Announcement, Updates

Excerpt: Fuck Mayonnaise – Chapter I: Rick James Says Fuck Your Burger

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Everyone in The NikoVash Empire has gone silent for many a reason. That said, we are coming back in force, we have been working on a large number of projects for the underground, so we are releasing a sneak peak of one of them that is soon to release! A full chapter from the upcoming book “Fuck Mayonnaise”!

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Thankfully I did not start my culinary career rehashing American diner food, as normally seems to be the case.  Actually I fell into this deranged world of cheffing around quite by accident, which I am sure is just saying something to the larger picture of failing vertically positive. Winter 2005 was an interesting time to be living in downtown Seattle; hookah lounges were all the rage and I was such a technician (as there was not a real term that described what we were doing). My close proximity to the flying fish market lead to a dull buzzing noise of never ending tourists and fish mongers, reading from some long forgotten script, so naturally I stayed meditated medicated. This dream was however short lived as we lost our downtown lease, probably because a rag tag group of degenerates in a prominent location in the downtown metropolis  was likely the talk largest talk of the health department and snarky business owners alike.  Eight months into this endeavor and  we transferred to a larger shop on Capital Hill, and soon after fired due to a single lackluster hipsters, as I had discovered he was banging underage girls in the VIP area after we were closed.

Before I could submit this evidence to the owners I was fired weeks before the city who was equally aware of this fact, raided and shut down said unnamed hookah lounge; forever tightening legislation for such places the city over.  That aside we did have a regular I had fallen in favor with, a short rotund gentlemen with an almost french accent who always had just ball-dropping-drop-dead-gorgeous women with him at all times; real Californian twelves. Turns out this gent, who we will call Fred, was the owner of a higher end Persian restaurant/nightclub in the Industrial district. Upon learning of my departure he hired me as his personal hookah tech at his restaurant, and occasionally as a bus boy when the heroin junkie he had hired for the job was on one of his famous reckless benders. We would sit around and smoke and drink well into early morning hours. For months I would follow a pattern of school, ‘work’, drinking, death, rinse, and then repeat. A month into this madness he realized I would largely bring in my own food to cook as I had full use of the kitchen as the Mexican head chef and I had bonded over the fact I could make actual Mexican food (a byproduct of my equally strange youth; a different book). One day Fred in a massive hangover of death asked me to make him something off menu as he was tired of eating Persian food all the time. It was a simple BLT of all the stuff I got from the market with the a few additions of focaccia bread and 25 year aged smoked white cheddar I had found at the market, and mashed potatoes, because I am a reckless asshole of refined tastes.  This motherfucker had been in America for over 40 years and had never once tried mashed potatoes, he was floored at this stunning revelation in culinary masterpieces… Starting that day he had the head chef train me to prep all the food from then on.

I am going to cut this part of the story short and say that over the next 6 years would be intense training to be a full caliber Persian chef, tons of fuckery and inappropriate situations that may or may not be divulged later in this book. Flash forward to New years 2010 Fred would sell the restaurant to a shifty group of Armenians who I have always assumed were into some mafia type happenings. The day after they acquired the restaurant they informed us all, the kitchen would go back to minimum wage if we had any desire to keep our jobs. It was a full mid shift walk out; truly an epic sight one must see once in their lifetime.  All the illegals and the lone white boy of the kitchen walked strait to  the bar all grabbed a bottle off the shelves and hit the front door.

A year or so goes by and Fred calls me to check up on me as he would over the next few years, and takes me out to some overpriced steak house.  As we were sitting there we talked about his retirement and how he actually did not even need the restaurant as he was well off  from being an aeronautics engineer for Boeing. The conversation switched over to my being a line cook at some greasy spoon back in Portland and hating every minute of it. When he asked me why I had to take a pause; the free alcohol, the less than legal nights of parties in the industrial district, the just obscene amount of debauchery that had been my life for the last six years had unintentionally shaped my vision for what I wanted work to be. In a brief moment of clarity, while yes, I did miss all those things, I had come to realize that so much of “Amreican” cooking was actually French, or Mexican, or Spanish or… etc. I liked the Persian style of cooking, and what I liked most was the lack of heavy saucing, which lead me to my professional outlook of just why the fuck do we slather mayonnaise on damn near everything. I rattled this off to him for the better part of an hour when he stopped me and asked, “…wait, so there are other people who hate mayonnaise, it so gross, WHY MUST IT BE ON EVERYTHING!!!”

In this moment I realized Fred would forever be my friend.

Time would press further on and I would find myself at a burger joint, making “high-end” gourmet burgers.  Dredged in mayonnaise, day after day after day, when somewhere between a brief moment of not being stoned out of my mind or not hungover (both would have surprised me really), I snapped. I asked the owner why we have to put mayonnaise on every fucking burger, as if it was the savior of the fucking sandwich world? Puzzled he looked at me and declared, “What else would you put on a burger, It’s the American way!”

This my friends was my breaking point. If you have never seen the movie “The Whole Nine Yards,” stop reading this go watch it right now, about 30 minutes into the damn thing Bruce Willis’s character goes off on how putting mayonnaise on a burger is the least American thing you should do and he could just murder anyone who does (paraphrasing here). Point is, what follows be my official declaration of war on the culinary world and their norms:

“Every red-blooded American knows that there are only two,
count them, fucking two,
condiments you are allowed on a burger.
Fucking Ketchup and fucking mustard, that is it!
Anything else is outside the norm and thus should not be attempted
in a mass market appealing restaurant.
Anyone who puts mayonnaise on a goddamn burger is basically
stating, and I am paraphrasing here;
Is that they are a goat fucking terrorist with no respect for
the humble cow or said burger from which it is made”!

This may have earned me a clock to the jaw, of which the ass-beating returned to him was epic. This spot still exists today and if you listen hard enough the kitchen still whispers of it behind his back.  I was offered two months pay in the form of cash to never return.

The highlight of that story was apparently when the owner asked me, “Who the fuck do you think you are, you little shit?!” my response apparently was “I’m Rick James BITCH!” Of which my good friend Zoey still holds this over my head to this day; as she puts it, “The only way that situation was going to end was either in tequila or my lawyers office… I achieved both FYI.

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Keep it locked and loaded to see what we are going to be getting into the rest of this year!

Courage,

~Kojack

Unpublished Article

The Third God of Alcohol; The Bartender

Credit: Vratislav Darmek
Credit: Vratislav Darmek

There are things in life that chose us, not the other way around. For me that wound up being one of the three Gods of alcohol, affectionately known forever as The Bartender. Not some trained monkey pushing out casino grade vodka cranberries, nor a circus performer throwing bottles around pleasing the non drinking crowd.  Nay, my craft is making the perfect drink, not just today and not just for you. Every drink is crafted to perfection, if you must wait a lifetime apart from one to the next you could bet with certainty that it will be the exact same taste as you last remember. I am not here to sell you low cut shirts, I am here to guide your imbibing experience, as we stationary dance this game until the early hours of the morning’s light.

This becomes the drive to learn craft recipes from the knowledge of classic and the newer drinking trends. This is our life while we exist behind one bar or another, time melts between the happenstance between one bar and another, we are the people’s bartender. You do not remember you favorite drink’s name, nor we do not judge. You cannot remember what goes into that one drink you had that one time, no problem tell us what your flavor is and we can craft it.

A bartender does these things not for the money, rather they do them because they need to be done. Society has a lifelong tie hold to he intoxicating elixir, as my kind are the maestros coordinating this delicate dance between delightful intoxication, and crippling inebriation. As we shoot a four inch by four inch square in you direction keep in mind that we know what already want, but all we ask of you is to focus your mind to the tune of “What’ll it be?”

~Kojack Vasquexz

Updates

Retro Rave Painting

Credit: Kojack Vasquexz
Credit: Kojack Vasquexz

Today’s rave update is going to be short and sweet, because I want to get the fuck out of the office and paint booth, so today is basically just a smorgasbord of time-lapse paintings to show you progress on a prototype painting (8″ x 10″) that will most likely be the base for a larger painting prototype speaker system.  The idea was inspired by obviously the works of Vincent Van Gogh & early 2000’s rave culture, of which I took much part it. The title of the piece is, “Glowy Glowy Night” and once done may wind up in the store!  So stay tuned for that!

Also I have been watching the shit out of this video, if only this would actually be a full length feature… but I digress, nothing this cool could ever come from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line…

Courage,

~Kojack Vasquexz

Rant

Cash For Clunky Work

Credit: Sean MacEntee
Credit: Sean MacEntee

I know it has been real quite around here the past week, there have been set backs as per usual.  You think everything is cool and then life is all like:

“Oh shit, you’re doing well, lol, let me work on that a little for you…”

and then bam, you are shit-bricked between a rock and a food less, goddamn fridge.  I digress that is not the point of all this, I have returned to bidding for just terrible jobs, because you know they pay.  Painting day never came and that has really made me a little sad on the inside as I really just do love painting for no reason. Do not get me wrong, I love doing commissioned work, but it is not the same as just doing something for yourself. Sort of like that candy bar that people get after a good workout or the extra hour of sleep people take and then lie to their boss about traffic or some shit … you know shit you do to make yourself feel generally better in the this shitstorm of the work grind.

Photo Credit: Ben W
Photo Credit: Ben W

Unfortunately this is the downtime of the season for most of my clients they will not ramp up until after tax season, so I have to float on the will of less than pleasant rookie clients who think we freelances who are highly specialized in their needs should be paid the same or worse off then their typical employees because that pay is “good enough for them.”  Yeah well the benefits and health insurance you are also factoring into that wage is not what I am getting from you so, and I quote here:

“Fuck you, pay me!”

Photo Credit: Marie Aschehoug
Photo Credit: Marie Aschehoug

We are getting away from the topic at hand really, aside from rookie clients and their ill conceived notion of fair pay… Their pay attitude wouldn’t bother me so much if what they wanted was not so piss poorly idealized.  Ninety-nine percent of the time it boils down to they saw something somewhere this one time, and want me to blatantly rip off someone else’s hard work.  This is what drives me into bat-shit-kill-frenzy mode.  As someone who likes taking pride in their work, I wouldn’t want someone to come along and rip it off, least of all by someone who is getting shit pay, because they are not even going to do a very good job in ripping it off. I mean what would be worse to you, knowing there is someone in the world who likes your shit enough to want to use it, but not enough to pay you for it, but hire someone for far less to half-assed phone it in?

But once again, desperate times call for desperate measures so I find myself, once again, at the mercy of these mongoloid fuckwits in hopes that one of them is a decent goddamn human being about the work they want done and I pray to Cthulhu it isn’t to ripoff someone’s hard work, because I will tell you now, I need work and only half my ass really gives a shit about how it gets done.

 Courage,

~Kojack Vasquexz

New Toys, Updates

Painting Day, Frabjous Painting Day Is Almost Here!

I am nearly settled into my temporary stop on the Shit Show parade, unpacked, and cleaned up the room so that means PAINTING DAY!  It is not so often that I get to paint anymore, the combination of relaunching this site, the NikoVash Empire, my day jobs trying to ride me against OSHA regulations about riding one’s ass without railing installed… you get the point, it is painting day, a ME fucking day. Such a sacred and holy day, kinda like no pants Sunday, but a little bit better…

Photo Credit: Kojáck Vásqueẍz
Photo Credit: Kojáck Vásqueẍz

As you can see I already have a canvas nearly ready… I know it needs to be re-primed, but worry not Gesso is in no short order around here! Also I am super excited because I found my 1958 neon pigments.  I shit you not they are truly retro in every way… suffice to say this weekend is going to be super fucking fun and epic! Black Light PAINTING!

Photo Credit: Kojáck Vásqueẍz
Photo Credit: Kojáck Vásqueẍz

This will be a prototype as well for a set of speakers.  Thats right, this will be a full left and right set of speakers, a technology developed by the NikoVash Empire utilizing flat panel, wave bending exciters!  So yeah once the painting is done these will be fully functional speakers and an original painting, from me to the lucky future owner!

Everything about this weekend is looking on the up and up, I’ll be live tweeting my shenanigans and what not as it may also be Mimosa, Sinfire &/or Vodka fueled painting day, we just don’t know, and not knowing is half the battle, TRUST ME. Art, liquor, cannabis, music… So much positivity I think a hippie might explode, of which I would actually pay to see that.  So until I can settle the fuck down and contain some or all of this excitement I say to you all; enrich yourself, read something, watch something of merit and true value, buy a drink and until next time.

Courage,

~Kojáck