Mariner High 35th Reunion Update

August 20th, 2011

I’ve been absent from posting on this blog for a long time — just too many things to do!  But it’s time to turn my attention back to the Mariner High Class of 1976 again, and so let’s get first things first:

the 35th anniversary Class reunion?  It ain’t gonna happen.

now, the 36th reunion?  Distinct possibility!

If you’re already on the mailing list, you know this already.  But if you’ve been googling up “Mariner 35th Reunion” and stumbled across this site, then the next few lines are pretty important.

- nobody stepped forward to organize a 35th reunion, so it just didn’t happen.

- With some encouragement from classmates, I have decided to start the planning process for a 36th reunion sometime in spring/summer  2012.   The first step is collecting input from people who are in the class!

- to that end, it would be very helpful if you could take our survey — it should take less than 5 minutes of your time, and will help the organizers immensely.   Here’s the link:

- if you are NOT already on my mailing list, I strongly encourage you to provide your contact information (at least name and e-mail) when you take the survey.  You’ll be added to the notification list for our class.

I will try to post updates on the reunion more frequently this fall and winter, especially as the weather gets too lousy for other activities.  Check back here from time to time — we should have a date and location announced before Thanksgiving 2011.

Hello, it’s me…

November 9th, 2010

“Think of me
You know that I’d be with you if I could
I’ll come around to see you once in a while
Or if I ever need a reason to smile”

Todd Rundgren
“Hello it’s me”

I’m back!

For those who didn’t realize I had been gone (which includes most of my Facebook friends, who never really had the luxury of a vacation from my ranting) let me recap some pertinent events:

  • last spring, after a few years of maintaining this blog as a means of giving the Mariner High Class of 1976 a waypoint on the Internet – a place to find one another, or at least something to keep from getting all the Google hits when you search “Mariner Class of 1976” – I took a bit of a hiatus this summer.
  • I spent the summer discovering that I have a love of portraiture, taking pictures of roller derby, people with tattoos, and rock bands.   Sometimes all at once.   (for those who are interested in seeing some of my portraits, including some of our own classmates, here’s a sample:
  • Oh, and I spent a short bit of the ensuing months hanging 500 feet above 5th Avenue in Downtown Seattle from a rope.   Yeah, don’t think I’m doing THAT again anytime soon.

But it’s November – and the hits on my blog are leading me to believe that interest in a 35th reunion is starting to pick up.  More on that later this week, I promise.

For now, I wanted to make my first blog post of the season about something that I care about deeply: music.

Though I cannot carry a tune, keep time with the music, or sing in public — I can’t remember a time when music WASN’T important to me.

So it’s not too surprising, perhaps, that I have a large collection of songs in my head (fortunately, backed up on my iPod, as my head is no longer the reliable container it once was) that I can instantly pull lyrics from, that tie me to places, events, and most especially people, from my past.

Indeed, memories stick to these songs like lint to a pocketful of gummy bears.

So, without further adieu, and in no particular order (save the last one), I give you 14 songs that bring to mind 14 people.   Where I can, I’ve included links to Facebook profiles.   I’m sure we all have a list like this in our heads.  I’d love to hear from you all about what songs are tied to people we all knew…

1.       Suite: Judy Blue Eyes/Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Judi Hallenbeck). I’ve already written about this one in a previous blog post.   Judi and I spent a LOT of time together in senior year, partly because we worked on the yearbook together, partly because she dated my best friend.   I cannot possibly hear this song without thinking about yearbook deadlines, driving to Trout Lake in the dark and seeing the northern lights, and Judi’s infectious laugh, which I miss dearly.    Now that I think about it, I may need to take a trip to Houston sometime soon…

2.       The Boys are Back in Town/Thin Lizzy (Keith Knol). OK, there are a number of guys I knew in high school, who had cars cooler than mine (actually, pretty much everybody who had a car had one cooler than my 1965 Ford Falcon).   But of the people I spent time hanging out with, Keith’s 1965 Ford Mustang, Navy Blue, with a 289 V-8, was the coolest.  For some reason, this song evokes an image of us sitting outside of Woodway Bowling Lanes, late at night, waiting for the police to finish questioning Keith about the tape deck that someone stole from his car.

Maybe it evokes that memory because Keith and I just laughed about it a few hours earlier this evening on the phone; maybe we laughed about it 35 years after the fact because the song is always on the classic rock stations.

As always cause and effect are not as easy to untangle as we’d like.

3.       Willie and the Poor Boys/Creedence Clearwater Revival (Les White). A whole gang of us grew up on the fishbone pattern of dead-end roads that jutted off from Upper Ridge Road:  myself, Ozie Greene, Brad Meacham, Sue Stefanini, Darli Lund, Kim Turnipseed (well, OK, Kim and Darli actually lived ON Upper Ridge) to name but a few.   We all rode to school on Bus #38, and one thing you could always count on even as early as elementary school, was that when Les White got on the bus at 73rd street, he’d be singing a song.  Often, a Creedence Clearwater song.    As faithful followers of this blog already know, Les (who goes by his full name, Lesley, these days) has gone on to record and tour professionally, but I can say that “I knew him when.”   Actually, I guess we all can.

4.       Stranglehold/Ted Nugent (Brad Meacham). Oh man.   There are SOOOOO many songs that bring Brad, and his 1964(?) Impala  to mind..half of the Aerosmith catalog, ZZ Top, David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” album….we spent huge amounts of time riding around in Brad’s car, and the tape deck was playing most of the time.   It was like a classic rock station, before any of the songs had become classic.   But this song by Ted Nugent is the one I’ve chosen to stand in for my friend Brad,( who should call me sometime).

5.       Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter/Herman’s Hermits (Darli Lund). Darli and I grew up just a couple of blocks from one another, and candidly, by the time we got to high school, our groups of friends and interests were different enough that we didn’t spend a lot of time interacting with one another.   But (and her version of this story will differ from mine, I am sure), in second or third grade, I remember her chasing me around the playground a few times.    Oddly, this song didn’t come out ‘til we were in fourth grade – but she must have made an impression on me because this song still reminds me of Darli every time I hear it.

And yes, I know: her name was “Lund” not “Brown” – but they were both monosyllabic, and it didn’t take a lyrical genius to figure out that you could do the substitution without breaking the meter of the song….

6.       Going up the Country/Canned Heat (Dave Cernich). The first time I realized that some of us were destined to be the cool ones, and the rest of us – myself included – well, not so much, was in Junior High, at Olympic View.  In the locker room, Cernich would do a dead-nuts perfect imitation of Bob Hite (lead singer for Canned Heat)’s vocals in the locker room after P.E. class.

I always wished I could be that cool.  I still do.

7.       Waiting for the End of the World/Elvis Costello (Dave Austin).   I bought my second car – a black 1968 Plymouth Fury I that, remarkably, once topped 100 mph without falling apart – from Dave for $150.   Any sense of “coolness” that I had in high school was probably just residual cool that transferred to me by osmosis from him, or from Ozie.   But what I really remember best about Dave is that he had – still has – incredible “radar” for good music (Bat for Lashes notwithstanding, Dave).   Dave introduced me to the music of Elvis Costello during Costello’s first US tour – I have since gone on to see Costello in concert 9 more times, and anxiously await the next show now that he’s got a new album out.   The first album, which featured songs like “Alison” and “Watching the Detectives” had great songs on it – but it is this song, among them all, that reminds me of Dave’s subversive streak and brings him to mind every time I hear it.

8.       Good King Richard/Steely Dan (Gary Campbell). Remember Gary?  Something of a class clown, but also, as it turns out, the school’s music critic on the Natsilane staff.  Since I, too, worked on the paper with him, we spent a lot of time hanging out in Room 209 and the adjacent darkroom/graphic arts lab, and I remember very clearly sitting in the photography room discussing this album as he was writing the review (which I actually still have, in my only surviving copy of the Natsilane).

9.       Cinnamon Girl/Neil Young (Randy Zimmerman). OK, yeah, I had a crush on Randy during our senior year. It was pretty embarrassing.  Especially for her.   But we survived it and I hope she doesn’t hate me for mentioning it here.   Anyone who remembers Randy, or has a senior yearbook at hand to look up the color pictures of our homecoming queen,  will have no problem figuring out why a song titled “Cinnamon Girl” would bring her to mind.

Plus, it’s got a kick-ass guitar lick at the very end.

10.   Strawberry Letter #23/Brothers Johnson (Ozie Greene). Ozie and his family lived 3 houses up the street from us on 78th St SW, and because he had a pool table, lots of food, and a cute older sister,  we hung out there a lot.  We listened to a lot of rock (the first time I ever heard Nilsson’s “Jump into the Fire” was  one evening at Ozie’s and I am still haunted by that song every time I hear it) and a lot of R&B that I might not have heard otherwise, until much later.   While there are any number of songs I could and do associate with Ozie, this one, from 1977, is the one that most evokes my good friend’s face – usually singing along with the song, trying to look smooth but basically being a dork.

11.   Lola/Kinks (Kevin Kurtz/Mark Schwemm). Lots of Kinks songs out there, but this is probably the iconic one for those of us growing up in the 70’s.   I saw the Kinks live a few times at the Paramount, and remember seeing Kurtz and Schwemm there and thinking they looked a little surprised to see a math nerd at a Kinks concert.

12.   Living in the Past/Jethro Tull (Arlene Bopp). Poor Arlene.   A sweet, shy young lady destined to have a nerdy photographer harboring a terrible crush on her, through most of high school.   But at least the flute section of the band was always well represented in the yearbook!   Of course, there are lots of Jethro Tull songs that feature flute, and there are  lots of their songs that I like better than this one.  But perhaps because “Living in the Past” actually made it onto the charts (and the radio) this is the one that reminds me of her.

That, and the entire Johnny Rivers “Changes” album.  I wanted to be deep.   The fact that that album  seemed “deep” to me just goes to prove that I never succeeded.  But I still love it.

13.   All Along the Watchtower/Bob Dylan (Dave Dickson). Dylan.  Dickson.  Do I need to say any more?

No.   I didn’t think so.

14.   South City Midnight Lady/Doobie Brothers (Laura Stephens). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s not only my old crushes and high school buddies that are linked inextricably to certain songs.  In a lifetime together (33 years so far!) Laura has dozens of songs that are stuck to her like auditory Velcro.   Including, I might mention, most of Al Green’s mid-70’s recordings (hubba hubba!).   But this song instantly takes me back to our first apartment on Casino Road, and even after all these years, warms my heart every time I hear it.

I gotta say….some of you were just adorable!

February 12th, 2010

Well, that was your mother
And that was your father
Before you was born dude
When life was great
You are the burden of my generation
I sure do love you
But let’s get that straight

That was Your Mother
Paul Simon

I was going to write a nice little essay this week for y’all — but then in my inbox this morning I found these great pictures from Rich Sherlock, who dug through his relics and sent these scans of class photos from Olivia Park — the missing classes.

I may still get to the essay, but that remains to be seen.   The spirit is willing but the flesh is 51 years old and feeling it tonight.

I did an awful job on identifying names on most of these — feel free to send me any corrections and/or additions.

As always, I welcome any photos you want to send me — however, I may not always be able to turn them around immediately since the coming weeks are going to be busy, travel-wise (I am going to Washington D.C. Feb 28-March 4, Phoenix March 17-18, Washington D.C. again March 31-April 2, and probably to Golden, CO sometime in March as well….and those are just the trips I know about!)

Oh, and we have a couple of new additions to our list this week:  Billie [Alf] Clark and Danny (now Dan) McNutt have joined us — welcome!   And thanks to my goat-herder friend in Stanwood (you know who you are) for doing a little recruitment.   If any of  you know of  others from our class who  might be interested in joining us, please pass this along and invite them to contact me.  So far,  I have (by most accounts) remained, in the words of Douglas Adams, “mostly harmless”
As always with these posts, if you click on the photo, you’ll be taken to my Flickr site, where a larger res version resides.

Your ever-rambling font of useless information,
Scott Butner (
Mariner High Class of 1976

ever wake up one day, and realize that something’s got to give?

February 1st, 2010

“If you gotta play at garden parties
I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang
I’d rather drive a truck”

Garden Party
Ricky Nelson

I’ve heard tell that at our age, self-examination is a common thing.

And I’m not talking about prodding around, looking for lumps.  Unless you’re talking about the psychic kind.

No, more like re-examining my priorities, and how I want to spend my time remaining on this earth.

So, at the age of 51, with one full time job and another part time obsession, a grandchild on the way, and juggling at least  three different volunteer projects, I did what so many of my age cohorts are doing these days, and  took stock of my life the other day.

Not quite a mid-life crisis.  Not hardly — for one thing, I consider myself well past the mid-point.

I didn’t buy a Corvette. Though I did suggest to my brother that I ought to borrow his for a week or three.

I didn’t dye my hair (why bother?  my hair is the one thing that doesn’t seem to be aging that much!)

But I did look myself in the mirror, and declared:

SOMETHING’s got to change!”

So, realizing that I was hopelessly overloaded, I did what any normal middle aged guy would do:

I signed up for a college course and decided to go back to school.


It’s a distance learning course, leading towards a certificate in “Green Design” — something I’ve lectured at at various universities across the country for the past 15 years — but figured it would be fun to see how others are viewing it.

So far, getting back in the swing of doing homework is NOT easy.   Then again, I was never exactly a disciplined student….

All this is a roundabout way of making excuses for not spending a lot of time writing a good tale to tell with this latest batch of photos, which comes from my very own photo archive, along with a contribution from Michelle [Waggoner] Williams.  The photos follow below, and I must apologize for my incomplete naming of people in the pictures — anybody who can add to the ID’s is welcome to send me more info.

As always,  if you click on the photos, you can download the larger version.

I should also mention that I invite any of you who have class photos to share — I’m happy to post them to the blog.   The more info you can send about who, when and where — the better.

So here’s the first — Olivia Park, Mrs. Henderson’s class, 2nd grade 1966

Ms. Ness, 4th grade, 1968.  I remember that Ms. Ness had a complete fixation on the state of Hawaii, and had the bad judgement to force 4th grade boys to learn to dance the hula.  To this day, Hawaii is the ONLY state in the union that I have not visited, and I hold her responsible….

Mr. Anderson, 6th grade, 1970.

And from Michelle, a 7th grade (homeroom?) class photo, from Olympic View:

I hope that you guys are finding these as entertaining to receive, as I am to send them out.   It’s amazing how quickly some of the names come to mind, and how others lurk just at the edge of memory…..

Why Kim [Koplitz] Summers is my hero

January 29th, 2010

“I get the news I need on the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.”

Simon and Garfunkle
“The Only Living Boy in New York”

Have you listened to that song recently?   Have you ever stopped to appreciate just how much like an angel that Paul Simon sounds as he sings the words “fly-y-y down to Mexico?”

Amazing how a song can blaze a neural pathway directly from your eardrums to your tear ducts.

And as it turns out, I am getting all the news I need from the weather report this week — between the need to drive across the mountain passes early in the week, to the Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, watching the weather has consumed about all of the time I can budget for news this week!   Life continues to be busier than I’ve anticipated — welcome news in a slow economy, to be sure.

Which is why Kim is my hero this week.

See, back in November, Kim sent me a boatload of class photos from Fairmount Elementary School, capturing our classmates each year from 1964 through 1970.  Someone — Kim, or maybe her mom? — had the foresight to write people’s names on most of the photos, so she also included names of most of our classmates.

Between a busy schedule, a severe case of CRS (”Can’t Remember Shit”) syndrome, and a propensity to procrastinate, I’ve sat on this treasure trove for several months — not out of lack of appreciation, Kim, believe me! But this evening, as I contemplated doing my homework assignment for the distance learning course I’m currently taking from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, I fell victim to one of the important truths of my life:

“when there’s something important to be done, everything else becomes very interesting”

And so, I did a little straightening, a little photoshopping of dust spots,  and some copying and pasting of Kim’s notes on who’s who and am happy to be able to share, thanks to Kim’s hard work, the following photos.  Some of the naming of students is incomplete, so if anybody wants to fill in some blanks, I’m all ears….

Note: you can click on any of these photos to get a larger version.

Who’s in this picture?

January 14th, 2010

Some are bound for happiness,
some are bound to glory
Some are bound to live with less,
who can tell your story?”

Neil Young
See the Sky About to Rain

OK, so I have been sifting through old pictures lately, trying to locate some slides that I took of the original Seattle Sounders playing in Soccer Bowl 1977, against Pele and the Cosmos.   The pictures are going to be up on the Sounders web site soon, if any of you are fans of the new team — and it looks like I’ll be doing some action photos for the team during the upcoming season.

Talk about a flashback!   But it will be a respite from some of my recent photo projects, which you’ll hear more about in the near future.

In the process of digging through these ancient photos I ran across the following photo of the seniors from the 1976 MHS Varsity Football team — and was looking for some help in verifying identities.

So I will send a $10 Starbucks gift card to the first person who sends me an email which correctly identifies, in sequence, all of the individuals in this photo.

(a larger version is available, for those of us with middle aged eyes, on my flickr site — here:  )

Or you can just click on the photo.

You’re welcome to use the yearbook as a mental crutch if you want.  I will admit — not sure if this is a good thing, or a pitiful waste of brain cells — that I was able to name 15 of the 19 without even pausing to think about it, but ran into trouble after that.   I can even tell you stories about most of these guys….some of which just might be true.

In that spirit — a second $10 Starbucks card will be sent to the person who sends me the most entertaining, touching, or humorous story that somehow ties back to this picture, or the people in it.  However, in order to get the prize, you’ll have to agree to let me share your story with everybody else, so if it’s not true, it should at least be a shared delusion.

it was the 70’s.  I think there were a lot of those back then.

back here in the — what ARE we calling this new decade, anyway?  — well, back here in the 21st Century, we may not yet have the jet packs and hover cars we were promised, but we are nonetheless living through interesting times.   And in the “interesting times” category for this mailing, I’ll note that we’ve had a few new people join us — Alise [Fliger] Schmitt; Bethel [Davidson] Hart;  Kim [Koplitz] Summers, and Kathy [Beams] Hinderman.  I’m also “closing in” on a few others, who I’m able to get word to indirectly without actually having them on the list.

Whatever works.

I have lost track of a few people I once had working e-mails for, so if you know how to reach Steward Woods, Scott Larson, or Venecom Griffin please drop me a line, or ask them to contact me directly.   I’d like to update their information on my list.  

I am thrilled to report that there are lots of things happening that DON’T involve my blog site, so if I were to vanish from the face of the earth tomorrow (always a risk with us aliens) there are plenty of other things happening to keep our class in touch.  One of the best is the “Mariner 1970’s Band page” on Facebook — don’t know who put it together, but they did a nice job.   You can visit even if you don’t belong to Facebook:

The new year promises to be an eventful one — lots of new challenges at work and with my photography, and of course I will become a grandfather for the first time this June.   But I am cognizant of the fact that planning for a 35th reunion will also need to begin this year (albeit probably not ’til October), and hope to increase the frequency (and information content) of my posts to you folks in anticipation of that planning.   Trying to help get you in the mood, so to speak.

So expect more posts and more requests for y’all to get involved — stories you tell are the best of all.

Forget the Whales: Save the Date!!!

August 8th, 2009

“I had nothing to do on this hot afternoon
But to settle down and write you a line
Ive been meaning to phone you but from minnesota
Hell its been a very long time
You wear it well
A little old fashioned but thats all right”

You Wear it Well
Rod Stewart (before he sucked)

Point of disclosure:  relatively speaking it’s not hot at all at the moment.  For that matter, I’m not writing you from Minnesota, either, but from the dusty, sometimes boring paradise that is eastern Washington in the summertime.

But nonetheless, that’s a fine song to start out a long overdue email to our class with, don’t you think?   Back in the days before Rod sold his soul to the Grammys, not many bands could evoke nostalgia the way Rod Stewart and the Faces could.


But to quote Elvis Costello:  “Let’s talk about the future now we’ve put the past away.”

(at least, momentarily)

FIRST AND FOREMOST:   As some of you on Facebook already know:   I am currently gaging interest in a Mariner High Class of 1976 alumni event — not a reunion, per se, but just an informal opportunity to come together and share some laughs and memories.   Details are still in development, but I can tell you the date:  Sunday, September 27.   If you have suggestions for a venue, or any other suggestions for how to have a fun little get together — or even want to host it — please drop me a line.  Several of our classmates have had similar little get togethers, facilitated by the Internet, and all seem to have had a good time.

I can’t promise you a good time, but I’m thinking it’s a safe bet.

SO: if  you’re interested in any remote manner in helping to pull together a little fall weekend get together — I’m thinking by late September it might still be nice enough to have a picnic at Forest Park? — please drop me a line.  I’ll be on the road for much of late August, but will start planning in earnest come September 1.

By the way, I’ve been playing around with studio portraiture again for the first time in about 30 years — and if there’s sufficient interest will be taking portraits of everyone who shows up so we can post them to the blog.  Here’s some of the work I did for our local Starbucks (   I promise to make you look 20 lbs lighter and 10 years younger — all that, and free for everyone who shows up — who could turn THAT down? 

Speaking of the Internet in general, and Facebook in particular:  the velvet revolution takeover of Facebook by our generation continues unabated — our kids and even grandkids are fleeing the site in droves, certain that the internet isn’t big enough for the two generations to co-exist on the same site.  Which is fine — us middle aged folks clearly have more time to take silly quizzes and play “Mafia Wars” — I’m sure that’s what Tim Berners Lee had in mind all along, when he “invented” the web.

A benefit of this mass migration of middle aged minions to Facebook is that it has become easier than ever to track down our missing classmates, and in recent weeks we’ve added a few more folks to the rank and file of the officially found:

- Diane [Reed] Vorhees
- Sheila [Kennedy] Barker
- Allen Hatchell
- Tammy [Wilde] Irelan
- Kim [Turnupseed] Thompson

And possibly a few others that I’m overlooking — I am clearly going to have to start recording the date that I first put each person on the mailing list because with 103 names on it at present, I can’t keep it all in my head anymore.

What else is new?  Well:

- two of our more far-flung classmates are considering moves back to the great Northwest.  In each case, they may have finalized those choices in time to show up for whatever event we have on Sept 27.  More details will be provided in the near future….for now, keep your fingers crossed.
- I’ll be chairing an IEEE workshop on Social Intelligence in Vancouver, BC on August 31 — and potentially another one in Chengdu, China in mid-December.  Funny to think that my interest in social networks was largely kindled by efforts to track down old classmates!  Now, it’s a significant part of some of my research activities, so I definitely owe y’all a thanks for giving me good incentive to explore a technically fascinating area of computer science…..
- a few of you have offered to open up your hearts to become my first interviews for the Class of 1976 blog (  Some day soon, I’ll have enough time to take you up on those kind offers.
- it’s been a huge amount of fun to watch old friends find each other on Facebook — and it’s interesting to see how little attention is paid to the old cliques and categories.  I must tell you all, that in comparison to my wife’s class (Everett High, class of 1977), our group of folks seems to be far more egalitarian.
- My youngest son is getting married in two weeks.  I know that has nothing to do with the Class of 1976, but sometimes you gotta pay the piper, even if it’s only to tolerate his diversions.

that’s about it for now, folks.  I’ve got to go to a retirement party for a long-time mentor of mine, so had best leave the computer alone ’til later tonight.

But because it’s been a while since I nagged, please remember to review our class mailing list, and if I’ve misspelled your name, let me know.  Some of you folks — you know who you are — have added several last names in the past couple of decades, so keep me honest on that, too!

And if you know of someone who is NOT on the list, but is in your life…encourage them to drop me a line asking to be added.  I’ll be happy to put them on the mailing list, and will continue to balance their privacy with their desire to stay in touch, to the best of my ability.

Your self-appointed ninja of networking,
Scott Butner
MHS Class of 1976
Richland, WA

If you know anybody from the class of 1974….

May 9th, 2009

you may want to pass along this info about their upcoming 35th reunion:

August 29, 2007

Afternoon/evening casual potluck reunion

For more information, contact Cheryl Wunschel (Banta)

living in the cloud

April 21st, 2009

“A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard”

“You can call me Al”
Paul Simon

so lately,  the big idea among the nerds I hang out with at work has been the concept of “cloud computing.”  This is the idea — not new, really, but starting to gain some momentum (and moving from vaporware to real applications) that data (and increasingly, processes to act upon the data) serves us best when it exists, not in one place, but smeared out over many machines, distributed across the net, accessible from anywhere….Google is a good example of computing in the cloud. You cannot point to any one server where Google’s document index “exists” — it’s spread out massively — which is why it works so well.
Of course, cloud computing is a more complex concept than I’ve expressed here — computer geeks feel like they aren’t earning their keep if they keep things simple — but at it’s core it’s a fairly simple idea, and a very powerful one.  Thanks to pioneers in cloud computing like, the average person soon will have access — or already does, in some cases — to computing horsepower that was unimaginable in the hands of anyone but superpower governments not that long ago.  Thanks to cloud storage of data, our class list was not lost when my home server crashed a few months ago — because I happen to store a copy of our mailing list “in the cloud” as well, just in case something like that happens.
I’m not usually well prepared.  Chalk it up to a Boy Scout moment, I guess.
So what’s cloud computing got to do with anything?  Well, probably not much.  But humor me…
Anyway, yesterday I attended a fun little “neighborhood reunion” — a gathering of a bunch of us who, as kids, grew up ina neighborhood off of Upper Ridge Road in south Everett WA, back in the 1970’s. (the linked map, btw, is only about half of the kids — I just don’t have addresses for the remainder). The neighborhood back then was much more rural than it is today — “sub-rural” I guess you’d call it because it was in the suburbs but bordered on undeveloped land that has since become the Boeing 747 plant and the surrounding industrial ecosystem.
I mentioned this group of people — a surprising number of whom were in the Class of 1976 — in a post on this blog a few weeks back in case this is starting to sound familiar.
by the way: here they are:

from left:  Dick Nichols (Class of ‘76); Gemma Bell (Class of ‘77); Bill Butner (Class of ‘78);
Brad Meacham (Class of ‘76); Kellee Snyder-Saunders (Class of ‘77); Les White (Class of ‘76)

Most of us hadn’t seen one another for 30 years or more, but growing up, we saw each other daily, hanging out at the bus stops together, playing pick-up games of soccer or football in Apker’s field (across from Darli Lund’s house, btw) all summer, riding our bikes through the woods, playing hide-n-seek in the dark ’til 11 p.m., then playing penny-ante poker ’til dawn. We stood up at one another’s weddings, graduated from high school together (not necessarily in that order), had lives that were tightly connected.
Sometimes we got in fights.
You get over it.  30 years will do that.
This shared history was certainly no surprise — we had a rare opportunity as kids to grow up in a neighborhood where most of us moved into our homes in elementary school, and stayed in the same place for the next 10 or 12 years.
A few of our number STILL live in the old neighborhood, in houses that once belonged to our parents.

But there were surprises to be had:  As we recounted stories and searched our middle-aged memories for names and places and dates, it was striking to realize how much of “self” is not stored in our minds, but smeared out across all those we know –  maybe especially so those who we grew up with, were close to. The mere mention of a name, the recollection of an incident as small as the tossing of a snowball, would quickly lead to a whole flood of long-forgotten associations, of things we had forgotten about ourselves, but that others had held on to.

I’d say it was magical, if I believed in magic.

Oh hell, it was magic, even if I don’t believe.

And it was interesting to see how much of who we are is NOT self-defined, not really:  for all the “me generation” talk of self actualization, of defining one’s own reality — in some ways, it seems to me that who we are doesn’t belong exclusively to us.
Rather, it’s smeared out in the cloud –little pieces tucked away in dozens of memories and lives we’ve touched — constantly being processed, being selectively remembered, reshaped, and reprocessed into something that’s really a lot larger than our own selfish notions of who we are….

Maybe this is where the concept of  karma comes from, of the golden rule….of doing unto others….ideas that reflect our essential interdependence on one another.
Not just interdependence for sustenance, or well-being — but for preserving our very identities — our memories of who we are, who we were.
Almost makes the idea of holding on to those memories of old friends seem like a moral imperative, doesn’t it?
Well, pardon the rant — I am not a particularly deep thinker — as those of you who ARE have figured out long ago.  Just passing along some random thoughts that ran through my mind as I drove home from giving a lecture at the UW this morning, on a wondeful, sunny Seattle day.

Deconstruct them as you wish.
In other, miscellaneous news:
- I had a very enjoyable coffee break with Shawn Hicks a couple of weeks ago — he was kind enough to meet me in downtown Seattle as I was on my way to a meeting.  We probably talked more in two hours than we did in 4 years of high school, but it was surprising how easy it is to strike up a conversation with someone who you share so many common links with.  By the way, Shawn sent me a very special gift following our meeting.  Thanks, Shawn.
- Added several people to the mailing list, including Trula [Hagedorn] Cha,  Donna [Lacy] Lemmon, Sherryl Gene’ Conklin-Holeman (who may win the contest for the longest last name in our class), Terry McStott, Darli Lund and Marion Sogn.
- A REMINDER:  Mariner High Alumni Association Dinner and Auction to benefit the Alumni Association scholarships for MHS students is Friday, May 8.  If you plan on attending, please drop me a line — trying to get a fix on how many people from our class plan on attending.

- A NAG:  if you’re aware of anyone who would like to be added to this list, please have them contact me.  We’re up to nearly 100 people from the Class of 1976 now — double what we had prior to the 30th reunion in 2006.  Most of that is thanks to you guys, ratting out….er, suggesting to your friends that they join the list.

I’m heading to San Francisco May 2-7 for the National Environmental Partnership Summit, so if any of you are living down in the Bay area, and would like to get together, drop me a line.   Will be in the Rosslyn VA/Washington D.C. area May 24-25, so likewise if you live in the D.C. area.

until next time,

Scott “Insomnia is my middle Name” Butner
MHS Class of 1976
living/working in Richland WA

Anonymous Option for Mailing List

March 28th, 2009

By request of several of you on this mailing list, I am adding a new option for belonging to the MHS Class of 1976 mailing list.

From here on out, you may request to subscribe to the list anonymously.
What this means is  that you will continue to get announcements and late night rambles from yours truly (what would you guys read if I wasn’t an insomniac, anyway?  Viagra ads?), but your name will NOT be listed on the MHS Class of 1976 “found” list or mentioned in any blog posts.

I will continue the practice of periodically sending out the names of the people on this list, because I think it’s a useful tool for keeping my data quality intact.
But you may now request that your name be left off that list, while still being able to get the newsletters.

This is not a huge change in policy, and won’t affect most of you.  As you know, I have always maintained a policy of not sharing e-mail addresses with anybody, in order to protect privacy of  those who subscribe.  This change in policy simply provides an additional level of privacy.

So, if you wish to change  your status to “Anonymous,”  simply drop me an e-mail letting me know that.
Otherwise, because I need to have SOMETHING to write about, I will assume that you don’t mind being mentioned on occasion, unless you tell me otherwise.

As an aside, I am actually hoping that this will encourage a few more people to come out of the woodwork.

Carry on….

Ode to Upper Ridge Road

March 24th, 2009

“The problem with the youth of today’ is that one is no longer part of it.
Salvador Dali

So for the last couple of years, a big part of my job is to think about how ideas connect to one another.  More specifically — how do we teach computers to move beyond treating ideas as mere strings of characters, to treating them as statements about the objects and relationships we see in the world?  How do we teach computers to understand relationships — between people, organizations, and places?  How do we teach computers to reason about the meaning of words — things we take for granted with every act of communication?

Much of this work has focused even more specifically on the basic question of “How can we ‘connect the dots’?” — whether those connections are between scientific observation and theory, between the smokestack on the horizon and that nagging cough you’ve had; or (more recently) between violent intent and action.

To me, they are all interesting “dots,” and finding the connections between them is what makes going to work each day worthwhile.
Given that background, I guess it was inevitable that I’d find fascination in the Nexus application in Facebook.  Nexus allows you to generate a diagram of your social network, showing the connections between the people who you know on Facebook.

Here’s what my graph looks like.  You can click on the picture to get a version with added annotations to depict different parts of my life — the upper right are friends from my extended professional network in the environmental community; the bottom right are my office co-workers and fellow research scientists at the Lab; over in the lower left are two different sets of online fly fishing buddies — one made up mostly of Washington State fishermen (most of whom I’ve taken fishing at one time or another), the other made up of people scattered across three continents and 30+ states, guaranteeing me a warm couch to stay on and a boat to float in no matter where I might want to fish.

In the middle, appropriately enough, are my family members — wife, sons, siblings, cousins, etc.

Linking them to the upper left is my brother, Bill (MHS Class of 1978).

The map of Facebook friendships looks a little like a star map, don’t you think — like the ones in one of my favorite books from my youth, H.A. Rey’s “The Stars,” from which I learned enough of the constellations to be able to find my way through the sky at night.

“Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me”

Everybody is a Star
Sly and the Family Stone

And in the upper left, occupying their own little constellation of memories, are you guys.  The folks I went to school with.

Here’s a close-up of that particular constellation (you can click on it to get a larger view):

Some bright stars, indeed.

Now, point the telescope in the direction of any one of these stars, and you’ll find a whole solar system of memories circling around it.

Indulge in this act of celestial re-creation for too long, though, and time and space can begin to lose their definition….kind of evocative of Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory.”

“The difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad.”
Salvador Dali

I love this painting, by the way.  So much so, I even have a necktie depicting it.

A real classy tie, needless to say — reserved for the handful of times in my career when I’ve been able to work Dali into one of my lectures.

A quick aside:  if you think that working Dali into a lecture on finding terrorists doesn’t takes some verbal contortions, give it a try sometime…if only my body were still as  flexible as my gift for bullshit, I’d look like one of Dali’s watches.

Anyway, I digress.  The topic of this post was SUPPOSED to be my childhood friends from Upper Ridge Road.

So look back at the constellation above, with your names on it.  Down in the lower right, connected to my brother Bill, you’ll see a handful of folks that I share a special link with — Linda Stefanini, Les White, Richard (Dick, back then) Nichols….

These are some of the Facebook contingent of the Upper Ridge Road gang.  These are the kids I grew up with.  There were many others — some of whom haven’t really gone online much — but we’ll talk about them momentarily.  First, a little geography lesson.
Upper Ridge Road, in case you haven’t been home for a while, marked the northern part of the eastern boundary of the Mukilteo School District.  In the old days, Upper Ridge ran pretty much due north from Casino Road to Glennwood, which rumbled with the sound of Associated Sand and Gravel trucks all the way down to Mukilteo Boulevard.  That was before the Boeing Freeway cut off Upper Ridge from Casino, and before Associated dug their way through the northern end of Upper Ridge.

The curse of living on a terminal moraine.
As its name suggests, Upper Ridge Road runs along a high ridge, falling off towards Evergreen way on the east side, and into what was then an extensive wooded area on the west.  Each morning the kids in the neighborhood would dutifully trudge up their gravel roads to where they intersected Upper Ridge, where we’d wait for the bus.  I loved the walk to the bus stop, because as I passed Ozie’s house on the right, Sue Stefanini’s on the left, I could look ahead and see the sun coming up over the Cascades, look behind me and see the clouds resting on the Olympics.   What I wouldn’t give for a view like that today.

From the air, Upper Ridge probably looked a little like a fish bone, with little dead-end spur roads running off in either direction (but mostly to the west) from the ridge.  When my parents moved to 78th Pl SW in 1965, I’m sure they felt like they were moving into the wilderness (especially my mom, who had grown up in Manhattan and only left New York City 8 years earlier).  And sure enough, we saw deer, and coyotes, and even a bear (once) in those woods (and sometimes, our yards) over the years.  Much later, when I was about 15, I would follow Merrill and Ring Creek — just a line on the map for much of it’s length — through the abandoned gravel pits and fenced-in back yards, all the way down to salt water, where I emerged from the woods — muddy and nettle-stung and dehydrated, but feeling like Lewis and Clark on reaching the Pacific — just south of where Glennwood intersects the Boulevard.

But this post is not in tribute to Upper Ridge Road, the place — but to the people.  Because lately a bunch of us have been talking about holding a sort of mini-reunion, a get together to celebrate and look back upon the ties that link us all together.

And since there was a whole bunch of us who grew up together through elementary school, junior high, and high school together, there are lots of memories, and lots of ties.

  • like riding around with Ozie Greene and Brad Meacham in Brad’s old Impala, listening to Aerosmith’s “Big 10 Inch (record)” and Thin Lizzie’s “The Boys are Back in Town” — over and over and over again.
  • like riding the bus to Olivia Park (Bus #38, with Busdriver Judy) with Les White in the back singing Creedence Clearwater songs.
  • like being chased through the playground by Darlise Lund in second grade, simultaneously fearing that she might catch me (she claimed she wanted to kiss me!) and hoping she wouldn’t stop chasing.
  • like playing all-night long poker games at Ozie’s house, listening to Al Green records on the stereo and talking about girls.  Maybe that association — between Al Green records and girls — is why the good Reverend Green would supply so much of the soundtrack to my wife and I’s courtship…?
  • playing football down at Apker’s field, across from Darli’s house, and hoping that the Bennett sisters or the Stefanini’s would show up –  because, at some point in our youth, we discovered that it was always more fun to get tackled — or even just chased –  by a girl
  • like riding bikes out in the woods with Dick Nichols and the rest of the guys in the neighborhood.
  • or subverting our chemistry sets to make fireworks over at Doug King’s (Class of 72) house, across the street from John and Janet Jaeger and the Bucholz family.
  • or (and I hope this doesn’t embarrass anyone other than myself), riding the after school activity bus and hoping that Arlene Bopp would be riding it home from band practice — I harbored a horrible, multi-year crush on poor Arlene (who lived on the part of Upper Ridge cut off from the rest by the Boeing Freeway) through all of junior high and most of high school, and never had the nerve to talk to her.  Looking back, I’m sure that crush kept me out of a lot of other entanglements, for which I’m retrospectively grateful.

If I’ve overlooked anybody — like the Alinen brothers, or Kim Turnupseed, or Gemma Bell, or the Whismans….it’s only out of consideration of how far along I’ve already rambled.  And there’s a whole group of folks from the Class of 1976 — Eric Goodrich, Jerry Scheffler, Chuck Foutch — who were in that same basic neighborhood, just a short bike ride away.

These people, and many more, impart a very personal resonance to the words of Herb Caen, a long-time columnist in the San Francisco area:  “I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.”

As I’ve heard from so many of you, many of the friendships that have lasted over the decades have been the ones that began in the neighborhood — even though “the neighborhood” may have been nothing more than a bus route, or a shared refuge in the woods somewhere…

And for an information junkie like myself, who spends more time looking at computer monitors than at the sky these days, it’s fascinating to watch the constellations emerge from out of that past — like light from distant suns.

So keep on shining.  Out there, somewhere, someone is enjoying the view.

Congratulations Dave Dickson on the 2A State Championship!

March 18th, 2009

From the Bellingham Herald comes this story about MHS Class of 1976 Alumni Dave Dickson’s success in coaching the Squalicum High School Storm basketball team to the 2A state championship this past weekend!  Dave’s team beat Burlington-Edison (my dad’s alma mater, at least during his junior year when he was suspended from Bellingham High School for brawling) 60-49 in the championship, and finished the season with a “respectable” 26-1 record.
Last year, the team beat Seattle Prep to finish 3rd in the 3A Division.
Dave has been a very successful teacher at Squalicum, as I reported earlier.

I’d heard rumors though, that he was washed up.  All wet.

The photo from the Herald clarifies those rumors:

By the way, the Herald did an outstanding job of covering the game — their photos made this former yearbook photographer jealous.  Several good shots of Dave in the mix, so check out their online gallery!

Congratulations, Dave.

News from Keith Lawler

March 16th, 2009

From out of Port Angeles comes an e-mail from Keith Lawler, who usually sends me pictures of the salmon, steelhead, deer and elk he’s captured for his apparently well-stocked freezer.

This time, the photos he sent looked more like they were taken IN the freezer, or at least a close facsimile — i.e., the WSU campus in December.

(actually, having made many visits to WSU in the winter — they call upon us UW alumni to help mentor their students so they don’t go TOO far wrong…. ;) — I can tell you that Pullman is often COLDER than my freezer is.  But that’s besides the point).
Like many of our classmates, Keith is full of Cougar Pride.

And now, so is his son, Kurt, who graduated from WSU in December with a degree in Civil Engineering.  After a pretty spectacular looking trip to Chile (if the pictures Keith sent are any indication), Kurt’s out doing the job search thing.

Congratulations to Keith and his wife on the milestone — and of course to Kurt.

Wade Nelson

March 10th, 2009

Got a nice e-mail from Wade Nelson today, the most recent of our classmates to sign up on the mailing list.  Wade offers up the following update on his life since graduation:

I’m currently living in the Denver area (Centennial, CO) working for Lockheed Martin on the Space Based InfraRed System (SBIRS).  Married 20 years with two kids, daughter 18, and son 14.  Love to  hike (especially 14ers), golf, ski, board, and bike ride.  I have lived in Colorado for the last 13 years and before that California, Guam, and Seychelles after leaving Washington in July 1976.

He also included a recent picture of his family — he didn’t specifically say so, but I’m guessing that Wade is the one in the yellow shirt.

As always, I am always ready — no, eager — to pass along any gossip, brags, news, or general news about the lives of our classmates — so if you have news to share, make sure you let  me know that it’s for the entire group.

Could these guys be the cure for the common cold?

March 10th, 2009

So, if research out of Carnegie-Mellon University has anything to say about it, it could be that renewing old friendships might keep the cold away???

A paper by Cohen, et al (”Social Integration and Health:  The Case of the Common Cold”) suggests that those who had few social roles were nearly twice as likely to contract a cold as those who had a high degree of social role diversity.  (

Look — there’s an actual bar graph.  So it must be science, and therefore true!

So maybe occasionally expanding your social role diversity by renewing acquaintances with old friends can keep you healthy?

If so (and the scientist part of me feels compelled to insert the disclaimer “it’s a BIG if”), then the picture below shows a little preventative medicine at work.

From left:  Dave Van Beek, Ozie Greene, Richard Nichols, Jerry Scheffler,
and some fat dude who wouldn’t get out of the picture…..

In case you don’t recognize anybody in the picture, or any of  the names, this is a statistically skewed sampling of the Mariner High class of 1976, seen at a recent “mini-reunion” (appropriate for a school that had mini-term, don’t you think?) at the Everett Mall Starbucks on March 3, 2009.  Notably absent are approx. 80 other members of our class who are on the mailing list, but weren’t able to attend.

(though, truth be told, if everybody had shown up I think we’d have had a problem fitting them into Starbucks)

A date has not yet been set for the next of our informal get togethers — but I am open to suggestions, and perfectly willing to announce similar events organized by others.

Now, if only diversity of social roles could stop male pattern baldness…..

Think spring!

What were you listening to in 1976?

February 25th, 2009

I have always loved music.  Not playing it.  I have no ability to hum, sing, keep a steady beat, or play an instrument.

I can barely play the radio in tune.
No, my love of music has always been more confined to the act of collecting it and listening to it.  My iPod, for instance, has some 6,000 song titles on it.  To give you some idea — if I started playing my Elvis Costello song list when I pulled out of my driveway, I could drive to San Diego, 1,200 miles away, before I got to the end of the list.

Hell, I have 10 different cover versions of the Bee Gee’s classic “To Love Somebody” including a kick-ass reggae version by Busty Brown, and 90’s-era almost emo version by Blue Rodeo.

And though it’s harder to keep up with music now that my kids are grown, I’m happy to report that my obsession with music isn’t limited to songs from “back in the day.”  Yeah, I’ve got the Grateful Dead — but I’ve also got Deathcab for Cutie.  The Beatles may have hung out with Ravi Shankar, but they disbanded before Anoushka, Ravi’s stunning and musically gifted daughter (and half-sister of Norah Jones), was even born.

I’ve got all three of them on my iPod.
But I’ll admit — many of my favorite songs are those we grew up with.  Which is why I got a kick out of a web site that a friend forwarded to me recently.  The site,  The #1 Song on This Date In History, was built by another music buff, Josh Hosler, and is based on the Billboard rock/pop charts and includes song titles dating back as far as the 1890’s (well before our time, even!) through the current day.   Though my friend forwarded it with the intent of looking up what had been #1 on the day he was born, I actually find it more interesting to look at what we were listening to in those years between ages 12-16, which according to author Daniel Levitin, is a particularly important stage in terms of imprinting the music that will stick with us for our lifetime.

Stevie Wonder, captured live at the Seattle Center Arena, sometime around
1974.  His warm-up act was Rufus, featuring Chaka Kahn. 

Levitin’s book “This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession” is a great read, by the way — a little tough at times for people, like myself, who don’t understand simple musical concepts like rythm, pitch, melody…but still well worth the read.  Levitin is a former music producer (having worked for bands including Pink Floyd and Steely Dan) who went back to college, got a PhD in psychology, and now does research on how the brain processes music.

The result is a fascinating account of what the brain “expects” from music, why we react to it the way we do, and why some sounds appear musical to us, while others just sound like….well, disco.

What he fails to explain are the larger mysteries that science may never solve, such as “how did ‘Convoy’ make it to the top of the Charts in January 1976?” or “With thousands of songs to choose from, why does the classic rock station play ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ every time I tune in?” or “what was the deal with disco, anyway — was it JUST the drugs, or is there some other explanation?”

Which brings me back to the original topic:  check out Hosler’s site.  It’s fun to see what was playing during our high school years.

And if you have any musical memories to share, feel free to add them to this post!

I hate to say I told you so

February 7th, 2009

[DISCLAIMER:  This is another of my usual fractal e-mails, which means that it will take a long time to get to the point, assuming it ever does.
If you just want to skip to the point, scan down the page 'til you reach [THE BOTTOM LINE]]

Anyway, as I began to say:  “I hate to say ‘I told you so…’”

But really, who am I kidding?  I LOVE to say “I told you so!”

In fact, anytime you hear someone preface their remark with the phrase, “I hate to say I told you so….” there are two things you know for certain:

1) the next word out of their mouth will be “…but…”
2) if they really hated to say “I told you so” — they wouldn’t.

Of course, there are always exceptions that prove the rule.   For example, the words may ring at least a little true in the wake of those sort of foretold disasters — the kind that start out with someone saying “Here — hold my beer” and end up with somebody I know being featured on “America’s Funniest Videos” or (more likely) one of those “Seconds from Disaster” reality shows where the saving grace of the video clips that they show is that hardly anybody got killed.

In those cases, I actually DO hate to say, “I told you so.”

But I must admit that, prophecies of imminent personal catastrophe notwithstanding, I love to say “I told you so” because it’s a significant part of my daily job.

See, I’ve been lucky enough over the past 25 years to have the coolest job I could imagine.  Basically, I get paid to ask interesting questions.  Sometimes, I don’t even have to come up with the answers — just the questions.

I’ll never get rich at this job, but I also will never get bored.   And every once in a while, I get to say “I told you so!”

Case in point:  In 1995, I helped to organize a conference that was marketed (a bit hyperbolically perhaps) as “The First International Conference on Environment and the Internet.”

Hey.  One of our speakers was from Canada.  That counts as “international,” doesn’t it?

We held the conference in Seattle, and by most accounts it was a success, albeit a modest one.  We had about 100 people from academia, government, environmental non-profits and industry together to talk about innovative uses of the still-blossoming World Wide Web, in accomplishing environmental missions.

As you may recall, the Internet was still pretty new stuff for most people in 1995.  There were an estimated 16 million people online worldwide — less than 1/2 of 1% of the population.  Today, the number is estimated at 1.4 BILLION, approximately 20% of the world population (more than 74% of people in North America).  The Java language had just been released, Netscape was still the standard browser for most people, you rarely, if ever saw a URL on television or in magazine ads.  The Stanford University research project that eventually spawned Google was still a year away.

So the relevance of the Internet to solving REAL environmental problems wasn’t exactly apparent.   Nonetheless, yours truly begged and bullied his way onto the conference program as one of the keynote speakers. 

(Actually, I rarely bully anyone –  but it sounds more macho than to admit that it was mostly begging, and I’m all about being macho.)

Of course, it was easy to be a keynote speaker back then:  in 1995, relatively few people had spent much time thinking about things like “how will this internet thing affect the environmental business?”

So anyone with an opinion on the subject was basically as close to an expert as we could find.

In any event, Paul Hawkens’ book “The Ecology of Commerce” was hot stuff at the time, and I had been intrigued for a few years by the ecological metaphor, so I gave a talk called “The Ecology of the Internet:  What Nature Tells Us About How the Internet Will Evolve”

It wasn’t a particularly memorable talk, to be honest.  But it wasn’t awful, either.  I had a cute Calvin and Hobbes cartoon as part of my slides.  How can you go wrong with Calvin and Hobbes?

More substantively, in this presentation,  I made five predictions.  I can’t remember all of them today, but two stand out in my mind:

- using the example of symbiotic relationships in nature, I predicted that we’d see the evolution of the web equivalents of mimicry (which we know today as “phishing”) and parasitism (arguably, pop-up ads).

OK, so that was pretty much a gimme.  Though remember — Javascript hadn’t even been invented yet, so these phenomena were still a few years in the future.

- for the second prediction, not necessarily tied to any natural phenomena, I told the audience that it was my belief that in the future, we’d see communities of interest supplanting communities of place.  Meaning, that we would increasingly define and surround ourselves, not by  people who had a shared geography — but instead by people who believed as we did, cared about the same things we did, shared the same history as we did.

Today, that doesn’t seem like much of a prediction.  Back then, I must say that it wasn’t exactly taken for granted.

So what does this have to do with the length of mini-term, or the fact that all those times that Mr. Gilles told us about his childhood in Steptoe Butte, he was talking about a real place (I’ve been there!)?

Precisely this:  I told you so.

OK, not YOU, in any literal sense.  To the best of my knowledge, the rest of the MHS Class of 1976 had better things to do that day.  And who can blame you?

But, figuratively speaking, I told you so.

And to some extent, this prediction has played out as I suspected it would.  For more and more of us, our lives ARE being increasingly defined, not by the neighborhood we live in, but by the online communities we are involved in.  Social Networking sites have evolved from gathering spots for nerdy computer addicts (”geek temples” if you will), to part of the everyday routine for a lot of us (more or less) normal folk.

How do I know this?  Well, for one, I see a lot of you on Facebook these days (more about this in a moment).  And unless you’re a hermit, living in the mountains somewhere (don’t laugh — I know a few, including at least one from our class), if you’re not in an online community of some sort, you probably will be, sooner or later.

Currently there are at least 17 of our classmates on Facebook.  Last year, I think it was about 2.

Now I am lucky enough to get e-mails from a lot of you — it’s one of the ways I pay myself for spending part of my free time hunting down people I haven’t talked to in 30+ years — and I know that for most of us, where we went to high school is a vanishingly small part of who we are today.   We’ve got lives — jobs, hobbies, and families  that keep us plenty busy.

But in these tough economic times, it doesn’t hurt to stay connected.  I’ve heard from a few of our classmates that have been affected by the downturn in the economy of late, and it’s led me to think about how much those old ties are worth.

In my case, for instance — I may not be willing to give a job to someone who I knew 30 years ago,  solely on the basis of that old connection — but I am a lot more likely to look at their resume, out of curiosity if nothing else.

And this is not a purely hypothetical statement:  our Laboratory, which works on a variety of research related to homeland security, environment, energy and fundamental science, currently has more than 100 open positions.  Seems like it’s hard to get people to move out here to the sagebrush and tumbleweeds of eastern Washington — as I’ve always said:  “it’s a great place to live, but I wouldn’t want to visit there…”

most of our positions are for people with heavy nerd factors — computer programmers, energy policy analysts, chemists, biologists…but also people who are in communications, contract administration, and all the other support positions that a national research laboratory employing 4,100 people requires.

Likewise, though bright spots are few and far between in the current economy, they ARE out there.  I know of at least one of our classmates who is a top level manager for a high tech company that is still hiring.

So staying connected with people who shared their formative years with you can be a good way to survive the rough spots.

Just sayin’.

Which brings me to the bottom line.


With the advent of social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, I find myself increasingly feeling like an unnecessary middle man.

Mind you, I ENJOY tracking people down, getting them on the list, and keeping them in touch — but there are new tools that allow people to do a lot of that without my help.

I’ve already mentioned a couple of note:  Facebook, and LinkedIn.  I’ve seen relatively few people from MHS on LinkedIn (, but it’s primarily a business networking site, so a lot of people don’t identify their high school affiliation.

Facebook ( started out 5 years ago, primarily as a site for college kids — but as my growing friends list underscores, it’s gotten a lot grayer in the years since.  It even has a Mariner High School Alumni group, and a growing network of MHS Class of 1976 alumni.  Heck, I even carry out real business on it sometimes, including collaborating on research proposals.

You know it’s days are numbered when fat, boring research scientists start using the site for more than just checking up on their kids who are off at college.

So, in light of this phenomena — while I plan to continue to maintain a mailing list for future reunions for as long as you folks  will put up with me, I would also like to encourage you to think about joining one of these social network sites if you’d like to get back in touch with your old classmates.    IF you do join Facebook, please drop me a line, or a friend request, and/or join the MHS Alumni group (search Groups for “Mariner”) so we can find each other and I can update my little mailing list with your facebook status.

With regards to this mailing list:  a couple of recent developments:

- Kristi [Holtgeerts] Rosenberger has graciously agreed to serve as my back-up custodian for the online mailing list.  This was done as an “insurance measure” in case I got hit by a bus or something.   Getting hit by a bus is not in my immediate plans, but I rest a little easier knowing that at least ONE of my responsibilities will be taken care of should it happen.

- Thanks in large part to your help, I’ve added a number of names to the mailing list for our class since I last published it in December 2008.  Eleven new people, in fact, if my count is correct — bringing the list to a total of 81, quite a bit better than the 50 we had just prior to the 30th reunion in 2006.

Keep up the good work.   By the time 2011 rolls around, we might just get a majority of class members.

Those of you who have been on this list for a while know the drill:  please review our class mailing list, make sure your name is spelled correctly (or spelled at all — my recordkeeping is far from immaculate).  If you see a notable omission of someone who you think might want to be on this list, but who isn’t — please forward this e-mail to them or otherwise have them contact me at  I’ll add them as promptly as I can.

Annual Christmas Letter Post — Mine and Yours

December 25th, 2008

The past few years I’ve been offering to post links to people’s Christmas letters (or you can leave a comment, and post your own!).

Just a simple way to keep people up to date with lives of others (who they haven’t seen in 30 years).

I’ll start, as usual, with a link to mine:

Take care, and Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!


MHS All Classes Camp-out

August 27th, 2008

In a decision that has been been more eagerly awaited than the outcomes of either major party’s “veep-stakes” — the crowning achievement of extensive focus group sessions,  telephone surveys and  longitudinal demographic studies (not to mention extensive reading of tea leaves), it has been decided:

The Mariner High School All Classes Campout — aka “Old Farts Weekend” — will be held at the Big Pines Campground, located near milepost 9 of State Route 821, also known as “Canyon Road.”  Big Pines is a Bureau of Land Management campground approximately 16 miles southeast of Ellensburg, WA.

This is a marginally improved campground, with very nice new concrete-walled pit toilets, fire pits, paved roads, and ample tent sites — no power, no RV pads, no running water except the Yakima River, which runs alongside the campground but would probably kill you if you drank it.

Still, it supports a nice strain of super-trout which have hardened themselves against the farm run-off, and the whole scene is very — well, scenic.  In mid-October, expect to see many, many bighorn sheep, some of them practicing the unique mating rituals of their species (”hey, baby — what are ewe doing?”).

Ah, but you want to know the DETAILS, right?  Like, what is planned?  Who will be coming to this grand affair?  What will it cost?  Who is — ahem — “organizing” it?

OK — in order, here are the answers:

1) Like, what is planned?  Nothing is planned.  Show up, and invent your own reality.  I can provide you with reasonable assurance that there will be firewood, friendly people, family-friendly environment, and at least a couple of your age cohorts from that big white concrete block that served as your home away from home for four (give or take a couple) years.  Bring some food, bring some drink — and bring a bit of extra to share.  If we each adhere to this, the rest will take care of itself.

2) Who will be coming to this affair?  Whoever you invite.  So take it upon yourself to invite the one person you’d most like to sit around a campfire with for an evening.  And then invite one more, because….well, you know.  Sometimes you gotta have a “plan B”  I will say that I’m focusing my efforts on folks who graduated in the 1970’s, because I don’t want to feel TOO old….

3) What will it cost?  Nothing.  The $5 camping fee for Big Pines is suspended from Sept 15 – May 15, so you’ll be using public land at taxpayer’s expense.   You’l have to buy gas to get there, but I understand the prime rate might be dropping soon, so maybe you can get good financing.

4) Who is – ahem — “organizing” it?  Think about this for a second.  I’m suggesting it, but I don’t “do” organization.  This is ad-hoc city, baby.  Living on the edge!

This is, as has been mentioned in previous posts, a spin-off from our recent annual oldfarts fishing trips.  Fishing may still occur — catch and release only in the Yakima Canyon, by the way — and I’m happy to provide some tips for visiting anglers.  But the primary focus will be on a nice night under the stars, huddled around a camp fire, eating camp food and looking around innocently when you fart.

Timeless stuff, that.

I will post occasional updates at this location, so please send the URL for this page to your MHS friends.  If you’d like to advertise the fact that you are planning to attend, post a comment on the MHS Class of 1976 Blog site entry for this event (i.e., this post!).

Hope to see you there.

So how are you spending YOUR summer vacation?

July 29th, 2008


Laura and I just got back from a combined business/pleasure trip to eastern Idaho and NW Montana, where we ALMOST (but not quite) had a chance to visit Lynne Haley (MHS 1977) and drove past Keith Knol’s neighborhood along the way. I especially enjoyed photographing the Craters of the Moon National Monument (pictured), and fly fishing on the famed Harriman Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River.

(for the record, I landed three trout, and lost two that were well over 20 inches).

More pictures, here:

So, how are YOU spending your break? Post a comment and tell us!

Note: due to spambot comments, I need to moderate all comments. This means that there could be a delay of 1-2 days between you posting the comment, and it showing up on the site. Sorry about that, but if I didn’t do this we’d have nothing but porn ads and Viagra commercials on this site!

Mariner Alumni Association Plans Second Annual Auction and Dinner

February 20th, 2008

The Mariner Alumni Association is planning the 2nd Annual Dinner and Auction for Friday, May 2, 2008 at The Manor, which is located at 13032 Admiralty Way, Everett.  The Dinner will be held from 6-10 p.m. and all alumni and their friends/guests are invited.

More information can be found on the Alumni Association web site, or by e-mailing to John Lengenfelder at

If you plan to attend, it would be nice if you’d add a comment to this blog entry, so that others from the Class of 1976 can keep an eye peeled for you.  Last year, a few of us from the Class of ‘76 were in attendance, and it seemed like everyone had a good time.
The proceeds of the auction are used to fund scholarships and related activities of the MHSAA.  Please plan on attending and supporting this worthwhile event!


Additional evidence of my creeping insanity…

January 20th, 2008

For the second year in a row, I decided to suspend common sense even more than usual, and participate in the Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Washington Special Olympics. Each year, approximately 100 of us from around the Tri-Cities jump into the January waters of the Columbia River in Kennewick, then swim or dog paddle our way back to shore in search of a warm towel and a hot cocoa.

Last year I did my first plunge, and raised nearly $1,700 for Special Olympics. I also found out that it’s a lot of fun.
So this year, the big day dawned, foggy and cold (27 F) but not bitterly so. Still, not a day you’d normally hope to jump in the river.

Laura and I went out for our usual Saturday morning routine down at the bagel shop — I read the local paper over breakfast of an “everything” bagel for me, toasted with smoked salmon cream cheese, Laura reads whatever book she’s working on while nibbling on a raisin bagel. We did so with a bit more urgency than usual, since I had some errands to run before heading down to registration at 10:30 a.m.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

By the time we got to the park, the fog had burned off, and the thermometer read 37 degrees F (where it pretty much topped out for the day). The sun broke through a high overcast and I felt almost like I was getting away with something, especially knowing that it was probably colder in Atlanta than up here at 46 degrees N latitude!

Here’s the scene we found when we arrived:

This year, I jumped as part of a team — “Team Battelle,” made up of co-workers from the Laboratory. We gathered in the sidelines during the preliminary festivities, and I tried to reassure them that this would all be a lot of fun.

Thereby assuring that I’ll have even less credibility around the office than I do already.

In our region, the Plunge is co-sponsored by Law Enforcement agencies, so they are out in various forms and functions, both as polar bears and to keep the polar bears safe:

Some of them even did a little impromtu line dance in the water. Got to get that blood moving!

As the time neared, I always have a brief moment where I wonder WTF I have gotten myself into. This is what that looks like:

At around 11:50, they announced the costume contest. I didn’t wear a costume this year, but this guy did:

Then, around noon, Santa paid for his elaborate costume by being the first to jump — er, get pushed, into the water:

The next group in was, I think, local law enforcement (the badge taped to the guy’s chest is a clue).

The guy getting carried in is the chief of police, if memory serves me…

The little girl on daddy’s back is our youngest polar bear cub — only 4 years old. Don’t worry — ALL of us felt like she looks for a few minutes. You get over it quickly.

Finally, it was time for Team Battelle to jump in. Somehow, I always get stuck at the deep end of the dock, even though I’m a poor (slow) swimmer.

I wasn’t about to take the Nikon into the water (besides, my son Sean was very capably using it to take these pics) but I did bring along a disposable waterproof camera:

which afforded me a view from the dock:

finally, the count down came: 3 – 2 – 1….

Remember I told you that we ALL looked like someone had taken our candy away?

Proud to say, though, that I still had the presence of mind to stop when my feet found bottom, and take a picture. But I’m a slow swimmer so it’s mostly of butts:

But by the time I got my feet on dry ground, it was all smiles!

All in all, our group raised more than $4,000 — not bad for a bunch of nerds!
That’ll keep you warm.

The endorphin rush was every bit as good as I remembered from last year. What a great time! And the timing was perfect — 4 hours later, the rain started, the wind kicked up….and of course the sun went down. In fact, here’s what the morning looked like on Sunday:

What a difference a day makes!

Thanks again to all who donated. Remember that the fundraising site remains active until mid-February. So you can still donate if you want to!

January 2008 Update

January 2nd, 2008

Well, the holidays are over with. My kids will be heading back to college soon. I’m back at work. Might as well get the blog updated!

Just a few updates on things:

I’ve gotten holiday letters or news from one or two of you, and promised to pass these along. So here you go:

  • John Webber’s holiday blog from Munich. Interesting stuff — would you believe that John recently finished his first half-marathon? John will be visiting the US in May 2008, by the way, and we are discussing the possibility of some sort of get together for his friends at that time, since he doesn’t make it back to the US all that often.
  • Daneen Dustin has published a novel! Here’s what Daneen has to say about that:

    “…the title is Secret of the Covenant and the ISBN is 978-0-9783483-5-9 *smile* It is available at Barnes and Noble,, Borders Online, Ingram, Bakers and Taylor etc…. I do have some available if anyone would like one that has my signature *smile* I have been so excited about this book and now another author from Canada and I are working on a sequel to it. That one will be called Highland’s History. You can give my email address for anyone who would like to get ahold of me for a copy of Secret of the Covenant *smile* I am donating 10 percent of the profits to the Ronald MacDonald House. My daughter’s son was a couple of months premature and while he was in the Neonatal Intensive care unit, my daughter stayed at the Ronald MacDonald House. We are SO grateful to them for that and I was amazed at just how much they help the families of loved ones who are in the hospital.

  • Sharon (Verg) Johnson reports that she has, at age 50, obtained her Master’s degree. Here’s what she has to say about that:

    “I finally, after so many years, have completed my MBA and will be accepting a blank peice of paper to symbolize the diploma granted for that acheivement. After all fees are covered they will send me the “real” deal.

    Of course there will be the obligatory photo opportunity with Secretary Donna Shalala who is now the President of the University of Miami. Available for purchase at a nominal charge – of course.

    I am excited to have hit the milestone. BS at 35, MBA at 50, at this rate I’ll be 65 before I get my PhD…”

    I had to remind Sharon that she’ll still get her PhD before I do….

  • Steve Conlon sent a brief update, and asked me to share it:
    • “…If you are doing a Class of 76 holiday update, here is a picture of my family at my oldest son’s HS graduation in June 2007. He is now a freshman at University of California Santa Cruz, major undecided with an emphasis in surfing and lacrosse. My younger son (the one that looks a lot like I did at Mariner) is a HS freshman (surfing and lacrosse as well), and my daughter is a 6th grader (playing clarinet in band, just like the old man, but she is a swim-teamer and not a golfer). My wife Vicki and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary next year. See what happens when you paddle up to a surfer girl and start up a conversation!”

    • I have, as usual, put a family Christmas letter online on another corner of this bizzare collection of stuff that is If you’re interested in meeting my family, or seeing lots of pictures of people fishing — well, that would be the place to do so!
    • As I announced late last year, a reunion planning committee meeting was held at Zippy’s in Everett, on December 14, 2007. Despite some no-shows and last minute schedule conflicts (one of the perils of planning something like this during the holidays), a few intrepid souls showed up — specifically Kevin Hayes (who was also very involved in the planning of the 30th reunion) and Chris Huddleson. My son, Ryan, also sat in on the meeting, as did Zippy the Dalmation.
    • Chris is teaching in the Edmonds School District these days, and plans on being at the next reunion. I’ve included a photo (below), demonstrating yet again that you can dress me up, but can’t make me pretty.
    • Basically, it’s too early to do any serious planning for the 35th reunion, but we all agreed that developing the mailing list was a priority. Chris came up with the idea to post the list of people we DO know about, which I’ve now done.
    • I should note: we will try this again once or twice per year — but will avoid trying to do something close to Christmas, as people’s schedules are simply too busy. Several people expressed an interest in attending but couldn’t due to family obligations. Live and learn.

    Mariner High School Class of 1976 35th Reunion Planning

    That’s about it for now, boys and girls. Expect to hear back from me sometime around late April 2008, with an announcement of another informal “planning committee” meeting (as always, just an excuse to get old friends together). We’re kinda-sorta-maybe thinking of something in the second week of May, to coincide with John Webber’s visit to the US.
    And as always, if you have anything you wish to share with your former classmates from Mariner High, feel free to send stuff to me to pass along via this blog.

    take care of yourselves….

    Scott Butner
    Deputy rabble-rouser and improbable cheerleader
    MHS Class of 1976

Reunion Planning for 35th Reunion — December 18, 2007

November 29th, 2007

First of all, if you are attention-limited, here’s what you need to know:

WHAT:  MHS Class of 1976 35th Reunion Planning Committee Meeting
WHERE:  Zippy’s Internet Cafe, 1804 Hewitt Ave, Everett, WA
WHEN:  6:30 – 8:00 p.m., Friday December 14, 2007
WHY:  If you have to ask, then keep reading….

For those of you who are foolhearty enough to brave an e-mail I’ve written in one of my manic spells, read on.

I don’t know where this will take us either, so it’s as much a surprise to me as to you.   And adventure, if you will.


As one who has been transplanted to the dry, dusty side of the Cascades for most of the past 24 years, I don’t find myself in Everett very often, especially in the winter.  Blame it on a self-preservation instinct that makes me dislike slipping across I-90 in a car that barely reaches the top of the wheels of most semi-trucks.

I wrote about that instinct in a different context, here:

But a series of personal errands and fatherly responsibilities (to wit:  picking up my son from the UW for Christmas break)
has me coming to the wet side on Friday, December 14.

So, faced with the need to drive up to Everett to deal with some family business, I thought I would take the opportunity to hold what I hope will become a periodic occurrence for the next couple of years: a “planning committee” meeting for anyone interested in helping with the 35th reunion of the Mariner High School class of 1976, tentatively planned for summer 2011.

“Now wait jest a gal-darned minute!,” you might be saying to yourself.  “2011 is still 4 years away!  What’s this crazy-assed feller think he’s doing?”

Or at least you might say that, if you talked like a miner in an old black and white western.

We’re old enough now, that might be a distinct possibility.

But here’s my rationale (sans miner dialect):

- by all accounts, the 30th reunion was a great success.  A smashing succes, even.  For those who attended.
- unfortunately, due to my less-than-wonderful planning skills and marginal social networking skills, “those who attended” represented a measly 16% of the 320 or so folks who graduated with us.
- my current mailing list – which you are apparently a member of, since you’re reading this e-mail — comprises some 100 people; this is better than we had in 2006 but still a mere 1/3 of our class.
- while we need spend little time worrying about the logistics of an event that won’t take place for another 3 1/2 years (after all, by then we may all be sending our robotic avatars in our steads, necessitating a meeting facility with ample battery recharging stations in lieu of a wet bar) it doesn’t hurt to begin working on the mailing list.
- besides, it’s an easy excuse to have an informal gathering for those interested.

Now, I am not very familiar with places to meet/things to do in the greater (can I use that term in describing Everett?) Everett/Mukilteo metroplex.  But because my rare visits to the city have often brought me to one particular location, I’ll toss out the suggestion that we could meet at Zippy’s Internet Cafe, 1804 Hewitt Ave, Everett.  This is immediately next door to my sister’s apartment, but since few of you know my sister, a more fitting landmark might be the Everett Events Center, which is 1 block east.

Zippys is a little gem, in my opinion, offering good coffee, better sandwiches, and a nice artsy-fartsy setting.  Since I have recently re-engaged the artsy-fartsy side of my brain, that’s appealing.  To me anyway.

However, I can be persuaded otherwise — I suspect that given the season and the fact that at least a third of the people on this list live even further from Everett than I do (241 miles, for those numerically fixated among us), just a handful will show up.  So if anyone who plans to show up has a better idea, please let me know.

Now, because Zippy’s is not a large place,  it would be appreciated if any of you who think you MIGHT attend, would drop me a note.  That way, if we appear to be exceeding a head count that would fit in Zippy’s comfy but cozy setting, we can find an alternate venue.

If you do elect to come by, please come prepared to help add some names, phone #’s, e-mails, or other contact info to our master list of Class of 1976 alumni.  I’ll be bringing the list to the meeting.

Whether you attend or not, I hope all of you have a __________________ (insert seasonal greeting of choice here).  And a happy 2008.

I’ll try not to bug you again for another 6 months or so.

BTW, it’s Christmas letter time again for a lot of us. If you have a desire (compulsion?) to share snapshots of your kids, grandkids, latest toys, adventures, or that ugly cyst that the doctors removed last month, drop me a line and I’ll put them on the MHS Class of 1976 Blog site, which, believe it or not, still exists and still gets hits from week to week.

That site, you may recall, is   I’ll try to post something new on it in the next few weeks.

I’ll also post pictures of the committee meeting on the 14th, assuming anyone other than I shows up.

Scott Butner (
Self-annointed Chief Instigator, Mariner High School Class of 1976
1319 Stevens Drive
Richland, WA  99354

MHS Alumni Association Homecoming Tailgate Event — Oct 12, 2007

October 10th, 2007

This announcement from the Mariner High Alumni Association:

It’s time again to support your Mariner Marauders during their Homecoming events. Let’s get together and support the Royal court and rally the team!Tailgate Party is on October 12, 2007 and starts at 5:15PM with game at 7:00pm. The Alumni Association is holding a raffle and selling tee/sweat shirts.

Fun article about Mike Conley

October 10th, 2007

Mike Conley sent along a copy of this profile from Dealer Principal Magazine, an auto sales trade magazine.  Seems Mike has become quite successful at arranging those big “tent events” you see some car dealers doing at malls, etc.

Look forward to putting his marketing genius to work on the 35th reunion, too!


Mariner High School Old Farts Fishing Weekend — an Annual Tradition?

October 8th, 2007

Remember our reunion last year? It was fun reconnecting to the past, wasn’t it? Maybe some of you even rediscovered something about yourself — for many of us, reunions are a way to reconnect with people who have known you since you were small, who were present while you became the person you are today. Maybe even helped to create that person.

Well, last year a few of us got together a few months after the reunion for a fishing trip — you might remember seeing something about that (if not, scroll down this page). We had so much fun that we decided to do it again this year.

And thus was born the “Mariner High School Old Farts Fishing Reunion” — what we hope will be an annual get-together for people who went to Mariner High School in the mid-70’s.

The event is small, informal, and pretty much unorganized — like the rest of my life. This year’s participants included Ozie Greene, Dave Van Beek, Keith Anderson (Class of 1977), Jim Roberts and myself. We arrived in the Yakima Canyon, traveling from points west, south, north and east to converge on the Canyon this weekend for two days of fishing, and a night around the campfire, retelling old stories and catching up to speed on the new ones.

Between the five of us, we had accumulated approximately 9 marriages, 8 kids, and maybe 200 pounds under our more expansive belts since high school. We all feel our 50th birthdays breathing down our neck. But most of us had known each other since grade school, and certainly all through high school. So that extra baggage tends to be of secondary importance, and we spent Saturday night in front of the campfire and under the stars. We told stories, exchanged gossip, showed battle scars, and just watched the fire until, one by one, we drifted off to our tents, campers and SUV’s to sleep.

Being sleep-challenged, I roamed around the campground until 2 a.m. taking pictures in the dark. See photos below.
We also came to fish — I will admit, the fishing was not terrific, but not half-bad, either — we ran into nice PMD hatches both days and a decent baetis hatch on Saturday. Both hatches seem to overlap to a large degree, and from one spot to the next it’s hard to know which will get the trout’s attention. In general, I had more luck with PMD’s in the slower, froggier water, baetis in the slightly faster (but still no more than walking speed) stuff.

Jim had never fly fished before, but he didn’t let that stop him! We had to go into town to buy him a fishing license, but he was rewarded with the largest fish to hand for the day, a fat 17 inch trout taken on an October caddis.I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Saturday we met up around 10:30 a.m. and after a little farting around, were ready to get on the river before noon.

when 5 middle aged guys try to tie on tiny little dry flies, there’s a lot of squinting going on…..

OK, I hardly ever take fish pictures, so I don’t have any photos of the few fish we did catch — but believe me, we DID catch a couple. Eventually though, we got back to camp, and settled in around the campfire….

From left around the fire: Keith Anderson (Class of 1977), Dave Van Beek, Ozie Greene, and yours truly.

we talked until the embers were low.

The best thing about getting outside the city is remembering what the sky looks like.

Jim came up Sunday morning from Yakima, and joined us around the fire before we all headed into town for breakfast.

Sunday, we went fishing again.

Late on Sunday, the clouds started coming in over the canyon walls, but we escaped before the rain hit.

Ozie and Jim share a river bank during the brief PMD hatch on Sunday.

I tried to concentrate on coaching the other guys, but did manage to cast a line from time to time. Shortly after this shot was taken, I broke off a large trout under the red bush, victim to my over-eagerness. The resulting cursing was audible in the next county.

We didn’t catch that many fish, but we saw tons of bighorn sheep in the distance, and lots of herons up close (the bighorn picture was from earlier this year, by the way).

Oh, and even though I don’t take many fish pictures, Keith Anderson does — here’s Jim’s first trout ever on a fly rod!

Planning for next year’s Old Fart Fishing Weekend will begin — well, probably next year. But if you’re interested in coming along for the camping trip or the fishing, drop me a line.


If you’re looking for the Class of 1977 reunion….

April 23rd, 2007

this ain’t it. But here’s a link to the Mariner High Class of 1977 reunion page.

There’s also a Mariner Reunion page on and a photo gallery of Mariner High Class of 1977 photos on Flickr.
I will try to keep this post on the front page for a few months (won’t be hard — I’m not exactly putting much time into this blog now that our reunion’s over) and you should feel free to add comments if you know more about the 1977 reunion.

Good luck, you youngsters.


Another Chance to Meet up with MHS Friends

March 19th, 2007

Got an e-mail the other day from Jennifer Mantooth, who taught photography at MHS during our junior/senior years there.  These days, she’s still teaching but also helped to set up the Mariner High Alumni Association.

She asked if I’d be willing to pass along the attached invitation to the Mariner Alumni Association 1st Annual Dinner and Auction.  The attached form has all the details, but the key things to remember are (1) it is being held on Saturday, May 5 in the MHS Commons; and (2) the proceeds go to scholarships for MHS students.

After checking out the organization, it seemed like a good cause, so check out the announcement, and hopefully we’ll see you there!

Yeah, I know Christmas letters are dorky…

December 26th, 2006

…and those sent via e-mail are doubly so.

Still, some of us enjoy catching up with old friends and family even if it’s only through the annual Christmas newsletter.

So if you’d like to share your holiday newsletter or greeting with your friends from the Class of 1976, feel free to add them as comments, below.

Note, due to spammers, I’ll have to approve each one before it will appear, but I’ll try to do this promptly.

merry Christmas, and I hope 2007 is a great year for you and your loved ones…

Scott Butner