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.

Dumpster Burn

There was a dumpster burning when I walked to my car to head home.

The fireman aimed the water gun at the burning dumpster.

The water would not fire on the fire.

Down to a dribble. I sympathize with the poor old pumper.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the firetruck, the other firemen had hooked up a hose to a hydrant and started whizzing on the blaze.

Smoke billowed from the dumpster as the whizzing water doused the flames.

Policemen checked out the progress of the dumpster burn.

The Week: March 23rd — 29th

Last week’s daily photos found some nice surprises, especially with the kittens trying their paws at film photography.  Photo of the Day, Etc for the week of March 23rd — 29th includes:

March 23rd: The kittens, especially Spunk, get into old-fashioned film photography — http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2015/3/when-kittens-take-up-photography

March 24th: White tulips — http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2015/3/yesterday-today

March 25th: Another personal record and a happy kitty — http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2015/3/02-48-20-on-the-48th-climb

March 26th: Spunk tries paw, tooth and nail at developing film — http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2015/3/spunk-does-film

March 27th: Morning Angel — http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2015/3/angel-of-the-morning-angel

March 28th: Smoke and personal records — http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2015/3/smokin

March 29th: Spunk has positive reviews of his negatives — http://photos.tandlphotos.com/blog/2015/3/positive-notes-on-negative-development

Burning Down The Block

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I am posting my blog very late today, because I got home late from the fire. The flamenco studio on the end of our block caught on fire yesterday afternoon and it turned into a major fire that threatened the rest of the block. Patrician Design was the most immediately threatened business, and fortunately the firewall between PD and the flamenco studio held. Our offices above Gold Street Cafe got a lot of smoke, but late, after they had the fire out and the power was restored, I opened up the office for some firemen and women who brought a big fan in and blew out as much of the smoke as the could from those offices. While they were blowing smoke out of the offices upstairs, I went downstairs and got all the servers fired back up. After that, the fire marshal gave me permission to secure the office, set the alarms and go home. The photos show the progression of the fire and the last photos are of Patti of Patrician Design celebrating that her boutique didn’t burn down. The fire caused a lot of excitement and anxiety for what started out to be a rather lazy afternoon.

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Da Bruski Stare

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The rain and cool whether made Da Bruski frisky this afternoon. After taking WCW’s cigarette and arguing with him about it, he gave the photographer Da Bruski “stare challenge” better know as “mad dogs”. Before leaving Lindy’s, Da Bruski challenged poor Santa, who, in his good natured way, ignored Da Bruski and smiled for the camera with his kind, sympathetic eyes. No one was safe after that, and Da Bruski even mad dogged the poor pink Brontosaurus that stands in front of the Gizmo Store greeting people who are walking along Route 66 in downtown Albuquerque. As we made our way back to the office, Da Bruski saw his reflection in the dark glass of the Bank of New Mexico building and challenged himself — for all I know he’s still there seeing if he can get his reflection to back down.

 

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