Honeymoon Recap Part 3: The Straw Man

Note: The following is a guest post from my wife about her most memorable moment from our recent honeymoon.

The husband’s post about the honeymoon tells you probably more than you need to know, but well before the post was written, I had told him that I wanted to tell you about straw guy. We’ll call him Ronald.

While I’m the only one who will love Ronald this much, hopefully you will at least appreciate him for me.

I hate crushed ice. It isn’t a “technical” sin, but it is a sin on its own. Pop with crushed ice and a straw, great. Pop with crushed ice and no straw, sin. You’re forced to eat the ice, which is not my desire while drinking. I want to drink my pop and not chew it.

Night 1 – given a straw
Night 2 – given a straw
Night 3 – I am nervous with no straw. Start to be more nervous because nobody seems to have a straw. Displeased.

Ronald refills water (the husband’s. It has crushed ice, so mine is full) and I ask politely for a straw. Time passes, no Ronald, no straw. Finally I see him, fuddling with drinks for the really picky/rude/entitled couple that husband mentioned, and I am losing hope. More time passes, and I am given a straw, as is husband. Husband didn’t want a straw because he likes to chew his drinks, but this meant I got to put the straw in my purse, just in case I were to be without one again tomorrow.

We leave dinner with me being very pleased, and loving Ronald.

At some point during the cruise we speak with the manager of our dining area, who doing her job asks how we are enjoying the service. I get to tell her about my love of Ronald, and the straw, to learn that they are very hard to come by because of some weird Alaska rules about crazy recycling. This only makes me appreciate Ronald more, and be confused about crazy Alaska recycling (I love recycling, so I’m not upset, just confused why I’m not allowed to have straws easily). I am still feeling loved and happy that I managed a straw.

Despite the difficulty in obtaining straws, and my emergency purse straw, Ronald gave me a straw every night.

Heh, dirty.

The Job Jumping Dilemma

Note: The following post is a guest post written by a gentleman named Mike. Please enjoy Mike’s post below.

Throughout high school, we were promised that going to college would get us a good job. That we shouldn’t worry about student loans, as our job will allow us to pay those back quickly. That by going to school, we were making something of ourselves, and would excel in life. Are we REALLY sure that any of that is true?

I sit here myself only one year removed from graduation, yet like many people in my position, I feel helpless. I have student loan debt, with the need to repay it. More than that, I know it’s the right thing to do, and while it’s never easy, it’s something that must be done. However, the opportunities our elders promised us seem to be few and far between. We sit here, tucked away in our cubicles in the corner, still faced with the problem of being “the new guy” and feeling like it’s impossible to get ahead.

For many of us, we had to take the first job offer presented to us after graduating. It felt like an impossible challenge, to step away from campus and the college life style, and into the real world where real expectations and real problems exist. No longer was our hardest choice which bars to hit up, which cheap beer to drink this weekend, which flavor of Ramen noodles to eat. Our choices now impact real people and real lives, and often come with bullshit TPS reports and printers that say paper jam when there is no paper jam.

When those jobs get tiring, exhausting, depressing, and mentally draining, what are we supposed to do then? Do we risk looking like job jumpers, as we yearn for a new opportunity? What if we make the wrong choice and end up in the wrong field? What if we’re already in the wrong field?

You see, for me, this is a choice I’ve been struggling with lately. I know that I’m not alone, and also recognize the weight a decision like this could carry. For some of us, we were forced to sign contracts that ran up to a few years. Once those contracts near the end, and there’s no guarantee of tomorrow, we are put in an awkward position both personally and professionally.

For those of us who hate what we do, it can become draining on all aspects of life. Work depression can trickle over into our personal lives, affecting our relationships with our partners, friends and parents. The mental toll on those stuck in cubicles in front of a computer screen for 8 to 9 hours a day becomes increasingly difficult. The constant wondering about what other jobs and careers are out there becomes a pounding drum of war in our heads. We dream to move forward, to make a difference, to get that promotion or that raise. We feel like our jobs are literally holding us back from our future.

That’s why I’m here to say, stop it. This message goes out to not only me, my friends, but to all of those in my generation, and in my position. Worrying will only do so much for our situation, until we take the leap of faith and follow our dreams. Who cares if you have multiple jobs on your resume in just the last few years? Competent employers would see a student who was trying to get ahead in school. Employers who scoff at it are likely terrible companies whose work environment would crush your soul even harder. So take that risk. Apply for that job. Change careers if you want. Ultimately, do what makes you happy, and as long as you’re not harming anyone, don’t regret it. It’s become pretty clear from any news story about government and business for the last..decade or so that these people are out for their interests only. So screw them, it’s time to look out for our interests too. Maybe one of us will be the next major CEO, board member, or president of a company. Maybe one of us will be the Governor or Senator that shakes the whole system up. None of us will ever find that out unless we go and do it.

Guest Post — I Walked Out Of My First Job After Graduating

Note: The following post is a guest post written by Erin Veness of Coma Diary. This post does contain situations that might not be appropriate for your place of work, depending on your workplace, that is.

I was just like any other graduate. Good degree, great work experience, clean, tidy and with all my own teeth and hair. My curriculum vitae showed that I’d worked in pubs and nightclubs, I’d worked with disaffected youth, I’d even spent a summer packing things into boxes for a factory.

I knew that having a degree didn’t mean that I could waltz into any job I chose. I figured I might have to prove my worth and take an entry-level position. I was completely ok with that, and I still would be. When you need to put a roof over your head no job is beneath you. The downfall was that I’d graduated right at the point where the British economy really went tits up. Everyone was losing their jobs left, right and centre.

Luckily for me I managed to land work as a bar maid in (as the website described) “a landmark restaurant on the seafront”. They described themselves as a ‘stylish establishment’ with ‘a conference and banqueting facility which can cater for any event from beautiful fairy tale weddings, to celebratory parties, exhibitions and conferences’.

So the day I ended up watching a sex show performer remove a customer’s phone from her vagina was, well, unexpected.

My manager had felt that we weren’t having enough ‘beautiful fairy tale weddings’ that week so decided that a strip show with free curry when you bought the ticket was a great idea. I’m not adverse to strippers, in fact, for a short while I worked in a strip club. I guessed that if they marketed it just right and advertised it then it’d probably bring in some cash that evening.

Due to the fact my manager and the owner of this restaurant were both men they requested that the female staff worked on the bar during the strip show. I agreed, but refused to dress up or wear anything that I felt uncomfortable in, my manager and the owner were ok with this.

So far so good?

My history is peppered with strip shows and strip clubs. I first went into a strip club at the tender age of 17, a college trip obviously gone a bit awry. While I was at university it seemed like an easy way to earn money, and it was. When working in pubs and night clubs I was not adverse to flirting with customers to score tips.

So I arrived at work due to lead a team of staff as usual while some women took their clothes off and jiggled their boobs in some blokes faces, or so I thought. I don’t think I was being naive either. I’d plenty of experience with strippers after all.

The first sign that things were going in a different direction was when I was told that there were topless waitresses to do table service. They’d bring me orders, I’d dispense drinks and the buxom ladies would take these drinks to the tables. Fair enough I thought, save my legs. I’m not going to complain.

The second sign that this wasn’t going to go as planned. The doors open about 7:30pm. By 8:30pm there were about fifteen young lads sat in small groups looking embarrassed at the topless waitresses. At least twice I saw a few of the young men trying to look elsewhere. The room used to accommodating a few hundred guests at once looked amazingly sparse.

But, the show must go on.

The first stripper came out and did her piece, sexily removing her clothing, and anal beads. I was a little surprised. I started to wonder if this was really a strip show as had been advertised. In the UK you need a special licence to hold live sex shows, and my place of work did not have that licence. Anal bead stripper then proceeded to bring one of the embarrassed young men onto the stage. I figured she might give him a lap dance.

Nope. She sucked his penis.

At this point, I felt a little ill. I have no problems with strippers, live sex shows though, not really my scene to be honest. While this was going on, one of the topless waitresses then informed the owner of the establishment (who seemed to really be enjoying this) that she was also a prostitute, and charged £40 an hour. I excused myself and ended up sat on the beach chain smoking for 10 minutes.

Needless to say, everything ended up going downhill. Three of the gentlemen asked for a refund before there’d even been talk of their curry arriving. Another stripper came on, took off her clothes and then ended up masturbating with one of the customers phones, before it swiftly disappeared inside of her. I’m pretty sure it also went up her back passage.

The other staff working with me, other females who were more sheltered were disgusted, asking to leave. I didn’t blame them to be honest, the whole show was taking a decidedly seedy tone. More customers (who were all male may I remind you) asked to leave. I’m pretty sure the guy who owned the phone left it there. I think I would have done the same too.

The curry came out, and most of the remaining customers (about 10 at most) refused to eat it, and at this point I could see the owner and the manager both seeing money draining away. They continued getting very drunk and I continued escaping the room as and when I could. There was quite a lot of hiding in the cellar.

At the end of the evening, myself and the remaining two other staff members agreed that for the manager and the owner it’d been a waste of money and resources, and a waste of our time. The nail in the coffin came when I politely stated to my manager that I would not be working another one of his illegal sex shows again, unless of course he paid me more money, bought me a blindfold and treated me to a no-expenses-spared spa weekend (for two)  after.

My manager didn’t take it that well, and after choice words, I walked out, with my wages (of course).

The moral of this story? Don’t compromise your morals for money, it’s never worth it, and if your local women’s institute get wind of live sex shows without a licence there’s a fabulous retribution.


Erin Veness is an artist and blogger from the United Kingdom who has not had to deal with the situation described above since said story occurred. If you are interested in reading more of her writings, or examining her artworks, you can do so at comadiary.com.

Guest Post – Kat Argo on “In the Shadow of the Bear”

Author’s Note: The following post is a guest post written by Kat Argo of A Red Rover. Kat recently released a book called “In the Shadow of the Bear”, which discusses her experience while working as a journalist covering the ongoing Ukrainian Civil War. I’ll be reviewing Kat’s book in a coming post, however I wanted to give her this space to promote her book prior to my review, as well as to give some context to the book itself.

Igor was an activist, who truly believed in mother Russia, and that the Russian people of Donetsk were being persecuted by the “junta” in Kyiv. On his shoulder blade were the two thunderbolts, making up the Nazi “SS” tattoo. Over his heart was a hammer and sickle.

For almost three weeks, we had been companions during the war in Eastern Europe; unlikely friends in the pro-Russian rebel held territory of Donetsk, Ukraine – both members of the Press. Me, a writer who stumbled into a Press Pass from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and him, a member of the same government’s Press Center. He bares the psychological scars of having been a political prisoner, protesting the concession of Russian lands to China back in 2009.

How I ended up in that situation is a long story, one chronicled in my book The Shadow of the Bear. It begins with my arrival in Kyiv where I met nationalists, striving for a non-Russian identity and a closer relationship with the European Union. I met soldiers in the hospital who had been critically wounded fighting in the east against the Russian-backed separatists.

After several weeks, I drank with people who screamed “Slava Ukraini” Glory to the Ukraine! We raised our glasses as we screamed “Heroyem Slava” Glory to the Heroes!

I had become a believer.

Then a French photojournalist who saw me get caught up in the rhetoric, challenged me to go to Donetsk and see for myself what the Pro-Russian side was like; he dared me to speak to them, and retain my new found convictions.

My view changed. I met old women, whose houses collapsed around them, coming out with their crooked backs, cleaning broken glass and shrapnel with their bare hands as they began the impossible task of restoring their homes. I met a man who was in love with France, who was a decorated member of the French Foreign Legion. He invited me into his home, to meet his mother as she slaved over a stove in her soviet apartment. I met the journalists responsible for bringing the message of Ukraine to the rest of the world – some had their camera lenses pointed towards themselves in a selfie-journalism, others pointed it outwards and lost themselves in what they saw. I met countless others who were playing a small part in the conflict, some voluntarily, others a victim of geography.

And I met Igor.

Before I left Donetsk, Igor had said “You, good girl!”

I remember saying “You’re a good man”, in response. Because he was. Even if we did not believe the same things, even if we never look at a globe through the same colored glasses, he was a good man.

I wrote In the Shadow of the Bear about the people living through the Ukraine Crisis. I wrote it about the people who let me into their lives, and gave me a glimpse of what they were going through, from the perspective of those most affected – from the civilians caught in the tug of war in the class of civilizations between the European West, and the Russian East.