All posts by scottmcnamara

Scott is a wedding photographer based in Portland, Oregon. He focused primarily on wildlife & nature photography, before shooting his first wedding in Alaska, in 2003. His work has been featured in many publications and he has traveled the World in pursuit of unique and fun weddings.

What Happened in Vegas Does Not Stay in Vegas

Well, here we are yet again.   Staring down the harsh reality of yet another madman killing many people for no reason.  The videos I have seen, show it was in fact a massacre.

And, yet again, the media and the majority have shifted focus away from the madman himself, and put the responsibility of the event on the weapon – and the millions of Americans that own the same exact rifle.  Myself included.

Even on NPR this morning, people were barking the familiar rhetoric of gun control, and passing “tougher” laws to prevent these shootings from happening.

Want the reality?  You will never be able to pass ANY law that will prohibit these events.  They will continue to happen.  There are two primary reasons for this.

Violence is deeply seeded in our Culture.

I have said it before, and I will say it again and again.  The number of guns in our country has nothing to do with our violent culture.  Just like the number of calories in a pint of ice cream has nothing to do with chronic obesity. The issue is much larger than that.  We are a culture that is ENTERTAINED by violence.

On_The_Roof
It’s ok to snipe people from an elevated position, as long as it is fake and for entertainment.

We line up on opening night for the latest Jason Bourne spy movie full of guns, death, shooting, and sniping.  We say “that was a really good movie.”  We watch Rambo shoot up small towns, and Django go unchained and shoot people in the heart.  We binge watch Law and Order, NCIS, and countless other murder/crime shows. We align positivity with killing.  The same thing happens, perhaps even more pervasively with video games.  They actually let you get into the mind of a sniper…sneaking around an urban city (airports even) blasting people, sending blood flying.  And, most kids are playing these games on a loop for weekends at a time.

Again, we are ENTERTAINED by this.  It’s how we pass our time.

article-1226588-07287DA0000005DC-96_634x349
In Call of Duty, Modern Warfare II, you too can shoot up travelers waiting in security at an International Airport.  How fun!

These activities – violent movies, video games, and music – saturate our minds and desensitize us to violence.  It becomes “just” a movie.  “Just” a game.  I’ll just re-spawn.  No big deal.

On the back end of a tragedy?  We get the media sensationalism.  The 24-hour saturation coverage with every little detail.  Every video, every interview.  The news becomes entertainment. We learn to put these people on a pedestal.  People who are in a marginal mental state might see this as a chance for them to exact revenge.  To go out with a bang.  They, too can literally change the course of a nation with 5 minutes of insanity.

But the media will never stop.  These tragedies translate into millions of eyeballs, glued to their screens.  And, those eyeballs mean big advertising dollars.  Just watch these ads, and we’ll return to coverage of the latest tragedy.

Even the earliest DNA our culture and society is built upon, has a foundation of violence.  We killed millions of Native Americans. Millions of animals.  Bison were sniped from trains for fun.  The Wild, Wild West was called that for a reason.  People shot each other in the streets.  How about the Civil War?  Piles of Americans killed by Americans.

Thinking we can reverse hundreds of years of deeply seeded cultural violence by limiting magazine capacities, or types of rifles is, sadly, laughable.

The weapons this shooter used were all legally obtained.

The person that bought these rifles, had no criminal history. Not even a speeding ticket.  No mental health flags.  So the belief that “expanded background checks” would have made a hint of difference here is totally false.

The rifles themselves were legal.  They were legally obtained, and all legal.  Current reports indicate at least one semi-automatic rifle was equipped with a bump-fire stock which allows for “simulated” automatic fire.  These devices are all legal and are available online for about a hundred bucks.  You can also just buy a book on Amazon right now, that will show you how to (illegally) convert your AR-15 to automatic fire.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 10.45.23 AM

It is currently INCREDIBLY illegal to possess ANY weapon that is capable of automatic fire, unless you have the appropriate approvals to do so.  We need to make that clear.  Under the National Firearms Act you must be fingerprinted, pay an additional tax and fees, wait about a year, and be approved by the government.  And that is the easy part.  It is also illegal to import any automatic weapons, and domestic manufacturers are limited to law enforcement and military.  So that means a very limited supply of guns, and a very high price tag.  Most full-autos I have seen retail for between $25,000-$40,000.  Sounds like appropriate gun control already in place.

Using a semi-automatic weapon to murder people is just as illegal as using a semi.  Or a knife.

So How do we prevent these shootings from happening?

Since there are millions and millions of high-capacity magazines in circulation, limiting them will do nothing.  We cannot count on a person intent on murdering mass amounts of people to suddenly obey a law like that.  We also cannot look at rifle actions, pistol grip styles, or any of the myriad red herring arguments out there.  They provide feel good, knee-jerk legislation that makes lazy lawmakers look heroic. Yet those actions do nothing.

So we must pivot our action plan from one of prevention to preparation.

  1. Cities need to design smarter venues. Places like the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the Route 91 music festival were not designed to accommodate the potential for a massacre.  Venues need to be prepared with tactical medical kits, with an emphasis on GSW readiness – clotting materials and tourniquets.
  2. Cities should also invest in Boomerang technologies.  These devices will instantly pinpoint the location of a shooter and appropriate countermeasures can be implemented.  It took LVPD 17 minutes to identify where the shots were coming from.  These devices can also help with other crimes, not just infrequent mass shootings.
  3. People should also be prepared with even basic first aid.  We need a national push for people to learn first aid, and how to care for gun shot wounds, vehicle impacts, and stabbings.
  4. This one is a big one:

We need to start making foundational changes in our media.  For starters, implement an updated movie and video game rating system that allows the identification of violence-only content.  I could care less if my kid sees a female breast in a movie.  But don’t want him seeing a head get shot off.  Empower parents through a nationwide awareness campaign of the effects on children and violence.  Do a better job of protecting kids from the desensitization.

This also applies to schools.  Stop the fear mongering lockdown love.  It seems like schools are just itching for the lockdown.  Just last week a man with a warrant was pulled over in a town out here, and the local school (2 miles away) was locked down.  Gross overreaction meets desensitization and needless fear among our kids in their formative years.

And lastly, the news media needs to be reformed when it comes to reporting these incidents.  We really do not need the saturation coverage and associated glorification of these people.  I know division is both a product and a revenue generator for the media conglomerates, but a tragedy like this is not the time.  Report on the facts, briefly, and move on.

Why Won’t Any of these things Get Done?

In America’s healthy capitalism the dollar dictates all.  We may think we are willing to make the changes we all want, but once the familiar pang of tragedy wanes, we will forget and move on with our lives.

The news will never change.  The entertainment industry will not modify its rating systems.  Parents, overworked and under-equipped will not keep their kids from playing video games in the basement.  And, gun owners like myself will not give up our rights to own the guns we are allowed to own.

So I suggest we start preparing for how to deal with these events when they do occur.  We’ll continue to post how #strong a city is on Facebook, send some thoughts and prayers, and maybe change a profile picture or two.

It’s the American way.

—-

 

Featured image courtesy CNN.

My Take on the Impossible Foods Burgergate

Just a week ago, I was in new York City, staring across the table at 3 beautiful, vegan, Impossible Burgers.  I had waited years to try this meal, and it was finally in front of me. For me, a milestone, but for the two carnivores, I feel it was just something new to try.

However we all left stunned.  I, with a renewed sense of excitement for the future of veganism, and my friends with an interest in vegan products they never thought they would have.

36089088500_ce26dbeb9c

So I was a bit disheartened this week to see some media outlets raising ethical concerns with the Impossible Burger.

First, I was upset.  Any time we hear about lab testing on animals, it brings to mind all the vivisection actions of the past and how we need to move beyond this type of testing.

But then, I was conflicted.  A brand and product that can bring so many to veganism, and actually SAVE animal lives was at the same time responsible for sickening and possibly killing animals.

And finally, I processed it.

I remember my own personal mantra when it comes to being vegan – “Make the best decision you can at any given time.”  It is why I own a coat made of recycled wool blankets.  Veganism isn’t always as black and white as we may see it.

Vegans need to understand that for this movement to succeed, it boils down to math and logic, not emotions and yes/no arguments.  There is a shade of gray that threads through the middle somewhere.

If this company synthesized a new protein through genetic modification of yeast (which it did) and sickened thousands of people, the brand and the products would be gone. And, with it would be the chance to bring more people to veganism through an amazing burger product.

Also, I don’t care how “vegan” you are, you are not 100% vegan.  We kill insects on the roadway, our products we eat may contain milk, the acreage of forests cut for our homes and coconut oils.  It goes on and on.  So who are we to cast the first stone?

In the end, I wish this testing could have been done without animal research.  But in the end, if it means more and more carnivores give up their meat for a vegan option, that will, undoubtedly end up saving animals.

And sometimes, we need to sicken some to save even more.

Advisory: Failing Radiator Fans in Jeep JKs

My Jeep had been sitting in the garage for maybe a week.  So I decided to start it up one day, and was greeted with a new chime, and the dreaded Check Engine Light.

I ran my diagnostics through the Bully Dog, and the result was surprising – it returned codes for P0113 – Intake Air Temperature Sensor Circuit High, and P0480 – Fan 1 Control Circuit.

36299698582_c58dacd4cf

I forced the fan on via the Bully Dog, and nada.  As a friend of mine recently replaced his fan assembly, I figured I was also looking at a $120 bill and 10 minutes of work.  Well I was wrong.  He has the 3.8l.  The new fan (OEM replacement) is a whopping $500 and very hard to find in stock.

With my wedding approaching (and the Jeep playing a key role in it) I was desperate to find out what was happening.

  1. Fuse and relay check.  I purchased some new fuses, and replaced it.  I ensured all relays and other stuff was firmly seated.

2. I inspected all wiring for abrasions and issues.

3. Last, I went on eBay and found a listing for a new fan for $300.

Before getting the new fan, a good friend came over with a much better understanding of vehicle electronics, and helped me further diagnose.

We soon found the problem!  There are 3 wires that comprise the fan harness.  Black is ground, red is hot, and green carries a signal between 9v-12v and that basically allows the fan to operate on a scale based on engine temps.  It isn’t a straight on/off fan.

36299698072_d8dc9fa572

That little green wire had some sort of a short in the connectors.  We disassembled the connectors, reseated everything, and put everything back together.  I cleared the codes, and it has been great ever since.

So, before you panic and replace a $500 fan, check your wiring!

PS.  To the eBay seller in Miami that graciously let me cancel my order, thank you!!!

 

Restaurant Review – Subia’s [Jersey City]

On a recent trip to New Jersey, I had already assumed the vegan scene was gonna be rough.  As I plied the townhome lined streets of Jersey City, visions of pasta and “steamed veggies” began to swirl in my head. Then, something caught my eye. The word “vegan” painted on the side of a red brick building.

35962623730_690e4744cc

The building was unassuming, and like many homegrown vegan places, relied on chalkboards and an array of health foods to greet customers.  This was vintage veganism and it was grand.

I entered Subia’s to a very welcoming host that quickly took my order.  She coached me on what was good, and I slipped a vegan cannoli into the bag. Baada Boom!

35523954644_60d418fa2a
Inside Subia’s on a quiet morning.

Once inside, there was a decent amount of retail, probably a staple for local vegans.  They had Chao cheese, the Beyond Burger, vegan cheeses, yogurts, milks, fresh produce, and a ton of other stuff.

36190906622_2a661c3f0b_b

Taking my lunch back to the office, I wondered about the Rueben sandwich and that cannoli in the bag.

It was packed in one of those old school foil bowls with the plastic dome and the little rim you bend down to secure everything.  While the order was to go, this little bit of to-go nostalgia was awesome.  We don’t use stuff like that in Portland.

36314997876_111268ff7a
A perfect rueben.

The rueben?  It was the best I have ever had.  And not even kidding.  The meats were perfectly prepared and the tempeh strips lended some great texture.  The sauerkraut was perfect too, and not too crazy – it didn’t overpower the sandwich.  The bread was absolutely heavenly, and thankfully the same on all their sandwiches.  It was pillowy soft and had some oats sprinkled on top for good measure.  Lastly, the sauce was fantastic.  It did provide the predominant flavor for the sandwich, and could possibly stand to be calmed down just a tad.  But in the end it was just perfect. Oh and the vegan havarti?  Insane.

That little cannoli, while almost $6 was equally satisfying and a great desert for my lunch.

35561938953_d086c921dc

So what does a vegan guy stuck in Jersey City do?  He goes right back to Subia’s again the next day.  And the day after that too.

Day two saw the BBQ “Riblet” sandwich.  I was surprised with this entry, as it was flavored soy curls.  I enjoyed it.  But it was not my favorite from Subia’s. The flavor was solid, the bread was still amazing, and the curls were good.  I think maybe my taste buds were still recalibrating from the Rueben.

35561939653_64c7ba07ca

Day three you ask?  Well after talking about this amazing rueben at work, I was leading a small army of colleagues to Subias.  They wanted to try the amazing rueben.  We ordered and sat outside at the patio (great people watching BTW) and a plethora of ruebens soon graced us with their presence. Same damn amazing sandwich.  And my non-vegan co-workers agreed.  They are all returning.

Day three also saw my last day in Jersey City.  And on walking back to the Airbnb one last time, an idea hit me.

I needed one last sandwich to take with me on my flight back to PDX.

In the three short days I was there, I think they knew me by name, and helped me choose the Philly steak and cheese.   It was to go, and would most likely be cold when I got to enjoy it, so this seemed like a safe bet.

While delayed on the tarmac of Newark Airport, I decided it was probably time to crack open that familiar aluminum base and unfold the rim and enjoy the sandwich.  Just like the rueben, it was amazing.  The seitan was possibly the best I have ever had (diced chunks) and the now almost solid cheese helped keep everything together.  The flavor was just perfect (and my favorite bread was still amazing).

The vegan donuts and cinnamon buns were really good, and accompanied my Dunkin Donuts coffee (almond milk) really well.  But the sandwiches.  Wow.

35534514174_964ae54cb2

It was awesome to chat with the owners – two awesome women that have run the place for over 14 years.  They told me how their parents thought it was a stupid move – they’d be starving – they said.  But here we are, 14 years later enjoying this amazing vegan gem in the middle of a vegan desert (Ok not really but for someone from Portland, it can feel that way).

35561991013_1ecbf7b70e
The awesome owners.

Next time you are in NYC or Jersey, stop at Subia’s!  Get that rueben or Philly.

You will not regret it.

Note: Most of my meals there were takeaway. So the photos should be taken with a grain of salt…they do not represent the nice building or space at Subias.

ADVISORY: 3.6L Pentastar Oil Assembly Explosion!

Ok, well maybe an explosion is a strong statement.

Anyway, I just had a crazy thing happen to me while changing my oil.  And, after a quick scan of the web, this is a relatively new issue now that many of the 3.6l Pentastar engines are aging.  This issue seems to only affect model years 2012-2013. 

As with all my oil changes, I left the oil filter cap off while the oil drained.  I was actually in the process of attaching the new o-ring to the cap, and pulling the new filter from the box when BANG!  The sound of a gunshot echoed in the shop.  On the floor was a long plastic piece, and a large spring rolling around.  Oil was sprayed on the fenders, under hood, and the floor.

35950171852_aa2a538423
The parts I was able to find on my floor.

Upon closer inspection, the long black tube is part of the oil filter bypass valve assembly.  It was missing the smaller spring (from inside the tube) and the valve part itself, which is typically seated at the end of this long tube.  I scoured the shop, and have not been able to find those parts.  They either bounced off the inside of my hood, and into another dimension, or will provide a nice waft of burning plastic someday.

35311015803_a4c1ff56ab
Dirty oil is everywhere.

The internet also showed me the $200 part I needed to buy. However, on further Googling, I saw that Dorman now makes a little replacement kit $21.95 on Amazon).  Of course, Chrysler’s revenue agents would not allow an OEM kit, unless you buy the entire $200 assembly.  Video here.  Forum links here.

I ordered the replacement parts on Amazon, and will update this post once I install them on Tuesday.

**NOTE: The force this stuff came flying out of the oil filter canister could cause serious injury, especially to the face!  I think it dented the inside of my hood.  PLEASE keep your face away from the oil filter assembly, or replace it with the new filter and cap right away.

Restaurant Review: Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza [Portland]

Vegan pizza is easy to find.

But good vegan pizza is very hard to find.

There are some places in Portland that try hard and have good options.  But when we recently stopped into Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza in SE Portland we were blown away.

35006794260_2a227319ab

The place is a really rad sports bar with plenty of street parking.  The space was clean and well laid out.  There were tons of big screens for watching sports games and other events.

35006804370_883a035a4b

We sat down and ordered a bunch of different things.

For starters we got the vegan wings in Pineapple BBQ.  They are the type with the fake bone/sugar cane slice in the middle.  The sauce was AMAZING and the wings were cooked just right.  I typically hate these wings at other places as they seem too chewy.  But here, they are cooked right.

34551006734_60475a8264

We also ordered the vegan cheesy bread.  What I thought was awesome is that they will blend Follow Your Heart and Daiya cheeses so you get the best of both worlds.  I opted for this blend and it was great.

34550994954_0d3dc139bd

With the cheesy bread we also got marinara sauce and a sample of the new red pepper dipping sauce which was really good.  It worked with everything we ordered.

The pizza we opted for was the BBQ chicken. I modded it with no onions or peppers (I know, vegan sacrilege), but I added broccoli.

This was probably the best vegan pizza I have had in a long time, if ever.  The crust is that perfect sweet spot of crispy-yet-doughy, and the sauces, vegan chicken, and broc were perfect.  It was almost too good, as this fatty vegan ate almost the whole medium (I didn’t have breakfast in preparation for the trip BTW).

35264261361_5c95ff6fb5

I washed this down with a pint of my new favorite IPA – Vicious Mosquito from Sunriver brewing.  It’s a great IPA and I was stoked to see them with it on tap.

Is Ideology the new Case for Concealed Carry?

As many of my readers know, I am a strange blend of liberalist, centrist, and conservative.  While I voraciously support equality – marriage equality for one, I also advocate strongly for second amendment rights and smaller government.

I also believe unequivocally – that without our second amendment, we cannot protect the others.  That single right – to keep and bear arms – allows us, the citizenry, a poker chip against a future government that steps too far.  It was baked into our rights from a group of founders, that had just recently witnessed an armed citizenry resist an oppressive government – and succeed. It is core to our nation.

IMG_20170520_105451_980 (1).jpg

That all boils down to the fact I am a staunch believer in concealed (and even open) carry.

And yet, as I read another story of extremists plowing into, and stabbing innocent citizens, I cannot help but feel that the justification for a legally armed public is louder now than perhaps ever.

Concealed carry used to be based on individual protection.  Individual safety.  Someone is breaking into my home – or attempting to carjack me and my family.

But now, it seems that the radicals amidst us also call for an immediate need to protect not just us individually, but also the society we have built and hold dear.

Now before my more liberal friends start yelling, and complaining that “more guns don’t mean more safety,” I want you to think about one thing.  When you call the police, all you are doing is asking someone with a gun to show up and save you.  That is all.

You are requesting a gunman to come handle a situation and bring their gun.

When you realize the average police response time is 10 minutes, the issue becomes clearer.  Ten minutes is an ETERNITY when someone is stabbing people on the sidewalk , on the MAX, or at the Louvre.  Or a night club.  Or a movie theater.  Ad nauseum.

The issue is no longer about protecting just yourself.  It is now about protecting the members of society around you. Protecting our ultimate investment – society.

Last week in Portland, there was a racially-inspired stabbing attack that killed 2 men and injured a third.  They were standing up for a couple of women on the train, as a man was verbally bullying them.

I often ask myself why there was not a single concealed carrier aboard that MAX train.  I also think about how the outcome could have been radically different.  Chances are we would have one injured victim, and one dead criminal.  If concealed carry lacked the social stigmas perpetuated in the media and especially in liberal cities like Portland, we might have had a much different outcome on that train.

An armed public also has a strong side effect.  When open and concealed carry is more accepted (and not demonized), criminals are never sure who is armed and who is not.  That single fact has a lot of weight in how and where attacks happen.  Most shooting events occur in gun free zones.  Don’t think that is not by accident.  Criminals want to limit the chances of any armed resistance.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, from the 1950’s through July 10th of 2016, 98.4 percent of mass shootings have occurred on gun-free zones, with just 1.6 percent occurring where citizens are allowed to have firearms with them.

Let that sink in.

It is probably also part of why we are seeing these terror attacks happening in cities where public gun ownership is very restricted or even outright illegal.  In the London terror attack yesterday, a police officer had to go after one of the terrorists with a baton – even they are unable to defend society.  Pure insanity.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 10.44.43 AM.png

 

I wish we lived in a harmonious World where weapons were not needed on a daily basis.  However that is simply not reality.  As we see more and more liberal groups, minority groups, and others arming up one thing is clear – people do not feel safe.  They do not trust their baton-wielding governments to protect them.

I encourage all my friends to consider getting a concealed carry permit and actually becoming part of the solution.  Standing up for a crumbling reality and actively preventing more of the same when it comes to these terror events.

 

Is it Possible to be Completely Vegan?

For many, veganism is like one of those religious cults.  Where, as you “progress,” you gain higher and higher levels of clarity, or stature, or sumsuchshit.

Anyway, I have seen this very same attitude apply to vegans.

“I am not totally vegan, I wear Goodwill wool.”

“I am not totally vegan, I just can’t give up cheese.”

“I am 100% vegan.”  

All of these are false.

I am, but.

Veganism today seems like an all or nothing endeavor.  You either are or you are not.  So, under these pretenses, if you are vegan, but still eat cheese/wear wool/drive a Jeep you are not vegan.

For me, veganism is not a black and white proposition.  To me, it is a set of values we can all strive for…yet they are really, honestly, impossible to attain.

156ab53877b7fc96f921d53acfc6505f.jpgIt is NOT a club where everyone compares their virtuousness to one another, and claim to one up each other based, often, on the level of sacrifices one makes.

I read an article on Facebook about how “true” vegans are against the Beyond Burger.  Their argument claims that true vegans should not eat them simply because they “simulate and appear too much like real meat.”  Let that sink in for a minute.  We should be collectively shamed to consume a vegan product on the premise it is too similar to the non-vegan version.  It is purely mad.

True Veganism is Unreachable

I think it is safe to say that veganism is primarily an answer to a pretty cruel and messed up animal rights issue in our society.  Of course there are other reasons, but I will focus on animal rights for now.

It could be said that a “true” vegan (as in a 100% vegan) would cause zero impact to animals.

Right off the bat, that means no transportation other than walking.  Which, as I think about it, probably kills quite a few insects and members of animalia.  Just the other day I heard the accidental, yet unmistakeable crunch of a snail under my shoe.  I felt terrible.

So, as long as you don’t move you are fine.

But what about where you spend your stationary time?  In a home?  Probably not.  That home was put there and replaced natural growth.  Grass, shrubs, trees, and other habitats were destroyed for that home.  Let’s not even talk about clothing and food which relies on a pretty extensive network of ex-habitat and pollution.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 8.57.18 AM.png

So let’s assume you end up barefoot in the jungle, living off the land.  Well, if you clear any type of space for yourself you are back to impacting animals.  Even if you simply climbed a tree to live, you would be inadvertently killing or at best, displacing bugs and mosses, and animals.

So as long as you moved from the modern world, ended up “au naturale” in a jungle somewhere, not moving, and somehow living in natural underbrush without possibly impacting any other being, then yes, you would be 100% vegan.

And why am I making such an absurd metaphor here?  

Because these are the details that make us all realize that “true” 100% veganism – aka ZERO impact to the animal kingdom – is unattainable.

And, perhaps even more important is this.  Once we know that 100% is unreachable, we realize it is, in fact a gradient.  And, that gradient allows people to determine their own level of veganism.

If you try really hard to be vegan, but on a road trip had to pull off at Burger King for a Morningstar veggie burger (with egg whites), guess what?  You can still be a vegan.

If your own personal goal is to have an minimal an impact to animals and you cannot find a hiking boot that works, and find a leather variant, guess what?  You can still be vegan.

These are true because for me, veganism is not a status symbol.  It is a journey of little decisions that are stitched together to form a lifestyle.  And, sometimes those decisions tip the other way.  And that is OK.

Lynched by the Community?

Nothing really proved my point as much as the lambasting I received in the Portland Vegans Facebook group when I announced my new Vegan Gun Club.  Apparently, according to the rules of veganism established by Lord Vegan, guns and veganism are exclusive.  You cannot be vegan and still own/shoot paper and steel.

Well, my first outing of that very gun club proved otherwise.  We had a massive turnout, good food, and great fellow vegan company.

16804075_1461344830543909_8452225417209783089_o
Vegan Gun Club.  Photo (c) Zachary P. Hill

And I know my opinions here are not going to be agreed on by all the vegans.  And that is OK too.  They can continue to beat themselves up over fake meats, stockholders of vegan corporations, and wether they can shop at Safeway and eat at Taco Bell.

I have guns to shoot and Jeeps to offroad.

Restaurant Review: Blackwater Bar [Portland]

Today we ventured down Broadway in Portland, looking for a spot for some lunch goodness.  The only problem?  I wanted something new.  I remembered hearing about Blackwater Bar in Portland, an all-vegan bar.

33823675100_5becaaae2f

Blackwater is a punk-rock themed bar, that teeters on the edge of dive status for me.  Once you walk in, the space is on the dark side (not sure if deliberate for the punk theme) and has a good mix of booths and chairs with tables.  The place is pretty good size, with a full sized stage for live music shows, a bar in the back, a couple of pinball machines, and ample seating.

34077141731_cb4c9a9a4a

Today a screen was showing Discovery Channel documentaries so we all watched lions take down Giraffes and other nature shows.  We rooted for the giraffes.

34167025176_349a71433c

Once we sat down we were really excited about the menu.

It was all what I call traditional bar food. Which is probably higher on the unhealthy scale, and also higher on the good taste scale.

33823677120_6debdef801

We saw items like Mozzarella bites, burgers, chili cheese fries, pretzels, nachos and wings.  There were salads but they were at the bottom, and clearly not the prime focus of the place.

The service was really friendly and punctual.  I ordered an IPA on tap (from Breakside), and Kristin wanted a greyhound.

I decided on the traditional burger which included a house made patty (I heard great things about their burgers), Chao cheese, burger sauce, lettuce, and tomato.  I also ordered some mozzarella bites to try.  These also featured a house made mozzarella.

Kristin ended up with the Western Burger which included BBQ sauce, the same patty, burger sauce, fried onions, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickles.

34167029136_06934df66f

The mozz bites came out first and looked really good. They came with a small cup of marinara sauce.  I was really excited to try these as I have a lot of respect for a place that makes their own vegan mozzarella.  However I think fans of the cheesy sticks may feel a little bummed about these.  The cheese was a little “gritty” and lacked substance in my opinion.  They fell apart in the marinara.  I do think though they are on the right track and will perfect these little fried balls soon.

The burgers soon followed.

34167026616_8b567af1a5

Mine was a perfect specimen of a vegan pub burger. The house made patty was amazing and it had a little crunch on the outside which was great.  They seemed to have also cracked the code on how to get Chao to melt onto a patty.  The burger sauce lent a great flavor to the burger also.

34167028526_d128201955

The Western was beautiful as well.   The patty was basted in BBQ sauce and had a ton of flavor.  The fries were crispy and some of the best I have had from a vegan joint.

In the end, our food was really good.  We weren’t able to finish our meals and most of them came home.

Minors are also allowed in the bar but not past the clearly marked zones near the actual bar.

34050365622_38d4052913

While Blackwater Bar is not a place you’ll be taking Grandma (unless she is a punk rocker), we will definitely be going back and spending more time there!

835 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232

 

Product Install: Genright Lock and Load Tub Rail Tie Down System

As far as installs go, this was certainly one of the easiest.  I even considered not doing an install writeup at all.  But in the end, the final product is really awesome, and I hope more people will consider this system for their JKs!

Continue reading Product Install: Genright Lock and Load Tub Rail Tie Down System