Brick Tripper

The best and worst of slip-ups and trip-ups for your reading pleasure.

November 15, 2009

Jeff Hill Sledding Days are Over

I can still remember my very first Athens snow during the wintertime of my freshman year here. Perched at the top of the ominous Jefferson (“Jeff”) Hill (previously deemed one of my “trippiest spots” on campus), I watched as several of my friends zipped down the hill atop blue plastic trays they “borrowed” from the dining hall earlier that day.

Those days will soon be over.

Thanks to the reception of a state grant, Athens will be repaving the infamous Jeff Hill in 2010, turning it into a road that allows for an easier and faster connection between the East Green area and uptown Athens.

According to Monday’s issue of The Post, the grant is valued at about $225,000, which doesn’t quite cover the entire cost of the $300,000 project.


So, is this a slip-up or not?


There are a few factors to consider in analyzing whether or not this situation should be deemed a slip-up:

·      Pedestrian safety

·      Traffic

·      Ease of navigation

·      Connection of city areas

·      Work vehicles, such as ambulances and delivery cars

·      Costliness


Traffic and pedestrians:


Jeff Hill is a notoriously tough hill to navigate, as the relatively skinny sidewalk and steep incline sometimes push walkers into the grassy middle section. The transformation of that middle section into a road could pose safety hazards. Not only Jeff Hill, but also the entirety of East Green will be affected in this way. Driving traffic around East Green, a heavy pedestrian area, will increase exponentially with a new road available.

Hannah Senn, an Ohio University freshman who currently resides in Washington Hall, is skeptical about the advantages the project will provide for East Green residents. “I guess it has its benefits, but at the same time, there are so many students that go up that hill that in the winter, if someone lost control and there were students on there, it could be a potential problem,” she said.

However, the traffic would increase because of the community’s need for a better driving connection between the two areas, which would be implemented by the road.


Worker vehicles and cost:


The road would allow vehicles such as ambulances and delivery cars, both of which thrive on getting from place to place as quickly and efficiently as possible, to navigate the city more easily and therefore the workers would be able to perform their duties more effectively.

Ohio University junior Rue Khalsa lived in Washington Hall on East Green her freshman year, and during that time, needed an ambulance on two different occasions. “On the surface, it looks like a very positive idea. I think that it might ease traffic and allow people who are in emergency situations to get where they’re going more quickly,” she said.

Khalsa also has a few doubts about the project. “I guess it might be a little more unsafe for students who are going up and down the hill, in case someone had a mishap and fell or something like that, and then cars are kind of going very quickly down that hill. But I think that the positives probably outweigh the negatives. Not only would it assist people who are in emergency situations like I was, but it might also ease congestion in general,” she said.

Based solely on the buzz heard around town and opinions of those I’ve come in contact with, the general consensus of many people is that $300,000 is a great deal of the state and city’s money to spend just on Jeff Hill.

Some ominous looks at Jeff Hill.

Cara Miller, an Ohio University junior, is a delivery person for Avalanche Pizza. She has been delivering for nearly two years. “If [Jeff Hill] were a road, I don’t think I would use it very much, just because I don’t like driving in areas that have a high density of students walking home drunk. I feel like it would just be kind of unsafe because there are so many students who walk up and down Jeff Hill. I think there’s other places in Athens where roads could be built that would be more useful,” she said.




Athens residents have a few remaining months with the grassy hill, as the project is slated to finish in August, just in time for new students to arrive. Perhaps they won’t be so turned off by the “eye sore,” a word used to describe Jeff Hill by Athens City Street Director Andrew Stone to Alex Stuckey for The Post.

Though Jeff Hill sledding days might soon be over, I hear Morton Hill (another one of my trippy spots) is a pretty close second in terms of local inclines.

Thoughts or opinions? Leave a comment.

Until next time, cheers!

November 12, 2009

Bike Tripper

I thought I found my soulmate the other day.

This is a thought I’ve had before, though it generally involves some sort of long-haired, tattooed creature talking intelligibly about his recent tour behind a concert building. Usually I am wrong in this thought, and this time, though very different, was no exception. I thought I found a fellow tripper.

I will henceforth refer to this fellow slipper-upper as "Bike Tripper.” (Cute, no? Bike Tripper and Brick Tripper? Just go with it.) You’ll see why.

I was walking out of the back doors of Ellis Hall the other day, approaching the ramp that leads from College Green to the backside bricks of Ellis. Here comes Bike Tripper, cruising on down the ramp. I can tell that at the end of the ramp, he needs to make a 180-degree turn to come back the other way on the Ellis bricks. He sees me walking toward it, but doesn’t swing out and around me to avoid cutting me off. Instead, he decides to try to impress onlookers (that decision of which I am still struggling with) by slicing into that corner in a ludicrously sharp and quick fashion to cut right through my walking path to the ramp.

As you can probably tell, this doesn’t end well.

Bike Tripper took a tumble, crashing all over his two-wheeled friend and the bricks beneath. And that was his first slip-up.

Now for the second (and in my opinion, worst) slip-up.

I ran over to the poor guy, completely sympathizing with him, as I could most certainly see myself in the exact same situation. But when I approached him and asked if he was alright, Mr. Bike Tripper turned quickly into Mr. Attitude. He waved me away with his scraped-up hand, barking that he was fine and didn’t need any help. I asked him if he was sure, and he didn’t bother to answer, let alone look me in the face or thank me for offering. Bike Tripper just let his bad attitude do the talking.

MANNERS, PEOPLE! Come on! We all mess up sometimes. A bit of embarrassment is no excuse to treat people poorly or cop a ‘tude. The minute Bike Tripper pushed me away like some irritating nonentity, I lost all of my sympathy and respect for him as a fellow tripper.

Some suggestions? Here are my top three:

1. Laugh it off. There’s nothing more uncomfortable for everyone involved when someone makes a slip-up a bigger deal than it needs to be.

2. Handle it graciously. Look, no one’s asking you to be Mother Teresa right after you slam into a concrete wall. But not being a jerk about it would be to everyone’s benefit.

3. Don’t make it worse. So it happened. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. But as a seasoned tripper, I know that it can always get worse – so do whatever you can to avoid that and nurse the situation back normal (or nearly normal).

Do any of you have other suggestions on how to handle an ugly mistake situation?

Until next time, cheers!

November 8, 2009

Athens Animania


Alright, I realize that is a very immature and unprofessional way to start an entry. Fair enough. Let me back it up a bit.

I’ve mentioned before that I am a vegetarian for reasons regarding animal rights. So naturally, the passing of Ohio’s Issue 2 is pretty bothersome.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of voters had big misconceptions about what the passing of this issue would bring to Ohio. And therein, I suppose, lies the slip-up. Well, I guess the entire passing of the issue itself is a slip-up as well, in my opinion.

However, it’s important to note that Athens County actually did reject Issue 2. According to Wednesday's issue of The Post, 7,170 voters voted against Issue 2 and 4,514 voters voted for Issue 2 in Athens County.

Simply by talking to voters or interested residents, I’ve come to realize that many people thought this issue would be good for farm animals. I suppose I can understand where the misunderstanding lies. Issue 2 is meant to create a “Livestock Care Standards Board” to oversee the treatment of animals in farms, including aspects such as caging and treatment regulations. The governor and legislature will appoint the members of the board.

This all seems great, until the facts of the issue are more closely examined.

The passing of Issue 2 is also a disservice to smaller local farms, as shown in this video. Found on YouTube.

The state agriculture director will lead the board, giving it a more profit-oriented focus rather than a more humanity-oriented focus, which is what the issue is meant to be. Also, according to, some believe that the industry encouraged the passing of this issue so that there would seem to be no need for more humanity-focused animal rights groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States, to place their own issue on the ballot. And now, such groups should want to place their own issue on the ballots because it seems that the best interests of the animals may not be at heart within the majority of the board.

That being said, I’ve got a lot of opinions on this issue. And I’m thinking you might too. So if you do, feel free to comment and fill me in.

Until next time, cheers!

November 6, 2009

Not-So-Perky Perk’s

I have the suspicion that there may be a coffee catastrophe a-brewin’ in our beloved Athens.

This potentially large-scale slip-up involves Perk’s Coffee House and Roastery on Court Street uptown, which seems to be one of the more popular java spots here on campus.

I’ve been doing my own bit of investigating the past couple of days and have frankly grown more confused and frustrated than I was when I began looking into all of this. After a few unanswered calls and being spoken to with extreme shortness, I’ve decided that even without all the answers, I’d at least like to fill everyone in on what I did find.

My roommate, Morgan, is working on a group project with a few other students that focuses on different Athens coffee places and gives a somewhat in-depth look at what they sell and what each is about.

The other day, she told me that a girl in her group mentioned that she believed Perk’s to be dishonest about selling fair trade coffee. Morgan spoke to employees of other local coffee shop Donkey Coffee and Espresso, who led on to a similar understanding about Perk’s. They never made any exact accusations or gave solid facts, just mentioned that they had heard similar rumors.

Here's a bit about fair trade coffee. Video from YouTube.

After I heard all this, I got to exploring.

I went down to Perk’s to get a coffee and casually inquire about the shop. I asked the very kind and helpful employee if she knew the name of their distributor and whether or not the shop sold fair trade coffee. A bit unsure, she went to ask who I assumed to be her manager or supervisor for the information. She came back shortly and informed me that the shop does sell fair trade coffee and that their distributor was the Cincinnati-based Wallingford Coffee. I thanked her and went on my way.

When I returned to my apartment, I called Wallingford to see if they would give me any information. I was skeptical about this call because Morgan had told me that her fellow group member called as well, and Wallingford told her that they did not distribute fair trade coffee to Perk’s.

A somewhat irritated man answered the phone. I told him the nature of my call, and he didn’t know the information that I needed. All he told me was that Wallingford sold both fair trade and non-fair trade coffee. He took my name and number and told me that he would pass it along to the retail manager, who would call me later that day and tell me what I wanted to know.

Well, that retail manager never called.

So today, I decided to call Wallingford again and see if I could get the facts. A much nicer lady answered the phone and put me on hold while she spoke with the retail manager. When she returned, she informed me that Wallingford does, in fact, sell fair trade coffee to Perk’s. I found this pretty peculiar, seeing as Morgan’s teammate came into very different results.

Not ready to settle, I called Perk’s immediately after. Again, a cooperative employee answered the phone, but didn’t know the answers. He told me to call back in a few minutes because the general manager was, ironically, speaking with someone else at the time about the shop’s distributor.

Here's a map showing the location of Perk's.

When I called back, the general manager answered the phone. I told him that I was a local blogger and just wanted to ask him a couple of very quick questions about Perk’s. He willingly agreed to talk. I continued to explain that I wanted to ask him about the shop’s distributors and gather a bit of information. At this point, he began to be quite short with me, which would unfortunately last for the remainder of the very brief conversation.

Not surprisingly, after I merely spoke the word “distributor,” he told me that there was a really bad phone connection and that he couldn’t hear me at all. Interestingly enough, I had just made three phone calls from that exact same place in my room (one of which was to Perk’s a few minutes before) without a problem. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I moved to a more central spot in my apartment and spoke louder. I asked him if that helped, and he said he guessed that it did.

I had every intention of putting verbatim quotes from this man in my blog, so I asked him if he minded me recording the call. He said no, that he was very uncomfortable recording a phone call.

Still, I thought, the show must go on.

I softened and complied, then asked him his name and if he could spell it for me. At this point, he said that he really didn’t want to go through with the interview because the shop was very busy and there were only two workers there at the time. He swiftly hung up on me, scarcely allowing me to thank him and say goodbye.

As an Athens resident, I’m extremely frustrated by this controversy. If a shop is going to advertise fair trade coffee, it should be able to back it up. Not be shady. Not refuse to talk about it. And as for Wallingford, I think it’s certainly strange that the employees relayed two different messages to inquisitors. I would have had more faith in the company’s response to me if the retail manager had called back when I was told he would, which would mean that the company would not have had time to potentially align stories with Perk’s or let the shop know that people were asking about their coffee.

If any of you’ve got opinions on this, I wanna hear ‘em! So leave me a comment (or two, or ten) and let me know if you’ve figured out more than I have about this or if you have something to say.

Until next time, cheers!

November 1, 2009

Totally Trippy

Ever since I arrived at Ohio University a little over two years ago, I have grown terribly clumsy.

That, or this campus just contains an unreasonable amount of trippy spots. And I tend to blame my frequent falls on the latter.

My high school building contained a lot of old carpeting. Cut it some slack; it was built a while ago and was pretty outdated when I was a student there. Anyway, all of the students used to trip over the carpet all the time. ALL THE TIME. It happened so often that students and faculty used to make jokes about “Carpet Monsters” that lived in our floor.

Why don’t we do that in Athens? Couldn’t there be Brick Monsters?

The other day, I started thinking about the title of this blog. I realized that I wanted to point out the inspiration behind the title and subject. So, I thought about all of the places where I have brick tripped in Athens and been a victim of several embarrassing slip-ups myself.

After thinking about it, I walked around a snapped a few photos of my favorite (and least favorite) spots and mapped them out for your pleasure and safety.

Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to get the map to zoom in any more. Just zoom in until you can see all ten markers, and click on each one to learn a little bit more about each spot. Here goes:

View Trippiest Athens Spots in a larger map

So, be warned about these dangerous (and hilarious) Athens spots. And watch your step, because you never know when those Brick Monsters will get you.

Until next time, cheers!

October 30, 2009

The Veg Bites Back

A few years ago, I ventured into that frequently ridiculed yet very self-satisfying territory of vegetarianism. For me, it was an animal rights thing. And I loved it, so there I have stayed ever since.

The popularity of vegetarianism has grown exponentially over the past couple years, though I have learned through conversation with recent converts that many are doing it just to get skinny. As though there’s nothing else in the world for people to eat besides meat.

But unfortunately, as an Ohio University student who endured the dorms (and thus the dining halls) for two years, I can say that the above statement sometimes felt true. So you can imagine the shock and vexation I felt when I read an article in Thursday’s issue of The Post that held this statement:

“For the second year in a row, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named Ohio University one of the most vegetarian-friendly campuses in the U.S.”

Just so we’re clear, my frustration is in no way directed toward Caitlin Bowling, who wrote this article. She happens to be a fantastic writer and her coverage of this story was very well done.

But seriously, PETA? Giving OU this undeserving honor AGAIN? That’s just terrible. A definite slip-up, even though the organization may not be aware of it.

I feel as though the OU Dining Services puts up a big front about how vegetarian and vegan friendly the dining halls here are, and I’ve always felt that way. Here’s a clip of a menu from Boyd Dining Hall, the place where I ate the majority of my meals during my first year here:

Vegetarian vegetable soup? Okay, so in OU dining hall terms, that would be a bunch of soggy veggies in warm liquid. Meatless taco salad, a.k.a. lettuce and tomato and cheese in a shell. Vegetarian gumbo soup? Probably the leftovers from the vegetarian vegetable soup with some added spices to make it taste like something different. Vegan chicken parmesan is usually pretty good, but also somewhat rubbery. I’m not sure about the vegetarian three bean soup, as I’ll admit, I haven’t tried it. The tomato and spinach quesadilla is usually soggy and the vegetables taste old. Vegan curried corn rice soup, again, is something I haven’t tried. The “vegetable streudel” is pretty mysterious, but again, not at all impressive, as it is tastes like outdated veggies in a flaky, just-out-of-the-box crust.

And who knows whether or not they’ll actually make (or make enough of) what they offer on the menu.

After years of my parents’ culinary concoctions, believe me, I am not a picky eater. I’m willing to try everything, and usually like most things I try. In becoming a vegetarian, I broadened my tastes in a very big way. That being said, I can assure you that it really is as bad as I’m making it seem.

I just have to wonder how PETA made the decision about which schools would be contending for this title. Surely they only peered at the menus and didn’t attempt to come out and try the food. Otherwise, I think their choice may have been different, at least about their OU nomination.

Here’s a clip I found on that describes OU’s inclusion in the race:

I’m totally disappointed in PETA for the second year in a row. I guess you can’t have it all, but sometimes, it’d be nice to have just a little.

Until next time, cheers!

October 25, 2009

Model Behavior

The rapidly decreasing average model size has been the topic of much discussion for some time now. Being a fashion superfan (‘til death do us part), I’ve always been pretty disappointed in the portrayal of women – and men – in the fashion world. However, I’ve never necessarily felt the need to stand up about it publicly, that is, until now.

My final straw was pulled when I came across an article (that was entirely too small, by the way) in the Nov. 2, 2009 issue of People magazine. The article went into a bit of detail regarding the recent debate over the overtly Photoshopped Ralph Lauren advertisement featuring supermodel Filippa Hamilton.

Here’s a shot of the ad:

This image was taken from

Here’s a truer shot of Hamilton’s actual physique:

This image was taken from

While she is clearly not as emaciated and unhealthy as the first image implies, it’s apparent that Hamilton still has a generally thin body type.

She is a 5’10” model who, weighing in at merely 120 lbs., was recently fired by Ralph Lauren. The reason for her unexpected release?

The company told Hamilton’s agency that she was no longer able to fit into the sample clothing, though representatives claim that they fired her due to her inability to fulfill the agreements set in her contract.

Ralph Lauren spokespeople have said that the release of the advertisement in the first place was a mistake and that it was not meant to be used. Though the advertisement was only displayed in Japan, the image quickly spread like wildfire over the Internet and has now become a widely viewed image.

A revealing news bit:

Hamilton had been modeling for Ralph Lauren for several years, representing the company in an iconic sort of way and, as she says, doing everything she could to abide by her contract’s agreements. She thought of the company as a “second family.”

The model has openly stated her frustrations over the distortion, saying that she doesn’t believe in the negative body image that such an advertisement implants in the minds of women.

This, to me, is an inexcusable and horrifying display of what the fashion and modeling world has come to. I’m sincerely disappointed in the Ralph Lauren brand, as it has been marketed as the “all-American” label for many years. Such a slip-up makes me not so proud to be a supporter of American fashion. Thumbs down, Mr. Lauren.

Until next time, cheers!