Update: Saturday, October 4:
After watching these videos that the Knittin' Coop suggested, I think the problem is not so much my technique, but using dull pointed bamboo needles! Purling through the back loop requires some pointy addi's I think...Off to the Yarn Lounge to get another pair of addi's!
There are just some things that are not meant to be. 'Purl through the back loop' sucks. I really want to make the Philly Cowl, but I have spent 2 hours trying to get my brain (and hands) around purling through back loop for the left twist. This stitch makes me angry, so will now sit back and work on my leaf lace shawl. Sorry splityarn - the cowl looks like an AWESOME pattern. Maybe I'll pick it up in a few days, but for now, I'm channeling Elizabeth Zimmerman and her dislike of the purl stitch.