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Katie's Updates
Life in Purdue

Date: 2008-03-01 17:30
Subject: New York
Security: Public
Tags:greyhound, new york, rent
We got the Amtrak train to Denver, Colorado from Winter Park.  It was absolutely freezing that day, and Alex and Jen wouldn’t go inside the station and wait.  They were determined to wait it out in the cold but I couldn’t stand it so I sat inside in the warm.  The train was really late, but it arrived eventually.  It was nothing like British trains but I guess that’s because people sleep on it when they do journeys across the country.
In Denver we walked through the snowy, wet streets to get from the Amtrak station to the Greyhound station.  Once there we had to get our bags weighed, and it took so long that we didn’t have time to leave the station afterwards to find any dinner.  The Greyhound station had some food that wasn’t great but it was good enough to cope with.

We were on the Greyhound buses for approximately 48 hours and crossed two time zones, going through Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia (just about) and we ended up in Pennsylvania, getting off in a township called King of Prussia (random name I know).  For a large amount of the trip we were on the same bus as a family of a woman and her three children aged about 3 to 8.  The little girl was sat next to Alex and me and Jen were sat behind.  The kids were playing around with some other children sat nearby, poking each other and grinning at me and Jen, so we told them to poke Alex.  It was funny seeing him get annoyed at them even though they hardly did anything to him.  Then in the night time the girl that must have been about 3 or 4 ended up leaning on Alex’s shoulder which also bugged him. 
Kansas, by the way, was dull.  There was nothing to look at in the landscape and, as far as we could tell, no houses or towns anywhere at all.  And Kansas City isn’t even in Kansas ; it’s in Missouri!  I found the whole Greyhound trip fine because I could sleep and read and listen to music and stuff and Jen didn’t mind it too much even though she can’t read on the bus.  But Alex hated it and complained the entire time!  The main problem about travelling on Greyhound buses is the people that work there.  Generally the drivers are fine, but the people who lead the bags onto the bus were rude and obnoxious, the security guards were horrible and the people who give out and take in tickets were just always angry and completely disorganised. 

Brian picked us up from King of Prussia and drove us back to his house where we all had showers and ate the dinner that his mum cooked – lasagna and salad and then ice cream.  It was lush.

The next morning Brian’s dad drove us into the centre of Philadelphia from where we got the China Town Bus to New York City which only took a couple of hours.  In New York we got the subway to, I think, 94th Street and Alex took all of our bags into the hotel and checked us into our room.  We went to eat at a diner for lunch and then went to explore downtown Manhattan, looking around Wall Street and along the water.  Then we got a call from Lizzie to say that she’d arrived so we went to meet her near the hotel.  Alex met her at the hotel, and then we went to eat dinner because she hadn’t eaten for ages.  Sleeping that night at the hotel was a challenge.  We had a double bed in a tiny room for all five of us to use.  Brian slept in the closet and Alex on the floor.  Me, Jen and Lizzie shared the bed but Jen ended up on the floor halfway through the night because she couldn’t sleep.  Which is, actually, an incredible thing for Jen.  She can usually sleep absolutely anywhere.

The second day in New York City we went to try and see the Statue of Liberty, but the line was too long.  Instead, we went to see Ground Zero, and then went round the 9/11 museum.  The third day was New Years Eve, and we went to the Statue of Liberty earlier so that we could see it.  The line was still really long, but that seems to be the way things go in New York.  We saw the statue on the boat and then got off on the island the statue is on.  We took a million pictures of ourselves in front of the statue and then got back on the boat to go to Ellis Island.  On that island there was a museum about America’s immigrants and emigrants that was really interesting.  We got to look around it completely, but before long we had to leave and go to Times Square. 

The group of us ended up marching around Times Square for ages and ages trying to find somewhere that we were allowed to go in.  Eventually we found somewhere, and we were all herded into a pen like sheep.  Once in we weren’t allowed out even though we didn’t have anything to eat or drink, and there was nothing there to buy either.  We got into Times Square at about 4 or 5 I think, and stayed listening to the music they were playing.  We watched the ball go up.  We celebrated the New Year in Paris.  And then Brian needed the toilet.  We had a bottle of sprite, but he couldn’t go in a bottle.  He got stage-fright or something.  So Brian ended up leaving to find a bathroom, and once you leave you’re not allowed back in.  We couldn’t leave him in New York on his own for New Years Day and we knew that we’d all want food, drink and a toilet soon so we left too after we’d celebrated New Year in England at 7pm.  While still in Times Square we all phoned our parents on Alex’s cell-phone and then went to find Brian.  We ate at another diner nearby, and then had to find something to do and somewhere to go to see in the New Year.  As much as we tried, we couldn’t get back into Times Square so we’d pretty much given up on seeing the ball drop.  (Which was shocking by the way.  The ball was tiny.)  Somehow we ended up on a street where we could see the ball through an intersection at about 11.30, so we stood there until midnight and watched the ball drop.  It was cool to be there on New Years Day.

On New Years Day we went to the Empire State Building.  We had to queue for hours and hours.  More than I’ve ever had to queue for the Eiffel Tower before.  It was cool, though, once we finally got up there.  For dinner that night we went to Olive Garden for my birthday where I drank my first legal alcohol in the USA in the form of a mango martini.  Yum.
The day after we left Brian at the bus stop in China Town because he was going home a day early and then the rest of us went shopping, mainly in Times Square at the toy shop and the M&Ms shop and stuff.  That night Lizzie and I went to see Rent on Broadway (which is apparently Times Square also) because Jen and Alex had bought me a ticket for my birthday present.  And Rent was amazing!  I loved it.
And then the following day it was time to begin our journey home.  Our bus, though, wasn’t until the afternoon so Jen, Lizzie and I went to see a movie, PS I Love You, and then went for lunch to kill time.  On the way there, though, we stopped on one of the corners where they were filming a car commercial with Bull Riders.  We got to see real rodeo riders and had to sign release forms for the advert in case they wanted to included us in it.  Then we got the bus from China Town to Philly where Brian picked us up and drove us around the city to show us around. (Which made us feel rather sick with him swinging the car around like he’s prone to do.  American drivers.)  Then Jen, Lizzie and me embarked on the final Greyhound journey to go back to Purdue.
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Date: 2008-02-17 17:37
Subject: Christmas Day
Security: Public
Location:P Vill
Music:Dermot O'Leary on BBC Radio 2
Tags:christmas day, colorado, skiing
Jen and me got back to the hotel before Alex after the fifth day of skiing so we tool all of our stuff to the new condo.  A man at reception gave us a lift up the snowy hill with all of our bags, and shortly after we got in Alex arrived back.  We told him that we carried them all up the ill in 2 batches and he still believes that to this day.  The condo was nice ; Jen and I got the double bad and Alex had the sofa-bed, and there was a wood-burning fire.  Later that night after we went in the hot tub we got some firestarters from reception which they claimed would light it without kindling.  They lied.  They were shocking.

The next day was the first we'd spent in Colorado without skiing.  We watched a ton of TV before going shoppin, and it convinced Jen that she wanted to make cookies, so while we were shipping we bought stuff to make cookies.
On the 23rd, Alex spent the ENTIRE day watching TV while Jen and I made cookies.  The first lot were completely inedible and I have no idea why, but then we tried a different recipe and those were okay.  We cut all the cookies into Christmas shapes and then iced then after they were done.  They looked great even if they didn't taste it.  We also made our Christmas cake that day.  It was a chocolate cake in the shape of  Christmas tree, two layers high and iced with green buttercream icing.  We all added decorations to the Christmas tree with icing and it looked amazing...and tasted great too on Christmas day when we finally tucked in.

On Christmas Eve we went skiing again which was great fun.  Jen came on Jack Kendrick a couple more times and Alex and I went off around the whole mountain once more like before.  Again, like the cheapskates we are we took a packed lunch with us.  After skiing there was a bonfire and a light parade down the mountain done by all the instructors and the people who work at the resort on the lifts.  Back at the condo I cooked Christmas Carbonara for dinner.  Jen and Alex persuaded me to do it, so I died half of the spaghetti carbonara red and half of it green.  It looked really weird but it tasted fine, and Jen and Alex thought it looked cool which I guess was the whole point.

Christmas day we woke up pretty early so that we could make a start on the Christmas meal.  Alex was the one determined to have turkey, so we made him prepare it.  He got all the giblets out and the neck too, which was gross, and he did a really good job of it.  He put bacon on top and it tasted great, and not at all dry like mum says turkey always is.  Alex and me prepared pretty much the whole meal because Jen was on the phone to her family the whole time, but that wasn't planned by any of us, it just happens to be the way it worked out.
We sat down to eat at a laid table with all the random stuff we found in the condo.  The meal was amazing: turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets, carrots, broccoli, peas and gravy.  Jen and I had wine and Alex had vodka and orange in a wine glass like the classy girl he is.  We even had crackers that Alex and Jen prepared complete with newspaper hats, jokes and a chocolate coin.
After eating we opened the presents we gave each other in stockings.  We were there forever waiting for Alex to open all of his because we wrapped up each chocolate coin and each chocolate santa individually.
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Date: 2008-02-04 19:48
Subject: Colorado: Part I
Security: Public
Music:Life on Mars, Mig
Tags:colorado, skiing
In case it’s not known by now, I didn’t go back to England during the Christmas holidays ; I spent them travelling part of the United States instead.

Saturday of finals week Purdue Ski and Snowboard Club left for Colorado on their annual Winter Break trip, and Jen, Alex and me paid to go.  Alex had an exam that morning and Jen and I had a massive rush trying to pack quickly that morning, because of course we’d left it to the last minute, but we all made it to the bus pick-up point on time.  Jake, Ankesh, Matt and Fiona all came to give Alex a ride and to see us off which was nice since Fiona’s gone back to UCD and Ankesh was expecting to graduate.

The bus journey was long.  It was meant to be 22 hours but was actually a bit longer because of a snowstorm.  Everyone on the bus brought a ton of alcohol with them and proceeded to get drunk throughout the majority of the journey but since I’d been feeling ill all day I spent almost the entire bus ride sleeping, only stopping at the rest stops to use the bathroom and to eat.  The pillow (or in British, cushion) that Ashley made me for my Christmas present was a lifesaver.  And wasn’t I glad I spent the whole time sleeping instead of getting drunk.  It meant that I was well enough when we got there to go into the town and then to go skiing the next day.

We arrived in Beaver Village Condos in Winter Park, Colorado at what must have been about 6pm on Sunday night.  We were in a six-person condo with a guy called Grant and a couple, Joe and Kristen.  That night Alex felt ill after all of his drinking on the bus so he slept while me, Jen, Kristen and Joe went to a restaurant in town for dinner. 

The next day after even more sleep (on the couch for me and Jen) Jen and me left Alex sleeping because he still felt ill and we went to a shop to pick up the skis we’d ordered.  That took the whole morning, so once we actually got to the resort we ate lunch, after which we paid for beginners lessons.  I decided to do the beginner lesson since it was about 8 years since I’d been on skis, but once I started having a go in the lesson it all came back to me quickly.  Our instructor was from Oxford!  In the final part of the lesson we came off the bunny slopes and went on the easiest green run which involved a chair lift.  Unfortunately Jen fell off the lift at the top, which meant that she convinced herself immediately that she couldn’t do them.  Pretty much as soon as we started skiing down the slope everyone except for two of us fell over, and there were people, skis and poles everywhere.  Jen fell over quite a few times going down that hill, but she doesn’t get particularly frustrated or annoyed about it. 

After the lesson was over the ski lifts were closing so we went back to the condo with our skis and changed out of the horrendously uncomfortable boots.  Alex was feeling better by then so the three of us made a trip on the bus to the supermarket (called Safeway!) to buy food for the next 3 days or so.  It meant we could take lunch with us to the ski resort and leave it in a locker, which turned out to be a great deal cheaper than buying it there every day. 
That night for dinner I cooked Spaghetti Bolognese but Alex kept interfering and getting in the way so I got annoyed at him.  After eating all the others started drinking and playing drinking games, but I was still feeling a bit ill so I went to sleep in Alex’s bed. 

The next day we went skiing again, and this time Alex came with us.  Alex did the beginners lesson and Jen did it again with him while I did the next level up about turn control.  This time my instructor was Bryce from Australia, and he ended up being my instructor again for the next lesson I took too.  I met a girl in the class with me who was from Somerset, and she told me that she’d seen Steve Redgrave earlier that day.  The thing was, I told Jen, Alex and the Americans that Steve Redgrave was at the same resort as us and none of them had even heard of him.  Not even the Brits! 
That evening Alex cooked chicken and rice, but the rice was crunchy.  Yuk.  Then we went to a bar as a group with the rest of the ski club, but it ended up being a bit shocking with a country music band.

The third day of skiing I spent the morning practicing on one of the harder green slopes, and then in the afternoon I went on the Beginning Parallel lesson.  There were only three of us that took it which was really nice, because it meant we all got close attention and lots of advice.  By the end of the lesson I was completely exhausted, but I can now parallel ski fairly well.  That night after skiing we went in the hot tub, which was amazing, and then Joe and Kristen cooked us all chilli with macaroni in it – surprisingly nice.  We played cards all of us together and I taught them all shithead, and then we progressed to drinking games though I didn’t drink alcohol since I was still kind off ill and did actually want to go skiing the next day.

The fourth day of skiing I spent partly practicing on the easy slopes with Jen and partly practicing on the harder slopes with Alex.  He was pretty impatient with Jen and so went off on his own a lot.  By this time he’d taken the control by turning lesson, but Alex skis with a lot of guts but not much control or technique.  As Jen put it, he chucks himself down cliffs and hope for the best.
Fifth day was another skiing day.  Alex still had a day of his lift pass since he’d been ill the first day, but Jen and me got a free day because they didn’t scan our pass on the first day during the lesson.  Before leaving we said goodbye to the club when they all got on the bus and left, and we packed up our stuff and left it all at reception so that we could move into our new condo when we got back.
On the Friday Jen agreed to let us take her down Jack Kendrick, one of the steeper green runs.  She managed the steep bits fine and only fell over once, which compared to Alex’s first time on that slope was amazing.  Towards the end of the slope Alex went off down the steepest part and I kept Jen company on the easy way, and halfway round she skied into a snowdrift.  I was a bit ahead of her and heard this panicked voice say “Katie Katie my ankles are breaking”.  Her skis hadn’t come off in the fall, and the more she struggled the more bent they became.  Katie to the rescue ran up the hill (in skis I’ll have you know) to save the day and pop Jen out of her skis.

That was the last day of skiing for a while, and boy was I glad to have a couple of days off from the aching body and sore shins.
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Date: 2008-01-15 11:09
Subject: Christmas meal and finals
Security: Public
Music:Scissor Sisters - Land of a Thousand Words
Tags:chritmas meal, exams, finals
Here's a small update about what happened here before the Christmas holidays.  It's hard to find time to do anything besides work at the moment, especially since Lizzie is here visiting and I have my huge Professional Studies project due in in Bath in a couple of weeks, so I'm sorry but updates will come when they come and that'll have to be good enough.  I keep getting nagged to update, and I do as often as I can.

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Date: 2007-11-25 23:50
Subject: Thanksgiving
Security: Public
Location:The car on the way home from Franklin, Indiana.
Music:Christmas songs
Tags:ashley, thanksgiving
On Tuesday afternoon Allison, Ashley’s sister, picked up Ashley, Jen and me and we all drove to Ashley’s house in Franklin about 90 minutes away for Thanksgiving break. That evening we went to the arcade with Ashley’s 13 year old sister, Kayla, where we played arcade games for ages. They were the kind where you win tickets and trade them in for a prize at the end.

Wednesday we went to the cinema to watch August Rush. It was a really good movie - I think all of us would recommend it. The main character was this kid called August played by the same boy that plays Peter in Return to Neverland and Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and he did a pretty good American accent apparently. He’s also going to be the voice of Pantalaimon in the Golden Compass which, incidentally, I can’t wait to see. Speaking of, I found out this week that they haven’t changed the name of the movie. It’s actually the American name for the same book. Northern Lights of Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy is called The Golden Compass here. I swear they change everything.
Wednesday night Ashley’s mom, Carla, cooked pasta, green beans and broccoli for dinner, and then we went and rented some movies ; we rented Finding Neverland, Hairspray and Shaun of the Dead (Shaun of the dead should have been something like Pregnant at 17 because Ashley wanted that, but they gave us the wrong movie). That night we watched Hairspray which Jen and Ashley were desperate to see because it was just out and neither of them had seen it before.

Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving. At about midday we went to Tom’s, Ashley’s father’s, family’s house. I think it was his cousin’s house or something. There were a lot of people there, including Ann and her family who live in Lafayette and who we’ve met before. Dinner was turkey, mashed potato, sweet potato, green beans, stuffing, corn casserole, bread rolls that were sweet, cooked ham and lots of desserts like pumpkin pie and stuff. I don’t actually know what a lot of the stuff was, but I can say that it’s not as good as Christmas dinner. No roast potatoes or proper gravy!
Later on at the party we played a card game called Nerts. It was amazing!! It’s kind of like the solitaire game you can play on MSN but you play it in pairs, each pair has a pack of cards and there were 7 pairs of us playing so it was pretty crazy. I was with Ashley, and we didn’t do too badly at all, though we had 4 points less than Jen and Kayla who we were trying to beat.

Ashley wanted to go shopping in the post-Thanksgiving sales at Kohl’s on Friday morning which would have meant leaving the house at 3.30am...so we set our alarms for 3.15. But both of us happened to set the alarm for 3.15pm instead of 3.15 am, so we didn’t wake up at the right time. At 4 Ashley woke us up and asked if we wanted to go still, and none of us other than Ashley really wanted to. Thankfully. Carla and Tom came back from the supermarket in the morning at 10ish and told us that all of the shops were completely packed, and we heard that people had been camping outside some of the department stores since 10 am on the Thursday, so it would have been crazy if we’d actually gone.
Instead, we went to Target at 11 in the morning, which is a more reasonable time to be going places. People shouldn’t be awake at 3.15 am unless they’re still up from the night before. It’s just not right.
That night we had meatloaf for dinner back at Ashley’s house. It was delicious. I’d read about people having meatloaf all the time in American books and on TV shows, but I never knew what it was actually like. I’m going to have to cook it for people at home after teaching them to play Nerts.
After dinner we went to meet Jake and Matt at Panera bread nearby, because they live fairly close to Ashley. It was nice to see them, and we chatted for ages and ages about nothing until Ashley finally gave in to Matt and called her mum to ask if we could stay out longer and go to the dollar cinema. We saw Superbad, and it was $2 instead of $1, but it was really really funny. Jen was weeing herself so hard for part of it that the people in the audience with us were laughing at her instead of at the movie.

We left the house on Saturday morning just before 9 am to go to Carla’s side of the family’s Thanksgiving, because it was about a 2 hour drive away. We took 2 cars because we also took Ashley’s grandparents there with us. The family, again, was huge and crazy just like every family is. Their family reminded me a little of my dad’s side of our family, because there was a big gap between Ashley’s older cousins and her just like with ours, and the older ones were all married and starting families and stuff. They were all lovely. For dinner we had a Thanksgiving meal again, with the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and everything else. Plus for dessert there was this delicious peanut butter and oreo mess pudding thing. I got the recipe for that, so I’ll be able to make it at home as long as they sell the right ingredients in England. After eating dinner the whole group of people, which must have been about 30 of us, played bingo with prizes. I won a little red bag and a Christmas tie that sings something like Frosty the Snowman.

On Sunday morning we went to Church with the family. Ashley went to the first service at 9 because she was meeting up with her friend Emily afterwards, but Jen and me went to the 10.30 service with Allison, Carla, Tom and Ashley’s grandparents. It started off with a TON of songs. There must have been about 5 or 6 of them. And then there was the communion, which just got passed round instead of involving people getting up and going to the front. Jen says that the wine was actually grape juice not wine. Also, the bread was really little chewing-gum shaped pieces of something, but I couldn’t tell you what they were like. Next, the collection plate was passed around and then the preacher finally came onto the stage or alter or whatever they call it in Franklin Community Church. He talked about something or other for about an hour. I can’t remember exactly what the preaching was about, but it involved a lot of quoting from the bible, a lot of shouting, a lot of walking around and a fair few mentions of Satan. The main thing I got from it was that the Bible is The Absolute Truth, and we know that because We Have Read It and because It Says So. There was a leaflet thing handed out at the start of the service, and there were words on one of the pages with gaps to be filled in if you want to as the preacher did his stuff. After that there were a couple more songs and then finally a girl about age 15 got baptised. The whole shebang with a floaty white garment she changed into and a big pool at the back behind a fancy wooded screen that got lifted just before it happened.
After church we went back to the house for lunch. Carla cooked chilli, which was delicious. Then we went Christmas tree hunting (still without Ashley, because she was still out with Emily). It was raining the whole time, which sucked a bit, but eventually Kayla saw a tree that she thought was suitable and we took that one home. It was strapped to the roof of the minivan because it was so big. Back in the garage it looked even bigger and bushier than it had at the place it was grown. It’ll look amazing when it’s decorated for Christmas.
Later on while we were watching a movie on TV and getting ready to leave, Matt came by with a Poinsettia. We’d asked him jokily the other night to drop off one of them for us to give to Carla and Tom to say thanks for taking care of us, but we didn’t think he’d really do it! (He works in a greenhouse and delivers Poinsettias for his holiday job.) It was huge and stunning, and Carla loved it.
When we had to leave the house to go back to Purdue, none of us were too happy about it. I had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday, and it was a shame to have to say goodbye to a family that had been so welcoming and kind. I hope I can go and see them again sometime next semester.
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Date: 2007-11-18 22:01
Subject: Guy Fawkes night
Security: Public
Location:P Vill
Music:Trust Me - The Fray
Tags:bonfire, guy fawkes
The 5th of November is one of my favourite nights of the year. I love going out to a big park or to the Uni campus at night all wrapped up warm to watch the bonfire and the fireworks and to play with sparklers. Although, obviously, most people in America have no idea about Guy Fawkes, King James I or bonfire night at all.

Because there were no Guy Fawkes celebrations at all anywhere I had my own bonfire. Although it couldn't be big, else we'd get kicked out of Purdue Village or arrested and we couldn't have fireworks for the same reason. (Although, surprisingly, fireworks aren't illegal in Indiana like they are in a lot of states. In Ohio, for instance, you're allowed to buy them and transport them out of the state within 3 days, but you're not allowed to set them off in the state. Madness.) Therefore I gathered leaves and twigs and constructed a bonfire on a metal biscuit tin lid, and I made a guy out of green and black felt, an old pair of tights and a Sharpie. He looked more like a voodoo doll than a guy, but he did the job.

Outside, between the dumpsters so that we were out of the wind and out of sight, me, Brian, Jen, Mira, Pete and Jordan all gathered around to light the bonfire. It was so windy that the lighters kept going out and so we had to use hairspray to light it. But light it we eventually did, and it was amazing! Our own personal Guy Fawkes night. Even without sparklers and Handel.
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Date: 2007-10-29 14:44
Subject: Horror in its various guises
Security: Public
Location:Chemistry Library
Tags:dkr, football, halloween, rocky horror show
This weekend was the weekend for all the Halloween celebrations. Halloween is really good fun here; there's so much to do!

Friday night there was a party at the frat Delta Kappa Rho. Jake knows people there and got a bunch of us put on the guest list, but neglected to tell us that it was a costume party until about 4 hours before the party. Jen went as a devil again, Danielle went as a pirate and I went as a 60s girl since we all ended up having to invent costumes out of the clothes in our wardrobes.
We all went to Jake's apartment to hang out before the party and played a ton of games like Fuzzy Duck, Yee-Ha and the name game and we ended up leaving for the party at about midnight. But at DKR there was a 45 minute wait to get in, even for people on the guest list. We decided not to wait that long so we just went to Jake's apartment again to carry on the party there. Alex and Addison (Jake's roommate) managed to get into the party so we didn't see them again for the rest of the night.
Shortly after we got back to the apartment Jen got sick from drinking too much. After I'd taken care of her and she'd started snoring on the couch I hung out on the water bed with Jake, Ankesh and Fiona and Janice who'd just turned up after DKR. They'd brought Maccy D's!
At about 5 the girls and Ankesh left to prepare for Breakfast Club and so I slept on Jake's sofa bed.

The next morning Jen was a little worse for wear and Alex brought some paracetamol over to Jake's for her to take along with some bagels for breakfast. What a legend! We went to the football game against the Northwestern Wildcats (yes, Wildcats Lizzie like in High School Musical) and were gradually joined there by Mike, Brian and Pete. We won by 17-35 but it was a miracle that we did because our team was pretty shocking. They missed a 30 yard drop goal! Should've got a rugby player to have a go instead.
It was Homecoming Weekend which meant that a load of alumni came back to Purdue. At half-time there was an Alumni Marching Band, Alumni Baton-twirlers and Alumni Cheerleaders. And, most importantly of all, there was Neil Armstrong! He was there for the official opening of the Neil Armstrong Engineering Building, but he came to the game too and spoke from his box up high and waved a huge flag. It was so cool!

That evening me, Jen, Mira and two of Mira's friends, Katie and Brittany, went to a Haunted Fairground . It was $10 to get in and we had to wait 45 minutes, but it was worth it. The place was huge and we got led around by a guide. It was dark and creepy and there were people dressed up as things around every corner. They went to so much effort, it was brilliant. There were clowns, creepy children, cannibals, vampires, loud noises, screams and men chasing you with chain saws and evil looks on their faces. And it felt like all the bones in my hands got crushed into dust by Jen squeezing them every time she got scared.

Afterwards we went to see the Rocky Horror Show. They advertised it as that, but they should really have advertised it as the Rocky Horror Picture Show because it mislead me. I forget how different things are here to in England.
A lot of people made a big effort with costumes, although I've seen better from men in England with more disposable income than the average student. There were 3 Frank-n-Furters in the audience, some Janets, some Riff Raffs - at least one of every character. Then they got all of the Rocky-Horror Virgins on stage. It must have been at least half of the audience. They had to be initiated by playing suck-and-blow with condoms, or by trying to burst a balloon in pairs without using their hands or feet, or by sucking out the creamy filling of a twinkie while a cast member held it low down in front of themselves. It was hilarious. And the guy warming everyone up was hilarious in his heels, long dark wig and classy red dress.
However, the show was not what I expected. I was disappointed, I think, because I compared it to the one I saw in Bath with Cat and Hanoire. Tony, Jen's roommate's friend, played Frank-n-Furter and he was really good and quite, quite gay. But the way it's done here is like so: they play the movie on a big projector and, in front of it, the cast acts it out and mouths along. But they don't ever actually speak or sing or dance other than the Time Warp. Speaking of which, that was the most shocking part of the whole night; THE TIME WARP IS DIFFERENT IN AMERICA! Why do they have to change everything here?!
The best bit of the show was how the audience used props the way they used to back at home before the dreaded Health and Safety became an issue. That's the way it should be and it was great. They had water pistols and newspapers, rice and toast and toilet paper to throw. And audience participation was similar to that in England in that they shout 'slut' and 'asshole' in appropriate places, but not 'boring' for the narrator. Yet they go over the top with shouting out random stuff. People shout continuously throughout the whole thing and you often can't understand what it is they're shouting, and obviously the cast can't respond like they do at home because they're just imitating the movie.
So all in all, I would suggest seeing it in England or another country where the musical itself is more popular that the movie, but do it with props because they're great fun. And preferably sparkly red heels!
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Date: 2007-10-26 11:38
Subject: Football and Rugby games
Security: Public
Location:Lab computer room
Music:The safe hum of the fume cupboards.
Tags:football, iowa, rugby
Last weekend there was another football game, this time versus Iowa and we won 31-6. A lot of people I know didn't go because of work, or because they were still sleeping, so I ended up going to the first part of the game with just Jake, his roommate and another of their friends. Alex turned up in the second quarter and Brian turned up just as the second quarter finished and we left to go for lunch at Ford Dining Hall. Mike also joined us for lunch, and we ended up missing most of the third quarter of the game, but we watched the rest of it with Ankesh, Matt and Fiona who all turned up for the fourth quarter. A couple of minutes before the end Alex and I left with Jake and Matt, and we went back to Alex's to watch the rest of the Rugby World Cup Final. Because Jen was updating us everytime someone scored via text and we weren't doing too well.

Back at Alex's apartment we could't find the match on TV. It was the WORLD CUP FINAL and they don't consider that an important enough event to show it on TV. But college football games were shown on at least 3 channels! We managed to listen to the last little while on some sort of online radio stream in the end, but it wasn't a very good way of experiencing our total thrashing. Especially with Jen texting us every few minutes to rub in England's defeat and to show her support for England's opposition; a true Welshman.
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Date: 2007-10-25 11:36
Subject: Early Halloween Party
Security: Public
Tags:costumes, halloween, party
Last weekend there was a halloween party off-campus held by a fraternity. A bunch of us went to it - I was a mad surgeon, Jen was a devil, Ashley was a junglewoman, Danielle was a GI Jane, Tor was a cowboy, Jason didn’t dress up so he had a sticker that said ‘God’, Brian was a stripper fireman (so he could reuse his costume from Ashley’s party), Jake didn’t dress up and Mira was an angel. We got rides down with the people that were holding the party because Brian knew some of them. It turned out that the Frat holding the party was the Indian fraternity, so most of the people there were Asian.

The most scary costume I saw all night was as soon as we walked into the place. There was a guy stood there wearing the mask from the Saw movie. It was creepy.

The party was alright, but not great. The music was all RnB and HipHop so it was like going out in Northampton, and we weren’t allowed up to the bar if we weren’t 21. Which meant that Jen was the only one allowed to the bar. She bought 3 drinks thinking that she’d bring them down and share them with everyone else, but they wouldn’t let her leave the bar with them either so she ended up having to drink them all there. She got pretty drunk after that.

Tor and Jake kept leaving to go outside because I think they got pretty bored of the party, and some of the others went out too for some air a couple of hours into the party leaving me, Brian and Jason inside. Then Danielle came back in to tell us that the others had left without us. Apparently Ashley had told them all that we didn’t want to leave yet, and that we wanted to walk back and get some food. So everyone else got a ride and left us there. When we found out what had happened the three of us got pretty mad, especially since we didn’t have a ride back. We ended up walking to Triple XXX where the guys got some food, and then Jason and me caught the night bus back while Brian went back to the party (he knew some other people there). I confronted Ashley about it in the nicest way possible, and she got really defensive and screechy and went into Jen’s room to escape the wrath of Katie. Even though I was as nice about being angry as it is possible for anyone to be. Just ask Jason. He’ll agree.
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Date: 2007-10-25 11:34
Subject: Ashley's Birthday
Security: Public
Tags:ashley, birthday, party, ra
It was Ashley’s birthday on the 13th October. If I haven’t explained about Ashley yet, I’ll do so now.

She’s a very conservative Bush supporter who will stand up for anything he does and she doesn’t question it or require any support. She also can’t stand up for her political views, but can only claim that everyone’s picking on her and parrot back what her parents have taught her all her life. She’s also very religious, a ‘Non-Denominational Christian’, and can’t really put forward a reasoned argument about that either. She does not believe in sex before marriage and thinks that anyone who’s had sex before marriage will go to hell. And that's, like, most of the people that she knows. She takes huge numbers of pills for her various diseases and illnesses such as her anxiety, her acid reflux disease and her migraines but she complains about doctors. She went out with her current boyfriend Chad for six months last year before they broke up, and had never even held his hand let alone kissed him. They got back together about a month ago and she got very excited when they ‘linked pinkies’. When they finally made out a couple of weeks ago she found the event cause to wake us all up in the middle of the night and announce it. However, a couple of weeks ago Danielle and me discovered a dark secret that she has. Oh yes. Ashley reads ‘sleazy romance novels’. Or, to you and I, PORN.

Well, this was just too good an opportunity to pass up. For her birthday we threw her a fabulous party. Jen and I bought condoms from the campus shop and blew them up for balloon. We printed off some porn pictures and stuck them around the room. We baked her a cake that we decorated with a huge penis, and we made a stage in the room for Brian, Mike and Tor to perform on. Tor was supposed to be the cowboy but he chickened out. Mike was a construction worker and Brian was a firefighter. We borrowed Pete’s strobe light and red bulb and made the room look like a strip club, and played stripper music. Chad brought her and Alex led her into the room blindfolded, and then we started the music and the lights and Brian and Mike performed a strip-tease for Ashley. We even gave her dollar bills to put in their waistbands.

It was hilarious.

However (isn’t there always a however). Later that night at about 10.30 this girl with a broken arm came into our apartment and told us that she was THE RA and that we were being too noisy. We said sorry and that we’d try to quieten down...by this point most people had left and we were just playing Cranium. She left but as she did Alex said ‘is that your RA?’ and we said ‘no, she’s not our RA, because Diana’s our RA. She obviously heard us all laughing at this, because she turned up again about 20 minutes later with another guy who is an RA in Purdue Village too. He told us that no official complaint had been made so nothing would happen, but they needed to take down our student ID numbers anyway so that they could report the incident. So we gave them the numbers and they left. Whatever. The weird thing for me, Jen, Alex and Tor is that they’re probably younger than us.

A couple of days later the guy stopped us on our way to dinner to ask for our ID numbers again because he’d written them down wrong (!) and went on to complain about how annoying paperwork was. Like we were making him complete the paperwork for a noise violation that wasn’t even official! The cheek of it!
Another thing to note is that this is the same guy that accused us of playing beer pong in our apartment a few weeks ago when we were actually just doing sickeningly girly things like dying each others hair and watching movies.

Now a few days ago Mary Kay, the chief RA lady for Purdue Village, as in a real actual woman who’s paid rather than just another student, came to talk to us about it. She said that the guy who did all the paperwork is just an arsehole and to ignore him, and that the girl thought that she’d probably overreacted after all. And Mary Kay said that she’s shredding the paperwork so it’s nothing to worry about at all. And, finally, that the guy won’t be an RA again next semester. Ha. Ha.
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my journal
March 2008