Big Brother is sharing my information!

A friend if mine recently returned form Dubai after being out of the country for the last 4 years, so she had to re activate all her banking profiles again.

Things are a little simpler nowadays in as much as you can open a bank account online, which she did.

 However, they could not authenticate her online and she had to go into the bank itself.  At the bank, they scanned her fingerprints ( a very new concept to me as I have ever been asked for my fingerprint scan at the bank – but then I avoid banks like the plague).  Only to find that her fingerprints do not match those on the Home Affairs database of our country (South Africa).

As a result she had to go to the Home Affairs department with a letter from the bank and they had to take new finger prints and issue her with a new ID document.

At first I thought how clever.  But then on second thoughts I was a little pissed off.
What gives Home Affairs the right to share my information with banks or any other institution?  I understand the necessity of being on a national database from an identification point if view.  They issue me with an ID document which I present when required to the relevant institution.
I have serious issues with these institutions accessing my information without my permission though.
My ex said he thought that perhaps we gave blanket permission for the government database to be shared and perhaps when we opened a bank account we agreed for them to be able to verify our identity with the national government database.  But quite honestly I have a real problem with this.  How can  I give the government blanket permission to share my information?  And what right does the bank have to access this information when I have a government issued ID document which I present on request to those I choose to show it to.
I can understand having my information available to certain government institutions  where my safety is concerned.  But sharing my information with third party institutions certainly does not have my blessing.

Yes one could argue that it makes life simpler.  With all this information being shared and easily available, it is easier to verify or authenticate your identity, especially when opening up accounts etc.  But I want to choose when and how and with who my information is shared – and not blanket approval either.

As far as I am concerned, this also makes identity theft so much easier if non-government institutions can access my information.  The other question that comes to mind is how does the government actually verify that the bank has my approval to access the information in the first place – do they ask for signed proof perhaps?  It is all a little dodgy to me and does not have my blessing.

Let me know your thoughts on this.  The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am.

Lanthie Ransom

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A sobering thought…

Hi there, Dale from Diary of an Internet Nobody here again.
Just thought I’d share my latest post with Lanthie’s lovely readers.
It’s a subject that’s currently close to my heart and one that I’m sure many of you have experience of.
My dad told me once about a bloke he used to work with who was a serious alcoholic.
He was apparently unable to get out of bed in the morning without first having a quick couple of shots from the bottle of vodka pick-me-up in his bedside drinks cabinet.
He then drove to work, refreshing himself occasionally from a handy second bottle he had stashed in the glove compartment and for the rest of his working day in the office he functioned perfectly well, providing he kept himself topped-up from bottle number three, hidden in the drawer of his desk.
I remember thinking about this, doing some brief calculations and coming to the conclusion that it had to be an exaggeration. Even over the space of one day this guy had to be putting away a bottle and a half of vodka. Surely nobody could function with anything like normality with that much alcohol in their bloodstream, could they?
Over the years I’ve known some folks who “liked a drink”, but my experience of them has been almost exclusively in situations (pubs, clubs, parties, etc) where the rest of us were also in some way intoxicated, so their conspicuous consumption was always less, well, conspicuous.
In other words, I’ve never consciously thought about the normal daily routine of the bench-or-ditch common-or-garden alcoholic.
Until recently, that is.
An old friend I hadn’t seen for a long time had been in touch and, having cheerfully informed me on the phone that since we’d last met, he’d “turned into a right old alchy”, told me (with what I thought was considerable hyperbole) several stories about waking up on public benches after consuming superhuman quantities of vodka, once even attracting the attention of a passing group of local church-going musicians who took pity on the insensible stranger and installed him in a pew to sleep it off, where he later awoke to the strains of a religious sing-song.
Enough to sober anyone up, you would have thought.
Now, I’m not prone to unwarranted sympathy (possibly an understatement) and although I accept that alcoholism is an illness that nobody would choose, I don’t have much patience with the “Oh poor me, feel sorry for me, I can’t help myself” attitude in any situation, let alone one that has such a devastating effect on anyone that suffers from it, not to mention the pain and anxiety it causes those around them.
So if my newly-pickled old friend was expecting me to reinforce any notion that this was all just boozy high-jinx, he was going to be disappointed.
After expressing suitable (and genuine) sympathy for the situation that had brought him to the brink on which he now teetered, I proceeded to give him a bloody good talking to, mainly on the theme of “Stop being such a fucking idiot, if you carry on like that you’re going to kill yourself” with a side order of “I shall be really pissed off with you if you die after finally getting back in touch”, all of which seemed to gratify him in some way, if only because he’d forgotten that I’d tell him what I thought, without sugar coating it.
Since then we have stayed in touch and he has visited on several occasions, each time looking more like his old self, only now he has a new topic of conversation; how he’s doing at his alcohol meetings and which of the various “managed recovery” programmes is the most effective.
However, things are not always what they seem to the uninitiated and, while it’s true to say that a casual observer would have noticed a marked difference in his appearance over the last few months, they probably wouldn’t have been aware that he was still needing to consume a few restorative drinks to regain his equilibrium for the day.
So I was treated to the frankly alarming sight of him transforming, Jekyll and Hyde-like, from a rather shaky, pale and irritable shade of his former, fun-loving and mischievous self, back into the old friend I know and love over the period of about an hour or so, during which time he drank a 25cl bottle of anonymous Co-op vodka, each barely-diluted slug visibly reviving his good spirits. (no pun intended).
Always present though, is the self-knowledge of his situation.
Our son asked if anyone could give him a lift to work and we had to say no as my car was out of action my friend had to refuse on legal grounds, later saying;
“That’s really bad isn’t it, saying I can’t drive because I’ve had too much to drink, by”,…glancing at the clock,…”1.30 in the afternoon”
Well, quite.
After having given him yet another unsympathetic lecture later that weekend, he said it would be great if I would go along to one of his meetings with him.
Almost before the sentence was out of his mouth I said “No! Definitely not. No no no no no.”
“But why not?” he asked, “My dad wouldn’t come with me either”
“Because I wouldn’t be able to maintain the correct level of politely diplomatic sympathy” I said.
“Oh but they’d love that”, he said, enthusiastically “they like it when people don’t take any bullshit from them”
I declined nonetheless, I’m not really designed for support groups, although I’m impressed with the help and support this particular group has given my friend. It’s now down to him to find the inner strength to follow the advice they share, often gained through bitter experience, when there isn’t anyone around to save him from his own demons.
As he recently told me, after encouraging me to write this post;
“The worst of it is this little man who sits on your shoulder. He’s called The Trickster and he says things like ‘Go on, have a drink it’s not really bad for you’ and ‘Go on, you need another drink NOW’ I hate him”
I can only hope he realises how serious his position is, because the threat to his health is very real and if he doesn’t follow the advice of those of us who do give a shit about him, even if he doesn’t give a shit about himself at the moment, then there is a very real chance he won’t be around to listen to me lecture him, and that would really piss me off.
It would be a very great shame indeed and a terrible waste too, to throw away so much for the sake of so little.
So if you are reading this, and I know you are, stick to your plan mate, we’re always here if you feel you might stumble.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I’d be hugely irritated by the whole self-indulgent experience, I’d set up my own version of a support group.
I can just picture the scene now;
In a community hall somewhere, a diverse selection of ordinary people slowly assembles, quietly taking their seats, arranged in the ubiquitous, non-hierarchical circle, they carefully avoid each other’s eyes, as if, although having been drawn here by a common bond they are nevertheless not comfortable with the fact.
A member of the group with a more confident air about them than the rest says brightly, “Right, who wants to start?”
There is a pause, then one of the other members of the circle silently nods, closes his eyes briefly as if to prepare for a distasteful ordeal, slowly stands up and says;
“Hello, my name’s Dale, and I have a friend who is an alcoholic”

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Keeping it light

Tap tap tap tap – in case you are wondering what this is, it is the sound of me tapping my fingers on the bottom of my keyboard thinking what to write about.

A funny thought occurred to me the other day.  I used to HAVE to write.  It cleared my mind.  It lifted a 10 tonne weight sitting on my shoulders all the time.  My blog was (and still is) my personal shrink – my sounding board for want of a better term.

But since I made certain decisions in my life, I no longer have this 10 tonne weight on my shoulders.  I no longer need to write.  I am content and my mind at ease.  Somehow everything has fallen into place.  I feel empowered.  I feel I can take on the world.

So what does this mean?  It means I have to learn to write for fun!

So fellow bloggers out there – give me something to write about.  Consider it a Lanthie challenge – give me some things to write about and let’s see if I am up to the challenge.  The only rule is – keep it light!

Lanthie Ransom

Turning Up the Heat for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentines day all!

Today I thought I would bring in Valentines Day with a guest post by a blogger called Kitt Crescendo. Kitt and I share the same sense of risque twist on our blogs, although I must admit hers is a little spicier than mine.  I asked if she would be interested in doing a guest post for me and possibly introduce her new book to you all.  So herewith…….

Enjoy!


Valentine’s Day. A day for lovers. The world explodes in hearts and flowers, and focus falls on romance.

For some that means a pampering session, extravagant gifts, a night on the town for dinner and dancing. For others it’s a rose petal trail leading to a scented bubble bath, champagne, candlelight and satin sheets.

Me? It all depends on my mood. Sometimes that soft romance is nice. More often than not, though, I like the simple gestures… A nice dinner, made either for my man or by him (yes, I’m lucky enough to have one that cooks extremely well), my favorite music playing in the background…and a bit of fantasy fulfillment.

Recently I put out two novelettes as part of my Wild Side series. Both center on my main character, Danielle Monroe. Dani is one of those bold, outspoken women. When she sees something she wants, she’s not afraid to go after it, and she’s definitely not shy about sharing her innermost desires. As she says, “The only way to get what you want is to be willing to ask for it.”

Some would say that Dani and I have a lot in common, and they’d be right. When it comes to reaching out and grabbing what we want from life, we look past our fear to the possibility life has to offer. Life is too short for anything else.

So, whether you’re alone on Valentine’s Day and looking for fun and distraction or you’re with a partner and looking for some ideas on how to spice things up, I might just have what you’re looking for.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from my most recent book, Four One Night.




Excerpt:
As we reached the guys, I let go of Candace and hooked my hand around Michael’s neck. Eager to share my pent up hunger, I yanked him down to indulge in a hard, heady mating of lips and tongue. The rough demand in my kiss was my loud and clear message that the time on the dance floor left me hot and ready for action.
When we finally separated, Michael whispered against my lips. “Holy shit! You and Candace were amazing out there, but now I feel left out.”
            My lips pursed together, but laughter still escaped. “Not for long!”
            His eyebrows drew together, curiosity written all over his face. “What exactly does that mean?”
            “I’m going to tell her to kiss you,” I shrugged.
            He blinked, surprised, and then snapped his fingers. “Just like that? How do you know she’d go for it? She doesn’t really know me!”
My head shook back and forth as I attempted for a look of feigned disappointment. “So little faith! Watch and learn.”
            Candace stood next to James, chatting, when I strutted over and pulled her to me again. My lips slammed down over hers and my tongue delved into her mouth. My assault continued until she moaned, eagerly giving way to my marauding. The sultry sounds she was making were unmistakable as her body nestled against mine. This girl was putty in my hands.
            Breaking away, I stared down into her baby blues. “Now, go kiss Michael.”
            With a nod ok she headed to where he stood watching us, a glint that looked a lot like mischief in her eyes. The green in his hazel became more intense as he tracked each predatory step she took. Though his arousal was obvious by the tightening of his pants, no words were exchanged. Candace leaned into his body and rubbed her hardened nipples against his chest. Slowly, she pressed her petal pink lips to his, giving him a taste of the wet, hot passion she shared with me. Surprised, he froze. The moment he realized this was no longer a fantasy, his tongue rushed to meet her desire.
“You are so hot.” he groaned as he peppered wet kisses from her cheek to neck and back to her mouth.
From where we stood, James and I watched their dueling tongues. Though it was sexy, my need to join them was strong and my pulse raced in anticipation. It was time for me to take the reins.
My body felt hot and overly tight as arousal seeped through every pore. Mischief surged through me as I looked up at my best friend. “Ready to join the party?”
He eyed me carefully as a slow, knowing smile spread across his face. “Michael wasn’t kidding when he said you wanted to play tonight.”
I snorted. “Tell me you’re not dying to join in. Watching them.” The jut of my chin in their direction sent his gaze flickering back to the lip locked pair. “It’s kind of hot, right?
“Kind of?” He dragged his attention away from the scene to roll his eyes at me. “You are a wicked, wicked woman. But you already knew that. It’s part of your charm.”
I pulled him down and smacked a noisy kiss on his lips. “Baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Blurb for Four One Night:
Life is all about taking chances. You’ll never know how far you can go unless you try. Well, that’s my philosophy, anyway. My name is Danielle Monroe, but everyone calls me Dani. I’m the kind of girl that doesn’t just pay lip service to living life to the fullest. I reach out and grab it!

After a brutal day at work, unwinding by taking one of my best girl friends to a club for drinks and dancing was just what I needed. It also gave me the opportunity to make a shared fantasy with my boyfriend, Michael, come true. All it took was a quick phone call, a few friends, and the stage was set. Now, if I could just get everyone to take a walk on the Wild Side with me…
There’s no harm in asking, right?
Bio:

I’ve always been an avid reader with a vivid imagination, cementing my role as family story teller and librarian. As a military brat, I told stories to my younger siblings to keep them entertained while we travelled the world. Following my mother’s lead, poetry was my first medium for writing. With my love of all things steamy and romantic, it was only a matter of time before I began to write my own sexy stories.

I live with my best friend who I’m also lucky enough to call my husband, and my two dogs. Despite living in Florida, I’m a Midwestern girl at heart. I’m passionate about music, coffee and chatting it up with people who share my passions.




Where to Find Me:
Blog: http://theinnerwildkat.wordpress.com/
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/KittCrescendo
Facebook:
http://facebook.com/kitt.crescendo
Google+:
http://google.com/+KittCrescendo
Email:
mailto:kittcrescendo@gmail.com

Three For All is currently available as a Kindle Exclusive:

Lanthie Ransom

Beefcakes Baby

My bond (mortgage) was approved for the purchase of my new apartment today.  So a really good friend of mine invited me out for the night in celebration therefore – a sort of a girls night out.

We decided to go to a bar called Beefcakes.  It is typically a gay bar with a nightly stage show starring 3 transvestites.

The evening started off a little late as my friend only collected me at 8.  We got there and I started drooling the moment I walked in the door.  It was filled with really hunky looking barmen.  They were also all rather young – probably in their early twenties.

Anyway, we made ourselves comfortable at the bar and had a drink or 2 before ordering something to eat from a menu which consisted primarily of  burgers.  The food was not great but hey, I was certainly not there for the food.

The stage show started at about 10 and was filled with good humor and overall a very enjoyable show.  The show starred 3 transvestites who all dressed up and imitated various celebrities – Madonna / Elvis / Marilyn Monroe / Tina Turner / Barbara Strisand etc etc.

After the show, the MC mentioned that the barmen were all feeling “a little hot” and would be taking off their shirts on stage and we were welcome to buy body shots off a barman of our choice.

So my dear friend decided to buy me a body shot. Yeah – not something I have done before but who am I to say no to this!

My “body shot” being prepped (need I say more ladies!)

(Yummy!)

I was so embarrassed doing this but I must admit was a load of fun.  I ended up home rather late and had an absolutely amazing evening.

Lanthie Ransom

One for the good guys…

Hi there, dalecooper57 here, I’ve just popped in to tell you about my latest attempt to make the internet a nicer place to be.
Have a read and see if you’d like to get involved. You know it makes sense.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, bloggers are some of the nicest people I’ve met on the internet.
Whether it’s raising money for good causes, increasing awareness of social issues or simply providing help and advice to other bloggers and aspiring writers, there’s always someone who’s willing to lend a hand or act as a sounding board for new ideas.

Well I think it’s time we put some of that goodwill to good use.

The mass media, social media and the internet in general are so full of bad news, inequality and small mindedness these days, that sometimes it’s just good to read about something decent happening for the sake of decency itself, without any hidden agenda or need for personal gain being involved.

The amount of lazy, thoughtless racism and casual, allegedly comical bigotry that permeates the average antisocial network in the 21st century sometimes makes scrolling down a newsfeed an exercise in anger management and restraint, when it should be a reasonably innocent way of killing time and keeping in touch with friends.
And that’s without the videos of gratuitously violent executions, the inane rantings of Katy Hopkins or people trying to drink themselves to death.

Which brings me neatly to the subject of this post, the continued rise in the idiotic, dangerous and now officially deadly social media game, Neknomination, which has now claimed at least two lives as a result of “players” daring each other to indulge in massive alcohol intake in a short space of time.
Now however, the inventors of the game have begun furiously backpedaling in the face of the public backlash generated by the deaths, and by incidents involving kids unused to drinking becoming seriously ill after downing ridiculous quantities of alcohol.
In one case, a mother came home to find her nineteen year-old son unconscious on the sofa after having drunk three bottles of spirits and posted a photo of him covered in vomit on Facebook to teach him a lesson. He was lucky that he passed out whilst sitting up, had he been lying down he almost certainly would have died.

So the instigators of the craze have told their followers to switch instead to Donominate, the idea being that participants nominate each other to do “random acts of kindness” for strangers.

Now, call me cynical but I can’t picture the sort of bloke (unsurprisingly the players are almost all male) who’d drink a pint of whiskey with the contents of an ashtray tipped into it would suddenly take to carrying old ladies’ shopping or mowing lawns, just because some faceless internet goblin told him to.
I also have serious doubts about the sincerity of the goblins, thinking it rather more likely that they are attempting to dig themselves out of a hole of their own making, in the face of furious public opinion.

But let’s just for a moment be charitable and assume they are fully sincere and terribly contrite, the concept of doing small good deeds purely for the sake of it definitely has the makings of workable idea.
All it needs is a group of like-minded people who are prepared to put the idea into practice.

Do you see where I’m going with this…?

Yes that’s right, I am officially inaugurating a whole new branch of internet-philanthropy, Blognominate.

No, wait, come back!
This doesn’t involve donating money, sponsoring an event or even sitting in bathfulls of baked beans, all it requires is that you, the enlightened bloggers of the web, perform some small act of kindness for another person, whether it be a complete stranger or a needy neighbour, in the hope that the resulting karmic harmonics go some way to redress the balance of goodness in the world.

I haven’t been able to raise a team for this year’s Exmoor Startrek charity night hike and we haven’t had a chance to do any daft dressing up at work recently, so for my part it seemed as good a time as any to try and engage in some goodwill recruitment on the factory floor this morning.
And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the willingness of my colleagues to pledge their support to my plan, which is as follows;

I have asked my workmates for a list of candidates from which we can choose one or more people who we agree would benefit from a random act of kindness, and once we come up with a suggestion we shall organise a party of willing volunteers to somehow make their lives just that little bit easier or more cheerful.
It doesn’t have to be spectacular, it could be anything from tidying up a garden or doing a bit of decorating, to collecting shopping or clearing out a garage. Nothing that’s going to cost a fortune or require specialist equipment, just something to demonstrate that there are plenty of folks out there who are happy to make the world a better place by giving of themselves for no other reason than it feels good to do good.

Whatever we decide to do, you can be sure I shall document it with photos and possibly video in a future post.

So how about it, I’m nominating all of you, are you up for it?

Obviously you don’t have to be a blogger to take part, I’m sure anyone reading this has somebody they know that would appreciate a helping hand.
But if you have a Facebook account or any other social media profile, why not ask your friends to join you for the Blognominate challenge and help score one for the good guys.

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