American Badass | A Continuous Lean.

At Work With Aaron Draplin.

Jun 26th, 2013 | Categories: American Badass, Americana, At Work, OR | by Michael Williams



This meeting was a long time coming. I was in Portland, Oregon a few months back, but I didn’t have a chance to go and meet Aaron Draplin. I’m back this week and I couldn’t make the same mistake twice.

I had a lot of work to do (as I’m sure he did too), but I manage to sneak over to see Draplin today and finally get to meet the man I have admired for so long. Interestingly enough the designer and Field Notes creator is exactly the same in person as I imagined him to be. Friendly, animated, generous, smart, funny and full of life. Draplin is EXACTLY the type of person that ACL was designed to highlight. If you aren’t up to speed on him,. here’s a bit more about him from the ACL archives. I could basically shut this place down after this post, but I won’t.

King of American Swine.

Mar 1st, 2013 | Categories: American Badass, Food | by Michael Williams

Carl Blake, who has bred a unique pig, the Swabian Hall

Carl Edgar Blake II is on a mission to produce the most delicious pig in the world. It’s a bit of a strange pursuit, but I can think of a lot less appetizing adventures.

I came across this story in The New York Times about Blake’s quest to re-introduce the Swabian Hall pig, an old breed of swine that produces meat with a higher fat content than the everyday pork that Americans are used to. You’re thinking: Skinny pig? How does that even make sense? Well, in the pork industries quest to produce “the other white meat,” the fat has been systematically bred out of American pork. Luckily, Carl Blake has our back. Don’t worry, no one is getting skinny. Good Americans like him won’t allow it strictly out of principle.

What really caught my attention in the story was the video which wonderfully captured Blake’s no bullshit style. Oddly, and I know he is going to get pissed at me for saying this, but Blake reminded me of America’s most heroic graphic designer Aaron Draplin. It got me thinking fondly of Draplin and his diatribe about how “America is fucked.” Imagine if we got Blake and Draplin together in one room to put down a few cold ones and eat prosciutto? That’s a reality show I would watch.

Video after the jump.

American Badass | Audwin P. McGee

Jul 30th, 2010 | Categories: American Badass | by Michael Williams

When I come back, I want to be Audwin Pierre McGee. I met Mr. McGee when I was down in The Shoals with Billy Reid and I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever met anyone cooler — although Billy gives him a run for his money. The fact that those two are friends, well that’s just like fishing with dynamite. In addition to being a big game hunter and artist, the man is a skilled craftsman and safari guide. He probably has twenty other job titles that I missed, he seriously is that talented. I met Audwin for the first time at an event Billy took me to in Tuscumbia. It was a chance meeting. We struck up a conversation and were fast friends. I think I could have talked to him for two weeks straight. The exchange jumped from art to interior design to hunting without skipping a beat. When does that happen? Almost never, at least for me. Eventually we started talking about the historic building we were in and as it turned out that Audwin and his wife lived right next door. I knew the place had to be cool, so I asked if he would let me check it out. Being the nice guy that he is, Audwin agreed and we wandered over drinks in hand.

McGee (right) in Mozambique.