm... I bet his breath smells like pussy.
    Maybe I should try to contact him! Hmmm, probably not. Jim wouldn't like it. Plus - whenever I try to hang around porn sets and ask the male stars questions it always ends in pepper spray, face punching and restraining orders. *sigh* ...but I can always find solace in the fact that no one is truly lonely as long as those friendly people at the other end of the Suicide Hotline are manning the phones 24 hours a day.
    Any-hooo...  Mr. Pete has quite a reputation in the industry, and recently won a 2004 AVN award for "Most Outrageous Sex Scene" for a bloody (literally) and "meaty" scene dubbed "Love in an Abattoir" (again... literally) in a completely twisted porn movie called Perverted Stories: The Movie. The movie is notorious for having scenes with Grimm's fairy tale-esque woodland characters, bloody sex in meat lockers, geriatric weirdoes, penis plants, dildo monsters, sex with dead bodies in bleach baths, and general bad acid trip type stuff. Sounds like my kind of film.
    Now I wanted to see this film... and my video store has an ample ADULTS ONLY section. But I found it a little difficult to even use the pornography section of my local video store for what it's intended for (the renting of adult films), let alone even enter the section itself! And I'm not talking about Ned Flanders-esque PORN SHAME! Don't get me wrong. I go look at porn sections in video stores all the time. But this time was special because I was on a mission.
    So I tried to rent Perverted Stories: The Movie from the porn section at my local video store one recent winter-y evening. but the ENTIRE SECTION was dominated by an enormous carbon blob. This weird big guy, his ample frame wrapped in a winter down coat, literally commandeered the entire cubicle. I mean... the section of the store is very cramped and closet-like... so anyone with more than an ample frame is gonna make it impossible for anyone else to be in there without touching them ...a lot. And the thing is... he wouldn't leave! I mean... he kept looking at box after box after box... over and over. It must have been at least 20 minutes!
    Not only that... he also had on these headphones that he was listening to really loud salsa music on... I mean the volume must have been on full blast because the whole video store could hear it through the phones. I was having such a hard time with my personal space being psychically raped while I tried to look at cardboard video boxes of girls getting raped... that I finally had to bail out of the ADULTS ONLY section and try to come back some time when this guy wasn't around.
    Geeze... what an ordeal!
    Sooo... the following evening I went back (around the same time). And, believe it or don't... the SAME GUY was in the porn section. What the fuck... does he LIVE there? I decided to brave it anyway and share the phone booth-size section, once again, with the salsa music-blaring, porn box-looking at, space-hog. I entered the cramped quarters and, as my very retinas were seared with the garish,color photography and fluorescent colored porn boxes... I found that not brushing up against his ample frame to be, simply, an impossibility. Plus... as soon as I walked in, the weirdest thing happened... he reached over and clicked his headphones off!
    So now it was so quiet you could hear every single shuffle of cardboard as he and I took box after box off the shelves and looked at them. *shuffle* *shuffle* GOD it was distracting! I was so distracted by this guy's offensive energy that I couldn't even concentrate to look for the title I had come for. What was it called again? Pete who?
    And it was then... ugh, that I noticed... his Darth Vader-esque breathing!
    *huuummmfff....  pphhhhmmmmffff...*
    ...he was breathing really, really, really loud! I mean... was it because he was wearing those headphones for so long and getting his pulse racing from looking at porn boxes all night? He just couldn't hear himself because he had damaged his hearing? Creepy! No wonder he had those headphones on! It was to drown out the eardrum perforating rumble of his whale lungs! And THEN... if that wasn't enough... I soon smelled his breath. It smelled like a pile of a thousand amputated morgue corpse feet and armpits marinated in rotten garlic for about as zillion years. AAUUUGGGHHH!!!! Could the odor be coming from him? Could it be possible? I mean... could it be the cardboard porn boxes themselves that smell like that? Would they have scratch-n-sniff patches on them that smelled like girls with bad breath (you never know... some people have some pretty freaky fetishes)? Could this guy's stench possibly be that overpowering and real? I mean... his physical offensiveness was approaching super hero power level... it was like a mutation!
    So... in a primal moment... I gave up on seeing Mr. Pete's award winning performance (once again) and I quickly departed Darth Vader's halitosis porn salsa hell booth and ran to the NEW FOREIGN FILM ACQUISITIONS section of the store. Stunned and on the verge of a panic attack... I quickly rented DVDs of Jean-luc Godard's Band of Outsiders and Roman Polanki's Knife in the Water instead.
    They were good, but I found them hard to masturbate to.

5. Rick Bayless' "Mexico: One Plate at a Time" on PBS
    I love how I breeze from porn to PBS cooking shows.
    I have a weird dependency problem that I should probably admit to all of you (no, not porn). On PBS, here in New York City, they have a block of cooking shows on Sunday afternoons that I am totally and dangerously addicted to. Jim will sometimes call me on Sundays and ask in a granny voice "Are ya watchin' yer stories!?"
    There is something very soothing about PBS cooking shows that I have never been able to really identify. It's a weird kind of cathode ray tranquilizer that the Food Network doesn't seem to be able to capture. There's something about televised cooking shows that seem to tap into the same comforting subconscious semiotics that probably have a lot to do with mothers and the womb... someone should really do a study on them, seriously. One of the best of the PBS cooking show genre was the early "Frugal Gourmet" show, hosted by the welcoming, almost gnome-like Jeff Smith... but I'm not sure if he's even on PBS anymore (I think he's on cable somewhere). The short-lived and almost revolutionary "Two Fat Ladies," hosted by the two motherly, brazen preachers of the virtues of delicious fatty and carcinogenic foods - English chums Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson (Patterson died a few years ago)  was also an noteworthy bookmark of the genre (taken from BBC). Of course PBS I think only has a partial hand in these shows... as I often see them popping up on other cable channels... or have originated from other places. Here in New York, they seem to rotate the shows in unpredictable shifts. They recently started airing one I had never seen called "Mexico: One Plate At a Time" hosted by master chef and entrepreneur Rick Bayless. Here's a link to his website central, everything you could possibly want to know about Rick Bayless: (
    I was born (almost) and raised in Texas and I have a love of Mexican food that no northeasterner can ever possibly relate to. Mexican food in NYC... no, in the northeast in general... is a kind of slow, bland, infinite, disappointment. Texas and the southwest U.S. are rich tapestries of genuine Mexican cuisine, American-ized TexMex and every possible variation in between. So boy was I surprised to find a show by a total enthusiast about Mexican culture and cuisine being aired here on PBS in New York.
    The tall, Clark Kent-ish Rick travels all over Mexico via jeep, foot and boat and talks about the various regions, and the kinds of food you can find. Then, for the "cathode ray tranqualizer/mother embryo" section of the show (that I discussed earlier), the camera cuts back to his great Chicago home kitchen, where he prepares the foods using ingredients and equipment indigenous to the regions he was just visiting. His preparations and explanations in his kitchen are casual and unfussy... he doesn't go on and on about the correct pronunciation of some weird leaf or herb... he'll gladly explain how you can use Reynold's Wrap and a hammer of you can't get an antique tortilla press from Oaxaca, or explain how Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread with ground pepper is totally fine if you can't get certain kind of cheese from a specialty market.
    But it's not just the subject and food that got me hooked on this program. It's Rick's totally hypnotic and mesmerizing televised persona that has me convinced that he may possibly be a robot.
    Rick has this fascinating physical grace that is a really interesting combination of vocal tones and facial and body motions that at times make it look like he is either really, really passionate about a certain type of corn he is talking about... or he's been licking psychotropic Sonora toads... or he's a robot. I mean... seriously, this guy at times has this bizarre hypnotic way of talking with his hands that makes you want to order extra cheek and brain meat with your Mexican street goat head tacos (which you can see him ordering in the upper left shot). He's almost as hypnotic to watch as Grace Kelly in Rear Window.
    He will then eat the goat's cheek/brain head taco right there on the street, talk with a full mouth about it's significance, how earthy and real it is, at he will not wince once. This guy really loves Mexico and it's food. Of course the goat head taco was a rare exception... 99% of everything else he discovers and prepares is totally mind-blowing-ly delicious looking. I am now officially a fan of this guy and his show.
    I guess I write about stuff that makes me optimistic.

6. I'm learning the secret, evil, uber-power of telling everyone about how I'm now shutting up and not telling anyone anything
    Speaking of... "Surprise is the most important element of attack..." said Grace Kelly in Hitchcock's Rear Window, although she was obviously just quoting Machiavelli or Genghis Khan or someone... probably. And so it goes... that after a lifetime spent blabbing about every stupid detail about every little thing I was going to be doing in the next five minutes... just blabbing away like a crazed hyena to anyone within a three zillion mile radius of my larynx and brain and ego... I'm learning the AWESOME MACHIAVELLIAN POWER of not telling a soul about anything at all! And then letting whatever I'm being secret about roll out into the world like a Hiroshima bomb ...or maybe the terrorists striking the WTC on September 11th. Remember the impact THAT event had? My friends and acquaintances (and enemies) then stare in shock and awe, as their faces melt like that corrupt Nazi torture guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark at whatever event it was that I was so slyly secret about. What does this new turn in behavior say about me a developing person? Have I developed a healthy attitude towards my "enemies" NOOOOOOO!!!! Have I developed a healthy attitude towards WAR? YEEEEESSSS!!!! Who needs to hype things up? Not me!!! I'm evil!!!
    Suddenly, to me, every ambitious agent and public relations person in Manhattan who wants to help me with my career or do PR for me looks like a minuscule, two dimensional Smurf. You remember Smurfs don't you? They were those miniature blue high-voiced cartoon characters that were big in the 80's?
    It's gotten to the point where I don't even put anything on my webpage about what I'm doing with my "career"... even after the thing I'm being so "ssshhh..." about already happens! I mean WHY do I have a webpage? To BRAG and GET ATTENTION that's why!!! It's like there are two of me!
    I haven't figured out if the world is a whore... or if the world is a war, but I have decided that both comparisons only apply to the outside world. And it applies to my "enemies" ...those war-ish WHORES!!!
    Do you readers of this webpage sometime read my rants and think I'm nuts?
    Why would I spend so much time thinking about my "enemies"? Maybe I'm some narrow-minded, petty, churl who's locked in a maddening fun house of self-loathing... some creepy, bad skin-ed, self-centered Manhattanite who's never hugged themselves in front of a mirror  while reading Don Miguel Ruiz's "The Four Agreements". Am I THAT bad?
    I mean... my life has turned out pretty good! At least I'm not some porn star... spending all day gobbling knobs in front of a video camera. Or some war-crazed military guy back in Vietnam... pushing gooks out of helicopters all day just for kicks. Or some tapeworm deep in the dark stomach of a mammal...
    It's just that as a human, usually I'm prancing around like a tit... blabbing to anyone within a three light-year radius about every detail of my life past, present and future. Perhaps I'm always bragging about stuff before it happens because I'm trying in vain to fill the void left by my spent trials of youth. *sigh*
    Sometimes I think my greatest desire in life is just to be away from everyone... lost in my own casualness. Laziness can be a real problem for me. Actually... sometimes I lay on my couch in my living room and look out into the air. While laying there doing absolutely nothing, just as the guilt begins to set in... for a second I think to myself "I really should be doing something constructive." Then, miraculously... I rationalize that I am actually preserving all the cells in my body by resting them and not stressing them out... and therefore; I will live longer and have even MORE TIME to accomplish things (tomorrow)! And then I sit there like a mannequin in some creepy episode of The Twilight Zone, for hours and hours and hours and hours... totally mentally and physically static, and at peace in every cell of my being with my non-constructive non-activity. So you see? Accomplishments in life are not about "revenge!" Inner peace is all about lying to yourself! It's no uphill battle!
    So if any of my "enemies" ask.... that's what I do all day. Nothing. I have no ambition... have nothing exciting coming up on the horizon... and am procrastinating myself into oblivion...
    Good-bye everything.

7. Japanese machine used to help you control your dreams
    Thanks to Robert Crull who sent me a link to this fascinating device. Could this actually work? Actually I think it's pretty gimmick-y and would most likely not work. Still it's an interesting idea. Worthy of further study. Seems like it could be put to evil uses in the wrong hands too.

Mark Allen's Top One for January 5th, 2004:

A picture of Jim's (and soon my?) new home in upstate New York and... oh, oops! My nose got in the way. Oh well...

"I'd Love to Tell You All About My Trip to Jim's New Pink House in Upstate New York, and the Preceding New Year's Party at The Wonderful Blueberry Farm... But My Fantastically New, Amazingly Clean, Vacuumed and Steamed Pore-free Nose is Stealing the Show ( usual)"

    Do you know that I have been saving a bottle of really nice champagne in my refrigerator for over a year now? Jim and I have been saving it for a really special occasion. Actually... Jim and I have it's un-corking reserved for the christening of his new two-story, pink home in upstate New York (yes he still has the cabin too - now he has two homes). This new pink house is the home that I could possibly leave New York City for and live with him in, in a state of sparkly marital bliss. I'm thinking about all this as I'm placing my hand right now on the champagne bottle... rocking it back and forth on my kitchen counter with my outstretched arm. I can't see the bottle because my head is currently placed over a pot of steaming water... as I am steaming the pores on my face. I'm really just giving myself a home facial, so my skin will have a natural, glowing sheen on my first trip up to see the new house. Vain? Yep.
    Although I steam my face every month or so, I have of late been obsessed with those little pore-clogging spires of white goo that come out of my nose every time I squeeze the blackheads. No matter how often I give myself a facial... those itty bitty logs of white stuff (they kind of look like cooked Ramen Noodles) just won't come out! I do the whole routine... steaming... hot shower, cleanse, scrub, cold water rinse, Queen Helene's Mint Julep Masque, clean, Neutrogena non-comedogenic facial moisturizer. But... after the 24-48 hour "glow" of my facial has worn off... everything still looks pretty good save for the white goo in  my nose. I can't get rid of it!
    And that is why I have devised a new strategy this time around. Right next to the ready-to-burst bottle of champagne, is my Eureka Boss Mighty Mite home vacuum cleaner, plugged in and ready to roll. I have installed (and thoroughly sterilized) the smallest applicator to the end of the hose and assessed it's ability to navigate the crevices and curves of my nose and the surrounding "T-zone" area of my face. Extreme? Perhaps. But I recently saw a documentary on television about the most exclusive beauty spas in deepest  Switzerland... and I was aghast when the subject of the documentary moved right to the white goo inside the women's noses that were getting facials at said mountain spa. The documentary revealed Switzerland's dirty little secret: spa maidens steaming and then vacuuming the aryan Swiss Miss noses of these fine yodelin' women. As I watched this program, I thought "Ahhhh.... vacuuming!" as I pawed the Ramen Noodle-filled pores on my otherwise fine honker.
    So, now here I stand, my train for upstate New York laving in a matter of hours, champagne bottle at hand waiting to mark the beginning of Jim and I's possible new suburban destiny, my body poised, slumped over a steaming brine of water and skin grease, towel over head ...and Eureka cocked and ready to vacuum my pores at their very moment of steamed-openness. God I can't wait to get up to Jim's new house and christen our possible new suburban lives with the champagne.
    Oh, I forgot to mention the New Year's party at an adjacent town's blueberry farm farmhouse and estate, which is also today. Lots of Jim's friends are going to be there... it should be a nice something "different" thing to do on New Years. We are going straight to the party after Jim and a friend pick me up at the train station. In case you haven't figured it out... today is New Year's Eve.
    So, since there's a lot of important stuff occuring in the next six hours, let's get on with it...
    Okay... my pores seem about as open as they are gonna get. I reach over and click the on switch on the Eureka. I plunge the hissing black tube into my dark towel tent. It immediately sucks out the hot steam and turns the air to a crisp temperature. But that ends as soon as press the sucking end egainst the skin on my cheeck... which it clicks to like a powerful magnet (turning the hissing sound into a low, whizzing groan). I run the slurping tube over my nose... the sounds I hear inside my steam towel tent are fascinating... *S-L-U-U-U-U-R-R-R-P-P-P-!-!-!* *S-S-S-W-W-W-A-A-A-R-R-R-T-T-T-H-H-H-E-E-E-E-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-P-P-P-!-!-!*   *S-Q-Q-Q-U-U-U-W-E-E-E-E-E-E-!-!-!*
    Ahhhhhhhh!!! Bliss! Not only could I feel my pores on my nose and "T-zone" emptying the tired white goo load that had been lurking under my nasal epidermis for God knows how long... I could feel a slight sting way under the surface of the later of skin... meaning a change had taken place. It felt like getting a huge load off my mind... like going to confession and finally telling someone about a secret murder you commited years ago but never got caught and that's guilt has clogged your nose pores and eaten away at them forever. That's exactly what it felt like! A release. I stopped after one pass with the vacuum tube over each surface... I didn't want to do any damage... the skin is a delicate organ you know! My nose felt... emptier.
    I kept the towel around my face and rushed to the waiting shower. I cleaned and scrubbed in the steaming shower, and then coated my face at the end with a shocking waterfall of near-icy water. I hopped out and ran to the mirror and gazed at myself.
    Holy crap...
    My... ...God! Christ Joseph and Mary in a manger why the FUCK didn't I do this before? Why? Why oh why had I waited so long to do this? The pores on my nose! Were... invisible! It was as if they were sucked up by the vacuum itself! The skin on my nose looked as smooth as a new sheet of typing paper right out of the box! It was down-right embryo-like! I looked in the mirror... I realized I didn't need a mirror. My nose was so smooth and pore and balckhead-free that it seemed to be reflecting the mirror itself! You know when you stand in a hotel lobby that has a hallway with mirrors both facing each other and it does that cool infinity tunnel trick? And you can look at a million "you's" all facing alternately back to front to back to front and you watch them all repeat your every move off into the curvy distance into infinity? Well my smooth-skinned nose seemed to be doing that into my bathroom mirror! Before things got too weird... I moisurized, got dressed, grabbed my bag (with the bottle of champagne tucked safely inside), and strolled out of my apartment... heading for Grand Central Station... my gloriously youthful and pore-free nose leading the way like a beacon of pore-free light.
    I found that with my beautiful new, blemish-free nose... hailing a taxi was no problem at all. Everyone on the street was staring and gawking at me like I was a prince! Upon arriving at the station, I hopped out of my cab into the New Year's Eve mob that was Grand Central at 8pm. I saw heads turning in all directions towards mine. People were all staring at my nose! They were in awe of it's otherworldly fine-ness. I just parted through the crowd to my train... my nose leading the way like Harriet Tubman's lamp through the Underground Railroad... transporting me safely past the injustice of thousands of Grand Central Station gawkers with hideous blackhead-clogged pores on their pale noses. Everyone's nose looked like a Jackson Pollack painting compared to mine! Even the mannequin noses in the store windows inside Grand Central had nose pore problems compared to me! Even the babies being held by mothers in the station had blemished noses compared to my sheen-y smooth shnoz skin! I bet the fetuses in pregnant women's wombs had blackheads on their undeveloped noses compared to me! In fact... I bet the non-nosed but soon to possibly be humans with noses sperm swimming in the balls of all the men in... oh never mind, you get the idea.
    The ride on the train was less of a mob scene about my nose thanks to a slumped back me in my seat and a strategically placed Learning Annex magazine over my face (I pretended to be reading it ...clever, no?)
    When I got out of the train at the upstate station... Jim and his friend met me in a state of stunned awe. It was my nose. I was beginning to piece together what life must be like for the divine... and I couldn't think of a better way to ring in a new year.
    On the way to the party from the train station... the car was hushed silent. Everyone wanted to say something about my nose but they couldn't... they couldn't give in to my beauty. No one could even say a word about my unbelievably young-looking and blemish-free and proportionally perfect nose. Period. My nose was so flawless that it defied the very need for the concept of proportion and perfection... it rendered both concepts to the square root of nothing... zero, and henceforth any and all rational conversation about such a topic followed suit, and was humanly impossible. Even making small talk around the subject of my pore-free, smooth nose was an impossibility!  The conversation would inevitably swing to me back there in the back seat and my great nose... my nose was a strange attractor for the attention of every living creature on the planet (a mind-blowing phenomenon I know) encapsulated right there in the little SUV quickly speeding through the Catskill mountains on New Year's Eve 2003. So what did I do? Well... I just sat back and casually soaked in all the opulent ego reinforcement... trying not to get too big a head about the whole situation.
    So we rode through the night in silence. But that all changed when we arrived at the evening's festivities. Jim and crew and I finally arrived at the blueberry farm New Year's party... carrying in bottles of champagne, food... and of course my beyond-embryonic nose (which might as well have been carried in by Egyptian slaves on a sedan chair covered with feathers and gold asps). When everyone at the blueberry farmhouse party saw the unbelievable smoothness and pore-free sheen of my nose skin, they all gasped and screamed until they're larynxes snapped. Then they asked me endless, gasping questions about my pore-less nose all night, through their raspy, bloody larynxes. You know you're nose is beautiful when it's mere presence at a party ends up drawing blood in the first five minutes.
    I went to bed on the third floor bedroom of the farmhouse, sharing a bed with Jim. With time alone in the safety of darkness, without the power of light to shine on my transcendentally clean nose and cause chaos all around me... I finally had time to think. How could I possibly live with such an imperfect body and a perfect nose? Could I possibly detach my nose and segregate it from the rest of my body? What am I supposed to do? Put up a little velvet rope around the parameter of my nose... to prevent the rest of my body from having access to it? But wait... no matter what I do... my body is still connected to my nose... way more deeply than can be divided by a mere miniature red velvet rope construction that I could make and super glue to my face! Ahhh... the mysteries of humanity and the class system. What a cruel fate integration of the perfect and imperfect can un-weave... would my nose rebel? Detach itself in a fit of segregationist snobbery? Oh why... why must I be faced with the burden of a perfectly clean nose?
    I went to sleep and dreamed a cloudy, silvery dream of my nose being featured in a fantastic, red-hot fashion shoot camera session, on a blinding white iceberg in Antarctica... photographed by some famous Russian fashion photographer. My nose was centered on the iceberg... and sitting indian-style in a circle around me were twelve gazelle-like Slovenia supermodels... each wearing stiletto heals, white straight jackets (fastened), black shiny motorcycle helmets and bright red lipstick adorned with ruby glitter... pouting into oblivion. It was cold! But we all battled the elements in the name of the latest in photo-styling outrageousness!
    As I awoke in the morning... the sunlight coming in the windows of the country farmhouse and hitting my perfectly smooth nose and henceforth illuminating the entire room in rich, winter sunlight, I realized that I had made a choice... and I was going to have to live with it. It's kind of like one of those moments where you realize you've made a good or maybe a bad choice... but you don't do anything about it because you're so exhausted. Like when you're at the airport very late at night and you're trying to sleep on a row of chairs in the empty gate waiting area, and you lean to one side and lay down on the polyester green cushions of the seats and your face lands right at a spot where someone sat that must have farted a lot, or maybe was a kid who might have pooped his pants a little... or an old person with a bowel problem... because you can smell the faintest of faint human foulness through the green material, right where there butt was... and it hits your brain and grosses you out and you should get up and scream in horror and run to the men's room and wash your face like an obsessive germophobe... but you just lay there because you are s-o-o-o-o-o-o-o tired and it's 3:30AM and no one is around and henceforth you rationalize it by saying to yourself "New parents get poop all over themselves by changing babies diapers all day long..." as you drift into slumber next to the olfactory run-off from someone's hairy, unclean crack... and the gap between you and animal gets just a little bit slimmer at that moment.
    Where was I?
    Oh yea... I had time to realize that I had chosen to clean the pores on my nose so perfectly as to create nose skin that was heavenly beyond measure... and I was just going to have to live with the tremendous responsibility and consequences of such perfection. So I went downstairs to breakfast with the rest of the blueberry farm post-partiers and, thanks to their bandaged larynxes... I heard not so much as a peep from the crowded kitchen. Just stares, stares, stares. I was able to eat my bagels, cream cheese, eggs and bacon in peace... but with so many eyes on my flawless nose... I felt a bit like Tippi Hedren walking outside the house at the end of "The Birds" ...a million beady little eyes following her every move. God my nose is so great.
    Then, after everyone had recovered from my pore-free nose splendor silent breakfast... Jim's friend finally drove Jim and I to Jim's new home. I sat in the back seat, wearing a surgical mask over my nose like Michael Jackson. It didn't do any good though... the fantastic smoothness of my nose and it's universal importance might as well have been a shining hood ornament... a foghorn lighting our way through the misty New Year's Day mountains... a masthead on a pirate ship searching for golden treasure (my nose) ...a north star guiding three wise men with gifts for the Christ child (ditto).
    Since it was the first time daylight had hit my nose... or course there was a physical weather anomaly in the immediate area... I'm still getting phone calls from weathermen and soothsayers, who are still trying to figure it out (I keep telling them it's the awesome power of my nose). We finally arrived at Jim's new place. As I stood in the front yard of the three-story, pink house (my possible future home)... the light reflecting off of the scientifically impossible smoothness of my nose mixed with the sunlight and turned every person in the town's skin into a translucent sheathe that you could see through ...see through right into their muscles and veins and bones and. Black, white, brown, yellow... all skin colors were irradiated by the burning supernova of my mega-wattage glowing nose... erasing the very concept of racial purity and racism from the consciousness of the town forever. The will of my nose had triumphed over humanity's racism... eliminating a world problem forever. Hitler would have hated my smooth, pore-free nose... he would have had his Nazi goons shoot me on the spot because of my nose and it's awesome power of ultimate human freedom-giving properties. He probably would have Leni Riefenstahl make a movie about how my nose wasn't really that good anyway. You know you're beautiful when Nazi superpowers create propaganda films trying to get the world to think that you aren't.
    After that unbelievable event... me and Jim (who both had translucent skin now) entered Jim's fantastic new home. It's a real nice place. It has front door that sits atop a welcoming little shrine of steps and columns... which opens onto a chandelier-ed foyer and hallway... the stairs are on your left, on your right a doorway opens up to a huge living room (with fireplace)... which connects to a huge dining room via some giant sliding doors dining room (again with a fireplace). Both rooms have chandeliers and all that sculpted plaster stuff on the ceilings. The kitchen is immense... brick walls and modern kitchen appliances. The back door opens to a nice backyard with green grass. The upstairs has two immense bedrooms and an office. The whole place is thoroughly winter-ized.
    What can I say? It's a home that's almost perfect! At a steal of a price... and living there with Jim forever and ever would be, well... bliss. And a very big decision. Yep... yep yep yep... life in this home with Jim would be Heaven indeed.
    I wonder if the unbelievable smoothness of my pore-free nose could cut diamonds?
    I spent several dreamy days in Jim's new house with him. We spent nights cooking dinner and curled up on the couch in the living room watching movies, and days talking about how we would decorate the inside... and strolling around the fantastically quirky town enjoying all it's eccentricities (I wore a rubber lamb head halloween mask over my nose so as not to cause a commotion). Yep... yep yep yep... life in this town with Jim would be Nirvana indeed.

    After those few days, the train ride home from upstate was uneventful if you don't count all the people on the train gasping and clawing at my nose and trying to take pictures of it. God... to have a nose this perfect can be such a velvet cage. Can't you people leave me and my interstellar-ly pore-free nose alone? Can't I just sit here pensively and look at the countryside go by the window and contemplate my future with Jim?
    Just as I had had enough mob-ery, and was about to grab a ball-point pen from my breast pocket and use it to chop and stab at my beautiful burden of a nose until I had amputated it from my face and then hurl the bloody, splatty thing onto the train floor and scream "Here people! IS THIS WHAT YOU FUCKING WANT YOU HUMAN PARASITES!!!" ...something happened.
    The train began to weave and bob... a horrible screeching metal sound was heard outside... the inner train lights began to flicker and sparks began to shoot past the windows outside. Oh my God! It's one of those horrible train wrecks you see on the TV news sometimes! Happening right here! To us and me and my  mind-blowing nose!!! Noooooooo!!! People began to run around the car like inmates in an insane asylum.... some people dropped to their knees and began to pray... I think I saw someone having sex with their dog... one obnoxious churl whipped out a pocket knife and made a grab for my divine nose, perhaps seeing it as a kind of metaphysical talisman to use in a final act of contrition that might carry him safely into a peaceful afterlife despite a life of sin... but I kicked him in the teeth with my boot. To Hell with you demon!
    I stood up in my seat as the train car rocked wildly... I HAD TO DO SOMETHING. I flung my train window open... and leaned out... the winter wind and violent sparks whipped past my wincing face and past and over my aerodynamically flawless nose. It was then that I did it... I placed my face hard against the grinding, hot steel train track... wedging my head between the careening train and the strip of the track that was quickly proving unreliable. The train resisted at first... but nothing... not man nor machine shall deny the perfection of my aerodynamically smooth, steamed, vacuumed and pore-free embryonically young nose skin!!! NOTHING I SAY!!!
    The train began to steady... it wobbled back to place as it sped forward... inside the train, people stopped praying on their knees and fornicating in the aisles... the conductor let out a sigh of relief. My face stayed pressed against the track, my body leaning out the window. On the right side of my nose... the train, on the left... the track glided effortlessly against my nose's beyond-scientific smoothness... causing great heat and friction... which my nose naturally absorbed and prevented from overheating my body. My awesome nose had saved the day... and me (to save itself?)  As the train sped along even more smoothly than before, the passengers applauded wildly and chanted my name as if they were calling out Christ himself. With my face still in position, guiding the train along... I merely smiled. How could the passengers I had just saved from death really know what it was like having a nose as perfect as mine? For them to imagine having a nose like mine is like them dreaming about imagining themselves reading a book about drawing a picture of themselves sitting in a movie theater watching a movie about Mark's nose. Their naivety and meekness has then ten times removed from the complex and unimaginable glory that is me and my nose... and that naivety and meekness shall let them inherit the earth. Bless them.
    So like that, the train arrived into Grand Central Station... my nose carrying in the train and it's inhabitants safely into a non-terrorist-blown-up New York City (which probably had something to do with my perfect nose and it's radiating a white, protecting light... but I don't want to make a big deal about that fact). As the train pulled right into the middle of Grand Central's grand hall... all of New York stood up and applauded my nose for saving the day. Unlike those supposedly heroic firemen and policemen from 9/11... those fakers. The real hero (my nose) was greeted by throngs of gasping adoration. I leapt off the tracks (my nose unscathed of course) and strolled through the cheering crowd, parting them in two like Carrie White walking through the applauding crowd at her prom after being declared queen. Mayor Bloomberg was supposedly going to show up in a few minutes to give me the key to the city and present me with plans to re-configure the WTC memorial downtown to be a giant sculpture of my wonderful nose instead of the recently revealed plans. But I couldn't stay... I had just been through a wonderful weekend and really wanted to get home. I continued walking through the adoring throngs, past women and children fainting at the site of my wonderful nose. Religious types fell to their knees and started speaking in tongues... or holy rolling. Sigh... I approached the south exit and realized that I had my bags in both hands and wouldn't be able to open the doors. Even though Fox News had quickly arranged for the Radio City Rockettes to stand in a line against the doors to kick them open with their legs as they threw glitter and confetti out into the air, welcoming my nose to Park Avenue and in turn Manhattan and the world (a hokey photo-op, but you know how Fox News in NYC is)... I nevertheless didn't have time to boost Fox News' ratings with my prized nose. Instead... I shot a laser beam of pure white light (out of my nostrils) into the south wall of Grand Central, and blew it to smithereens. Rubble, dust and dismembered Rockettes legs fell to the ground in an violent orgy of sacrifice to my beautiful nose. The mobs of people cheering for me inside Grand Central (and waiting outside) gasped in shock and awe. Even a half-alive Rockette reached out a bloody, sequined arm to gasp one last "...hoo-rah!" in my direction. Some rubble even fell on me... but it didn't hurt... nothing hurts... as long as I have my perfect, pore-less nose. Everyone loves my perfect nose. Even the people that died because of it loved it! How could they not if they were going to be part of such an event as my nose?
    Throngs of taxis and limousines and even helicopters ran over some people in the the cheering crowds outside... chaos everywhere... all trying to push each other out of the way and offering to give me and my flawless nose a ride home. But I didn't need them... I didn't need any of my nose fans willing to commit hari kari just to get within a ten foot radius of me and my nose.
    It didn't matter anyway... because, before I knew it... my nose emitted an orb of white, pure light... a laser beam bubble if you will... it lifted me up over Park avenue and over the screaming throngs... and shot me like a lightning bolt towards the Lower East Side and my apartment. I looked down on the nighttime Manhattan zooming below me, and the millions of people waving at me and trying to get to their windows... all to catch a glimpse of the perfect nose they had just heard all about on Fox News. I looked southward... the wind rushed through my hair and around my aerodynamically perfectly smooth nose. I clasped my bag as the white light from my nose neared me to my apartment. I began to think...
    Did you know that the earth (roughly 197 million square miles of land and water surface) completes a turn around it's axis every 24 hours, and that it also, while doing this speeding, makes a complete wide circle around the sun in 365 days (256 sideral orbital period)... and that, in addition to all this, the sun (holding the earth with it) is moving constantly towards a constellation named Hercules, in addition to also moving with the entire spiral arm around the center of the Milky Way galaxy at God knows what speeds... and that this whole configuration is all also moving towards yet another galaxy?
    Did you also know both hemispheres of the human brain are made up of jumbly, slimy bunches of mass that contain zillions of neurons that pass information at gooey connections called synapses? The speed of one of these information passes (called axions if they are transmitting information and dendrites if they are receiving... kind of like 'top' and 'bottom' in gay sex) is inestimable... but just trying to imagine how fast a synapse is (there are 100 billion neurons in a human brain and 60 trillion synapses) really makes you wonder if research scientists trying to program artificially intelligent androids program them to have an understanding of how binary codes work inside themselves (and does this make the androids sad?). Taking all the spinning speed of the universe and then the speed of the internal workings of the human mind and "soul" ...that's a lot of speed and motion and distance covered...
    It almost makes the distance from Grand Central Station to the Lower East Side that my nose is magically speeding me through the Manhattan night sky seem infinitesimal in comparison. I wonder what my nose thinks? I don't know if it has it's own will, independent of mine... but it certainly seems to be in control, I must say!
    I contemplated all this as my supersonically perfect and pore-free nose laser-transported me nearer to my street. As my nose began to slow it's acceleration and slowly hover me to the ground... I reached into my bag for my keys. My hand hit something hard and cold. It was the bottle of champagne... Jim and I forgot to open it.

Copyright 2004 Mark Allen

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