Day: August 25, 2005

The Soup Peddler’s Slow and Difficult Soups

Recently finished reading The Soup Peddler’s Slow and Difficult Soups, by David Ansel.

David is a friend (he was also the officiant when Gwen and I got married), and it’s not every day that friends have books published (unless you’re a friend of John Grisham’s), so this is pretty neat. Bad part first: I thought his writing was a little gimmicky–I know half the people in the book and they aren’t all quite that jaunty. He invents a character to give the story tension and conflict, which I don’t think it really needs.

But it was a fun read. I guess that’s inevitable when you know have the people in the book, and most of the locations. It’s a real love-letter to south Austin, something that will be cited as a source of Lost Austin someday (perhaps October) when Austinites are waxing nostalgic about how much better things used to be here. It also contains a number of soup recipes (imagine!), some of which I may try once the weather cools off a bit.

David’s story, in case any of you don’t know it and can’t wait for the book to arrive, is that he quit a programming job suddenly, wasn’t quite sure what to do for work, and started preparing soup for friends and delivering it by bike. It caught on, and he now has an intergalactic soup-deliver empire. Well, it’s not intergalactic, but he has like a proper place of business and employees, and I hear he even delivers to the north side now.

Revenge of the Sith

Yes, I finally saw Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I wasn’t in a hurry, because I knew A) it would be around for a long time in theaters, and B) it would be bad.

It was bad. Good points: A) Lots of excellent eye-candy–enough to justify sitting through the movie many times over just to catch it, if you’re into that sort of thing; B) No speaking role for Jar-jar Binks.

But the dialogue was so awful that I was rewriting it in my head as the movie went. Darth Vader is made out to be nothing more than a punk-ass whiny kid who gets all Columbine on the galaxy. The whiny schtick actually worked for Hayden Christensen in the only other movie I’ve seen him in, Shattered Glass. Here, no.

It would have been easy to add nuance to the story, to make Anakin Skywalker less annoying, and to make the movie as a whole less disappointing. In fact, it seems as if it would have taken a positive effort to make it as bad as it is. I see that George Lucas has the writing credits. He’s fine with the scissors. Not so good with the pen.