Current date: January 27, 2003 (at Mom and Dad's in Bloomington)

Subject: last days of celebration

January 22, 2003
I was supposed to wake up around 8 to shower and head to Madison to visit Duane but I was so tired I didn't get up until about 10:30. By the time I showered, packed, found directions and got gas it was about noon. I arrived in Madison at about 2:30. Man was it cold out that day. When I got here Duane told me that the high was 6 degrees...(That's about -26 for you Celsius folks). It was rough. We went to grab some grub at Damon's which was cool. I hadn't been to one for a long time. From there, we headed to "State Street Brats" to watch the Wisconsin-Iowa basketball game. It was a great bar with a good sports atmosphere.

After the game, we bar hopped on State street. We went to this place (I can't remember the name) and played darts for awhile and had drinks and talked. It was a lot of fun. Then we went to another spot called "Mondays" It was pretty empty when we first got there. I ended up talking to this bartender, Amy, for about a half an hour about traveling. She was really cool. Aside from that, I met some pretty cool girls and hung out with Duane and Suzanne. The bar actually ended up being pretty packed considering that it was subzero temperatures outside. We had fun. After that place, we went up State street a little further to a place that was aptly named, "The State Street Bar." It was cool but we got tired and decided to head home. Going back outside was downright PAINFUL. We had to walk into the wind and the cold just killed threshold for the cold was being pushed to the limit. Finally, we made it back to the car and headed home and crashed around 2.

January 23, 2003
Woke around 9...did some internet for a few hours. Then we went over to UW to see Camp Randall (football stadium) and check out the campus. We only had the chance to see a little bit but it seemed like a cool campus. Again, if it wasn't so damn cold out, we would have been able to walk around a bit. I think the weather stopped me from seeing the campus and the hustle and bustle of student life in it's true form. Still, I had good impressions of UW in the end.

We then needed to run a few errands as I was still looking for some last minute things for my trip. We went to few different stores and then finally to "Chicago Pizza Co." for dinner...which was very good. All that going in and out of places and getting hot and then cold was too much and I finally couldn't take it anymore. We decided not to go out that night and just head home to the WARM apartment and hang out. It was a great night. We had some hot chocolate and played Monopoly for a few hours. The 20 year reign of my bro as the Cooper Monopoly champion came to an end as I handily beat him in Suzanne in what was possibly the greatest Monopoly showing in the history of Monopoly:) I was able to fall asleep peacefully, knowing I was the new champ.

January 24, 2003
Woke around 10 and got showered up and ready to head back to Bloomington. We made a pitstop at an outdoors store which turned out to be great...I got several things I needed for my trip. Then we began the trek home, which took about 3.5 hours. I remember thinking that the next time I get on the road will be on my way to the airport. Wow.

When we got home, we went DIRECTLY to Avanti's. Avanti's is an Italian restaurant that is well known in Central IL. It is relatively cheap and the food is OUTSTANDING. Everytime I come to town it is a PRIMARY stop on my list.

After a quality Avanti's meal, we headed home to wait for my Mom, Dad, and Markel to show up from Chicago. Then we hung out for awhile that night, just my Dad and my brothers and I. It was cool. We watched Jordan's "supposed" final game at the United Center. That guy has retired 3 freakin' times already...something that is really annoying in the sports world today. Whatever happened to just riding off into the sunset...this is a subject that I don't care to dwell on. I mean, it's great to see Jordan play again...he is the greatest of all times...but at somepoint you just need to throw in the towel.

That night we headed out to a party at OTB which was pretty weak and then we hit downtown Bloomington for a quick second. Markel's friend Ashton also joined us. He was a really cool guy and had some serious knowledge under his skull. From there we went back to this little hotel party that my Dad's friend was having. We got home around 3:30 but it was a good night overall.



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