William C. Winkler RIP

There are rebels and there are Rebels. William C. Winkler was a Rebel. Not one to raise hell or bring a lot of attention to himself, he was a refined Rebel who stood against pushes for change until he was convinced that change was needed, change was useful, and change was good. I was usually successful in getting William to see the light, but it was never easy. Willam passed away earlier this week at the age of 79.

William standing on the corner of 4th & Gold in Downtown Albuquerque

We hired William is 1994 as an architectural evaluator. He was 52 years old, and after the firm he had worked for either downsized or closed, he found himself out of work. He told me once he was really grateful that we hired him, because most firms would not consider him because he was over 40. William was an excellent staff member who turned out to be a great friend as well. William retired from ARC in 2016 after 22 years.

WCW at his retirement party. He was a Green Bay Packers fan and a Wisconsin “Cheese Head”.

Besides his interest in architecture, he was interested in music, photography, and technology, so he and I had a lot in common. I had been playing flamenco guitar for a couple of years when William started working at ARC, and he was the one who told me I needed a stage name. One day he said “You need a stage name like that Chuscales* character! What’s Spanish for ‘curmudgeon’?” I went home that night and asked one of our Cuban friends what a curmudgeon was in Cuban Spanish. He said there’s “El Cheo”. The next day I asked WCW what he thought of “El Cheo”, he approved and my stage name has been El Cheo ever since. He usually called me “El” after that and I called him “WCW” and “Veelhyme”. He refused to tell us what the “C” stood for.

William Reflecting

When we moved to Spain in 1996, William and I had weekly correspondence that ended up becoming newsletters of the goings on in Spain from my perspective, and the goings on back home and at the office from William’s perspective. William called his newsletter “El Reporto” which was good Spanglish. My newsletter was “La Crónica…” with whatever the word of the week was that I put after Crónica. We always had a bit of competition to see who could come up with the most creative ways of describing our lives and the current situations in Spain and New Mexico. Here’s an excerpt from a 6,000 word letter I wrote to William in October 1996:

“Believe me, flamenco lore is so full of romanticism about gypsy origins, myths, fabricated histories and downright lies that it is hard to tell fact from fiction.”

We often had discussions on the history and origins of flamenco. I signed the letter

“Until next time,

El Cheo Stecchino Andante”

Unfortunately, I don’t have an example from “El Reporto” because we didn’t have email in Spain, so all our correspondence was printed and mailed back and forth using the postal services. I have William’s “El Reportos” boxed up and stored somewhere in the infinite shed of doom.

Willam had a tie to Spain, as well. His sister-in-law, Catherine, was a professor of Catalan Feminist Literature. Not only did Catherine and her husband visit us in Madrid, but we went down to Valencia and stayed in their condo on the beach one weekend.

WCW trying out the racing bike I put together for him.

William was a smoker, so we would go out on walks so he could take a smoke break. I got a lot of photos from around downtown while walking with William. After Bruce joined ARC in 2008, William, Bruce and I would go out for walks and break all the rules about smoking where we were not supposed to smoke. Neither Bruce nor I smoke, but it was fun acting like we did simply to break rules and be annoying.

Checking out the snow.

For years I didn’t work on Fridays. One Friday when Ben was working for me, he and Bruce and Ben’s brother, who was in town visiting, made a Parkour video at our office. William makes an involuntary cameo and he became the star of the video.

One thing I always appreciated about William is that he was always brutally honest. I started producing my bloody awful parodies after William retired. I would send them to him to get his opinion. Like Lewis Winn, who is my guitar guru, Willian had no qualms about telling me exactly what he thought about my parodies — “bloody awful” on most accounts. However, like Lewis, he appreciated the humor and silliness, and always asked for more. William actually liked “Bite ‘Em on the old Shin Bone”, and “Coyotes” (an original piece). The twangy guitar in “Coyotes” reminded him of “Apache” by the Shadows. He asked me to make a parody of “Apache”. This one puzzled me, as I have no idea how to parody an instrumental piece other than do a bad job of playing it. Which would be very easy for me to do. I asked him what he wanted me to do with it, but I never got a definitive answer. I believe he just wanted to hear me play it. Sadly I never tried to play it let alone record it for him.

I hadn’t seen William in person since before the pandemic. We kept up a regular email correspondence and the last email exchanges I had with William were at the beginning of April about our new office building.

I’m going to miss William. There are few Rebels like William left in the world.

*Chuscales was a gypsy guitarist playing on the local flamenco scene back then.

Guitars On The Wall

I hung a couple of art guitars I made on the the walls above my desk instead of photos. I found some really nice acrylic hangers that use the strap buttons to hang the guitars so the hangers are hardly noticeable.

Super Chief PRS-style Guitar

Resa’s One-Eyed Beauty RGX-style Guitar

The desk I built for our graphic artist

Trees in bloom in the patio at the new office building.

The conference room looking east through the single door. The walls are curved.

Conference room looking west through the double doors.

Sunset looking east.

Sunset looking west.

What Was Is Not

The cubicles that came with the new office.

The cubicles that came with the new office were old, broken, and worn out. We are getting new cubicles, so we had to get the old cubicles out. No one wanted to take and reuse them, so demolition was in order. I could not figure out how to take them apart, so our office manager’s brother sent a person who installs cubicles to the office to check them out, and I made a deal with him to have a couple of his staff come in and take the cubicle apart for us. He asked who made them, and when I told him he had never heard of the manufacturer. The manufacturer had gone out of business years ago. Even though the building is only 15 years old, we figure the cubicles were at least 30 years old. Two young men came by yesterday and took them apart. I would have never figured it out, and, although the two young me were fast, it was a lot of work for them to take down the partitions. The two didn’t want to haul them to the dump because they would be charged to dump them. We had them leave the partitions and we spent most of today stripping off the fabric, removing the insulation, and separating the metal and plastic from 72 partitions. Dolores took two loads of metal to Acme Metal and got some cash for it. She will take a couple more loads to Acme tomorrow and we’ll be rid of the old cubicles without simply taking them to the dump.

Uppers, a box of brackets, and a few partitions stripped to the metal remain to be taken to Acme tomorrow. The piles of fabric and insulation are in the center and some tack boards await me to take the mounting hardware off of them.

Intermission: My new La Llorona approved aqua-turquoise blue Nostalgia Retrowave microwave I got for my office. It’s a long way to the kitchen in the new building.

Daddy Owl holding on tight in the high winds that were trying to blow him out of the tree.

Ear Tufts in silhouette

Mi Taco Su Taco

A food truck called Mi Taco Su Taco parked in front of our new office this morning. I thought it might be a regular thing. Being Tuesday and having a Taco Truck in front of the office, I texted Bruce to let him know there was a Taco Truck out front if he wanted to come into the office for “Taco Tuesday!” He came in and went out and got in line to discover that the food truck was there for a special occasion for the Humana insurance group. Bruce had to wait until all of “Humanaty” got their tacos so Mi Taco Su Taco could account for all the tacos Humana’s staff had eaten. Then Bruce was able to get some of the leftover tacos. He brought me a couple of leftover tacos. They weren’t bad after I picked all the cilantro out them. “¡No me gusta cilantro¡”

Seeing the food truck reminded me of a parody I wrote and recorded back in 2017 called “Brewpubs And Food Trucks” to Strawberry Alarm Clock’s Incense and Peppermints that I never posted. The parody was inspired by the boom of brewpubs in Albuquerque at that time and all the food trucks that parked by the brewpubs. Now that brewpubs are open again, I see a lot of the food trucks outside the brewpubs. The food trucks offer a good service for people to get food to go with their beer and wine without having to go into a building.

I thought about redoing the vocals, but I recorded it long before I started using PreSonus Studio One. I used MixPad in 2017, and now the latest version of MixPad can’t open the old files. Therefore, you can listen to the bloody awful original version or choose to skip it.

The song really illustrates the reason we moved out of downtown. Things were not good in 2017. “ART” in the song is “Albuquerque Rapid Transit” a total public transit boondoggle rammed down Burqueños’ throats that interrupted businesses and ruined Central Ave, (Old Route 66) from the westside of Albuquerque to “Nobhill” just east of the University of New Mexico. Downtown only got worse and continues its downhill slide. You can follow along with the Lyrics that can be found after the kitty photos and comments.

Brewpubs And Food Trucks

Music: Strawberry Alarm Clock. Parody Lyrics: Timothy Price

Sasha: “Are you kidding me? A taco truck and another BAP?”

Spunk: “What’s that you say? Another BAP about ‘brew huhbubs and taco trucks’?”

Tesla: “AAAaaarrrgh! NOOoooo! Not another bloooody aawfuulll parody!”

Brewpubs And Food Trucks
Parody Lyrics: Timothy Price
Music: Strawberry Alarm Clock

ART sense, nonsense, spare me a dime
Drama queens, silly things, undefinable crime
Fashion drinkers, homeless drunks, boggle your mind
Brewpubs, food trucks, signs of the time

Who cares for things we do
If there’s little for me and nothing for you

Brewpubs, food trucks, gurgling sound
Turn off, tune out, we need to look around
Look at the wealth, look at the wealth, yeah, yeah
Look at the wealth, look at the wealth, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Our polls have divided our world in two
Thrown us off to the side, middle finger screw you
Politicians choke their chickens, nothing is new
A house full of lunatics with a bad point-of-view

Who cares for things we do
If there’s little for me and nothing for you

ART sense, nonsense, spare me a dime
Drama queens, silly things, undefinable crime
Fashion drinkers, homeless drunks, boggle your mind
Brewpubs, food trucks, signs of the time

Who cares for things we do
If there’s little for me and nothing for you

Brewpubs and food trucks
Brewpubs and food trucks

No Last Sigh

My monitors, keyboard and mouse on my Strat mouse pad sitting happily on my desk in the new office in front of my new mod lamp.

Unlike Boabdil who, in 1492, gave his last sigh as he topped the hill and lost sight of Grenada, I neither sighed nor looked back after leaving my keys to the office building downtown and headed to the new office building with the last load on office supplies. April 1st begins a new chapter for office life in a new building.

All Clear

By late afternoon there were no clouds, no owls, no Pteradactyl, no squadrons of fighter ducks. Simply blue skies, a little snow lining the crest of the Sandias, a ragged Cormorant, a lonely crane, and a time-lapse video.

Above is a time-lapse video Tristan took of the balloons and clouds this morning. This video really shows how the winds blow in different directions at different altitudes in Albuquerque, which makes it easy to navigate hot air balloons around the Albuquerque area.

Cormorant

A little bit of snow along the top of the Sandias with the towers.

The cormorant looked ragged under its wings.

Towers in focus.

A lonesome crane flying around looking for other cranes.

On the Verizon

The hole and sono tube that will go into the hole in front of Model Shoe Shine Parlor.

A Verizon cell tower is on the horizon where a streetlight used to stand in front of Model Shoe Shine Parlor two doors west of our office in downtown Albuquerque. Contractors removed the streetlight, pulled up the bricks in the sidewalk, dug a deep hole, put a 36 inch by about 12 feet long sono tube (concrete form) into the hole with rebar and conduit for wiring, and filled the sono tube with concrete. I did not have time to go out and get photos of the sono tube filled with concrete. One worker told me it took three yards of concrete to fill the sono tube. It takes a deep foundation to support a cell tower.

Sono tube in the ground with a lot of conduit for wiring.

A peek deep into the soon tube full of rebar, wires, and conduit ready to be filled with concrete.