Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Commuter Rail and it's Eccentric Riders: Part 1

I am a regular on the Commuter Rail and pretty much take the same exact train every morning.  For a couple years now I've for the most part seen the same faces on a daily basis.  As I am someone who loves to people watch, my train has become the best way to see some very odd people.

Mind you, these are just regular people heading into their jobs.  They're not doing anything mean, malicious, sketchy, or gross.  It's just some of them have some odd morning habits.  People in general are creatures of habit in the morning, so I suppose it's not too surprising to see the things I'm about to share with you.

Let's take a look at Eccentric Rider #1.

This young woman (roughly my age) takes the same walk that I take to get to the train station in Waltham Center.  We only live about three blocks away from each other and I see her every morning at 7:45AM.  We must leave the house at the same time.

She has had the same green recycled grocery bag for two years now.  Also, she wears the same jeans almost every day.  I'm not checking her out in any way, but after seeing someone every day at the same time for two years, you notice when things change.  Recently she chopped off all of her hair.  This was kind of a mistake coming from a strangers point of view.

Anyways I digress.  In the winter time, the walk to the train station can be brutal thanks to the frigid temperatures.  It's especially bad right around the Charles River bridge where the wind kicks in and slaps you in the face.  The wait at the platform can be brutal, and there is nothing like the relief when you get on that train and feel the blast of the heat.

Alright I've set the mood, onto her eccentricity.  No matter how cold the temperature is....she is always hot (body heat mind you.)  On the platform itself while everyone freezes, she will use a magazine to fan herself.  The problem is we almost always stand next each other on the platform due to us arriving at the same time, and the breeze that it creates will almost always come my way.  I mean hot can she be?  As soon as we get on the train she will take that jacket off and reveal a short sleeve shirt underneath.  She will then fan herself more.  By this time I am watching her do her thing from the end of the train.

Now she never sits down, but instead uses the open seat to rest her coat and shopping bag.  Most days she puts on her make up and plucks her eyebrows.  Yeah, she's a pro at eyebrow plucking.  Okay, so because it was the summer she slipped my radar a bit.  I hadn't noticed her as much because she didn't do anything out of the ordinary.

Well let me tell you, she started this cold season off with a bang.

Last week was the first really cold morning of the fall.  It was 41 degrees out when I began the walk down to the train station.  I'm bundled up in a lined jacket.  Sure enough, there she is,....WITHOUT A JACKET ON!   I blew out into the air and sure enough, there was my breath.  I could see it. It was really cold!  And there she is, without a jacket.  I can't F'in believe it.

To prove it, here is a picture I took on the platform of her.  Normally I wouldn't do something like this, but hey, I couldn't help myself.  Plus, I left her face out so I don't feel so bad.  You can see everyone else on the platform with their cold weather gear on.

Now I'm curious.  Is something seriously wrong with her?  Is there a medical condition that would cause a woman in her thirties to have too much body heat?  I'm actually thinking of talking to her just to get to the bottom of this.  I'll just casually say, "Wow, it's cold out, huh?"  Should I do it?

Part 2 coming soon!  And you see the guy in front of her?  That's Eccentric Rider #2.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lobscouse: A Blog and It's Origin

Lobscouse? What the hell is that? Is it even a word? Well, yes. Yes it is.
When I was a kid my (dearly departed) grandmother had an ongoing joke:

"What's for dinner?" I would ask.
Her reply was almost always "Lobscouse."

We would always laugh it off, and then she'd tell us what we were really having for dinner. And then she'd ALWAYS explain to us that "Lobscouse" was the childhood answer she'd get from her mother when she would ask that very same question.

Lobscouse Queen planting one on Grandpa's cheek, my wedding day 

So, growing up "Lobscouse" wasn't a real thing. I always pictured it as some Hybrid unicorn-lobster that wouldn't fit into the pot, so it never got cooked. That is until today. I decided to Google it and it turned out to be some sort of Meat Stew sailors used to eat in the 1700's. 

Here's a description of Lobscouse from, which is a whole website dedicated to the dish.

Scouse was brought to Liverpool by Northern European sailors, it was originally called Labskause. This was finally shortened to Skause and over time the spelling changed to the more Anglicised version we have today, Scouse. 

The people who ate Scouse were all generally sailors and their families and eventually all sailors within Liverpool were referred to as Scousers. Time has now taken its turn and everyone from the region of Liverpool is known as a Scouser.
Scouse holds a place in the heart of most Liverpudlian's as the taste of their hometown and is still regularly eaten today by a great number of families. There are records showing that it was also served to the inmates of the Birkenhead workhouse way back in 1864. The recipe was much simpler then than today's refined version but was predominatly the same staple ingredients - meat, vegatables and potatoes, and hardtack.

So this whole thing makes me think at one point someone in my family was probably a Sailor and was forced to eat this stuff and would then terrorize his little children by telling them that it was going to be for dinner, and that's how this whole thing started. Did I mention it had Hardtack as an ingredient? Hardtack was a simple type of cracker or biscuit, made from flour, water, and sometimes salt. Inexpensive and long-lasting, it was and is used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods, commonly during long sea voyages and military campaigns.

Alas, Lobscouse will be the title of my blog. It will really have no common theme other than stuff that I see, like, don't like, eat, watch, listen, and anything else I want to cram in there. It'll be like Lobscouse; because really, who knows what went in there?

Reader disclaimer: I've tried to do blogs in the past but i'm easily distracted and can lose interest now and then. However, with the help of my Blackberry (with a newly cracked screen, ugh) I hope to update you better than I have in my previous attempt at blogging. Bottom line: The more you guys are into it, the better I will be at posting.