Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I’m in Vegas losing a year’s worth of savings and having a great time. How did Vegas ever survive financially before Janis, Kate and I started coming every year for a girls’ week where we promise to lose every cent we bring with us on the penny slots?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:10 AM •
Monday, March 31, 2014

Anyone trying to call me after 6 PM, please be advised that I will no longer be answering my phone. Leave a message. Because if I answer every time it rings, I end up with mind numbing robo calls from politicians who annoy me enough when I read about them, let alone when I hear their voice. Or I get asked to take a “poll” which rapidly disintegrates into a thinly veiled push poll trying to insinuate that the other candidate screws swans while torturing baby birds. So leave a message and I’ll get back to you next fall when I’m willing to get near my phone again.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:26 AM •
Sunday, March 30, 2014
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AmazonSmile – Amazon has a new donation program, called AmazonSmile. Everytime you shop with Amazon using this link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/92-0130037, Amazon will donate a portion of the sales to the organization you choose. Bird TLC is an AmazonSmile organization! This program will not expire, but there is currently a special offer that will expire Monday, March 31st!
Shop at AmazonSmile before the end of the day on Monday and Amazon will donate an extra $5 to Bird TLC. Thank you!
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:15 AM •
Saturday, March 29, 2014

I leave for Vegas tomorrow. Should I finally hit the million dollar penny slot jackpot - and in my head, there is always a million dollar penny slot jackpot - I will no longer be keeping this blog. I will be spending my days in front of a fire built by someone else, eating food cooked by someone else and stroking the firm hard abs of the best looking man I can find who will do it with an old lady for money. Ah dreams.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:22 AM •
Friday, March 28, 2014
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If he didn’t have that stupid loyalty to the human who feeds us, I’d be in Florida by now… warm, cozy and NOT freezing my now non-existent balls off.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:20 AM •
Thursday, March 27, 2014

I don’t know about you but I am absolutely hooked on the new Cosmos series with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the minutiae of daily life that we forget to look up in amazement at the glory of which we are but one tiny bit of cosmic dust. This show takes our minds out of the mundane and into the amazing.

Part of what happens when watching this show is the dawning realization that this earth and the humanity on it are neither the center of the universe nor of any particular impact on it. Before you’ve even left our solar system, the earth fades into a tiny speck. When we traverse our galaxy, the earth becomes a hard to spot little white dot amidst millions of other white dots. From that perspective, we are simply not that special.
But as I watched this show, I realized that humanity is very special if only because we are conscious enough and intelligent enough to be exploring a universe that should dwarf us into incomprehension. Instead, we build machines that allow us to see back to the beginning of time. We build crafts that can fly farther than most of our imaginations can stretch. We take data transmitted from hundreds of millions of miles away and create digestible pieces of information that expand our understanding of both our distant past and our probable future. Humanity may be viewed by size as an inconsequential organism on an even more inconsequential planet in a vast and uncharted universe. However, the fact that we can even express that concept while pushing the boundaries of our knowledge to such extreme edges tells me that humanity is not inconsequential. In fact, we are pretty damned amazing.
Not that long ago we thought we were the center of the universe. A little more than 100 years ago, we’d just figured out how to fly. About fifty years ago, the first human to ever escape the bounds of earth’s gravity soared into space using a computer with less power than your iPhone. Now we have a spacecraft that is rapidly approaching the outer most limits of our universe and still sending back data long after it should have stopped.
Humanity gets a bad rap here on earth for all the right reasons. We tend to be a violent species. We seem to be unable to live anywhere without despoiling the place we call home. We kill in the name of a “merciful” god and start wars for some pretty silly reasons. Our bad reputation is understandable. But we also cure diseases, ease suffering, and bring water to arid places. While oil may ultimately decide who we think does and doesn’t deserve out attention to their human rights issues – yes in Iraq, not so much with North Korea – the fact that human rights are on the table at all is pretty amazing.
At one point, Tyson looks directly at the camera and states that the Theory of Evolution is an undeniable scientific fact. That he makes this statement in the same episode that shows how organisms developed eyes, along with the variety of eyes that evolved, just makes the statement all the more powerful. Evolution is all around us if we but open our eyes and brains to it.
Tyson is a worthy inheritor of Carl Sagan’s mantle. He tells the story of our world and its place in the vast cosmos simply, with full dignity accorded the many evolutionary dead ends that had to exist in order for us to develop into the humans we are today.
Not that many generations ago, our grandparents and great-grandparents stared at the sky in wonder, unable to comprehend its vastness, unable to discern our place in that starry firmament. Today, thanks to people like Tyson who are not only brilliant enough to understand the cosmos but have the language skills to transmit that knowledge to those of us who will never have a Ph. D. in Astrophysics, our generation and generations yet to come will stare up at that starry night with a much greater understanding. We will comprehend our smallness in its vastness with an even greater appreciation for the species that was able to pierce that darkness and tell us what was on the other side.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:08 AM •
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Don’t try to stop me. I will keep walking until I get to Aunt Judy’s where the house is cold but outside is warm. I am not meant to be a friggin’ sled dog!
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:17 AM •
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In both cases, the people of the invading country were/are being treated to a propaganda war that justifies everything being done. Putin and Cheney are not all that different.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:40 AM •
Monday, March 24, 2014

He’s my African Gray parrot and he loves to imitate me. He loves to sing and whistle even more. I try whistling the tune to the Andy Griffith theme and he cocks his head and listens so intently trying to catch the rhythm and notes. And then a totally puzzled look comes over the intensity of his gaze and I realize how hard it is for him to try and imitate me since I can’t carry a note or a tune, even with help from music, backup singers and a wheelbarrow. Then he tries to imitate what he thought he heard and the notes wobble all over the scale. He knows this is not right. He knows these notes were randomly chosen by my larynx and hold no real meaning. He knows when he imitates me he sounds like an out of tune fool. Poor Abdul. He deserves someone whose singing is not an abomination and whose whistling doesn’t sound like the air being let out of an almost deflated balloon.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Sunday, March 23, 2014

I don’t mind them staring at me while I’m in the shower. I don’t mind them staring at me while I’m on the toilet. I do mind waking up in the morning to a dog standing on my chest and staring straight down at me. That is simply freaky.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:01 AM •
Saturday, March 22, 2014
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This is the scene right outside my bathroom door as I take a shower. They are ever vigilant lest a door suddenly open up on the other side of the shower and I slip away without them knowing. In case there is any doubt, this has less to do with their loyalty to me than with the fact that they don’t get breakfast until after my shower and they want to be very sure I don’t try to get out of it.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:38 AM •
Friday, March 21, 2014

We’ll be releasing a rehabilitated Northern Goshawk, #14-01, at the Bird TLC property above Potter Marsh (15510 Old Seward Hwy., Anchorage, AK 99516) this Saturday between 12:30 and 1:00 PM. The release is free and open to the public, hope to see you there!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 PM •

My excuse for not having something up earlier is that my little BuddhaBubba had her doggie dental work yesterday and had three teeth removed and I’ve been spending most of my time holding her while she looks pathetic. And god does she look pathetic. They took out her last front tooth so there is now nothing holding her tongue in her head. I’d show you a picture but her dogwalker threatened me if I ran such an unflattering photo of her with that dazed and drugged look and her tongue hanging out of her mouth. 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 10:52 AM •
Thursday, March 20, 2014

After years of being viewed by the rest of America as a barely civilized wilderness, Alaskans have a bit of a complex about people from outside coming here to do jobs we’re capable of accomplishing. I can’t believe Governor Parnell doesn’t get this. If he did, he never would have tried to appoint someone from California, the land of fruit and nuts, to a position in Alaska, the land of guns and nuts.

While this distrust of outsiders has a long and storied history, and while some of that history could be used in a court of law to prove Alaskans are a bit nutty about defining what it takes to be a real Alaskan, in truth there are some actual reasons why Alaskans should fill Alaskan jobs. Despite the fact that it has become a cliché, the reality is that Alaska is different and if you don’t get those differences, then you can’t serve Alaska well.
Case in point – people in Alaska who cannot take care of themselves can have a conservator appointed by the court to assist them in using their money for their needs and protecting them from those who would exploit their vulnerabilities.  I recently spoke with a conservator concerned that her client, who lives in a small village, was not using the money set up for him at the village store for groceries. This conservator is one of the more dedicated people I’ve worked with in that position. She cares about her clients and worries if their needs are not being met.
She is also from outside, having moved here a few years ago, and has never experienced Alaska beyond the urbanity of Anchorage. This conservator had no idea of what life in the Bush was like. She’d never been in a village store. She’d never seen a $13 gallon of milk. She didn’t understand there was no guarantee there would even be milk available, that weather or flight cancellations could leave the store shelves empty.
I explained to her that most village stores didn’t have butcher stations, fresh stuff or lots of groceries. Often you are lucky to find some dried and canned goods on the shelves. The idea of living off what you buy in a small village store is ludicrous based both on cost and goods available. Unless you are an Alaskan aware of all of Alaska’s diversity, this is not something with which you’d be familiar. When she told me she was concerned that her client mostly bought cigarettes and pop in the store, I had to explain to her that those were the two commodities almost always available and that for meal planning, people went to their ice cellars.
It’s hard to fathom how the governor could be so deaf to the fact that Alaskans want Alaskans in Alaskan jobs because we understand Alaska is different than anything in the lower 48. Our governor should certainly understand this. A state that has thrived on oil money for over three decades must have residents who can fairly evaluate any number of oil and gas related issues.  So the question that must be asked is why Parnell went outside the state to find a nominee for the state board that determines the pipeline’s tax worth. Was he really so tone deaf to how Alaskans feel about outsiders being brought in for jobs they could fill or was this some kind of low key quid pro quo with the end game not visible until the governor completes his public service?
Since the governor has openly stated that he wants the tax value of the pipeline to drop, I think we can pretty much assume that he wants to stack this board with people who will do just that – or at least stack it with people he thinks will do that.  What puzzles me is why he thought he had to go outside of the state to find those people. I’m sure he could have found some locals who would be happy to downgrade the tax value of the pipeline to accommodate his wishes. Going outside the state just opens him up to all kinds of questions you’d think a man running for re-election would not want to answer.
If you’re the governor of Alaska, act like it. Choose Alaskans for Alaskan jobs.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •

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