Sunday, August 31, 2008

Drip Drip Drip


I'm pretty sure Gareth and I are both adrenaline junkies - but not in the bad sense - we want things to be amazing and exciting all the time. Operation Night Brace definitely puts a stopper in the faucet mainly because we are both playing this weird 'waiting game.'

What Is An ‘Adrenaline Junkie’?
The term ‘Adrenaline Junkie’ was popularly used in the 1991 movie Point Break in reference to people who favor dangerous activities for the adrenaline rush that accompanies them. However, you don’t have to be a bank robber, sky diver or other obvious type of danger-seeker to be hooked on the rush that comes from a little stress; adrenaline junkies come in much more subtle forms.

Are You An Adrenaline Junkie?
While there are plenty of legitimate reasons why one’s life can maintain a continual aura of drama, and the label ‘adrenaline junkie’ seems a bit harsh and final to pin on anyone (particularly oneself), the concept does provide an interesting angle through which to examine one’s life. While leading an exciting life in and of itself isn’t a problem, unwittingly creating crises for yourself or becoming needlessly engulfed in stressful situations can take its toll. If you tend to create more drama in your life than is necessary, the benefit of becoming aware of it is twofold:

You can begin to keep things exciting, but take the ‘crisis edge’ off, paring down unnecessarily stressful activities and distinguishing the subtle difference between a true crisis and a somewhat overblown situation.
You can practice relaxation techniques to reverse your body’s stress response when you find yourself overwhelmed so you don’t experience the full negative effects of chronic stress.

Saturday, August 30, 2008



I found this on Google when I searched for "the difference between British and American Men..."

Love the good manners and polite behavior of British gentlemen. Don't assume they want you to act completely the same way. British men are used to very uptight British women and love the wildness of American girls.

Expect to be called "duckie," "sweetie," "dear" and other nicknames that might be offensive to you if an American man called you these same names. These are normal and accepted signs of affection from a British date.

Look forward to seeing the wild side of your British date once you visit his apartment to "see his etchings." British men are reserved in public but love affection and romance in private.

Appreciate the fact that British men are loyal. They do enjoy flirting and looking at other women, but even if they stray, it's not because they don't care for you. British men want relationships to last, especially with American women, whom they feel are sexy and more fun to be with than British women.

Step (EXCEPT this...I added this part)
British men will most usually offer you all of their money, that includes salary and savings. If they offer it, do not be alarmed take it and say thank you, most American women have trouble accepting this but again it is a normal and accepted sign of affection from a British date.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Momma you're 62


This week was pretty stressful. I got into a fight with my sister Jen over our Mother's 62nd Birthday. ONB is especially tough when other people expect you to spend what they are spending.

So we eventually all compromised. Gareth and I are going to bake her her favorite cake and Jen will buy the ingredients. I am going to use my free plane ticket to take her to florida as a gift and make her a card. Then we are all going out to a lovely meal and Gareth and I will eat as cheap as we can!

That sounds perfect and we won't have to blow our budget!



Cake update. Last night we waited until Marie went to bed and then got baking. It was a bit of a disaster. It tastes great but feel apart when we tried to stack it and ice it. I'm hoping Amy's Mum is a believer in the expression: "It's the thought that counts"

I have a dream


Last night I had a super realistic dream.

Amy and I were in a shop. We brought a scratchcard and won $7000 on the spot.

I woke up so happy and then stayed that way for about ten minutes until I realised it was a dream. Doh!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Books


Yesterday I was feeling pretty low. Sometimes it feels like I'm a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions in our tiny little room. (Yes this is dramatic - but let me run with it ;)

My boss looked at me with kind eyes and said go get some movies for work, Lock Stock and Two smoking Barrels (don't ask) and buy yourself something to cheer you up. It was so sweet because I hadn't even told him I was blue. So I went to Virgin and picked up two books, one for me and one for G. I made sure they were cheap to be considerate.

I bought myself Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami and I bought Gareth Overheard in New York: Conversations from the Streets, Stores, and Subways by S. Morgan Friedman for FREE!!!

Tears in the post


Last Friday, we got the official confirmation that we owe the Student Loan People absolutely bugger all. When Amy opened the letter she started crying.

My favorite bit is the warm and friendly signature at the bottom and the fact it thanks us for fulfilling our obligation.

We are going to be framing it!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another crazy old person


Remember that Indian beggar who collected all that money over 50 odd years of begging?

Well here is another crazy old person!

"Man buys Chevy with small change"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hum Drum

AMY SAYS... that the first bit is done the second bit is going to be a lot harder. The novelty has worn off and i think we are finding that it's a bit like floating on a raft.

The 'drifting out at sea' feeling isn't caused by our ever expanding air mattress; rather I think it might be Postpartum Depression - YIKES!!!

Personal space


To those of you who have been following the blog closely you might remember me saying that one of the things i miss most is personal space!!!!

Well that has all changed. I now have some personal space. It's pretty small but it is mine all mine!

I have splurged $10 a month renting a locker at the YMCA. It is one cubic foot and it is beautiful. At the moment it contains my swimming kit and a bottle of mouthwash. I have big dreams for it. I'm thinking of convert the back into a second bedroom that i can rent out and then putting in a skylight.

If anyone is looking for a room in Manhattan then we might be able to do a deal. It would probably be helpful if you were really really small and liked being locked in the dark for long periods of time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Super stressful!


I wrote the following article weeks ago but didn't post it. I can safely say that things are much much better. Time changes everything. Thank goodness!

I have to admit that life is fricking stressful at the moment!

Everything is wobbling.

Our home - we might have to find a new place to live for numerous reasons

My job - we're laying people off due to the recession

ONB - the novelty of living off $20 a day wore of ages ago

Arggggghhhhhhhhhhhh the stress.

I feel like i might burst.

Hold it together Gareth. Hold it together.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Love Ballad Karaoke


We are busy planning our engagement party! We want to do something for all our friends. We are thinking an evening of love power ballads at some cheesy karaoke bar Downtown.

Here's the copy from the invite Amy is busy designing...

"We've been to witch doctors, we've ridden camels, we've moved, we've kissed, we've cuddled, we've farted, we've cried, we've danced, we've stripped, we've gotten into trouble, we've gotten out of trouble, we’ve argued, we’ve made up, we’ve had picnics, we’ve gotten drunk, we’ve been warriors, we’ve been worriers, we’ve been fearful, we’ve been courageous, we’ve been on boats, we’ve been on planes, we’ve been on trains, we’ve learned to drive, we’ve been on buses, we’ve eaten meat, we’ve been tired, we’ve held each others hand, we’ve cycled, we’ve sung, we’ve baked, we’ve been in hospitals, we’ve been cheerleaders, we’ve been selfish, we’ve been selfless, we’ve gone skydiving, we’ve sat in bookstores, we’ve been over the moon, we’ve been under the stars, we’ve been sue chefs, we’ve been babysitters, we’ve been assholes, we’ve been monsters, we’ve been teenagers, we’ve been dids and dos, we’ve been disappointed, we’ve been pleasantly surprised, we’ve been in debt, we’ve been scared, we’ve been safe, we’ve been hopeful, we’ve been hopeless, we’ve been compassionate, we’ve been cruel, we’ve been to Vegas, we’ve been to Africa, we’ve given gifts, we’ve been to museums, we’ve climbed trees, we’ve cut each others hair, we’ve pigged out, we’ve had late night feasts, we’ve been on diets, we’ve picked up tickets, we’ve sold tickets, we’ve touched the unicorn and fallen down the rabbit hole, we’ve been on adventures big and small and now we've got engaged!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Operation Night Brace - the haircut!!!


The best haircut to have when saving money is a skinhead! You do it once and it takes months for it to grow out.

A few weeks ago i became a skinhead. It's wonderful. Perfect for summer - nice and light. A cheap, very very cheap!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion


Having people read the blog is awesome. It makes it feel like we are not in this alone.

We recently spent $4.99 getting some business cards made up with the blog address on. We got 250 in all. That's 2 cents each. Bargain even if the color is a bit funny and they are about as thin as a business card can get before turning into a business paper.

Amy gave out her first 2 last week. If you were one of the 2 people who got one. HELLO :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This week has been brought to you by Ian


For those of you who have been paying attention you might remember that one of our Engagement presents was 'a week of fun'.

Ian had prepared us seven separate packages of fun and games. We had a travel version of 'Operation', a pack of playing cards, a pack of top trumps, a belly dancing kit, blank notebooks to write love poems in, a "Deal Or No Deal" card game and something else that i can't remember.

Fun fun fun! What a thoughtful gift.

Thanks Ian.

Yes thank you Ian!!! Gareth has already written me a slew of love poems ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Best Friend


"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."


Friends probably have a worse sense of smell.

Monday, August 18, 2008



Here are screen captures I took every time we paid into the loans. You can print it out and make your very own poster!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Graduation day is upon us


Today 8/15/08 we paid off the Private loans!! $76,507.08 - Holy cow that's a lot of cash. Done and Dusted as G would say. We threw everything at it... Birthday money, bonus money, engagement ring money, nose job money, botox money, drug money - everything we had!

We did it. So I made Gareth this:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Over the moon


Yesterday was a big day! A very big day!

The Private loans have G... O... N... E!

Unbelievable. When i first scribbled out the plan for Operation Night Brace back in April I didn't think we would get to this stage until October 31st!!! I'm not exactly sure how we have managed to do it. I think the following helped...

Amy getting a bonus and a payrise
Gareth putting in his birthday money
Amy doing some freelance work
Gareth getting Amy some freelance work
Amy and Gareth deciding to put the engagement ring money in
Amy and Gareth deciding to put the engagement gift money in
Amy and Gareth living on less than $20 a day (the original plan was $28)
Amy and Gareth being rock stars

It felt amazing last night. We jumped around the kitchen laughing and screaming - drunk on a $12 bottle of wine.

FUCCCCKKKK you Student Loan People!!!!

This is just the boost we need to keep going. Public loans here we come!!!

Fuck you Adrienne we did it!


Yo, Adrienne, you know, it's Rocky again, you know. Listen, uh, I know you ain't too happy at this moment, ya know. But could ya do me a favor, ya know, ...WIN!!!


Amy - you nutter!

Friday, August 15, 2008

VIP - Yeah you know me!


Result! We work in a building above Giant Steps Records and they are the kind of neighbors you love. They have the best freebies.

Last Friday this email went round work.


We're leaving around 2PM for All Points West; office field trip. I have 6 VIP tickets for Sunday that are looking to go to waste. Does anyone in your office want?

Line-up, set times here:"

Hell yeah! within 5 minutes i had two tickets worth $135 each. A super duper treat.

PS Rather than take the special ferry to the festival which cost $30 we got the subway, then the PATH train train, then the tram and then we walked for twenty minutes. It might have not been the quickest route but it meant we got their and back for about $8 each.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Zoe Horton


Amy is not the first girl i have given everything to!!!

When i was nine I went to school with Zoe Horton.

She was the very first love of my life.

Every week i would spend all my pocket money trying to win her over.

It always involved buying her chocolate and hiding it in her school desk.

I don't think i ever told her it was from me.

Perhaps that was where i was going wrong.

The last i heard Zoe Horton was a electrician and married to a guy from the year above us.

Having just googled her i can safely say that none of these people are her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

21st Century Dragon Slaying


In the olden days you proved your love for someone by jumping on your horse, tracking down a dragon and then stabbing it in the heart. Easssssyyyyyyyyy!!!

I see Operation Night Brace as the modern equivalent of dragon slaying - an impossible task that might, just might be possible with a lot of hard work and a little luck. All because of some sexy girl.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The secret to a happy marriage

I googled 'how to have a happy marriage' the other day and came across some great tips on a bbc message board. Here are my favs....

No kids and a dish washer!
Jan, England

You should want each other more than you need each other.
Ben, Southampton, UK

My marriage is a happy one, but if only my Mrs would not get moody and sensitive about a hundred different things in a day, it would be happier.
Ashok D'Souza, England

The Secret for happy marriage will always be a Secret.
Syed Ahmed, Bangalore & India

It's down to the 4 Ls: Love, laughter, lust and luck!
Adam, London

Our marriage blossomed when I came to terms with the fact that I was to blame for everything that went wrong.
Alasdair, aboard a Drillship in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wendy, UK

To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup, whenever you are wrong admit it, whenever you are right shut up.
Jen, UK

Lessons learned from my seven year (failed) marriage. Make sure you're friends 1st, don't try to change the other person, grow together, and for God's sake, remember to put the toilet seat down!
Dan, Colorado, US

If you want a relationship that lasts... get a dog.
Martin, England

To Martin, England: Does your dog do the ironing? If so, where can I get one?
Andy, Edinburgh, Scotland

To Andy, Edinburgh: I managed to get my dog to iron, it's the sex I can't get used to!
Richard, Fareham

Sharing a bath together, and taking it in turns to be at the tap end!
Joannah, Lancaster, UK

Move far away from your mother-in-law.
Clare, London

Honesty, sharing, give and take, respect. Use each other's strengths and don't prey on each other's weaknesses. Never let the sun go down on a quarrel. Spontaneous kindness (flowers, jobs done unexpectedly, whatever). Have fun together - and separately. Accept that everyone makes mistakes and be prepared to forgive and forget. And above all - keep talking, communicate, don't bottle trouble up!
Andrew, Cambridge, UK

For a long marriage men need to have a shed.
Mark, England

Let your wife choose the home decorations. IF you don't you'll never hear the end of it
Philip Jedlicka, Toronto, Canada

My husband often says when we quarrel, "Will this really matter in two years' time?" Looking ahead to what lasts as opposed to splitting hairs over the immediate petty concerns can give perspective to any relationship.
R. Ducatt, Springfield, MO, USA

Know that the two of you together are more important than either of you separately.
Julian, Brighton

Treat partner selection like buying a used car. Check the history, check the body work (look under the bonnet), make sure it's neither clocked nor the subject of hidden finances and, above all else, give it a good test drive first!
Patrick V. Staton, Guildford, UK

Monday, August 11, 2008

FREE Money???


Free-Money Grants:

Multi-Billion Dollar Giveaway Approved by Congress!!!

I've signed Gareth and I up for the introductory conference! It's FREE!!

"The US Congress has budgeted billions of dollars in Federal Grants-In-Aid for this year, and more money is available today than ever before."

Basically everyone should attend, to find out if you can make a better life for yourself with opportunity money from the U.S. Government. The Introductory Conference will provide information for those interested in obtaining government money that you don't have to pay back!

(Yeah I know it sounds too good to be true!! But WTF it's FREE!)


What on earth have you signed us up for? It looks like "a load of old bollocks" to quote an old english saying!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dearly beloved


A guy i met at a party last week suggested a novel way of making some money.... become a vicar.

For $30 he had become ordained by the Church Of The Subgenius. they sent him a lovely certificate which he then used to register himself at City Hall. He is now legally allowed to perform marriages!!! He said it was as simple as it sounds and will shortly be performing his best friends wedding.

This sounds like a lot of fun. Amy and I were wondering if we could marry ourselves - we'll have to look into it.

I'm thinking of buying the url and offering a pretty unique service to all those couples in NYC that want something a little different. is also available!!!!

If you fancy becoming a vicar yourself click here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

"Crazy n love"


When googling 'crazy things people do for love' i came across these words of advice on

"Buying Love

There's nothing wrong with showing that special person you care by spending a few bucks, but when you feel you have to continuously shower your sweetie with gifts and/or money, there's a problem.

Take Raymond, 16, for example. "My girlfriend is really pretty. If I don't buy her nice things, she'll find somebody who will," he explains. "I don't want to lose her."

The fact is, if someone is only staying in a relationship for presents and money, eventually, she'll leave anyway — there's always someone else who has more money to spend. And who really wants a partner who only cares about material things, anyway?"

I hope Raymond is doing okay.

If you are out there Raymond - we can talk :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

If all goes wrong....


Ohhh the pain


Saving money is a bit like loosing weight. There is so much guilt involved.

Every time you eat a slice of cream cake you feel guilty.

Every time you buy a slice of cake you feel guilty.

I find that I'm living in a permanent state of guilt. I'm worried (but not that worried) that it might take some getting use to spending money again when this whole thing ends and my wallet is no longer padlocked.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blood out of a stone


My old flatmate is ignoring my emails. He owes me $418.75 but i'm not holding my breath.

Grrrrrrrr frustration.

Amy wrote this email (apparently my version was a bit 'aggressive'!).

Hey Doody,

Hope life in the East Village is still treating you well. Congratulations on
your engagement! Amy and I just got engaged as well – good stuff!

Anyway, I’m emailing you because I feel that I gave you plenty of notice when I moved out and I just don’t think it’s fair that you deducted $418.75 due to insufficient notice on my part as I told you I wanted to move out the beginning of May on April 7th and paid you rent until the 7th May (four weeks in total). Seriously, it’s not a large sum of money, but at this point in time EVERY little bit helps. I was shocked when I received less then half of my deposit back from you – especially when I did everything in my power to make sure you didn’t get screwed in any way.

I don’t want there to be any hard feelings between us, but basically I feel
that I’ve been short changed and fair is fair. Please send me a check for the $418.75 from my deposit. You and I both know that I gave you plenty of notice and we’ll call it a day!



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MIstake - doh

(Loan Guy) I left you a voice message.

TO RECAP: It looks like you had requested an ABSOLUTELY FREE Consultation to go over some different options, to help you out with your debt.

I am assuming you are trying to lower your interest rates or monthly payments, which are both great ideas. Most people have 3-5 options. They just don’t know what they are.

My job is to educate you, so you can make an informed decision. If I can help you, GREAT!!! If I cannot, then at least I am pointing you in the right direction. In the mean time I wanted to give you some insight as to what to expect from submitting your request. You are going to get a lot of calls as you may already have, from companies that are either new to the industry, or are not Fully Accredited and Certified. Please, do not trust your financial future to these companies!!!
DSA has been in business for more than 4 years, while this industry has been around for 5 years.

I have to caution you about this because there are only 9 companies that are with TASC (The Association of Settlement Companies) that have been TASC Best Practices Accredited Members - to do what we specialize in, not just members. TASC is the “watchdog” in this industry.
As a senior analyst at Debt Settlement America, we are Bonded so as to protect and uphold the highest standards of ethics while helping our clients. In the mean time take a look at the links below this paragraph that will help you in making your decision as to who you should trust with that enormous financial responsibility. Give me a call at your convenience so I can assess your current situation together with you and find the most efficient solution for you. I look forward to our conversation.

DSA has to date Settled over $34 million dollars of debt, please take a look

The Demotivator


I have just stumbled across this great online device to help you save money.

It is called the Demotivator and it helps you work out how many days a year you have to work to pay for all your non-essential spends.

Check it out. You might just surprise yourself.

I was suprised to find that with my pre-Operation Night Brace spend i had to work for 1.3 weeks each year to pay for the chai teas I would buy each morning.

Sadly the Demotivator is all in sterling but you get the idea.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Fucking Irony of it all!!!


Today I looked on line with little hope of trying to reconsolidate my government loans and found a link that read "Reduce Your Student Debt by Up to 70%!" Woha! Yippy Kiyay Muthafuckas!! So I filled out the form and within seconds someone called me - freaky.

I asked what the consequences for a "Settlement plan" were. He said "Well we basically we sell all of your information to creditors until the debt is settled and your credit score plummets - it's basically an alternative to bankruptcy."

I said "Ok I owe $106K but I'm not delinquent in any way."

He said, "Great, are your loans Privately funded or Government backed?"

To which I said, "I just paid off all of my private loans the public loans are the only ones left!"

He said "Sorry we can't do anything about Government backed loans only Private loans."

To which I said "Fuck!"

To which he said, "Well at least you did it the correct way and didn't have to make a settlement."

To which I said, "Fuck!" Again

I don't know if this would have been a right move or not but maybe if I'd settled on the Private loans and paid off the public WE'D BE DEBT FREE with horrible chances of ever getting a loan or a mortgage in the future.

So on we go with my credit score intact and my information private - UGH!

(Not so) Sweet Old Ladies


They might look cute. But these women are total whack jobs! Look at what they did to try and make easy money.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A great weekend


Last weekend was a great weekend.It was fun and cheap.

Saturday morning i woke up early. Packed a lunch of leftovers. Dug out a sweater. And went off to the cinema.

I had studied the times and realised that if i brought a $6 matinee ticket to The Mummy at 10:15 i could sneak into Wall-E straight afterwards. I felt so guilty as i dashed from one room to the other. The last (and first) time i had done this i had got Amy to protect me. This time i was alone as Amy was at a baby shower.

I staggered out the cinema at about 3 o'clock and went home to warm up. Cinemas are freezing in New York.

Saturday night we went to an engagement party. We took a nice bottle of wine we had lying around and paid just $4 each to get there and back on the subway.

After Saturday's early start, Sunday was all about a lie in before going for lunch with my friend John. i cycled down to Tea & Sympathy so getting there and back didn't cost a cent. He rather kindly insisted on treating me (i am now ridiculously indebted to him). Back at John's flat we watched an episode of The Wire and started getting excited about the DVD launch of Series 5 on August 12th - i'll be netflixing it rather than buying it!

Home about 7 and then my two favorite TV shows back to back - Food Network Challenge (Disney Villians was the theme for the cake bakers) and Iron Chef America - before bedtime.

That was a $10 weekend folks. Thanks to leftovers and friends.

A whole new wardrobe


Last week we got taken out for dinner to celebrate the 'launch' of Amy's company. We were going to be treated to a slap up meal at Buddhakan - a super swish asian restaurant in the Meat Packing District!

But what to wear????

The dress code was black, all black. I had a black jumper and a pair of battered black jeans. The jumper was going to be too hot and the jeans just a bit too tatty.

We needed new clothes and when you are on a budget there is only one place to go... UNI GLO!

How on earth do they do it? I got 4 tops, a belt and a new pair of jeans for $120. I shudder to think about the child labour that was used to make clothes that cheaply.

We made a whole evening out of getting on new clothes (that is one of the secrets of ONB - milk the good things for all they are worth, get as much fun out of things as possible). This was the first clothes shopping trip we had ever done together! Amy took great delight in making me looking like her and i have to say i liked the results.

Sunday, August 3, 2008



Hope costs nothing.

Hope is what keeps you going.

Hope is the hand round the flickering candle.

Bob Hope on the other hand was a comedian who once said: "A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

ONB gets extended


The official end date of living at Amy's mum's has now been set.

December 31st.

New year, new place.

If all goes to plan we will be able to move out owing just $30,000 a figure that we should be able to manage quite easily. Afterall it is one sixth of what we stared with back on May 1st.

That means we will now be in the Upper West Side for...

Our 1st year anniversary

We will see the trees turn brown from the window and we will see the first snow of winter as it falls on our window ledge.

5 more months. We can do it. We've survived 3. How much harder can it be???? Hmmm perhaps i shouldn't ask questions like that.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The best $5.80 meal for two ever!


Living on $20 a day would be pretty easy in some places.

When we ate were the locals ate and shopped where they shopped we realized $20 went a long way in Morocco.

During our trip their our cheapest meal was also one of the nicest. We went to the local fishmarket in Essaouira and for 50 cents we brought 8 fresh sardines and a handful of shrimp, we then went to a vegetable stand to by stuff for a salad (this was actually more than the fish coming in at $1).

Having gathered everything we need we went to this courtyard area where we paid $2 to have the fish and shrimp grilled and the salad prepared. 30 cents on a loaf of bread and $2 on ice cold drinks and we were set for a fantastic meal.

Bon appetit