Saturday, April 9, 2016

2016 and Willard is Still Thriving

Wow. What a whirlwind of a year. 2016 is upon us. For like three and a half months now. The dawn of a new era, it is officially the future. In fact, we are actually past "Back to the Future" day, so who knows what is to come at this point. No one has ever creatively or imaginatively thought what life in 2016 would hold. I personally thought the world was going to end with the Mayan calendar back in 2012(?) so I live everyday by the seat of my pants at this point.

We may not know when John is finally going to get a hovering skateboard (and then have to build a hovering mini-ramp), but what we do know is what your favorite men of Willard are up to, wherever they may be.

Evan "BUG" Underwood: Everyone's favorite redneck (Sorry Norty), Evan moved out to the land of hippies and granola, California. Hitting the beach with his "Brahs" and working for the man (Apple), Evan has reached a level of zen with his work/play balance that used to be only dreamt of. (and even then, it was only dreamt of when wearing a specialized dreaming crystal).

Jackson "Zebra Pants" Strawn: Wythe County wouldn't run without Jackson Strawn. Wait...Scratch that, I meant Wythe County Young Life. Though if you think about it, technically with one less resident Wytheville, all the businesses would struggle to stay open since they are currently at minimum operational capacity with the number of people willing to live that close to the highway. So, actually, without Jackson Strawn, the county itself would fall apart. Unless Kimmie started eating his share of McDonalds, and that is both impossible and irresponsible.

Sam "Check The Number On The Whiteboard" Bowman: Mowing Grass and Making Stacks, Sam is the quintessential "Young Professional" doing cool things like going to opening day amateur baseball games, working a 9-5 job (sometimes earlier and later) and wearing Warby Parker glasses. When I last saw Sam, he had discovered a new lawn game called "Koob" and was insistent on how glorious it was.

John "Street Artist" Carr: Still hipster as sh*t, John and his wife Stef are keepin' it sleepy in the Burg. Strongly abrasive and as independent as ever, John recently got into a shouting match with an hourly employee over posted closing times, jerry-rigged a sprinkler system out of run-off from the grocery store, and hung up wine bottles around his office to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Jeremy "The Real Engineer" Mateyk: The dirty, dirty north has taken Jeremy completely. Stranded like an iceberg drifting in the middle of the Arctic ocean, the cold clutches of the icy climate rake against his sanity. Other than that though, he is doing great, and if you're looking to buy a hardy, American-made automobile with a personal promise of satisfaction-or-your-money-back guarantee from the chassis design man himself, you should look at purchasing the 2019 Ford Explorer!

Joe "The Unknown Biker" Danehower: Joe got a girlfriend he met on Instagram, and will be my best man this summer.

James "Grunge" Harris: Nearing the completion of his final year of Divinity School, a bundle of life changes are hurtling toward me: graduation, marriage, moving, starting a job, and perhaps being a cat-father. I also managed to put back on all the weight I lost at Air Force training last summer, and will get to drop it all again in preparation for this year.

Doug "Beard" Clelland: On the AT

Saturday, June 13, 2015

2015 Willard House Update

Where to begin? So much has changed since the last blog updating on our situations. I guess I'll start where everything started, with Bug.

Evan "BUG" Underwood: A drifter of sorts, Evan wanders from town to town, enhancing building projects wherever he goes. Still working as a project manager for a large conglomerate, he has recently been taking in the sights and sounds of the great west (according to Facebook at least). He also moved to Pennsylvania, and lives in a yellow house.

Jackson "Zebra Pants" Strawn: Still working for Young Life in the sleepy borough of Wytheville, VA, Jackson lives the good life with his wife and best friend Kimmie "Frozen" Strawn. When questioned about things he likes to do living in Wytheville, the words "Netflix" and "McDonalds" came up an average of every fifth word.

Sam "It Was 30" Bowman: After a tumultuous season of life living on Capitol Hill and serving as the real life story of the New Jersey Congressman in "House of Cards" (Season 1), Sam decided to leave the fast-paced DC scene and head to Virginia Beach, where he seeks to find his fortune creating a reality show called, "Virginia Shore."

John "Street Artist" Carr: Still hipster as sh*t, John and his wife Stef are on Young Life staff in Harrisonburg, VA. In a strange turn of events, somehow Young Life paid for John to go to Greek for a two week vaca-work trip with his mentor Justin "Horse" Ryder. In the coming months, expect there to be a "60 Minutes" report on non-profits abusive spending habits with pictures of John in a red beanie lounging in a hot spring somewhere in Iceland.

Jeremy "The Real Engineer" Mateyk: Working as an engineer at Ford, Jeremy enjoys the finer things in life, like getting to drive gigantic Ford trucks around as part of "testing" them. He is dating one Charlotte "Only Trade Me" Wheat, who is also an engineer. They spend their time talking about things like heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and those oh-so-sexy fuel-injected engines.

Joe "The Unknown Biker" Danehower: Holding it down in South Carolina, Joe works as a kind-of engineer at some place that isn't Ford. He spends his day holed up in a cubicle, and his nights wearing khaki shorts and a polo with sleeves rolled up and unbuttoned, walking down moonlit beaches.

James "Grunge" Harris: In an unforeseen turn of events, I joined the Air Force and am currently doing Commissioned Officer Training at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. Next year I will be back in the Dash, and my lovely fiance will be moving to Winston-Salem as well.

Doug "Beard" Clelland: On the AT

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Day in the Life of Evan Underwood; the Sportsman

5:30 AM: My alarm goes off. Generally, I sleep soundly through things like alarms or things being drawn on my body. Luckily, the sound of a white-tail buck call always awakens me with earnestness. I take my dip out and turn on the latest Iron & Wine album. I studiously unroll my yoga mat.

6 AM; After my brief yoga session, I sit down on the porch with a hot cup of coffee. I watch the birds flit beautifully through the trees. My heart soars with them as they glide on wings of gold and brown. I smile to myself as I listen to them welcome the day with a symphony of chirps and calls. I wish I could join them. Their spirits are more profound than those of my fellow human beings.

6:30 AM: I put on my steel-toed boots, knife, and hard hat. It's Thomas time.

6:35 AM: I get in my new Toyota Tacoma and briefly chastise myself for getting a vehicle not made in the US of A.

6:36 AM: I put a dip in.

7 AM: After arriving at work, I review the blueprints of our site. In a thick southern accent, I briefly assure my supervisor that the current phase of construction will be completed in time. ("10-4 chief, we'll getter done!") I take a glance at the weather report for the day. It looks like good fishing weather...

9 AM: I put a dip in.

12 PM: Driving to a nearby pond, I cast a line into the water. I contentedly munch on a sandwich of deer tenderloin. Finished with my meal, and having no luck on the water, I soothe my dry, cracked throat with an ice cold PBR. I smack my lips with satisfaction and return to the job site.

2 PM: I put a dip in.

5 PM: Bidding adieu to my coworkers ("See y'all tommora") I drive to Leland Pearson's land outside of Leesburg. I check my game cameras to see if there are any big bucks in the area. This could be my lucky year! There is a massive 4 pointer on the film. If I bag him, this will easily be the largest deer I have ever killed. I chuckle to myself at finally besting Sam Bowman in the arts of hunting. That guy is such a prick.

6 PM: On the drive home I listen to The Avett Brothers.

6:01 PM: I put a dip in.

6:30 PM: I arrive home and prepare a meal of grilled asparagus, squash, and squirrel stew. I look up and see a dove in the pine tree outside. I quickly grab my shotgun. I calm my racing heart and steady the barrel. With a quick and decisive shot, I take down my quarry. I breathe slowly through my nose. Nothing soothes me like the thrill of the hunt.

7 PM: Humming softly to myself, I delicately skin my dove. This is certainly a good sign of things to come.

8 PM: I drink a few IPAs and watch Wedding Crashers.

10 PM: I put a dip in.

10:01 PM: Crawling into bed, I snuggle up with my blankets. Almost forgetting, I take off my lucky talisman and put it quietly by my bed. I slowly drift off to sleep counting deer.

10:04 PM: I dream of Chud.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Day in the Life of Jeremy Mateyk: The Engineer

4:30 AM: I don't sleep anymore. Similar to the terminator, ever since I moved to the North I find that I don't need to rest. I don't run off the same fuel that powered Arnold, but it's something close. All these fumes have chemically altered my body.

5:00 AM: I stand in front of my house and stare out across the snowy expanse. The cold wind brings what I guess could be considered a smile to my face. Such things as "happiness" and "joy" don't necessarily exist here, but it is a shadow of what smiling was like in Virginia. What a strange world it is below the Mason-Dixon line. Though I am overjoyed (or whatever the right emotion is) to be gone from there, at times... I... hmph. Nevermind.

6:30 AM: I put on my lab coat and head to the factory. I stand in perfect unison with the other Ford employees for morning inspection. Although many believe it to be gone, Fordinization of the worker is not just a history lesson, but alive and well. I am not referenced by my name, but only my number: Engineer 87206. I do not know my co-workers names, nor do I wish to. It is better this way. I begin my work on chassis design and remember the way Joe used to struggle through ESM. These feelings inside me... I can't...

9 AM: My supervisor comes over and gives me satisfactory marks for the morning. I sit in my eating pod and ingest the breakfast nutrients that are provided to keep my brain working at full capacity.

9:30: I receive a text from Samuel Jacob Bowman. My heart hurts. Today is a strange day indeed. Instead of returning to my work station, I sneak down to the bathroom and risk a text in the GroupMe app to my former roommates. A real smile comes to my face. What's happening to me?

High Noon: We are all gathered outside for a message from our President, CEO and Founder Henry Ford. Cryogenically frozen for years in his backyard tundra, he has recently been awakened and retaken the helm of his brainchild. He announces that we are going to be merging with McDonalds and Walmart in a massive merger. Something in the back of my mind makes me feel uneasy...

12:30 PM: I have been reassigned to the droid division. I am now in charge of making/commanding a battalion of battle-ready droids to invade the South. At first I am honored by this new assignment. But then the faces of all those I love in the south go through my head. Vinny, James, Big Mike, Bratwurst, Vinnie. I can't do this.

1:13 PM: I have come up with a plan. Engineer 87206 will not be the part of an evil plot to control the South under the cold northern regime. I re-engineer my battle-bots to my specifications.

1:15 PM: I work super fast. My newly programmed battalion and I break into the headquarters of the formerly cryogenically frozen Henry Ford. He and I have an intense battle of wits, play a few games of logic, sell some bluffs, and have a staring contest before I finally wrest control of Ford from him.

2:00 PM: I call all employees to the Courtyard. I introduce myself as new CEO, and then implement a smattering of new rules, including, but not limited to: Name use, Settlers of Catan Wednesdays, Chicken quesadilla Tuesdays, etc. etc.

3:00 PM: I am able to quell a rebellion of the last of Henry's followers, and start a new green energy campaign.

3:15 PM: I sit in my new office, overlooking the smiling, happy Ford employees. Part of me is thrilled, yes, but part of me is still sad. Sad because my heart and my soul belongs in the South, with the ones I love.

3:30 PM: I pick a random employee to be standing CEO while I take my leave of absence.

4:00 PM: My batallion of droids carries me to the South, where I collect my former roommates and we have a lovely dinner together at Sycamore Deli. Jimmy Fitch is performing.

8:00 PM: We sit outside the Willard house and reminisce. The droids laugh at the stories we tell about killing mice with machetes, and John breaking glass all over Sam's couch.

8:30 PM: I carry Bug into bed from the mini-ramp out back.

9:30 PM: I bid my friends farewell, and head back to the dirty tundra known as Detroit. Although I may live in the Northern Hemisphere, no longer will I be restrained by the emotionless grip that this culture tries to impose. I may be a northerner by birth, but I'm a Virginian in my heart.

10:00 PM: I fall asleep.

10:03 PM: I dream of Chud.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Day in the Life of James Harris: Winston-Salem aka "The Dash"

7 AM: My alarm goes off. I roll over and think about getting up.

8:14 AM: My alarm goes off again. I had a feeling the first wasn't gonna work. I roll out of bed taking my favorite quilt with me. It's tattered, worn and holds my scent deep within the stitches. Sam would always insist the quilt was his, but after 3+ years of wrapping that thing around my sometimes bare body, he eventually gave up.

9:05 AM: After flexing my thighs in the mirror and throwing large chunks of meat in the crock pot for later, I head to class. I pick up flowers on the way for my professor in hopes of bumping up my course grade. Some say I'm a brown noser, I just think I'm innovative.

10:15 AM: Seminary. I pride myself in being well read in anything from Bonhoeffer to preteen vampire novels. You never know where those sermon nuggets are hiding, and one day when I'm an Air Force chaplain, a metaphor involving "Teen Wolf" may be just what I need to inspire the troops.

12:31 PM: Done with class for the day. We had some interesting discussion about the gender of God, and whether or not He(or She) actually exists. I reached into my broad literary background(see above) and made a couple fiery and well-informed arguments, but mostly spent my time blogging about my old roommates and reading Onion articles.

1:01 PM: Back home, and ready for a quick nap. I grab my quilt(again see above), and send off a few snap chats before firing up Jackson's netflix account and watching Game of Thrones as I fade in and out of sleep...

2:34 PM: I wake up just in time to head up to the high school. I'm on student staff with Young Life now, so that's pretty neat. Can't wait to pull out "Tony Salvatore Migliore the Doctor of Amore" at Valentine's day club this week.

4:34: Heading to martial arts class. Now that I'm going to be a military man, I figured its time to tap my black belt potential and get the most out of these broad shoulders. Back in the day Joe and I had a few spur of the moment wrestling matches in the old Willard kitchen. He thinks he won, just like he thinks he could beat me in Super Smash Bros. As I practice my high legs kicks and body slams in the dojo, I think of nothing but proving him wrong.

6:37 PM: Time to refuel after a solid workout. I crack open the crock pot, instagram my newest culinary masterpiece and dig in. I've become a pretty good cook these days, only lean meats and organic veggies for this guy.

8:45 PM: I hop on the laptop and start my seminary reading for the night. I listen to "I and Love and You" on repeat, and wonder what Marcus Vick is doing.

11:47 PM: Practice the "Wop" for a few minutes in front of the mirror.

12:04 AM: Crawl into bed.

12:05 AM: Snore.

12:06 AM: Snore louder.

12:08 AM: Dream of Chud.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Day in the Life of Jackson Strawn: Wytheville

7 AM: My eyes fly open. I hear the sound of Kimmie snoring next to me. So cute. Since getting married I've gotten more mature. No more sleeping late. No more baggie pants. I wear a suit to bed now. I get up without waking the wife and make my way towards the kitchen.

7:30 AM: Kimmie awakes to the smell of quite the smorgasbord being prepared. I do all the cooking now. I don't know what happened, but similar to a Captain Planet Planeteer, the moment that ring hit my finger I was endowed with powers. I am now able to make foods that aren't grilled cheese or Papa John's Pizza.

8:00 AM: I eat breakfast with my love.

8:15 AM: Sneak in a quick episode of Spongebob while Kimmie is getting ready.

8:47 AM: We walk down to the office together.

9:15 AM: I sit at my desk and cruise the net for a while. Send a few emails, buy some stuff off Amazon. I consider getting a new rug for our bedroom. Hmm.

9:35 AM: Decide to pass on the rug. I ponder life for a bit.

10:00 AM: Have a few meetings. One with a local celebrity who saw a UFO and might have had the Men in Black steal things from his house. I wish I was kidding. All the people I meet with check out my sweet computer with upside down stickers on it.

12 PM: I walk across the hall to Kimbo's office and we eat lunch together.

4 PM: Get home from the office and sit on the couch for a bit. Wytheville isn't the most exciting place on earth.

4:30 PM: Kimmie gets home. We sit.

5:00 PM: I make dinner; Chicken cordon bleu with grilled asparagus. (See Captain Planet ring)

6:00 PM: Kimmie and I watch a few episodes of the Bachelor on a laptop. That damn Juan Pablo is such a tease.

9:00 PM: We go hang out with the only other married couple in their twenties in 3 counties. We play scrabble.

10:00 PM: Bedtime. Kimmie and I dream of Chud.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Day in the Life of Joe Danehower

8 AM: First alarm goes off. I have class in 15 minutes. What is life? I decide to skip and go back to sleep.

9:45 AM: I awaken to light shining through a hole in my wall. Some would say "window" but they obviously haven't seen my jail cell of an apartment. There's no glass in this hole, it's just a spot where the walls don't meet correctly and I can see outside. I missed my first class entirely, so why go to any today? I decide to hit the beach instead.

10:30 AM: After cruising noise trade for a while to see if I could find some hip new indie bands, I slip on my short swim trunks and walk down to the Charleston ocean front. I sit on the sand and ponder deep questions of life. I also imagine myself being a better surfer than John, and more importantly James, and am filled with joy.

11 AM: I walk back to the apartment and slap together 4 PBJs. Food of champions.

11:15 AM: I hit the gym. It's arm and abs day, cause everyday is arm and abs day.

2 PM: Can no longer feel my arms or stomach. Go an eat 4 more PBJs.

2:30 PM: I go to the middle school cause it's letting out and kids are hopping on the bus. I just started leading Wyldlife, and unfortunately the administration doesn't realize that I am being a mentor to kids, because the resource officer just slammed me against the bus and called me a pedophile. After some quick talking and him running my ID, I get off scott free.

3 PM: I sit down and read "Hinds feet in High Places" it's the best!

4 PM: I finally head to the lab. Ughhh.

11 PM: Head home from lab. Head onto the streets of Chucktown

11:15 PM Post a few Instagrams, try some filters. Follow me @chucktownjoe

11:30 PM Get tired of the Charleston night life and head back to my apartment. I lay in my couch/bed and look up at the ceiling. Then I go eat a PBJ, and fall asleep.

11:45 PM Dream about Chud.