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» The Dirty Secrets of Your Trade

The secret of looking young...
...never use cosmetics.
I am an analytical chemist, which is what happens to Chemistry graduates who only get a Third.

Once upon a time I used to work for a well known cosmetics firm in an obscure Welsh valley. You think your glamorous lipstick/eyeshadow/shampoo is formulated by a beautifully made up young woman of 20 in a crisp white labcoat? O no, it's a hairy-arsed Welsh rugby full-back with a coat stained all colours of the rainbow mingling into a dirty brown.

Anyhoo I used to analyse the raw materials and can testify that donkey foetuses were at the time used in anti-ageing products, and the nerve endings of horses used in eye cream, and lanolin (the grease from sheep's wool) used in lipstick. I used to do the rancidity test on the lanolin, don't worry I made sure the rancid stuff got rejected.

The senior technician, let's call him Mr Bean, was the only one trained to use the HPLC, which indicated the sun factor protection. We started to get complaints that people's babies were burning even though they were using the top grade lotion. Turned out that Mr Bean was printing the same HPLC results every time - he did not know how to operate the machine at all, and the lotion contained no sun protection ingredients whatsoever.

We regularly used to pollute the river, but not as badly as the nearby paper recycling factory (never let it be said that recycling your newspaper is green). At one time blue mascara turned the river bright blue, the kind of colour the (then) NRA had been trying to get it for years. Another time we polluted it with acetone, and the fish were so desperate to get away from the stuff that they jumped out of the river and died. The production manager suggested to the man from the NRA that he might like to use them as firelighters.

Soul destroying stuff. Now I analyse beer for a living which is much more rewarding :)
(Mon 1st Oct 2007, 19:55, More)

» Getting Old

10 reasons why I feel old
Lots of things make me feel old, especially as I now work with a load of youngsters in their 20s...
1. They learn how to use Word and Excel at school!!! Our primary school had 1 BBC Pet between all of us, and we considered ourselves cutting edge. Secondary School had about 12 computers and the Computing teacher (seconded from Maths) knew f'all about how to use them. I had to pick it up as I went along...
2. I am starting to like album chart music again, I have noticed that "retro" means about 20 years old so this has happened twice to me now
3. I can remember when lecturers used acetates. Say this to the kids in the office and they think it's some kind of chemical high
4. I can remember having to buy records because that was the only way of owning music
5. The youngsters think it's cool to talk like Mr T. Yes I can remember the A team first time round so wot so wot. Yet you say catch phrases from your youth e.g. buzzing, yarn in a barn, etc and they look at you like sh*t
6. I have no interest whatsoever in kids TV. Dora the Explorer, Dexters Lab etc. all are drivel compared with Wombles, Bagpuss and Cities of Gold
7. All the cool DJs I remember from Radio 1 are now working for Radio 2 (at least not Radio 4 - yet!)
8. All the really funny comedians I remember are dead
9. I am having to care for my parents, not the other way round
10. I don't give a monkeys that the youths laugh at me for enjoying Morris dancing and folk music
(Thu 7th Jun 2012, 18:42, More)

» Amazing displays of ignorance

It's not easy being green
My sister still remembers that I convinced her that you had to be 7 in order to drink 7UP (because it was only for age 7 and up, see?) All the more fizzy stuff for evil big sister LOL
(Mon 22nd Mar 2010, 18:21, More)

» Desperate Times

Another wee-wee story
First girls night out with new colleagues, small company where everyone knows everyone else. We went down to Brighton and had a cracking time. After about 4 nightclubs we headed off to get the Vomit Comet back to Redhill.

Unfortunately on the way back up the hill to the station, my bladder which was recycling 6 pints of lager started to protest loudly. THe girls with the tickets were way ahead of me, out of earshot and talking nine to the dozen, paying the new girl not the least bit of heed. Thinks - I'll head up one of those side streets and pee behind a parked car.

I selected a street which surely nobody would head down at such an unearthly hour. Sure as God hates me, as soon as my kex were down and I was in full flow, a respectable young man walked right past me.

I instinctively yanked up my trousers but failed to cut off the flow. Wet patch the size of Lake Windermere. Long train delay at Brighton, giving colleagues plenty of time to spot it. Long train journey with colleagues giving them plenty of time to inhale my new perfume.

All have left the company now though - I have lived down the story, till now..
(Mon 19th Nov 2007, 19:53, More)

» Annoying words and phrases

Going forward...
I play management speak cricket during our biannual Executive Briefings. "going forward" scores 1 run , "bottom line" 2 runs, "up skilling" 4 runs, and any new meaningless annoying phrase 6 runs. My score at the end of the meeting is usually 90% "going forward" though.
Any more suggestions that I can add to my scorecard are most welcome!
(Sat 10th Apr 2010, 11:14, More)
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