Posts Tagged ‘Mussels’

A duck, drawn by my youngest nephew. This is the kind of quality content you support when you support Coupeville Sports

How did I get here?

There are days when I ask myself that, and many more when those around me either ask, or at least think the thought, I am sure.

If we believe my birth certificate, and the date on it — April 30, 1971 — I sit 144 days away from turning 50.

I started working, really working, before I was 10, as my dad firmly believed I should learn the family business early — window washing and carpet cleaning — while giving him the chance to pay me less than a real employee.

As in, “You’re helping the family,” so maybe, probably, don’t expect a paycheck…

I think my first “real” job, one where an employer gave a chunk of my money to the state, was when I was a dishwasher at a rest home.

Or maybe it was when I slung beans all over the back room walls at a Taco Time.

You turn on the power mixer BEFORE the blade is down in the beans one time…

I’ve had stellar jobs — most of my years in the video store biz were sublime — and ones that were less so.

Mussel harvesting was one epically stinky, four-month slice of watery horror.

And I survived not one, but two stints, separated by decades, at a local inn where, when you touched the walls, your hand started to sink into the wood.

Through it all, the one job I have held the longest, sort of, is being some version of a journalist.

My first freelance story — a game piece on an Oak Harbor vs. Shelton boys basketball game — hit the Whidbey News-Times in January, 1990.

Since then, I’ve pounded out hundreds of thousands of words, covering sports and non-sports.

I became the Sports Editor at the WNT, and stayed for two years before moving to the mussel rafts (cause, I’m an idiot), then returned to freelancing for decades.

My movie column ran 15 years, and I never missed an issue during that run.

Then, back in 2012, I said farewell to any further connection with corporate papers, and launched this blog in mid-August.

Jump forward to today and I am 15 articles away from publishing #8,000.

I also have a second blog, having returned to my movie review days — Flat Butt Film Fest – One movie, 100 words — where I already sit at 507 articles in less than four months.

My writing isn’t making me rich, that’s for certain.

I like to say, it’s not an official non-profit, I just don’t make a profit.

Which is fine, as I’ve somehow managed, often by the slimmest of margins, to survive on my writing without a “real” job to suck my time away for the past five years.

How long can this go on?

That’s really up to you, the reader.

Being obstinate, I am choosing to remain on the outside looking in, writing for myself and not for other, better-funded, publications.

It’s probably not the smartest choice. But, it is a choice, and the one I’m making.

At this point in time, as I hover ever-closer to being the guy who goes and lives in the woods away from society, it’s what works best for me.

So, Coupeville Sports and Flat Butt Film Fest will continue to be here, free to read. No pay wall, ever.

To those who have supported me financially as I type away at 2 AM, you have no idea how important you have been, and continue to be.

You are the difference between me writing these blogs from my Penn Cove duplex, and me (attempting to) write them from the back seat of my 2000 Nissan Xterra.

Your donations are the lifeblood of this irrational dream, and give me the ink — so to speak — to keep telling prairie tales.

Thank you.


To support the cause, there’s this link:



I can also be reached at:

David Svien
165 Sherman
Coupeville, WA 98239

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   Journalism, like this backboard and net, may be a bit worn, but it’s still hanging in there. (Amy King photo)

I write.

Of course, over the years, I’ve had a lot of jobs.

Fast food flunkie to dish washer, lawn care “specialist” to liquor slinger, carpet shampooer to the day care guy who got kids so wound up they didn’t take a nap for a week, my working days have been varied.

I’m still haunted by my stint harvesting mussels for a low-rent operation (so, NOT the guys currently working Penn Cove’s waters…), while my 13 years at Videoville was a true rarity — being paid to do something I would have done for free.

But, through it all, I have written.

Since moving to Whidbey midway through my senior year of high school, I have written thousands of stories in local newspapers.

Sports, a movie column which ran without missing an issue for 15 years, epic house fires which made page one, school board meetings which definitely did not, dead starfish stinkin’ up the beach.

A little bit of everything and a lot of it.

The past five years my words have lived here on the internet instead of in the pages of a newspaper.

It was, for me, the best decision I ever made with my writing.

I’m not here to trash newspapers.

They are where I started, and I still remember what it was like to see that first byline in the News-Times when I was 18, refusing to go to college and working in the press room at night and badgering Fred Obee for freelance assignments during the day.

The current group at the News-Times is a stellar collection of journalists, made up of good people who are in the job for the right reason.

The Sports Editor, Jim Waller, and the Publisher, Keven R. Graves, are two of the biggest reasons I got into journalism and have somehow managed to bounce around on the fringes of that world for almost three decades.

They, and their co-workers, are fighting the good fight, at a time when the very nature of newspapers seems to change on a daily basis.

I respect what they do, and why they do it.

Of late, I’m trying to be a little more open about my support, and a little less of a sarcastic pain in the keister.

But, I also realize, life inside a newspaper doesn’t work for me anymore, and hasn’t for a while.

When I started Coupeville Sports Aug. 12, 2012, I’m sure there were some who thought it would be a short-term affair. That I would eventually fall away like the loonies at Island Politics and similar short-term blogs.

Instead, here I am, publishing my 5,399th article, less than a month away from my five-year anniversary.

I still tick people off from time to time (simmer down, Klahowya…) but I’m less prone to poking for the sake of poking. Most days.

Coupeville Sports isn’t perfect, but it is perfect for me.

It means I can post at 2:30 AM, I can write 700 words about a JV game, I can have final say on anything and everything I write (with my readers as the final word on whether I made the right choice or not).

Do I abide by the Associated Press style book at all times? No. They’re not big fans of exclamation points, for one thing.

But while I have freedom in how I write, when I write and why I write, I still view myself as a brother in arms with my newspaper brethren.

I don’t publish smear pieces. I don’t make up stories. I fact check and use sources, and have from day one.

I may publish quicker and more prolifically than most newspapers, but I don’t shortcut to get there.

If you choose to lump me in with the patently fake “news stories” which mushroom all over social media, you do me a disservice.

While I use Facebook and Twitter to promote links to my work, the same as newspaper do, those links exist to send readers to where I actually publish — on my blog.

Journalism has had to adapt in an ever-changing world.

In 1989, there was one way to be a journalist. In 2017, there are many.

Some writers choose to stay within the framework of a conventional newspaper. Some don’t.

We are not enemies. We are on the same journey, just taking different routes.

I respect those still in the trenches at newspapers. Their commitment to the cause is worthy of praise.

I hope the feeling is mutual.

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It's a big, wild world of mascots out there. It's time to think beyond Wolves.

It’s a big, wild world of mascots out there. It’s time to think beyond Wolves.

We are the Wolves, but so one is everyone else.

Coupeville High School shares a mascot with at least six other Washington state high schools, including one rival we face a lot.

That’s Sequim, the school which produced current CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

But if Coupeville were to play Black Hills, Eastlake, Muckleshoot Tribal, South Kitsap or Wapato, it would offer an equal amount of confusion.

And that’s not to mention our former Cascade Conference rival, the Cedarcrest Red Wolves, or the schools — Goldendale, Heritage, Jackson, Morton-White Pass and Tekoa-Rosalia — which celebrate Timberwolves.

Frankly, it’s time to mix things up.

The closest real wolf pack as of June 2016 is halfway across the state, with the vast majority of wolves camped out in upper Eastern Washington these days.

We have no real connection to the animal here on Whidbey, and that’s never going to change, barring a wild and illogical plan being hatched to relocate a pack to Deception Pass State Park to weed out the weaker tourists.

It’s just a mascot we have for no particular reason (much like Oak Harbor’s Wildcats and South Whidbey’s Falcons) and it lumps us into a large gray mass in the middle.

Now would be a great time to change mascots, build a new brand, sell a lot of merchandise and catch everyone’s attention.

How, you ask?

By actually hailing our heritage or surroundings and doing so in a fun manner that would get people talking (and t-shirts flying out the door).

By being unique.

Let’s break from the pack (nudge, nudge…) and join the likes of the Davenport Gorillas, the Quincy Jackrabbits, the Ridgefield Spudders or the Northwest Yeshiva 613s.

And yes, that last one is real. The school is offering a shout-out to the number of commandments in the Torah.

While calling ourselves the Coupeville Head-Loppers (in tribute to Isaac Ebey’s final encounter with the natives) would probably be frowned upon, imagine if we were the Coupeville Clams (Killer Clams?), Sea Captains or Mussels.

For one thing, the new student chant “We are the mighty, mighty Mussels” practically writes itself.

Heck, there are enough cows (“Bow Down to Cow Town”) and Raccoons (“Rabies, Rabies, You’re all Gettin’ Rabies”) in our town that both make more sense than Wolves.

Or, pay tribute to the Puget Sound mosquito fleets (“The Coupeville Mosquitoes drained the life blood out of the Cowboys”).

Choose creatively — don’t wuss out like Port Townsend did when they replaced Redskins with RedHawks, passing on Riptides and Sasquatch — then craft a memorable logo.

No one outside of our immediate fan base is buying Coupeville Wolves merchandise.

The Coupeville Cows, with a cartoon heifer doing the Heisman pose, or the Coupeville Killer Clams (with a saucy cartoon mollusk striking an Arnold Schwarzenegger pose?

We’re talking Biloxi Shuckers or Hartford Yard Goats style money for days.

Translation: 17 random guys in Michigan who couldn’t tell you where Washington state was on a map suddenly all want to wear your gear.

We’re sitting on a financial windfall here, and we just need someone in power brave enough to stand up and say, “I have seen the future … and it’s full of mighty, mighty Mussels, baby!!”

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