2016, two weeks in

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 7:45am

From the jump, things have been good with the New Year.

The weather has been very forgiving at the docks, especially when we roll in to work at 0530 hours for the Monday and Thursday ferry trip. However, make no mistake, it’s still bleak at the docks at that Godforsaken hour of the day; Paradise Alley is dark and quiet. We’ve dodged some big heating bills ― so far. I’ve not even turned on the heater on our sailboat when I hit Newport to write and flop on board for the night. It simply doesn’t feel like winter ― as I roam the Newport docks late at night thinking about things to scribble.

The bride has been hitting the PBS show "Downton Abby" pretty hard for about five seasons. She loves the show: scenery, acting, characters, and plot line. She also loves the furniture of that period. Recently, she tricked out the living room in said fashion and it looks very, ahem, Brrritish. I feel like I should walk with erect posture and be speaking with an aristocratic accent while sipping tea and maybe wearing a smoking jacket ― the bride’s idea. I feel like Lane, the butler from the play "The Importance of Being Earnest," by Oscar Wilde. The place looks great and it’s a great way to begin the New Year. We also got Sailor and Tuppence haircuts for the New Year; got one myself, too.

The M/V Block Island is back on the run and all prettied up for the New Year. She has new windows. (Note well, the second day back ― 1/10/16 ― on the run, the boat was cancelled because of nasty weather). Needless to say, folks are happy with this ferry for the winter months ― the crew is, too. Just sayin.' This recent storm was a harbinger of what is to come, it did come in the form of rain and not snow. The weather gods gave us a pass on this one. Moreover, let us not forget how cold and raw it was last winter. The image of half of the inner section of Newport Harbor ensconced in ice is still in an active file in my head ― it won’t be deleted anytime soon.

In the reading department, I got a biography about Alfred Hitchcock from a guy I know from the docks. It’s an informative study of this very visionary guy who set some lasting standards in the movies. For example, Hitchcock developed the practice of creating storyboards for the narrative progressions of his films. A storyboard is simply a series of small sketches of the action of the narrative. It gives actors and camera operators a chart of what the director wants. Recently, Doug Gasner was waiting for his tractor to get delivered to the ferry dock ― it has a weatherproof cabin that was just installed. We were hanging out in the car shack when I told him about this little film factoid about Hitchcock. While listening, Doug was tapping his iPhone. Then, he showed me a video of a little square pouch. Inside were a marker, and a plastic sheet, which was folded into several small squares. Bingo! It was a portable storyboard. Talking with Doug is like having a human Google app; the guy has lots of information filed away, and doesn’t delete much. He is always paying attention.

There are a couple of films I want to see this year. While seeing “Creed,” there was a clip of “The Revenant,” and that one looks pretty intense, and bleak. There’s been lots of chatter about how hard the film shoot was. Of course the whole “Star Wars” thing is out there raking in the clams. Furthermore, Quentin Tarantino clearly knows that the circus always can use more elephants. His movie “The H8ful Eight,” is loaded up with great talent. And this thing is three hours long! It even has an intermission! Ahem, I’ll wait to see this one on cable in the privacy of my own chambers ― so I can take a nap if one is needed. The film business is fickle. “In the Heart of the Sea,” was a good film. Although this film did not do that well commercially, it will resonate in educational environments for many years to come. The film was not about a whale. It was about some hardcore Quakers who were ruthless businessmen, “Manifest Destiny,” and rugged individualism ― note well Owen Chase at the end of the film. As far as the cable thing, HBO is trotting out a bunch of old warhorses to grab an audience. I caught some “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the other night. Still love the “Curb.” I hope in 2016 that Larry David grinds out a new season. Love the Larry.

The National Grid cable to the mainland is getting ready to be trenched and buried six feet below the ocean floor. It will come ashore just north of Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett. The Block Island Wind Farm is spinning itself into the future. Of course, all of this work is contingent upon the weather, and as previously stated we have gotten a pass, thus far. The Block Island Times has a new publisher. The Block Island Ferry phone lines are burning up as the girls in the office have been taking reservations relentlessly over the past two weeks. The word around the campfire is that a new forklift is in the offing. Harbor seals have been hanging out west of the ferry slips grabbing what they can as certain fish get dispatched from the cull boards on off loading draggers. We’ve had as of this writing one 10-degree day at the docks. Also, as of this writing, no one has won the Powerball hustle, which is currently over one billion dollars.

This is the Scribbler’s slant on how we’re forging ahead into the winter of 2016, and it will not break his heart if he sees nary a snowflake, as he has not ― thus far.