SmartAssy

Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

All About That Wanderlust

In Just for Fun on June 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Right now, I’m in the beginning stages of planning a road trip to Canada with my boyfriend, Jared, for later this summer. We are thinking three stops: Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Montreal. I’m excited to revel in the delightful campiness of Niagara (and, sure, the natural wonder, too), experience Toronto without the frostbite because my parents had a strict 20 below rule for visits there, and unpack what is left of my high school French amongst the Quebecois. Plus, there’s my stubborn belief that everything is perfect up North and no one pretends like socialized healthcare is an assault on freedom or Stalinism 101.

And they have Roots.

In terms of festivities, I’m not a big think-ahead person. I see it like this: why plan something fun when someone more motivated will step up and do it for me? (And if no one does, we can just drink.) Unsurprisingly, then, this is the first time I’ve been in charge of a vacation. My trip planning credentials start and end with “Orbitz search expert,” but, who knew, the Internet makes it pretty easy. As I read through the Lonely Planet website on all things maple leaf, I can’t help but think about past trips and where I still want to go.

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During college, I was lucky enough to visit the Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Israel, and after graduation last year, British Columbia. Vacations are great because they can revolve around so many different things: friends, partying, family, nature, culture, etc. You can hunker down on the beach with a margarita and learn what’s new in sex from Cosmo, enhance distaste for Americans by expecting all Europeans to speak English, or hike through the Rockies.

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Personally, I’m really into the exploration side of vacations these days. My freckled cheeks can only take so much sun time, and I’d rather get burnt sightseeing than crisping beside a swim-up bar. This simple Midwestern girl is turning over a new leaf and making big plans. Vague plans, yes, but plans nonetheless. I want to see all the awesome things in my own country, for one. I’ll criticize the U.S. up and down, but I’ll always love America and want to make it better.

Recently, I’ve realized that there is so much of it I have yet to see. What’s in South Dakota? What about Arkansas or Mississippi? I hear Oregon and North Carolina are pretty, but I wouldn’t know. It’s funny how I become exasperated when other Americans don’t think like me, while entirely disregarding how big and diverse this nation actually is. I think it’s important to know about where you’re from, not just your town or state/province, but your country as a whole. Thus, to see something beautiful in every state is a new bucket list for me.

I also secretly want to backpack across Europe by myself. This desire started as more of an it’s-the-only-way-I’ll-get-to-do-it resignation than as a true dream. My oldest friend (since age five!) and I used to talk about doing a Euro trip sometime after we graduated from high school. We even did a little research and decided on which countries we wanted to hit. Sadly, these plans have not yet become a reality, and I’m fairly certain they never will. With her almost engaged and in grad school and me “finding myself,” it has started to look like I’ll also have to “find” a new plan for Europe. But I’ve decided that that’s okay. We don’t need London or Paris to be friends. And honestly, the idea of weaving my way through the Netherlands and Germany all by my lonesome doesn’t sound lonely to me at all, but, rather, extremely liberating.

There was this one time in college when Maya Angelou came to speak at my campus, and I really wanted to go see her. I asked a bunch of my friends, but everyone was either busy or uninterested. I’m somewhat self-conscious, and I had never gone to any sort of performance by myself. Thankfully, I realized that that was stupid and went anyway. It was such a cool experience, and I couldn’t believe that I even considered skipping out on M. Angelou just because no one wanted to come with me.

So that’s kind of what backpacking through Europe is for me, on a much larger, and more interactive, scale. For all my self-consciousness, I do value independence, and I think it’s good to be able to enjoy time by yourself. And what better way to do that than while soaking up foreign culture?

Of course, all of this is in the abstract at the present. For now, I’m focusing on my next exciting journey to Canada with my best friend.

Carry on, wanderlust.

Freely,

LM

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The Sunshine Award, Just in Time for Summer!

In Just for Fun on May 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Peter from the The Deliberate (Belligerent) Literate recently nominated us for the Sunshine Award. I wasn’t sure if anyone would even read SmartAssy when Jane and I began blogging, so it’s really great to be recognized. Thanks, Peter! Please check him out at debelit.com. He is a very incisive and entertaining writer; you won’t be disappointed.

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That’s enough gushing for now, so on to the rules of the award:

1. Post the Sunshine Award logo

2. Nominate eight to 12 of your favorite blogs –  the ones that you can’t wait to read. Announce the news on their blog and link a pingback to the Nominator’s Blog.

3. Share a bit about yourself by filling in your own responses to the Q&A below.

My favorite season: 

It has to be a spring-fall tie. I’m such a sucker for all the stereotypical trappings of these two seasons: snow melting, bursts of green, apple cider, multi-hued leaves, and so forth.

I could say some more stuff about the beauty and ephemerality of life and how they’re perfectly encapsulated in these two seasons, but truthfully, I just like being able to walk around without sweating profusely or freezing my ass off. What’s more poetic than that?

My favorite things: 

This is so broad! I’ll catalog a few random things that bring me joy.

1. Books. I have always loved reading, and there is something comforting to me about being surrounded by novels and non-fiction alike. Libraries are like a security blanket for me.

2. Taking solo walks. I’m a textbook over thinker, and a contemplative stroll here or there is just what I need to clear my mind.

3. Cereal. I don’t think I’ve ever met a flake, sweetened oat cluster, or rice confection that I didn’t like. Conservatively, I’d say about one third of my caloric intake comes from milk and cereal.

What I love the most: 

What I love the most is really who. However much affection I have for cereal (apparently I’m not concerned about sounding like a total weirdo today), I obviously care more about the people in my life than any “whats.”

My weekends:

Looking for a job is a funny situation when it comes to weekends. They don’t mean the same thing to me as they do to the gainfully employed. It’s not like I need an extended weekly break from job applications, but I often find myself pretending that “lazy Sundays” are perfectly acceptable anyway.

I start my new internship next Monday, so normal weekends will finally resume!

What I don’t like:

I have a childhood fear of intense thunderstorms that never completely went away. In my defense, there are way dumber things to be afraid of than lightning and damaging winds.

More abstractly, I don’t like when people make thoughtless or cruel comments. This might seem universal, but it’s not uncommon to hear cringe-worthy statements in any company. These types of remarks have always bothered me, but I was too shy to call anyone out as a tween/teen. Thankfully, I’m no longer such a conformist and will say something if I’m uncomfortable.

What I have accomplished: 

My most significant accomplishment to date is graduating from college with honors. It marked the first time I really gave something my all, and that felt good.

A bit more recently, I received the CALI Award in Legal Writing, which means I got the highest grade in my class. Since I dropped out of law school after one semester, this matters exactly zero percent. Still, I had classmates who went to fancy schools for undergrad, such as Columbia and Wash U, so I consider it an accomplishment nonetheless. I know this kind of makes me a smug asshole, but it also makes me feel good about myself – sort of proof I could have done well as an attorney, I simply wasn’t feeling it.

Whatever. I’ll let it go once I find a paying job.

Last but not least: 

A quick thanks to anyone reading this blog. I am so enjoying writing for my own personal satisfaction, and it’s icing when other people enjoy it, too!

My nominees (I’m doing five):

http://areyourtwentiesajoke.com/

http://skeletonscribble.wordpress.com/

http://farahcolette.wordpress.com/

http://mattthericker.wordpress.com/

http://inbetweenure.com/

Humbly,

Leah Morris

Am I Still Growing Up or Is This Just Me?

In Just for Fun on April 16, 2013 at 11:42 am

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Last December, I watched the movie Superbad for the first time in years. This Judd Apatow flick was pretty much the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off of my generation; it even came out when I was a senior in high school. Though I wasn’t a teenage boy fixated on losing my virginity before college, I could really relate to the movie’s “fuck it, let’s have some fun” attitude. I found Superbad to be so hilarious that watching it was somewhat of an ab work out for me.

Although I no longer have to resort to fake IDs and shenanigans to obtain alcohol, I hoped that the main characters’ quest would be just as funny and endearing to me as it had been five years ago. And you know what? It was. During the scene where Jonah Hill confesses to Michael Cera that he was obsessed with drawing dicks as a child (“It’s not even that big of a deal, something like 8% of kids do it.”), it was unclear whether I was laughing or having a seizure. Apparently, my appreciation of crude humor did not diminish as I moved from adolescence to adulthood.

When I was younger, I saw the process of growing up as a checklist of skills to be acquired and behaviors that must be discontinued. Learning how to properly iron a button-down shirt, obeying the expiration date on dairy products, refraining from polishing off more than three beers in one sitting, and so forth. I assumed that my tastes in clothing, books, and movies would change as I matured in years, trading chucks for pumps, The Catcher in the Rye for War and Peace, and Superbad for any movie not featuring the doodle of a penis-as-astronaut planting an American flag on the moon. I looked at the grown ups around me and assumed I would be like them someday.

Now that I’m in my twenties, I find the notion of adulthood to be a little more complex. While I no longer feel that Holden Caulfield and I are kindred spirits, I do confess to only ironing the portion of button-downs visible with a blazer on. I’ve realized that the aforementioned checklist was only an arbitrary measure of adulthood based on the characteristics of authority figures in my life. Behaviors and predilections that I once considered age-dependent I now see are “individual-dependent.” The fact that I still like my comedies vulgar doesn’t indicate that I have yet to grow up. Rather, it speaks to a facet of my personality. This is me.

I now see maturity in terms of self-sufficiency: a person’s ability to take care of herself and independently manage the commitments of her day-to-day life. Sure, there’s more to it than that, but the clothes you wear and the books you read are only superficial measurements, no matter how you calculate it. And quite frankly, I will be sorely disappointed if one day I do not find the line “You know how many foods are shaped like dicks? The best kinds.” to be hilarious. Adulthood, be damned.

Indecently,

Leah Morris

 

[Image Source: superbad.jpeg]

A Few Words on Flattery

In Just for Fun on April 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm

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Flattery is a funny thing. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but compliments and praise are a hell of a lot more complicated than that. I started thinking about all of this a few weeks ago after an awkward text exchange with Adam, an old co-worker of mine.

To follow this saga, you’ll need a bit of background on Adam and the nature of our relationship. During college, I worked part-time at an office, propaganda-writing, answering phones, and doing work of the general bitch variety. Adam was a full-time employee there. Despite my cubicle’s proximity to his office, I was never really sure what it was they were paying him for. I guess my bosses were impressed with his dedication to YouTube and willingness to share his questionable taste in music with the entire floor. He routinely expressed surprise at the constant chatter coming from my keyboard, which perplexed me, as this was the main activity earning me $1.50 above minimum wage.

Adam would often come over and talk to me, offering snarky observations, which in turn elicited sarcastic responses from me. That was pretty much the extent of our relationship.

At this point, you might be wondering where the relevant flattery part of my story comes in. Well, here you go: Last month, in the “People You May Know” section on my LinkedIn page, Adam’s deceptively professional-looking picture popped up, and I clicked to “connect” with him. He immediately sent me a message, saying how happy he was to hear from me and wondering if I’d like to catch up sometime. I responded with a “that would be nice” and my phone number.

Within minutes, I began receiving the beginnings of an extended text message barrage. What started as polite pleasantries on his end quickly morphed into weird confessions (direct quote: “I literally blushed when I saw your request.”) and desperate attempts by me to abort the conversation. He finally admitted that, although he knew I had a boyfriend, he had always thought I was “really pretty and classy.” I awkwardly reminded him of my relationship status, but told him it was nice to get a compliment.

That was a lie. I was not flattered in the least, and any inkling of such a feeling was surely extinguished over the next two weeks by Adam’s needling requests to hang out.

Now, I don’t want to speak for other cultures, but I’m fairly certain that no woman residing in the United States or its outlying territories would find this borderline stalkerish behavior appealing. That’s kind of a no brainer. But why hadn’t I felt flattered by his initial suggestion that I was pretty and classy?

After an excessive amount of thought, I came to a two-pronged conclusion. It seems to me that flattery is based on how much you A) respect the person who is complimenting you and B) agree with the content of the compliment. Adam’s intentions didn’t seem to matter as much as my perception of him and of myself. While I always found Adam to be a likeable person, recent textual harassment excluded, I can’t say I ever respected him or his lackluster work ethic.

Likewise, although I appreciate being called pretty, I have always perceived my smarts to be more prominent than my looks. (You would understand that I’m not being conceited about my intelligence if you had witnessed the frizzy, triangle-shaped hair of my childhood.) As far as my level of class is concerned, I certainly don’t think of myself as trashy, but come on, I’m a recent college grad. I’ll say Adam doesn’t know me well enough to evaluate my classiness and leave it at that.

In sum: Beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder, but what passes as flattery depends on the behold-ed.

…Or something like that.

Tentatively,

Leah Morris

Liebster Award: A Heart-to-Heart with the Blogosphere

In Just for Fun on April 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Kelly from Are your twenties a joke…? nominated us yesterday for the Liebster Award. Thanks! Her blog is great, and I recommend checking it out.

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(Flexible) Rules of the Liebster Award:

– Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.

– Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself, nominate 11 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed, and create 11 questions for your nominees. (Blogs must have 200 followers or less. Let the blogger know you have nominated them.)

– Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

Responses to Are your twenties a joke…? from Leah, one half of SmartAssy:

1. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Nutella. I didn’t even have to think about that; I blinked and my fingers had typed it.

2.What celebrity did you have a crush on as a child?

I can’t remember any burning celeb crushes from my early childhood, but in my tween/teen years, I was all about Zach Braff and John Mayer because:

A. Garden State.

B. “Your Body is a Wonderland.”

3. What is your strangest habit?

When I eat an apple, the only part I don’t eat are the seeds. I’m weirdly self-conscious about this habit, so I throw away the core when I’m in public, but really, why doesn’t everyone do this? It’s basically the same as using every part of the buffalo.

4. What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Before I started dating my boyfriend, Jared, I didn’t know how to tell him that I liked him, so, naturally, I discussed this problem ad nauseam with my friends. One of them suggested, quite seriously, that I should tell him when we were both drunk.

I did not end up following this gem of advice. Common sense and the lessons of human history supported my decision.

5. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Kind of generic, but bad T.V. My current obsession is “The Lying Game” on ABC Family. It’s so unrealistic, melodramatic, and just absurd, and if it’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

6. Are you a dog person or a cat person? (Or a fish person…?)

Dog person. They are such affection whores, and I love it.

7. What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door at the end of the day?

When I get home, I immediately take off whatever I’m wearing and change into lounging clothes. Comfort above all else.

8. What is the one task that you irrationally hate doing?

Grocery shopping. I know, feel sorry for me; I have to drive all the way to a store five minutes from my apartment in my reliable car and use money that I have enough of to buy a variety of delicious foods. It’s a hard life.

9. What has been your favorite age of your life so far?

In terms of fun alone, I would have to say age 20. That was a unique time in my life when I could play the part of studious co-ed by day and drunken idiot by night. Responsibility was measured in the number of classes I attended and weekends I avoided blacking out. I want to enjoy every stage of my life, but I don’t think it will ever get more carefree than that.

10. Which celebrity do people say you look like?

People rarely tell me I look like anyone famous. I don’t know whether that means I’m unique-looking or just homely, but I like to think it’s the former.

11. What do you love about writing?

I love how versatile writing is. I’ve used it in so many contexts throughout my life – school, work, “journaling” as a teen, and now on this blog. You can make whatever you want out of words, and that’s beautiful to me.

5 Random Facts About Me:

1. I love anything by Kurt Vonnegut, Jack Kerouac, and J.D. Salinger.

2. I’m obsessed with neutral tones. 90% of my wardrobe is gray, brown or “oatmeal.”

3. Whenever I hear/read a word I don’t know, I have to stop and look it up.

4. I love Long Islands, but they hate me.

5. If I ever have a daughter, I will name her Cecelia, after the Simon and Garfunkel song.

My Nominees:

– http://timesnewromannostalgia.com/

http://findingtiffanys.com/

http://lifeorsomethingaftercollege.com/

http://clairistotle.com/

http://montana05.wordpress.com/

Questions for My Nominees:

1. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

2. Would you take the position of president/prime minister of your country if it were offered to you?

3. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

4. What (if any) movie always makes you cry?

5. Why did you start your blog?

<3

Leah Morris  (representing the SmartAssy duo)

A Libertine’s Case Against Porn

In Just for Fun on February 21, 2013 at 1:04 am

To me, watching porn is like listening to Pink Floyd: I want to like it, but it doesn’t really do anything for me. The whole free world is pretty much against me on this one. Sampling porn is practically a rite of passage for my male counterparts and a beloved hobby for many of the ladies. I suppose it’s some sort of inverse sacrilege to say so, but I’m unconvinced.

For a long time, I couldn’t put my finger on why I didn’t get hot for America’s second favorite pastime. Did my porn niche exist, and if so, what was it? I used to think this smut skepticism arose out of some vague feminist sentiments that told me the industry is too degrading to be a turn on. That was before I’d really explored the raunchy side of cyberspace, though.

By the time my toes were wet (but nothing else), I realized this notion was all wrong. I looked in horror at the complicated maneuvers and decided my aversion was more of a well-that-can’t-be-pleasant sort of deal. So-called “romantic porn” was no better. Watching two actors caressing each other in a faux-loving way was worse than the gang bangs. I don’t believe your orgasm, and I don’t believe you’re in love.

After many more X-rated journeys, I’m certain now it’s not the type of porn, it’s the whole concept itself. The way I see it, sex is too personal a thing for me to be a Peeping Leah. By that, I don’t mean banging it out has to be meaningful, loving or even sober, but when it comes to sex, I need to be more than just a voyeur. If I’m going solo, the only humming noise will be coming from a vibrator, not my sleeping MacBook. Anything that doesn’t involve me as a participant simply adds nothing to my sexual satisfaction.

So sue me. I’m a Simon & Garfunkel girl.

Begrudgingly yours,

Leah Morris