Dune

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune


Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, Nick in 1996
Nick in 2001 (we need to go back and get a shot now)

I read Frank Herbert’s classic novel, Dune, in college, in Kansas, in the Dorm – maybe 1975 – about ten years after it was published. I liked it… though I can’t really say I understood it completely. I was reading a lot… I was young… I had a sense that there was a lot going on under the surface that I couldn’t really comprehend.

Then, in Dallas, in 1984, I went to the theater and saw the David Lynch film. I was a fan of Lynch (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man) at the time and actually liked the film a lot. There was so much hate for it at the time. It wasn’t flawless but it was a unique vision – and that is rare. The film actually helped me understand the world of Arrakis better and it inspired me to re-read the source. Dune is definitely a book that benefits from a second reading.

Then right after the turn of the millennium there were the two television mini-series which covered the first three books, somehow. Again, not the best, but a game attempt. I barely remember them, except that my kids – nine and ten years old – watched them and actually liked them better than I did.

And now, 2021, forty-six years after I read the novel, we have Denis Villeneuve and his film.

Again, I was (am) a huge fan of the director (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) and have been hyped up for the film for years – the Covid delay was tough to take. But patience is rewarded, sometimes.

I had big plans of going to the theater and seeing it on the big silver screen – but I have picked up a bad habit of hanging around the house during the pandemic – something I need to work on breaking – something I should have used the film as an aid to breaking – but I didn’t have anyone to go with… so I ended up closing off the living room, scooting the recliner close to the screen, turning up the sound system, and streaming the thing at home.

(don’t worry – no spoilers)

It was very good – as good as I expected, better than I feared (and fear is the mind-killer), worse than I hoped. The only criticism is a bit of slow pace the last quarter. The best part – visuals, sound, acting – all top notch.

The first Dune film was interesting because it was, at the heart, a David Lynch film – with all his personal demons leaking out of the screen. I didn’t realize how much an impression the Lynch Dune made on me, but I could feel echoes of the earlier work all over this one. It is, of course, only half the story, and there is plenty of story for two films (I almost wonder if it should have been a modern cable R-rated mini-series) and it definitely benefits from not having the rushed pace of the earlier one-film version.

The new Dune also shows the mark of its director. There is a unique visual vocabulary – it reminds me of Arrival (especially the shape and motion of the space ships) more than Dune 2049. Denis Villeneuve does have the chops to handle the visuals, the complex political science-fiction landscape, and even the larger-than-life personalities – a lot of balls to keep in the air, but he pulls it off.

Now, how long do I have to wait for the next one? I will definitely go see that one in a theater (if such a thing still exists).

“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune

What I learned this week, June 04, 2017

BIKE COMMUTING’S WORST ENEMY ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK

Many think the ultimate enemy of the bicycle is the car, but the reason cars are so dangerous is simply the false perception that our streets and roads are made for driving and nothing else.  It is the complete dismissal, whether conscious or unconscious, of any other practical way of getting around.  It is the lack of understanding that cars are one of many forms of transit, albeit by far the most popular one.  It is the lack of respect for bikes as a viable vehicle for traveling to where you need to go.

Seeing bikes as transit machines, like cars only slower, is an important mental hurdle for non-cyclists to overcome.  It is no different than choosing a pickup over a sedan, a sub-compact versus an SUV, or a luxury car over a coupe.  It is simply another way to get from point A to point B, with advantages and disadvantages.  The sooner we all accept this fact, the sooner we will begin to open our eyes to a multitude of transit options for our cities that truly benefit everyone.

Stylish bike rider, French Quarter, New Orleans


4 Important Things to Consider When Designing Streets For People, Not Just Cars

When drawing a street on a plan, you start with a centerline and offset it on two sides. It is quite literally a line connecting two places with a certain width. This width is almost always determined by an engineer who is trying to match an algorithm for how many lanes are needed for the cars that will drive down this street, and how many utilities will need to comfortably fit here. Instead, we should think about streets and all their various uses—as places for gathering, finding our way, living more healthfully, with nature, and with each other… and build from there.


Frozen in time: US photographer revisits Nicaraguan village to recreate pictures of rural families 20 years after his first trip

For portrait photographer Robert Kalman, the art form is all about people. He has traveled across continents to document people in their environments – whether the streets of New York and Paris or rural villages in Central America. And one timeless Nicaraguan village has, over the years, continued to draw him back.

Since his first trip to Larreynaga, Kalman has returned at least five times to document the lives of villagers there.

 


Right now, I am really enjoying the new Twin Peaks on Showtime. I am a huge fan of David Lynch – but if you say you hate everything he has done, I can’t argue with you.

Every David Lynch Film, Ranked

It’s not easy to rank every Lynch movie, not least of all because of the director’s cult status. Lynch fans aren’t playing around, and debates can get heated (especially when it comes to Dune or Fire Walk With Me). And then there’s the fact that every movie is so jaw-droppingly different. There are certainly recurring “Lynchian” elements, which David Foster Wallace defined as “a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” More obviously, there are certain visuals you look for when watching a Lynch movie: red lips, a hallway, long red curtains, a highway at night, a stage lit by a single light. Then there’s that feeling that comes with certain Lynch movies—and lingers; that unshakable dread of being in someone else’s dream (or nightmare).

 


Downtown Dallas, Texas

I worked downtown in the early 80’s and one of my favorite things was watching the skyscrapers go up. I was surprised at how different the construction methods were for different buildings.

Tall tales and big holes are part of Dallas’ skyscraper lore

The 1980s gave Dallas most of its skyline, with more towers popping up than any time in the city’s history.

Along with the tall buildings came a few tall tales.

Three skyscrapers from Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

Striking new skyscraper in downtown Dallas will be tallest in decades

“The new Amli tower is significant because it will create a true mixed-use environment at the highest level,” said Johnny Johnson with Cushman & Wakefield, which markets the Fountain Place offices to tenants. “The energy sparked by the pedestrian experience will enhance the complex and everything that surrounds it.

“It will make Fountain Place an even more desirable place to be.”

Downtown Dallas

 


How to Start a Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide for Writers

What an interesting idea! Wish I had thought of that.


Dancers, Arts District, Dallas

Arts tycoon on hunt for photographers to document life of Dallas Arts District

Reflecting Pool, Arts District, Dallas, Texas
(Click To Enlarge)

Hall has spearheaded a new endeavor titled “Through the Lens: Dallas Arts District.” It’s a call to action for “professional photographers, emerging photographers, mid-career photographers and students” to start snapping their shutters. The goal is to create a body of work that captures “a glimpse of the life and vibrancy that defines the Dallas Arts District,” whose 20 square blocks will become the photographers’ tableau.

Bethan, Patio Sessions, Arts District, Dallas, Texas


THE BEST ROOFTOP BARS IN DALLAS

I’m a big fan of three of these: The Soda Bar, Bar Belmont, and 32 Degrees. Gonna have to check out the rest.

Dallas Skyline from the Soda Bar on the roof of the NYLO Southside hotel.

The view of Downtown Dallas from the Belmont Hotel

The view of the Belmont from the porch at Smoke – Dallas skyline in the background.