i finished the last few pages of choke today, the book just sort of ended. i wasn't expecting very much, i kind of realized the ending would be anticlimatic. now that book will just sit on my bookshelf and collect dust (unless somebody who knows me might want to borrow it). i almost bought a copy of take the cannoli: stories from the new world by sarah vowell at the borders bookstore today, but at the last minute i hesitated and bought two other books instead, the world encyclopedia of flags and the odyssey guide to turkey by gilbert horobin. for a guy who professes to be a hater of books, i have a hippocritical tendency to buy books similar to how some women might buy shoes. i'll pick up a copy of cannoli from wordsworth on my way home from work sometime next week maybe. that book seems like a good subway read, although my subway ride from harvard to kendall is usually so short and crowded, there's very little opportunity to squeeze in an opportune read.

joel and i met at borders bookstore in dtx and after a dunkin' donut pitstop we started the station hopping marathon. first stop: braintree.

braintree: nothing exciting. we found a tossed romance novel in the empty train cabin on our way back. weird thing about braintree station is you can't just leave the station, you have to pay to exit, since a regular combo pass doesn't cover the fare all the way to braintree. apparently braintree is just too damn far.

quincy adams: prettiest station in the entire trip i think, superhigh covered ceiling with metal reinforced trusses. reminded me of davis square station to some extent, but at a grander scale. joel remarked that parts of the station resembled a quake map. like braintree, you have to pay to leave, so joel and i opted to stay within the station and wait for the next inbound train.

quincy center: the first station traveling from south-north that we did manage to exit from. i remember quincy center from 5 years ago (when i was sort of going out with this quincy girl). on a hot sunday afternoon, it was a pretty empty center, not too much happening.

north quincy: very nice glass encased waiting areas on the platform. i guess these oasises are for bad weather days, since the station is open to the elements. not too bad a place to hang out, not a lot to see though, just an empty parking lot lying below the train tracks. i did lick an mbta sign though (i licked kendall square! no, actually, just a simulated licking).

jfk/umass: we got off here so i can show joel how the two red lines merge back into one red line from this point. people wait on area overlooking the two platforms to see which side the trains are coming from and quickly run down to catch it.

andrew: i know this station well, amanda rawson and i have an intimate knowledge of the local area one adventurous day when we explored southie and walked from andrew back to the city. know andrew stations by the colorful geometric shapes on the metal gates.

south station: nothing new. we got off here instead of heading to dtx (so we can catch the orange line to catch the blue line) so we can use the bathroom. we observed two frisky teenagers playing with one another. what base is an ass grab?

waiting for the blue train at state was a surreal experience. scary, awkward, annoying, confusing. suddenly without warning the platform just filled up. joel and i were surrounded by a small group of asian boys and one girl. whether they were cantonese or vietnamese i'm not sure, but what i am sure is they totally invaded our personal space and i was very suspicious of them, getting ready for a jacking or some sort of confrontation. then there were these groups of white teenagers who we soon realized were not just any ordinary teenagers but french teenagers. so the train came and we all squeezed together into a tight cabin. i had one hand on my bag for fear of getting pickpocketed by these asian boys who flanked me on three sides. in my mind i was playing out some ninja commando scenario where i could kick one boy in the nuts and smash his nose with my knee, while i pound the glasses of his four-eyed friend into his small and fragile face, and finishing off the third boy with a nasty thank you very much elbow, all the while hoping joel would back me up if one of the boys survive this elaborate fantasy attack i was staging in my head. surrounding all of us were all the french kids, sitting across from each other, staring at one another, occasionally uttering something in french. so the cabin was just this cacophony of french and cantonese/vietnamese, and joel and i are confused, and it's joel's first time on the blue line, and i'm getting ready to unleash some passive aggressive violence, and these french girls are really hot and they're all probably minors and i'm thinking about other stuff to keep my mind off of these french girls and where are they going and how far do we have to go before we get there and can this ride be any more surreal? so the ride continued in this state of tension, but once we arrived at revere, the cabin just cleared out like a vacuum. apparently they're all going to the beach. collective sigh of relief cascaded through the whole train.

joel and i got off at the next (last) stop, wonderland. where were the dog tracks? but just a block away was the beach, so we casually crossed the streets. so this is the infamous revere beach. it's so interesting, i could spend the whole day here, just people watching (which in some circles might be misconstrued as gawking). you have the people sunbathing and playing in the water. you have the old senior citizens sitting underneath shaded pavilions. you have the cars stuck in traffic. and you have all the bikers revving their motorcycles in proud defiance of any sort of noise pollution laws. we sat there soaking up some sun and taking a few souvenir snapshots before walking to revere station and riding the blue line back to the city, where we parted ways.

are there any take home lessons? yeah, it's impossible to visit all the stations in just one day. especially not on a sunday, when the trains run on a sunday schedule. you could probably do one color in a single day, visiting every stop on that line. for the green, you'd have to pick a letter (although you might want to skip b). the stations themselves are very utilitarian. true, the architecture changes and the layouts are different, but not so drastically that it'd be worthwhile to visit every single stop. like for us, we skipped a few (wollaston and broadway) because they didn't seem very interesting. it's probably one of these things you do just once in your life and never bother to repeat again.

what's left on the mbta adventure? transversing park street station red line by walking across two simultaneously arrived trains, and completing the square (dtx-state-government center-park street-back to dtx).





mary lou lord with semisonic - sugar sugar
soho - hippy chick
kylie minogue - spinning around
gin blossoms - till i hear it from you
sheena easton - strut
the creeps - ohh-i like it
elton john - tiny dancer
guess who - these eyes
communards - never can say goodbye
shriekback - nemesis
aretha franklin - who's zoomin' who
stevie wonder - what christmas means to me
blondie - the hardest part
trina - pull over (dirty version)
nenah cherry - buffalo stance
prince - play in the sunshine
b*witched - mickey
johnnie taylor - just the one i've been lookin' for
michael jackson with paul mccartney - say say say
nancy sinatra - u only live twice
shaggy - it wasn't me
dionne warwick - i say a little prayer
miles davis - human nature
human league - love is all that matters
miriam makeba - pata pata
inner circle - girl i wanna make you sweat
destiny's child - independent woman part i
groove armada - i see you baby shaking that ass (fatboy slim mix)
michael jackson - don't stop
kylie minogue - i should be so lucky
climie fisher - love changes (everything)
juliana hatfield and tonya donelly - josie and the pussycats
echo & the bunnymen - lips like sugar

regardless of the fact of whether or not you think i'm funny (let me tell you right now, there is not an ounce of yuck yuck on this totally serious frame of mine and i will hit you with a libel lawsuit if you say otherwise), it might surprise you that i only really know two jokes. want to hear them? i hesitate about putting them live here on the website because then everyone will know my two jokes and i won't be able to tell them ever again. but i'm a generous man, and this place is all about sharing (sometimes too much), so here it goes (drum roll please):

how do you make a tissue dance?
put a little boogie into it.

my old high school classmate and then later fellow tufts alum jennifer garber told me that joke. so i've known it since college. it's a pretty harmless joke, something for the kids. joke 2 however is not suitable for children, at least i don't think so:

how do you know its bedtime at michael jackson's house?
when the big hand falls on the little hand.

i'm not sure where i got that joke. it seems like an old one, i'm always surprised to find people who haven't heard it before. i might've found this joke in a magazine.

anyway, friday at the office, laurie rogers told us another joke, one that i found very funny. she'll probably kill me for telling it, and she'll definitely kill me if i steal it and add it to my comedy repertoire, but here's the joke:

where do melons go during the summer?
john cougar mellencamp.

that's a pretty retro joke. a lot of younger kids who aren't familiar with jcm (especially now that he's dropped the cougar from his name) won't get the joke, but for those of us who grew up in the 80's, this is pee your pants funny.

got anymore funny jokes you would like to share? send them to funnyjokes@iamtonyang.com. and i'm looking for question-punchline jokes. no story jokes.