name- SaneScientist
location- England
View My Complete Profile
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Blogging Brits code adapted by
Liam's World

Top of the British Blogs
Blogarama - The Blogs Directory
Blog Directory & Search engine

My blog is worth $13,548.96.
How much is your blog worth?

African children have died of poverty since you loaded this page.

The Blogosphere

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 10. Celebrity Trial Groupies

OK, it doesn't take a genius to figure out the inspiration for this post. However, as I believe that a man/woman/strange hybrid creature with a detachable nose is innocent until found guilty, I shall refrain from any judgements on this specific case and make this a general post on the odious phenomena of Celebrity Trial Groupies.

We've all seen them. Large clumps of banner-waving, merchandise-wearing, dribbling freaks who spend months outside the court house where their favourite celebrity is being tried for some crime against humanity.

What the fuck is wrong with these people? The vast majority of them have never met their "Hero". Sure, they own all of their records, can sing all of their songs, have videotaped every TV appearance of said celebrity, have covered their walls with posters and magazine cuttings and ejaculated over their limited edition matching pillowcase and duvet set - on more than one occassion - but how can they claim "I know he's innocent - he wouldn't do that".

The Jackson trial has raised the bar with some seriously weird fuckers coming out of the woodwork. It used to be that we Brits could sit back with a smug grin and watch our American cousins, knowing that US definately has more than its fair share of nutjobs. Unfortunately, Mr Jackson is a global phenomena, thus he has global support. And I am ashamed to say that even us Brits are joining in.

Step Forward Emily Smith from SevenOakes, Kent.

She was featured on the BBC website a few weeks ago as she stood outside the courtroom during Jury selection. She says that she has given up her part-time jobs and travelled to the US especially. She stood in the cold so long that she thought she was hallucinating. I humbly submit that the whole thing has been one long deranged psychotic episode, but that's just my opinion. She says she is now trying to get a work permit so she can stay in the US longer. The US wouldn't let Cat Steven's in for fuck's sake - they're hardly going to let a nutjob like this in are they? She concluded her interview with "I'm heartbroken to be going home because I feel I should be here next week, but I have to earn some more money to come back for the trial. " Her invisible friend declined to be interviewed.

Her parents must be so proud.

Of course, there is no point arguing. As my old man is fond of saying "You can't rationalise with the irrational." Quite.

Some years back I had a fascinating (and slightly creepy) run in with a Celebrity Trial Groupie on an (entirely unrelated) internet forum. The celebrity in question was an actor accused of a heinous crime. He has since been aquitted so I'll not give any more details. Somehow discussion turned to the actor's arrest and upcoming trial. "He's innocent!" The groupie would insist with increasing shrillness, eventually starting to post top-level threads and changing her username to avoid account bans, all whilst trying to get people to contribute to a "Fighting Fund". At the time, the evidence seemed pretty damning, so we were curious as to why she thought differently.
"I've met him and I know him personally and he could never do it".
Well that's fair enough, I thought - I would be similarly defensive if one of my friends or family were accused of a heinous crime.
"How do you know him." I asked, always eager to claim celebrity-association, by association.
"I met him at a cult TV convention a few years ago. He gave me his autograph and a hug and was really nice".


So to all of you Celebrity Trial Groupies and especially Emily Smith for bringing shame on this country - I designate you all Tuesday TWATS.


Friday, March 25, 2005

10 things...

OK, as you can probably tell, I haven't had time to craft a suitably vitriolic Tuesday Twat this week - hopefully, normal service will be resumed next week.

So in the meantime, here is my (belated) contribution to the 10 unique things meme.

Below I list 10 things that I have done which I believe it is unlikely that any readers stopping by will also have done. If you have done similar I will try and edit the post with new additions.

I came across it last month in Kaptain Kobold's Blog, specifically this post. I have no idea where it originated, but you could probably follow the trail of breadcrumbs from site to site.

10 things...
1) I have met 2 Nobel prize winners.

2) I have run interference for a friend having an illicit affair with a well-known married politician.

3) I have appeared on stage as a (very) ugly sister.

4) I (literally) handle radioactive material.

5) I have been bitten by a horse 3 times - yet I have never ridden one (they just seem to like the taste of me).

6) I have had a portion of my own Y chromosome sequenced.

7) I have extracted and purified my own DNA.

8) I have seen the underside of a Harrier JumpJet as it flew beneath me (Damn near fell of the rockface I was climbing).

9) I have owned TWO Vauxhall Chevettes (believe me one is enough!).

10) I have drunk Windolene (I was a toddler and it looks like strawberry milkshake).

Hopefully I will update the links soon and post another "perusing the blogosphere" post highlighting a few of the reads I have enjoyed lately.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Things that go bump in the lab...

Is my lab haunted? That's the question I've been asking myself for the past few weeks. It's a fairly new building, built on what was a car park - but if there's one thing that Poltergeist has taught me, those pesky Injuns bury their dead all over the place.

Often I work late at night, the lights are turned down in the other half of the lab and the aircon cycles down. It gets very quiet...

Now I say quiet - that's not strictly true. Labs are full of dozens of bits of kit that run 24/7. From the whirr of PC cooling fans to the gurgle of the PFGE tank, to the damned squeak of the vacuum pump, the lab is a cacophany of small noises. But these are all familiar and constant.

A few weeks ago I was pulling an all nighter. Dido had finished playing and I had my hands full.


I looked up so fast my neck cracked. Nothing.

I figured that maybe one of the security guards had just poked his head in to check everything was OK and not wanted to disturb me.

The next night the same thing happened. Twice, about half an hour apart.

Now it may be because Michael Jackson's Thriller has just been voted best music video ever. Or maybe watching the Evil Dead when pissed affected me more than I thought. But it occured to me that *Shuffle-thump* is not dissimilar to the noise that a zombie makes just before it appears from nowhere to suck your brains out.

However, I am a SaneScientist and I don't believe in that sort of crap.

But still...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 9. MWG-Biotech

Better late than never...

Ok, this is an obscure one I'll admit. MWG-Biotech have pissed me off royally this past fortnight and so I have awarded them a Tuesday Twat nomination. That puts them in the same category as Jordan and Harry Hill. Fuckers.

MWG-Biotech are a biochemical reagents company. They supply the various gubbins that molecular biologists need to do their jobs. Their speciality is custom oligonucleotides. Basically, that is short stretches of DNA containing a specific sequence of ATCs and Gs specified by the customer.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered 8 pairs of these oligos to use as PCR primers to make some probes for my southern blots (scroll down and read a couple of my previous posts for a description of what a southern blot is). Anyway, I got these primers and followed the supplied instructions to prepare them, then used them immediately to make my probes. First time around, only 3 of the 8 reactions worked. Initially I wasn't too worried - there are a range of variables that need to be tweaked to get a PCR reaction to work. When I designed the primers, I used a number of tools on the web to calculate what conditions I needed for my raection to work, however the whole process is only partially understood and so the calculated conditons are only a rough guide.

So I repeated the reactions, using slightly different conditions. The same 3 reactions worked, with nothing from the other reactions. Now I was starting to get slightly worried. I knew that my primer designs couldn't be a milion miles off the mark, so I was expecting to at least get something, even it was really shitty and needed to be optimised more. These reactions are the final step before I can go ahead and complete these southern blots. My boss SWMNBN is getting very shirty about me having no results, and I have a conference coming up in which I am expected to talk about these results. With a couple of weekends away and Easter coming up, time is very, very tight.

I switched to using a more sophisticated PCR machine and modified the computer program controling the reaction still more. Still the same 3 positive results. Now I was really starting to worry. In desperation I started to modify the chemistry of the reaction slightly. Same result. I polled my workmates for advice and even posted the problem on an internet discussion board. Going back to the orginal design, I checked every single variable imaginable. I sat at my computer until 3 am. By the end I was exhausted, very stressed and had missed a party and a meal I was supposed to attend. I could spot no reason why these reactions should not work, and no pattern between those that didn't work and those that did.

Finally, in desperation I reordered the exact same oligos. That cost £50. That's £50 of YOUR tax money.

Monday, the newly synthesised oligos arrived. I tried them out, using the first set of conditions.

Bingo! - perfect results first time!

Yup. MWG had fucked up my order (and 10 out of 16 is a big fuck up).

Estimated Cost?
Several hundred pounds in wasted reagents.
16 hours plus of actual bench time, when I could have been doing other things.
It's held back my work by at least a week.
On a personal level, I have worked into the early hours on several occassions, given up a large chunk of my weekend and missed a couple of social events. I am now working even longer hours to catch up. Its caused me serious stress and other colleagues have given up their allocated slots on equipment to let me solve this problem.

I have written a letter demanding a full refund and appropriate compensation. Obviously, I won't see a penny of it, but I will derive some satisfaction if MWG are gracious enough to waive the fee on my next order.

I'll keep you posted.

Thanks a bunch you twats!


A breath of fresh air...

Well, I'm sure that you are all on the edge of your seats wondering about that smell...

Rather disappointingly, it WASN'T a decomposing body. It turned out that it was a vintage pint of milk left in there by a post-doc some weeks ago. The lockers were opened by "the lady with the keys", searched and the offending pint of milk disposed of. Of course, in true comedy style nobody thought to ask the owners of the lockers if they had any idea what the smell might be, so when the first locker was opened and a plastic bag containing sandwiches was spied, Jane the Technician's freshly-made packed lunch was already in the Clinical Waste bin before a second locker was opened to reveal a greenish looking pint of semi-skimmed.


Needless to say the post-doc responsible has been appropriately chastised. I wonder how long it will be until somebody can ask "who's on milk duty this week" and not be sent to this poor girl...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Work Stinks!

No, this isn't another diatribe about SWMNBN making me work stupid hours. No, work literally stinks. It smells. Bad.

Friday afternoon, there was the faintest of whiffs in the writing area. However, a wine and cheese buffet for a visiting Prof soon masked it with the odour of cheap cabernet and Brie.

Sunday afternoon however, all traces of wine had disappeared (the remainder having been drunk by the PhD students before the caterers could take it back) and a sour smell permeates the area. Some olfactory detective work has narrowed the nasty niff down to one of four personal lockers. Monday morning, we'll go and see the woman in charge of the lockers and see if she can contact the owner or open it with the master key.

I dread to think what we may find. I have seen photographic evidence that one of the graduate students, who could charitably referred to as "petite" (or uncharitably referred to as "pocket-sized"), can actually fit inside one of the lockers. Well, I saw her walking around friday, so she isn't decomposing in the locker. However, there are number of other almost as "petite" ladies (and even one bloke - nicknamed the Hobbit for obvious reasons) who could be fitted inside the locker with the judicious use of a chainsaw. Could we have our first death in our new building (unconfirmed rumours claim that the new building has been christened already with its first drunken shag in the toilets)? And even more exciting, could we have had our first murder?

Or has someone forgotten the egg sandwiches they brought in for lunch last week?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Things that the UN should do #1

The United Nations does many good things I'm sure you agree, but I feel that there are many other areas of society in which this august body could use its influence.

So I propose a new body "The UN commission for musical decency".

Their remit won't be to rid the airwaves of boy bands or rap - the UN HQ in New York doesn't have enough office space to house an operation of that size (and besides which, the SAS can sort them out). Rather they will control the licensing of cover versions. No longer should innocent radio listeners be confronted by atrocities such as Geri Halliwell's version of "It's raining men" or "Twist and Shout" by Chaka Demus & Pliers.

I propose that a panel vets all applications and decides which versions are suitable for public consumption. I nominate Kofi Anan, Nelson Mandela, myself and my mate Ben who has a great music collection. However, I think you will agree that its important that such an important commission has teeth and there already exists a perfectly good court in the Hague suitable for policing this sort of thing.

Penalties will be proportional to the crime and the offence caused. So for example, a reggae version of Phil Collin's "In the air tonight" will be a relatively lenient 6 months in a Saudi Jail. More serious offences such as a hip-hop interpretation of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" would carry a sentence of up to 5 years in a Bangkok Prison. For crimes against humanity such as a Muzak rendition of the Beatle's "Yesterday" the offenders will be forced to spend a week in a Texas jail. If, by some miracle, the song gets airplay a proportionate number of lashes with a knotted scarf will be doled out.

Crappy Day (part 2)

I should have posted this yesterday - but as you can guess I'm pretty busy at the moment...

Anyway, although my work was going abysmally, on a personal level I figured that things were going pretty well. Some weeks ago, I mentioned that I fancied a woman at work, but another friend was contemplating asking her out. Anyways, I figured enough time had passed for him to make his move and thought "sod it! I'll have a crack".

We had spent the day gossiping in the lab and our conversation had turned to films. I promised that I'd lend her my Lost in Translation DVD. We then lamented how we never had time to go to the cinema and that there were several really good films that we wanted to see. Well the lab was pretty busy at the time, and I hate to crash and burn in front of an audience, so I decided to wait until we had a bit more privacy. About 4 in the afternoon, I noticed that most of my colleagues were sitting in the computer cluster, so I decided to nip into the lab. I went in and couldn't see her anywhere.

"Where is she?" I asked the Fountain of Lab Gossip (here in refered to as FLG).

"Oh, she's still off with your mate having coffee - you know what they are like"
I felt my stomach flip slightly,
FLG - looked at me,
"Oh, you were ill last week - you know that she and your mate are seeing each other don't you? That's why she's been yawning all day - dirty girl"

A perfect end to a perfect day...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Crappy day (part 1)

Well, today was crappy. It wasn't utter shite, which it could have been, but it was definately crappy.

First thing, I had a "progress" meeting with SWMNBN. Now it has only been 2 weeks since our last one so expectations were low. Just as well really. None of the experiments that had failed yesterday had started to magically work again, so I was on the back foot slightly. Nevertheless, I didn't make too bad a showing of myself. However, with a conference looming the need for results is only going to get greater. Apart from the implication that I was somehow to blame for a supplier not supplying immediately, most of her wrath and vitriol was aimed at people not actually present at the meeting. Nice.

The day got frustratingly worse. I have been trying to create some new probe DNA (see these
posts if you don't know what I'm talking about). I use a method called the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This essentially allows you to copy DNA that you are interested in billions of times. It's the same technique that forensic scientists on shows such as CSI use when they isolate a single hair follicle at a crime scene. The amount of DNA in a single hair follicle is minute, so in order to analyse that DNA they have to amplify it billions of times until they have a useful amount. Think of it as a business meeting, when you run to the photocopier and make 20 extra copies of your report so that everyone present can read one.

The technique is deceptively simple. You decide which part of the DNA you are interested in. In my case, I only want about 350bp out of the entire genome. You then design "Primers". These are short stretches of DNA (about 20bp long) that "book end" the DNA you want. If you imagine the genome as a long thin line of ATC and Gs they mark the DNA sequence either side of the region of interest like bookends. The primer designs are then synthesised by a specialist company and posted to you as dry powder which you dissolve in water. The whole thing took 4 days and cost me (the British Tax payer) about £80.

To actually amplify your DNA, you take a small amount of your template DNA dissolved in water (in this case genomic DNA, but it could be the DNA found at a crime scene or from a paternity test for example), and add the primers (also in water). You then add some free nucleotides (these are individual As Ts Cs and Gs and are the raw components from which the new DNA will be synthesised - rather like the paper and toner in a photocopier to continue the analogy), mix in some buffer (which keeps the pH constant etc) and then add a special enzyme called Taq polymerase.

The reaction is cyclical. The solution is heated to 95C for about 5 minutes. This causes all of the double stranded DNA to break into single strands. The reaction is then cooled to 50C to 60C for about 30 seconds. The primers (which are also single stranded) bind to the single stranded template DNA. The temperature is then raised to 72C for about 30 seconds. At this point, the enzyme Taq polymerase swings into action. It is a so-called "DNA Polymerase". Its job is to synthesise new DNA, using another strand of DNA as a template. Remember that in the world of A always binds to T and G always binds to C? Well, Taq polymerase zips along the single stranded DNA, using the point where the primer has bound as a starting point. Where it finds a T it sticks a free nucleotide (in this case an A), where it finds a G it sticks a C. In this way it turns single stranded DNA into double stranded DNA - thus doubling the amount of DNA that you started with. Now you repeat the cycle - heat it back up to 95c, cool to 50C to 60C then reheat to 72C. This time the newly synthesised DNA can also act as a template - thus you double the amount of DNA again so that you have 4 times the starting amount of DNA. Repeat and you have 8 times etc etc. Typically I do 25 to 30 cycles. By this point, there is a huge amount of my 350bp target DNA, dwarfing the small amount of tempate DNA that I started with. I can then sperate out the DNA on a gel and my DNA will form a single band that I can stain and view under UV light.

Well that's the theory.

In truth there are many different parameters that need to be tweaked, and we can only predict what those parameters should be to a limited extent. The exact temperature that the primer binds to the template varies between 45C and 70C typically and needs to be pretty close to optimal for the primer to bind. The length of time that the enzyme works at 72C for also has to be calculated (approximately 1 minute for every thousand base-pairs in length - so 30 seconds is plenty for 350bp). A dozen other poorly understood biophysical concepts have to be examined and tweaked.

Suffice to say, that after 3 attempts only 3/8 of my probes have been successfuly created - none of which are on my priority list. Bugger. I'm running out of ideas now and I am worried that the primer synthesis company may have sent me a duff batch. (Un)fortunately that is exceptionally rare (although inevitably when you synthesise 10's of thousands of primers a wek, some cock-ups occur), and extremely hard to prove. If it hasn't worked by tomorrow, and I have tried everything that I can think of, I may have to send the order again (and pay again - they won't admit liability) in the hope that that resolves the problem.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post continuing the reasons why today was crap on a personal level also.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Tuesday Twat

No. 8. Jordan

From the BBC

No, not the country - the "celebrity". What's that I hear? Barking? My God, what minger! For those who are unfamiliar with this odious self-publicist (aka Katie Price), she is a so-called "glamour model". This term conjures up so many images - not least that of someone glamorous - but what it actually means is a woman with implausibly large breasts, who is willing to show them to anyone who'll pay. Now it may just be my own preferences. When it comes to breasts I tend to be of the "more than a handfull is a waste" school of thought (not neccesarily my hands - think National Basketball Association players), and this is one wastefull girl. Its interesting I find, that those with the biggest boobs often use them to draw attention from their faces - and whilst Jordan hasn't been smacked in the face with the ugly stick quite as many times as Jodie Marsh (who is so ugly that the midwife who delivered her is suing her employer for post-traumatic stress disorder) - she still has a face like a slapped arse. She even admits it herself. When asked to rate her looks on "The Friday Night Project" she scored herself low and said "why do you think I've had so much work done on these?", pointing to her tits. Quite.

Indeed she spends a lot of time pointing at her tits. Once upon a time I was a 14 year old school boy. Even during the height of my "buy an extra pack of toilet roll when you go shoppping this week, mum" years, I wasn't as obsessed with mammaries as Jordan!

I suppose its a little unfair to castigate her too much for being ugly, after all recent scientific studies revealed that a wopping 3.2% of women don't spontaneously ejaculate when I walk past. Interestingly lesbians, the visually impaired and mentally subnormal are thought to make up about 3.2% of the female population. What really gets my goat though is that she is the epitome of celebrity for celebrity's sake. Once upon a time celebrities had a contract with society. They would provide a service and we the public would buy that service and afford them recognition and even a little adulation. Tom Cruise - he makes phenomenally successful movies and the public turn out in droves to see him. Eric Clapton plays guitar like a god - we buy his music if our internet connection is playing up and will fight tooth and nail for his cast off plectrum. Bernard Bresslaw starred in Carry On films (nuff said).

These are true celebrities.

Jordan, on the other hand simply publicises herself. She falls out of night clubs, deliberately wears no knickers to press-filled film premieres, and is marrying that insipid twat Peter Andre. When she wobbled down the steps to present the Friday night project, my first thought was "She's up the duff". Sure enough, the next day, she "apologised" to the media and the public for not telling us sooner. What the fuck? Did she think we would be offended because she didn't tell us she was sprogged up. Why do we give a flying fuck? By all means apologise to your family for introducing some of Peter Andre's genetic material into the family tree (I'd be amazed if she isn't cut off) - but don't apologise to the "British Public" you arrogant bint.

So there we have it - Katie "Jordan" Price (and all your wannabees) - you are this week's Tuesday Twat.

PS Before you ask - no I'm not "all hormonal", I just have a "Progress" meeting with SWMNBN tomorrow and all 5 of the experiements that I was intending to wow her with have failed. Completely. Tomorrow is going to be utter shite.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Who says we don't have a sense of humour?

Its a long-standing principle of biology that if you discover (or create) something new, you get to name it. You have to follow certain guidelines of course, so for example I couldn't name a new sub-species of Chimpanzee Sanescientist - but I could name it Pan paniscus sanescientis or something suitably latin-sounding. This evening I was searching for a restriction enzyme suitable for cutting my DNA. Restriction enzymes are named after the organism they were originally isolated from and then numbered. So the very commonly used restriction enzyme EcoRI was discovered in E. coli strain R and it was the first one discovered. As you can imagine EcoRV was the 5th enzyme isolated from that species.

I can only imagine the schoolboy sniggers echoing around the lab when the somebody realised that the correct name for the enzyme they had just discovered from Flavobacterium okeanokoites was going to be FokI....

Some of the more conservative elements in biology have proposed that names should be vetted for suitability before being accepted - this was sparked in large part by the recent naming of a new species of bacterium discovered in the Antarctic. This particular bacterium survives the harsh winters and sub-zero temperatures by oxidising sulphur, resulting in characteristic yellow-tinged holes in the snow. The latin name for this species (which I forget I'm afraid) translates literally as "Pissholes in the snow".

Of course, if the naysayers have their way we wouldn't have such glorious names as "Sonic hedgehog" a hugely important gene involved in limb development that coincidently makes mouse fur spiky when its deleted or Saccharomyces carlsbergensis a strain of brewer's yeast discovered by (you guessed it!) the Carlsberg breweries.

My favourite though is wee1 a gene discovered in fission yeast that results in very small mutant cells when it is deleted. This gene turned out to be hugely important in cancer research - so important that 25 years later it helped its discoverer Sir Paul Nurse win the nobel prize. I've been fortunate enough to see Sir Paul lecture on a number of occassions (and even shook his hand! Woo Hoo!) and he admits that in hindsight he does regret calling it that since it can distract somewhat from the seriousness from his science...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 7.

Anyone who has ever tried to use our overstretched privatised rail network will no doubt be able to nominate a whole raft of railway Twats, but I save most of my vitriol for Sadly, they are the only really practical way to buy tickets in advance. I have countless tales of woe - but this one really sums it up.

Over the summer, I was trying get a return train ticket from the NorthWest to Essex, over a weekend. The trains invariably go through London Euston, which is fine by me. There had been disruption over the preceding months with replacement bus services around the midlands making weekend travel a real pain in the arse. Despite it being the busiest rail route in the country, according to there were NO trains going from London to the Northwest that Sunday. At all. The only train listed left London at 2200h - and arrived at 0700h - yes you've guessed it, I could buy a ticket then sleep on the train as it sat idly in a train station. Err, No.

Finally, the best I could do was buy a single ticket to Essex, via London, then on the return journey buy a single from Essex, via London to the midlands, stay over night at relatives, then buy a second single ticket to finish my journey the following morning for an extortionate fare. Doing so meant that I needed to cancel a meeting on monday morning and take another day's holiday. I was seriously pissed off, but there was nothing I could do about it.

So I bought the tickets and travelled down to Essex. On the return, I travelled into London Euston and went to find my train to the midlands. I blinked unable to believe my eyes. The train to the midlands went to the stop I wanted - then continued to the NorthWest!!! WTF! told me it couldn't be done!

The train was due to leave in 15 minutes, so I went to the Virgin Travel office. Having purchased 2 single tickets, paying more than I would have done for 1 single ticket, I figured that I could probably get them to "join" the 2 tickets together. No.
"We can't do that, sir - you've already used part of your first ticket".
Well yeah, to get from Essex to here, but I'm continuing this journey. Ok, I would like to change the second ticket to today's date.
"We can't do that - you will have to buy a new one for £60".
Are you having a laugh?

I explained that I had been miss-sold the tickets.
"You bought them from - not Virgin, sir so I can't help you."
Virgin and are one and the same I helpfully pointed out.
"No they aren't, sir".
Well yes they are, if you buy a ticket from the website says "Powered by". When you phone to query a booking, they answer the phone with a chirpy "Hello Virgin trains".
"No they don't" he insisted/lied. "Anyway, if your holiday is booked incorrectly you don't blame the airline do you?"

At this point I was told to phone directly, and whilst I was at it leave the office before I was escorted out.

So I phoned After eventually getting through the bored and indifferent "advisor" made me repeat myself 3 times.
"So what do you want me to do?".
I want to join the 2 tickets together, so that I can stay on the train all the way home and not have to take another days holiday.
"I can't do that sir, you have used the tickets."
However, I was miss-sold them, your website stated that the train doesn't go to the Northwest - when actually it does.
"Did you ring in advance to check the train times today"
WTF? I'm not going to ring up and ask if they have invented a new train journey just for me, you fuckwit. When the claims that a journey doesn't exist - I rather naively assume that they are right, and that whilst journeys may be cancelled, they aren't going to be magically created.
I demanded to speak to his supervisor.
He refused.
I demanded the address of the rail ombudsman.
He refused.
I reminded him that he was legally obliged to give it to me.
He refused.
I demanded his name.
He then said that he was going to hang up because I was raising my voice. I pointed out that I was running across the platform at Euston to grab the disputed train.
He hung up.

Anyway, I got on the train and waited until it left Euston, before making my way to see the train manager. I showed him the two tickets I had bought. He clucked his tongue sympathetically and said
"Don't worry mate, just stay on until you get to the NorthWest".




BBC News
NewScientist Online
The Onion


January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
June 2007

Get awesome blog templates like this one from
Copyleft 2005-2006 SaneScientist Creative Commons Licence
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

The Tuesday Twat Archive


Powered by RSS Digest All content copyright BBC 2006.