Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Warning: The following review is full of spoilers.

I have generally been a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I find Johnny Depp's portrayal of the intoxicated (or just weird?) captain of the Black Pearl very amusing. However, when it came to the third installment of the Pirates saga, I found myself wishing that the movie would hold true to its title ("At World's End") and just, well, end.

For starters, I saw far too little of Jack Sparrow and far too late in the movie. And it didn't help that when he finally appeared on the screen, he appeared in multiples of three. Second, Jack Sparrow wasn't really all that funny this time. Third, I can only take so much of Calypso's fake Jamaican accent and Davy Jones' melancholy tentacles. Fourth, when did the Pirates trilogy become a cross between Lord of the Rings and The Matrix, complete with it's own Mythology (Davy Jones was once Calypso's lover, etc.) and an alternate reality (which apparently exists on the Utah salt flats)? I wish the movie would have followed its predecessors' format and showcased Jack Sparrow's character rather than getting all wrapped up in an epic battle between Good--portrayed by a bunch of thieving, murdering pirates--and Evil--represented by the royal navy. In short, this movie took itself way too seriously.

Oh, and before you take this review way too seriously, please note that I fell asleep about half way through the movie--at about the point where Calypso, borrowing from Gulliver's book of tricks, decided to break free from the ropes that bound her to the Black Pearl and its Liliputian crew. So maybe it got better after that.

P.S. Kendall informs me that Orlando Bloom's character has to spend ten years under water ferrying dead people around before he can rendezvous with Elizabeth Swann, who (one can only assume) by that time will be middle-aged, leathery (if she keeps up her current sea-faring activities) and seeing another man. That's a sequel I'd like to see.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas is for Kids


Alex's new Jumperoo was a big hit--he's never exercised so much. Now we have a new "station" for him. (We call his toys/activities "stations." He needs to switch stations every 20 minutes or so or else he has a fit. There's the Tummy Time station, the Jumperoo station, the Swing station, the Sit-in-Mommy's-Lap-While-She-Works-on-the-Computer-station, the Play Gym station, and many more. . . .)

Alejandra's Gingerbread House

I've been meaning to put up pictures of Alejandra's gingerbread house--unfortunately, I didn't get a picture until after my nephew had already eaten part of the front and back porches. . . . The roof tiles are made of chewing gum!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First Annual Gingerbread House Competition



Looking for a good way to showcase our competitive nature, my family instituted an annual gingerbread house competition this year. We talked about it casually: "I'm going to throw something together at the last moment. " "It will be so fun!" "I'm just going to make a very simple, basic house." "Blah, blah, blah."

Three-hundred-and-thirty-seven Google searches (for "gingerbread house patterns," "gingerbread recipes" "gingerbread house stained glass windows", etc.), twenty-eight pounds of powdered sugar, and twenty-seven packs of Big Red chewing gum later, we brought our confectionery real estate investments together to compare. I cowered a the sight of Alejandra's mammoth Tudor house whose lines were so straight, angles so perfect, and joints so seamless, that I wondered if she had a protractor in her kitchen cupboards. My mother's rustic nativity scene, complete with little gingerbread figurines, was a study in creativity and non-traditional use of gingerbread. Brian's BYU clubhouse (a house whose walls were made of gingerbread picture frames in the shape of the letters B, Y, and U and containing photos of BYU sports images) was, well, the mark of a true fan. And the beautiful stained-glass windows on Ciara's cottage put my plain sugar syrup windows to shame.

After doing a blind review of each entry, the independent third-party judges (thanks Jennifer and Julian!) ultimately named my English cottage "Best in Show." Notes for next year: use sugar syrup to glue the house together (that way no frosting shows at the seams); be more precise in cutting the gingerbread; maybe decorate the walls before standing them up.














Saturday, December 08, 2007

Potpourri

Hello again - it's been a while since I've posted an entry on our blog, and Carolina doesn't want to be the sole contributor, so here I am with a potpourri of stuff...

Trim, but not so fit...

Alex had his first haircut last night! He looks much more boyish after trimming some of his long hair. At his last checkup, we confirmed that he is succeeding in his pursuit of the baby sumo title, weighing in at a 98th percentile for weight, 90th percentile for height!


BYU is back?!?

With both the football and basketball teams ranked in the top #25 at the same time, it sure feels like BYU is clawing its way back into the prominence it enjoyed in the 80s. I think it's a little premature to say that BYU is back, but it is nice to see some consistent success and a growing national presence again. It was a great weekend when the basketball team beat #6 Louisville on Friday night, then the football team beat arch-rival Utah on a come-from-behind drive in the final minute the next day (converting on a 4th & 18 to do it - see the video).

Today, #20 BYU men's basketball takes on #9 Michigan State. Go Cougars!

Black Friday

Am I the only one who thinks it is insane to get up at 3am to go stand in line in the cold for a few hours (or camp out overnight if you're particularly crazy) just to get a 3-minute head start in a shopping frenzy to save $100 on the one or two gifts you can beat other rabid shoppers to?? As I walked into Best Buy the night before Thanksgiving, I actually saw 3 tents up on the sidewalk. People were actually going to spend Thanksgiving on the sidewalk in front of Best Buy. That's pretty sad.

I love being a dad

And this is why...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

America the Beautiful

As we approach Thanksgiving, a most "American" holiday, I have to raise a grave issue. Okay, it's really just an issue of semantics and language usage, but still. . . . Anyone who has spent too much time around me knows that I take issue with the common practice of referring to the U.S. as "America." Proponents of this practice (Kendall is one of them) argue that it is simply a short name for the "The United States of America." I think that is a ridiculous argument. Following that logic, we may refer to Anne of Green Gables as "Green Gables." Of course this doesn't make sense because Anne is a person in the geographic area of the Green Gables (a farm, I think). The same holds true for Stratford-upon-Avon, meaning street on/near a river. Likewise, the United States are located in the geographic area of America, a very large area encompassing many countries. Accordingly, we should call it the "United States," the same way we might call the literary heroin "Anne" for short.

According to Wikipedia (a repository of Truth and Scientific Fact), Amerigo Vespucci, whose first name spawned the term "America," explored South America, not North America. As a result, Uruguay, Brazil and Suriname have a stronger claim on the title of "America" than do their apple-pie-eating counterparts to the north. Oddly enough, though, I think there is a general sentiment that South America is not in America. I cringe every time someone greets my father (who often visits from Venezuela) with "Welcome to America! How do you like it here?" I want to firmly (but diplomatically) explain that my dad is from America--the Southern portion of it. And, in any event, this is not his first time in the U.S.--he spends more time in the U.S. than most "Americans" spend in even their neighboring states.

I have only one concession to make to Kendall and the critics of my theory (or as they call themselves, the "true patriots"). There is not a very good way to refer to someone who is from the U.S. other than by using the term "American." You should know, however, that in Spanish, you can say Estadounidense--meaning "Unitedstatesan." Or you could just say "gringo."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"My law firm pays more than your law firm"

The New York Times today reports that my alma mater, Cravath Swaine & Moore, has announced a gigantic extra bonus for its associates this year. A first-year associate (one that graduated from law school in 2006) will make a yearly total of $205,000. I can only wistfully imagine what I could be making now at Cravath. Cravath's announcement is only the most recent step in New York law firms' game of one-upsmanship. Way to go, Cravath. Perhaps the firm should consider changing its name to "Cravath, Swaine, and 'More.'"

Do I envy my friends at big law firms? Sort of. I wouldn't mind driving a nice car, eating at award-winning restaurant, and rubbing shoulders with influential clients. But I don't envy the long nights sifting through infinitely-long lists of Westlaw search results on a quest to find that single magic case that will somehow convince the judge that the opposing side has no leg to stand on. Nor do I miss the dreaded phone call on Friday at 5:45 asking me to have a motion for a preliminary injunction ready by 8:00 am on Monday. In fact, I think I'll enjoy spending my work day on a college campus, where the days seem to go by a little more slowly and there's time to ponder the constitutional implications of locking up sex offenders on Halloween night to prevent repeat offenses (see article here.) I think I'll just keep driving my little Toyota Corolla for now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Our Little Funny Face




See the product of my overzealous photo session with Alex (in gallery format, rather than in the neatly-packaged slide show above) here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Merger

Less is more. At least that's what we think when it comes to our blogs. We've wrapped up "All Things Kendall" (Kendall's blog) and "The Cat's Pajamas" (Carolina's blog) and have joined forces in this single, all-encompassing blog. Fans of "All Things Kendall" will be happy to find that the spirit (and the text, word for word) of Kendall's blog is preserved in this new blog. And since there were no "The Cat's Pajamas" devotees, no one should be disappointed in its disappearance. However, for the sake of continuity, I have reproduced the last "The Cat's Pajamas" entry below.

A Dozen Questions

Cut and pasted from my personal blog, which will be retired shortly:

September 26, 2007

Well, this little "blog tag" has been going on for a while now, so here are my responses to the famous dozen questions. To anyone reading: tag, you're it.

What was I doing 10 years ago? I had just returned to the states from summer with my dad in Venezuela, and while I was gone, my mom and Brian had moved from South Jordan to Spanish Fork, Utah. I was hysterically upset about leaving my friends in South Jordan, but with no alternative, dove head first into Spanish Fork high school culture. Those first few months as a Don are a bit of blur. I watched Riverdance multiple times (even though I had never heard of it before), discovered the strange tradition of Oshibaba (I have no idea how it is spelled), wondered at Mr. Olsen's obsession with Bob Dylan, ate lunch in the LDS seminary building (why did we do that?), and made a fool of myself when my homecoming date told me we were going to "Wade Vest's" for dinner, and I assumed it was a restaurant. Little did I know that I would make lifelong friends in the short nine months of my senior year.

5 years ago? I was just starting my second year of law school after spending most of the summer working for a law firm in Phoenix and the rest of the summer working for a law firm in Caracas.

1 year ago? Exactly one year ago I was in Tanzania, starting a safari through the Serengeti after having hiked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. During the entire 17-day trip I had only three days of running water and electricity. The rest of the time I enjoyed cold bucket showers and gas lanterns. When we came home to Utah in early October, I remember asking Kendall how I looked after having taking my first real shower in several days and putting on clothes for work. He answered, "Better than you've looked in days!"

Yesterday? Cleaning my house and cuddling with my 2-month old baby boy.

Five Snacks I Enjoy? Pita bread with hummus, kimchi, dried apricots, any hot drink (herbal teas, steamed milk, hot chocolate, Pero or Postum), Cap'n Crunch Cereal

5 Things I Would Do With $100 Million? Spend a few years traveling around the world with Kendall and Alex, landscape the back yard (with a swimming pool), buy an island in the Caribbean or near Tahiti (there are some for sale--I looked a few weeks ago), pay off all my family's mortgages, and save the rest.

5 Locations I Would Like to Run Away To? Anywhere, really. I have romantic notions of moving to Africa (not sure where--maybe Kenya?) and running a bed and breakfast on a coffee or cacao plantation.

5 Bad Habits I Have? Overly concerned with cleanliness and sanitation, picking at hang nails, falling asleep during movies, using the word "idiot" as a term of endearment, talking too much

5 Things I Like Doing? Traveling, reading, salsa dancing, photography, writing fiction

5 TV Shows I Like? Lost, Boston Legal, The Office, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report

5 Things I Hate Doing? Working with any kind of meat that still has bones in it--yuck; shopping for clothes; using public restrooms; eating off plastic plates, cups, cutlery (except disposable); spending long layovers in airports.

5 Biggest Joys of the Moment? Alex's cooing sounds, being able to do high-intensity exercise after limiting my activity throughout pregnancy, the cool weather (but don't get any colder!), being able to eat sushi after a long abstinence through pregnancy, fitting into my pre-pregnant jeans. Basically, I'm glad to be unpregnant.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Alexander the Great


Alex has a lot to live up to. First, he has an oversized, rebellious hairdo to grow into. Alex is doing his best--he's gained over three pounds in his short four-week existence. His pediatrician assures me that this is a good thing, but I'm sure if I were to gain over a third of my body weight in under a month, the folks at Fox TV would air an episode of House based on my perplexing condition.

Second, Alex has quite a name to live up to. I don't think Kendall posted the baby's full name: it is Alexander Constantine Hulet. (You'll note that his name does not include Nunez. This was a last minute concession on my part to tone down what seemed like an already grandiose name.) Contrary to what you might think, we don't expect Alex to become a Roman emperor or a Greek warrior. Nor do we expect any major U.S. cities to be named Constantinople or Alexandria in his honor. Rather, Alex's middle name is a tribute to his great grandmother, Connie Terry, who passed away on the same day he was born. We think Alex and his great grandma probably high-fived as they crossed paths.

A few pictures of our bundle of joy (Alex thinks that full body shots make him look fat, so these are all head shots):


Saturday, July 28, 2007

I'm a dad!!



Carolina and I are the proud parents of a 8lb. 7oz., 19-inch-long baby boy. We're still debating on his full name, but we know we're going to call him Alex (short for Alexander). He was born at 8:38AM on Friday. Carolina did a wonderful job.

This morning I woke up a little worried about Carolina, and then it dawned on me that there were three of us now... I had a new person to start worrying about. Being a dad is going to be an amazing experience.

He's perfect... As I hold him, the John Lennon song "Beautiful Boy" pops in my head.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Wharton School


Today I received an acceptance letter from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for entrance into their executive MBA program! This is a dream come true for me. Ever since I was young and my brother Kelvin was attending Wharton, I wanted to do the same thing. In case you've never heard of it, Wharton is widely considered one of the best business schools in the world. It was founded back in 1881 as the first collegiate school of business.

I got in to Wharton West, which is located at Howard and Spear Streets near the heart of the San Francisco business district. This will be perfect for me because it's much closer to Salt Lake City than the Philadelphia location, and because it is in the heart of Silicon Valley. I am, after all, a dot-com type guy.


I'll spend every other weekend at the old Folger building (used to be the headquarters of the Folger's coffee company) - all roughly 100 of us will eat together, take classes together, and stay overnight in the dorms. It will be intense. We also go on one week-long international trip during the two-year program.

I'm extremely excited and feel very privileged to have been accepted into such a great program. It really is a dream come true for me.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's a boy!

We recently went in for an ultrasound and found out that we're having a boy! Carolina and I had plenty of great girl names that we agreed on, but boys names were another matter altogether. I think we've probably settled on Alexander (Alex), but we haven't figured out what to do about his middle name or how to pass on some of Carolina's Venezuelan heritage yet.

Here are a number of variations:
  • Alexander Hulet
  • Alexander something Hulet
  • Alexander something Nunez-Hulet
  • Alexander Nunez Hulet
  • Alexander something Nunez Hulet
In fact, I found a great web site all about naming kids and maiden names: http://www.jimwegryn.com/Names/Surnames.htm - it's definitely worth a read. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More House Pics

A few pics of the new house:




Here's a view of the kitchen from in the great room.










This is a way bigger kitchen than we're used to.















The other side of the kitchen











View from the front porch - you can see how close the house is to BYU by its proximity to the "Y" on the mountain.










The house is located really close to the 7 Peaks Water Park - you can see it from the deck.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Big News!

We're expecting our first baby on August 2nd! We'll find out if it is a boy or a girl in one week. Carolina has been pretty sick with the pregnancy, and the doctor has had her on bedrest for a long time and house rest since, so she finally had to quit her job at Stoel Rives. She did, however, get an offer to teach law at BYU's law school as an visiting assistant professor - it's a one-year contract renewable for a second year, after which she can apply for full tenure-track positions. She'll start preparations in November for classes that begin in January.

As a result of her job change, need for more care from me, and my long commute to Provo every day for work at Ancestry.com, we decided to move down to Provo. We're under contract on a new house in Provo:

More pictures to come soon. Now if we can just sell our house in Sandy!