My homepage

As a freelance writer and hopeful designer, I need a place to direct future clients to see my work. I created a really lame site a while back that was as basic as basic could be and looked unprofessional to boot but it got the job done.

Now I've taken the time to redo it to be more like I had always envisioned. It's still very simple but it finally feels like a pro's portfolio. If you're interested, check it out at www.jamesbeirne.com


Why does it cost so much to fly to Hawai'i

Seriously? Why?

Originally we were planning to come back to LA for a few weeks before moving to New York. We were to fly to LAX on the Monday after the wedding. Fly from LAX to OGG (Kahului on Maui) the following morning. And then fly from KOA (Kona on the Big Island) back to LAX eleven days later. As long as the airline flies directly to both cities, it doesn't usually cost more to arrive and depart from two separate airports in Hawai'i.

Unfortunately from LA, that ticket alone was going to cost a whopping $749. ($500 is the norm, you can usually get it for less). Add the flight to LAX and the extra time to drive our cars back East afterwards and it didn't seem like the best option.

So now we're leaving the west coast before the wedding and flying direct to Hawai'i from BOS. It ain't cheap. If we buy the tickets today they're $949. Yikes!

Here's the really fun part...we could buy a Boston to Hawai'i ticket today for any time in March for $289 RT. Any one in the northeast with vacation time to burn.....you should look into it.

I guess that extra $700 is the cost of having a honeymoon that straddles Independence Day. It will still be awesome of course. Expensive, but awesome.



Both our parents have been asking us to get our registries online. It's so hard to figure these things out...especially when we don't even know where we'll be living in six months. But I think we have it all sorted and I finally added links to our site.

We're registered at Crate & Barrel and Macy's and you can find links here.



I looked out the window towards the setting sun over the ocean and it was one of those rare times when there's bright sun with heavy rain...knowing what usually happens in those conditions I walked out onto the porch and looked to the east and saw this...


NEW: Comment without registering

Originally, we required registration for comments so that messages weren't tagged to the always ambiguous "anonymous user". We want to know who's checking out the site, afterall.

Unfortunately, we keep hearing that friends and family are reading the blog but finding it too complicated (read: too much effort) to register for a blogger account.

So put the excuses away because registration is no longer required to comment! Please just let us know who you are if leaving a message. You can still have your name automatically tagged to your comments by registering for a blogger account.

Since it's now so easy...please drop us a note here in the guestbook.

So comment away! We look forward to hearing from you.

Soon to be in the local papers...


Oh craps!

Ah, Vegas. It's the land of fast money and broken dreams and we were there for a couple days last week.

It was a fun trip hanging out w/ Brian, Jurij, and Mike who all flew out from Boston. We drove up on Thursday evening and got to the Luxor around 1130. Conveniently, the boys arrived from the airport a few minutes after us. We spent the first night drinkin' and gamblin'. I ended up going down for a bit until I was drunk enough to play a game that always intimidated me.....craps.

Everyone always seems to be having so much fun playing craps with all the yelling and the clapping, but every time I would walk over to a table I'd see people throwing chips everywhere and yelling "five on the yo!" and "double my hard eights" and "give me odds on my ten!" But a few complimentary coronas to the wind and down to my last forty bucks that I allowed myself to spend on our first night I hit the table. The minimum was $10, so at worst I'd be there for four rolls.

The worst didn't happen.

I saw everyone was betting the pass line so I went ahead and put down $10. The dice were rolled and next thing I know I doubled my money. OK, this was easy. I let it ride. Doubled again. Let it ride. Doubled again. By this point I was noticing where others were betting money so I started placing other bets with my up money. It seemed like every person on the table had a bet on hard eights so I threw a five over there...next roll....44. Chip guy give me $45 and my $5 stays on the hard eights. The roller is hot. No craps. Bets are gettin' big. Before she rolls craps again hard eights hit a second time. Nice! The table cooled off later but I went to bed making up all that I had lost plus adding another $220.

The next day we walked the strip. The boys wanted to hit fatburger so we stopped there on the way to the new Wynn hotel. (which is VERY far from the Luxor). After she saw that I won, Liz wanted to try craps so we found a table there and started playing. We lucked out finding a $10 table. The Wynn is one of the nicest hotels on the strip so most of the people were throwing down $50 or $100 every bet. This dude next to us got a marker for $3K....within 30 minutes he lost it and got a marker for another $1K. Must be nice. By the time we left, Liz was up about $200. And I was up another $175.

We like craps.

After Wynn it took us forever to get back to Luxor. The strip was closed b/c of a horrible accident involving ten cars--one of which plowed onto a crowded sidewalk killing three pedestrians. Those people were probably on vacation just like us...makes you feel lucky to be alive...and feeling lucky is always good in Vegas.

Back at Luxor we all went to the horrible buffet b/c we had a 2 for 1 deal w/ the room. Not worth it even with the discount. We decided to hit some bars and clubs and first went to Mix at Mandalay Bay. It's on the 64th Floor and overlooks the entire city with what might be one of the best night time views in Vegas outside of the otherwise lame Stratasphere. Mixed drinks were $15, but we paid no cover so it was worth getting one drink for the view.

From there we tried to get into Tabu at MGM. I arranged for us to be on a guestlist in advance our group--4 dudes w/ one chick--is considered poison to any doorman. Even though we were early, on the guestlist, and no one else was waiting to get in, the dick at the door looked for an excuse to stop us. He said that Brian's shoes were workboots, which aren't allowed. Truth be told, Brian's shoes were perfectly fine, but whatever. If they don't want you in, you won't get in.

So we headed over to Teatro where the doorguy was cool and drank way too many vodka redbulls. At the exact time we left a coldplay concert was getting out so there was this massive army of people wearing coldplay t-shirts walking through the place. We got ourselves out of there and found a cab to head to the next destination.

Jurij knew a girl doing a casting at ICE for a show on A&E called "Inked". Apparently by telling the doorguy we were there for the casting, we'd all get in. I was skeptical. If there's anyone that looks like they shouldn't belong on a show about tatoos it's me. But...we got there...and it worked! Went in, had more drinks, and after a few hours headed back to the Luxor for more gambling.

Liz and I headed for craps again. At first we were doing fine. The table was hot. There was this guy we dubbed "white coat" who was rolling like a magician. Eventually he left and the cooler showed up because it just got bad. And this is where the alcohol works itself in. Had it been any other time, we would have walked away...but after an entire day of drinking we kept playing. I lost all my winnings. Liz ended up a little up but much less than she had been. Oh well. Craps is still fun.

At that point 14 hours of drinking--something I didn't even do in college--began to take it's toll. Liz and I went to the diner to get some food before bed. I recall deciding to get it to go and after that the last thing I remember is seeing the waitress walking to our table with our bag of food. I don't recall her actually reaching the table.

Next thing I know it's the next morning and I find myself laying on top of the bed covers wearing all my clothes including shoes. Apparently I hit liz with the pickle from my food when she tried to get me to take off my shoes. I guess that was payback for when she threw a chicken nugget at my eye during Christmas in Scituate. That said, I think our marriage is safe if the extent of violence we have experienced is playful assault with bite sized foods.

The drinking gods must have been on my side because I woke up with absolutely no hang over. I was a little tired though and concerned about staying awake for the four hour drive back. We grabbed some lunch with the boys and said goodbye. They went the UFC match and we headed back to Hermosa. Dropped the top for the sunset drive through the desert which was really nice...between the air, the conversation, and the spectacular scenery, I didn't feel at all tired once we hit the road.

All told, I ended up down a bit and Liz ended up a bit. But it was a really fun two days and worth the expense.

"enough with the burgers, lets find some craps"



I can't stop doing these ridiculous puzzles! I know this whole Sudoku craze has been sweeping the nation for quite some time now, but I jumped on that bandwagon pretty late. When I was studying for comps, I had no time for pop culture, puzzles, or any combination thereof.

On Christmas day, my brother Rich regifted a Sudoku book to Mom. This is generally a pretty gauche thing to do, but in this case it is even more repugnant . Rich had two copies of the book because after putting it on his wishlist, he bought it for himself! I was intrigued by anything so compelling that my brother had to have it before Christmas. At that point, I only knew 2 things about Sudoku: (1) everyone was doing it, and (2) I didn't know how. So Rich gave me a quick overview and showed me the basics of solving the puzzles, and within a week I was hooked.

I can do easy, medium, hard, and challenger, depending on my patience levels. If I've had a long day at the preschool or the high school, I might only have the powers of concentration for an easy puzzle. But that whole puzzle rating system is so subjective. Who the hell is deciding which puzzles fall into which category? Because whoever is in charge of that STINKS. Sometimes easy=medium, medium=hard, or hard=medium. It just depends on what fool was rating the puzzles that day.

oooooh, that might be a fun job for me! I could get hired somewhere as a "Sudoku analyst," and I would sit in a room and do puzzles all day, rating them according to difficulty.

Hmmm, come to think of it, I take that back. I think I would become even stranger than I already am if I sat by myself in a room all day, obsessively crunching numbers in my brain to solve thousands of little puzzles. That job has nutcase written all over it. No wonder those poor people keep misclassifying the puzzles.