Monday, April 22, 2013

Save 80 Bucks. Audition for Wheel of Fortune.

The renamed Venetian Theatre was where Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular performed for six years. The centerpiece chandelier, which fell during every performance, is now permanently locked into the ceiling, its computer programming long since disconnected. It's not the first thing I noticed in the somber, gothic-themed, weighted-with-ghosts theater at 11:40 last Saturday morning, but the reminder was there when I looked up at it, along with the knowledge that preeminent Broadway director Hal Prince stood in this theater many times.

The theater had been remodeled since the show closed, with more seats extending to the stage, which I don't think could have been done before. The music of the night needed more room.

I wondered where the Phantom was now, what he was doing now. After the show closed, Anthony Crivello, our Phantom, went back to Broadway to audition, and I think he landed in one show. Maybe he's still in that show or maybe that show closed too. Nevertheless, he was a great supporter of Las Vegas like former Playboy Playmate Holly Madison, even gamely appearing on Wheel of Fortune during those Phantom years, whenever it was in Las Vegas for a few weeks.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul is there now for a little while longer. Then they'll leave and be replaced with Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I don't know if the balcony seating on both sides of the theater is still used (I couldn't see the seats up there, if there were any), but with those offerings, I don't think they need to. There had been some buzz about Soul2Soul before it started, naturally. But it doesn't sound like it was a major hit. McGraw and Hill don't live here, instead flying in when it's time to perform on weekends, and that's understandable because they have other business in their careers to attend to.

I think if the box office take had been monstrous, Venetian officials would have tried to entice them with everything they could have ever wanted to stay longer. And guaranteed, Vegas Deluxe (, led by Robin Leach, would have had all the details of those negotiations. But there's nothing. As it is, the only big thing besides the impending remodel of the outside of New York-New York to build a park modeled on Madison Square Park, with shops and restaurants and a Hershey store, connecting it and the Monte Carlo and to an eventual 20,000-seat sports stadium, is that Olivia Newton-John will begin her mini-residency at the Flamingo possibly at the start of summer, performing when Donny & Marie aren't.

It's said that Tim McGraw wants to go back out on tour, and that's reasonable, but I don't think this show is going to come back. There's no word on what will follow the limited run of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, though that box office take will likely determine if they extend it, but I think they need something fresh, what with the Strip beginning to change in various places, such as the old Sahara becoming SLS Las Vegas next year, and an Asian-themed resort called Resorts World Las Vegas under construction for a 2016 opening.

But at that moment, at 11:40 in the morning, I'm sitting in a mostly empty row, across from an exit, next to Meridith, Dad and Mom. We're part of the audience for auditions for Wheel of Fortune. We filled out the small yellow applications outside the theater, while waiting in line, and dropped them in the tall box outside the theater. As we learn from the Jim Carrey-influenced, pop culture-loving host, whose name I've long forgotten, the applications are placed in a wire mesh drum and spun around and around, with applications chosen at random. Those names called go on stage, first backstage to sign in and have their photo taken. Then they stand on one of the five X's placed diagonally. The host interviews them, asking about their jobs, their hobbies, their passions, and it's there that they must be at their most enthusiastic, their most charismatic because that's what they're looking for in future contestants. Those contestants on stage would find out in two months either by a letter in the mail or by e-mail that they've been invited to the final auditions in Las Vegas. If they make it through those, they're on the show. Factoring in 6 weeks of shows being taped in July and August, which is five shows in a week (taped in one day, of course, which means the production will be here for six days), that's 30 shows. Three contestants per show is 90 contestants total. The odds are long, but we are in Las Vegas. We still hope.

Then the host spins the wheel on stage to determine what prize all the contestants will get (t-shirt, hat, mini-pack with a black shoulder strap and a keychain and "blinky pin," as the host called it, inside; or a "Surprise" that includes all those prizes and either a duffel bag or a smaller cooler bag), and then the contestants play the Speed-Up Round, which is the round when time's running out on the show and Pat Sajak gives the wheel a final spin, led by Morgan Matthews, who fills the Vanna White role for the Wheelmobile events.

The first show began and the host introduced himself and explained all this, and then introduced Morgan Matthews, who spun the drum and took out the first five applications, handing each to the host as she went along. I was surprised when Dad was called to the stage, and then I was called right after him, causing the host to comment, "A double shot of Aronskys!"

Originally, I didn't want to audition. When Mom heard about the Wheelmobile coming to the Venetian, Meridith immediately wanted to, and then Dad did too. I didn't, because while I'm not a stiff personality, I'm not that charismatic or demonstrative. I can get lively in conversation, but usually with one other person or a small group of people. It was Dad and Meridith's thing, not mine.

But then, I went to see Jeff Bridges, one of my heroes, in concert on Friday night at the Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station. Front row seat. Well worth the price ($88.50 via Ticketmaster, immediately when tickets went on sale), and my seat was right where Jeff Bridges stood while he played his guitars and sang, and directly in front of the keyboard on which he performed a few songs, including two from The Big Lebowski. When he played that keyboard and sang, he loomed over me at that angle and I watched him the entire time, his eyes closed throughout most of the songs he sang at that keyboard. I was in awe of the clear passion he had for his music, and on the way home, thinking about all that Jeff Bridges does in taking photos on the sets of his movies, drawing, writing his first book with Bernie Glassman, his Zen master, working to eliminate childhood hunger, attending Zen conventions, making movies of course, and now music, I thought to myself that I wanted to be a renaissance man at 63 years old like he is. But then I thought, "Why not start now?" I decided in the car that I would sign up for the chance to audition for Wheel of Fortune, but not for the purpose of becoming a renaissance man like Jeff Bridges. Mom has been watching Wheel of Fortune since Chuck Woolery hosted from 1975 to 1981. I wanted to increase our chances of getting tickets for at least one of the tapings, besides fighting like hell to get them when they become available in June, so why not increase them three-fold?

When I dashed down the steps to the stage after my name was called, following Dad as he did the same, I felt like I wasn't in my body. Was this real? Was this actually happening? I thought Meridith would be called first. She wanted it the most. But there I was, reaching the stage after figuring out how to get there, since there was a curtain in front of me that I thought led backstage (I didn't go behind it, though), and then three stairs immediately leading to the stage. I took the latter and was led backstage to a long table to sign in and then one of the production assistants, wearing a shirt that said "Spin This.", took a photo of me. Before that, I joked, "This is better than the DMV!"

I took my place on stage, the last "X", closest to the audience. I waited as the first three contestants were interviewed by the host, and then Dad, and I was a little nervous. But once called upon by the host, I went up there, told him and the audience that I'm a substitute elementary school library assistant in the Clark County School District, hoping for a full-time position. He asked me what I like to do, and I said, "Reading, writing, movies, pinball, presidential history and....more movies." (I think I got it all, because that comprises my life.) He zeroed in on presidential history, asking me who my favorite president is. "43 presidents and you want to know right now who my favorite president is?" I joked to him. In hindsight, I know there are 44, but I blanked by one.

I quickly thought about it and said "William Howard Taft," mainly because I'm reading about him right now and he does fascinate me. The host asked why and I said, "Because he didn't want to be president. He wanted to be Chief Justice of the United States and later on, he got his dream when Warren G. Harding nominated him and..." I'm not the lecturing type, but maybe I was still a little nervous because the host sensed I was going on too long and amiably moved me along with, "He really knows his presidents." I didn't mind that he moved me along since he had a show to run. I wished I could have compressed Taft's history fast enough, including the fact that he ran for president because his wife, Helen "Nellie" Taft, wanted to be First Lady, and he was devoted to her. I knew I couldn't include the fact that Taft was responsible for the Supreme Court building as we know it today, wanting a separate, grand building for this separate branch of the government, but he died before it was completed. That would have been impossible, but I wanted to get to Harding nominating Taft to be Chief Justice. Nervousness overpowers all, though, even when you don't actually feel nervous while on stage.

The puzzle began. The category was "Event." I think I guessed "L" or "M," but neither were in the puzzle. I knew what it was about a minute later, but the host was back to the beginning of the row and the fourth person before me in the row solved it: "Toga Party." As the host put it, just because you're on stage does not guarantee you a final audition, and just because you solved the puzzle does not guarantee you a final audition. They're looking for the whole package, with charisma, energy, and puzzle-solving ability all together, which flummoxed Mom after we had left the Venetian later in the day because all the time that she's watched the show, most of those people seem very subdued, so she doesn't know exactly what they're looking for if they seem all the same.

After leaving the stage, I went back up to our row, and we watched the rest of the first show. By the end, Meridith still hadn't been called up, so we went back to the elevator, downstairs (Mom uses a cane, so we don't use stairs), and got back in line for the second show where Meridith filled out a blue application and put it in the tall box outside the theater. We went back to the elevator, back to the second (or third?) floor, back to our row. Second show, no luck.

We got back in line for the third and final show of the day and Meridith filled out another application, a different color. And no luck again. After the final names for the second show were called, we got up and left the theater to get back in line before everyone else not called did the same thing. And after the final names were called for the third show, we left. What reason was there to sit for the rest of that show? Mom gave Meridith the option of going back on Sunday for those shows, for the hope of being called, but Meridith said she has three chances with those three applications, so that was enough for her. The host also said that those who aren't called on the stage still have a shot. During each show, he said he's going to take the remaining applications with him back to Los Angeles, pick a few at random, and those chosen will get the letter or e-mail inviting them to the final auditions. Meridith filled out each application differently, with her interests worded differently in each, with different drawings on the border of the applications. You have to stand out somehow to hopefully catch their attention.

There were a few people I saw during all three shows that I would happily give up my spot for in order to see them on the show. They need to be on the show. Based on what Mom said about people on the show seeming subdued, I may have a better chance than I think I do.

And the phantoms remain in the Venetian Theatre. The ghosts of Phantom of the Opera and soon Soul2Soul and future productions that will arrive and then leave either months or years later. Things always change in this city. But one thing that will never change is my happiness at the opportunity for free events that let me see places for which I would have to pay exorbitant amounts. This was the best way to save 80 bucks or more to see the Venetian Theatre. And the main feature on the stage is a "C" with its rear in the air and the arms of the C on the stage, lit in blue. That looks like the centerpiece for the Soul2Soul show, the one thing that couldn't be removed from the stage since it looks like it's attached to it, that is if Tim McGraw and Faith Hill use anything else besides that. Stools, of course, but I think that's it. For me, it's enough to have seen this theater, the only time I ever will like this, just like when we waited along with the rest of the crowd in the 1 OAK Nightclub in early March at the Mirage before we were all dispatched to the Beatles LOVE theater for the live broadcast of American Idol. If I make it to the final audition and then am invited to be on Wheel of Fortune, I'll do it. It means Mom would get to see the show live, and that's the only reason for me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Book Reviews

Only a week and a half? I thought it was longer since I last wrote a post here. In that time, I've been a substitute elementary school library assistant at two schools, gathered many books for research for my first novel while also figuring out who I need to talk to for insight into RVs and pinball (the average owner of the particular RV I'm looking to use in this novel will do, but for the pinball aspect, I want to find the creators of the particular pinball machine that's my inspiration for the one I'm going to create), and I've written my seventh book review for Boekie's Book Reviews, which will be posted soon. It's for How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, a first-time Young Adult novelist, and while I'm still not entirely comfortable in book reviewing yet, I think I'm getting there. It's not a question of if I want to do it. I really do. In fact, one day, I'd like to write reviews for more outlets. This is my way of thinking about the kind of reviewer I want to be, how I want to write them, because to me, at least, while it is a review, like the movie and DVD reviews I used to write all the time and now only write occasionally (DVD reviews all), there's a different language to book reviews, picking out style, an author's interest in what they write, how compelling the characters are, a lot that I never thought about at length before. Yes, I've been reading since I was 2, but I never thought about it like I am now, although it must have lodged in my brain because at times, it's easy to understand an author's style, or how approachable their writing is. I don't expect every single novel I review to be easy to get into from the start, but I mean like how there's a gauzy curtain between us and the story in Fifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton, how she doesn't let us into this summer, let us feel the vacation going on in the lakeside town of Bluepointe, Michigan.

I worry about how much to explain. Not to the extent that I'd spoil the rest of the book for readers, but is it enough to just mention that gauzy curtain feeling and maybe the reader will see it if they decide to read it? I'm not sure yet. And even though I've provided examples and snippets of dialogue in some of my reviews, I'm still not sure what the right balance is for that. I'm thinking it's on a review-by-review basis, that you know when you read a novel and you're forming what you should say, and you can pick out what makes you want more from a particular author, or what bothers you. I'm easy, though. Even if a novel is a slog to get through, I don't get mad at it, or unduly angry. I express my disappointment at the unnecessarily slow pace of the story (a slow pace is fine if the author keeps building the story, but not in continually repeating the same actions because they can't think of anything else to write), and I move on. There are more books to read. My room is proof of that.

I'd like to write reviews for Publishers Weekly or BookPage or Booklist or even Amazon if possible. Maybe Costco Connection, but I hear that those reviews are handled by their in-house buyers. Nevertheless, I'd like to try. Yet I know right now that I'm not good enough to go to those publications and tell them how much I'd be valuable to them as a reviewer. I need to rack up more reviews, to try to feel as free as I did in some of my DVD reviews, to have more fun with my writing.

I belong to books. That's how it's always been. Yet now, here I am on the other side as a reviewer, which is a great place to be because of the novels I get to read early, much earlier than the DVDs I review(ed). I'm slightly disappointed that I've entered book reviewing at a time when print copies might not be as readily sent as they used to be. All the books I've reviewed have been .pdf files graciously converted for me by Vanessa, the owner of Boekie's Book Reviews, because I will not, and will never, buy a Kindle. I like my book in print, thank you. But for reviewing, this is wonderfully convenient because I can have the .pdf file open, as well as a Notepad file to type notes or copy-and-paste descriptions and dialogue while I'm reading, which I might want to reference in a review. Sometimes I copy and paste just for the pleasure of having those well-written descriptions, not at all intending to use them in a review, but that pleasure does seep into the review, so that works for me.

So here are the reviews I've written so far, in order from my first (That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard) to the one before my most recent (Vengeance Bound by Justine Ireland, the first disappointing novel I reviewed). I'm enjoying this not only because I get to write about these books, but also because I don't have to work with any publicists like I sometimes did when I wrote movie and DVD reviews. Vanessa sends me the books by e-mail, as .pdf attachments, I download them, read them, review them (one by one, of course), and send the reviews to her. Then I get another batch. It's been a little slowgoing lately since she's also an aspiring YA novelist who recently released a short story online, and is self-publishing her first novel in July, but I like the pace. After all, I've got my own books to write. Even so, this feels a lot more easygoing for me, and outside of the worry about what my own style will be as a book reviewer, I'm enjoying it:

That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

Fifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

Vengeance Bound by Justine Ireland

Out of all these reviews, Fifteenth Summer was the easiest to write, and also the shortest read. 272 pages might not seem like that, but being a speed reader, I blazed through it in a day and was glad to see it improved toward the end. I actually wasn't disappointed that it wasn't like that all the way through, because I liked Chelsea and her supportive, whole family, which is usually rare to see in Young Adult novels.

Now on to the next reviews, and to becoming more experienced at this.

Next-Day Update: My latest review was posted today.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sometimes a Neighborhood of Grace

While I do feel that I'm finally home here in Nevada and particularly in Las Vegas and Henderson and Boulder City, I sometimes forget what it is that makes me feel at home. It's not anything that I believe that causes it, but rather what happens around me.

Last weekend, during the day, the house to our left exploded in argument, and since we're so close to it, we could hear everything that was being said. There was shouting inside, and someone stormed out, got in the truck in that driveway, and started the engine, then gunned it out of there. And then diagonally from us, there's a house that routinely erupts in fights, usually between the eldest adult son of the household (that is if there are any more children than just him, which I'm not sure about, and I don't ever want to make sure) and his girlfriend. A few weeks ago, it happened right outside and I could hear the whole thing from my window. Of course I listened from on my bed, where I was reading. I'm a writer, after all. But I don't like any of this. This mobile home park isn't necessarily so bad on this side all the time. I hear stories about drug dealing going on on the far opposite end, and the occasional squatter, and conflicts elsewhere in the park. At least it doesn't happen every day, but it's still jarring when it does. You startle, and then you settle. Just another day in the neighborhood, hopefully far removed from the previous day that it happens.

Las Vegas is a jittery city. It's the 24-hour lifestyle. Anything can happen at any hour of the day. There are separate blocks of time for different people. For example, my street is populated with those who have day jobs. They're sleeping right now and they'll get up in a few hours, do what they need to in order to face the day, and then go to work. The middle of the mobile home park are where those who leave for work at 2, 3 in the morning, live because there's not much of a risk of waking anybody up, being that those houses on each side face the pool area, the playground, and the basketball court.

And yet, there is balance. Sometimes the scales are tipped in favor of anger and shouting and recriminations, but eventually, there is grace. Not always from the people, but at least from the pets. The cats. The dogs.

At night, the cats on my street walk from one end to the other, uninterrupted, unruffled. They're used to whatever they've seen in their lives. But I feel sorry for some of the dogs. Not in Southern California, and not in Florida, did I ever see dogs simply walk away from wherever they live, probably needing a break. Many of the dogs in my street are mostly outside, behind tall gates or behind smaller, squat gates placed at the top of front-door stairs so they can't get out. But some do.

For example, yesterday afternoon, when I was walking Tigger, a small, furry, off-white dog walked from wherever he lived, a perpetual grin on his face. Maybe he had done this before. I didn't know who he belonged to, and especially where those people were. Wouldn't they notice that their dog was missing? Probably not. It's just that kind of neighborhood. He came closer to Tigger and I and I knew I had to pick up Tigger because I didn't want to deal with these neighbors beyond their dogs, whoever these neighbors were.

The dog simply looked at me, smiling. Was it a smile of relief at being away from whoever he lived with, or just at seeing someone new? I don't know. However, he looked like he knew where he lived, and there's not much of a chance of strays here. None can get in with the front gates and walls there are around the property. The dogs and cats here do belong to those who live here.

I didn't feel so much worry for the dog. Mild concern that it had gotten out, but understanding that some people aren't fit to own dogs, and maybe his owner wasn't. Some people may like dogs, but they don't know how to take care of them or care enough to take care of them.

I liked the look on the dog's face, contentment that you don't see often in Las Vegas. That's not to say there isn't pleasure, but you won't see many of my kind in a casino. I walk around, feeling completely at home, despite the cigarette smoke, depending on what casino we're at. For example, at the Rio a few nights ago, I looked down at the banks of slot machines from the second floor and yet again couldn't believe that I'm a resident here. To me, it's a waking dream all the time. But most want to win. They think a casino is a bank and they can withdraw money accordingly. Faces furrowed in concentration, hoping that the slot machines hit that magic combination, that the cards at the blackjack table are the ones they wanted when they got here. I'm fine with it because that's our economy. I must be the exception and also persona non grata to the casinos because I don't gamble as much as I did when I was a tourist and certainly not as much as I did in our first few months as residents, which is to say not much anyway, but I still put in a dollar or two or more. Now, unless it's free play given occasionally because of having a casino club card, depending on the casino, I usually have a book with me, and I read while Mom, Dad and Meridith are at the slot machines. I'd rather save my money for books and other important things. (That reminds me that not only do I have to deposit the check I received yesterday from the school district for the day I was a substitute library aide at Dean Petersen Elementary three weeks ago, but I also have to withdraw $10 to give to Mom for the newspaper fund we all contribute to in order to keep up our subscription to the Review-Journal. $10 monthly to cover the months already in progress and to have a little extra to renew the subscription when it comes time.)

I know people are having fun in their own ways and that's all I expect from those who visit. But I mean pure contentment, not that mixed with intense concentration, hoping to break a casino for all they're worth. It's interesting to me that the first time I really saw it was on the face of that dog. Maybe the dog has an inkling that he's in Las Vegas, but his Las Vegas surely isn't as detailed as my Las Vegas, and that's probably better for him. There's already enough troubles in this city to wade through and choose what matters to you and discard what doesn't, not out of heartlessness, but survival. I don't mean to say that Las Vegas is a dangerous expanse of rogues and slot machines, but, you know, it can be strange at times. Sometimes a good strange, sometimes the concerned strange such as in my neighborhood. It's not necessarily all over this valley, though. You just do what you can, and find where you feel you belong, and make good on that. In Santa Clarita, I used to be so frustrated with everything that was so awful about that valley, and it was, what with there being absolutely nothing to do, and you could try to find things to do but they soon ran out. In Las Vegas, you learn to let things go. If not today, then tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then some other time. Of course, that doesn't apply to the rent and your job, but to mostly everything else, it does.

And then, before American Idol began, Mom told me that she killed a snakelike bug in her bathroom that was silver. I knew exactly that it was a Silverfish, the third most common Nevada pest. I hate hearing about these things, and Mom said that I would have to spray for bugs again. I thought about waiting until later today to do it, but it's been warmer than usual this past week, and it's obviously cooler at night, so what better time? I took the Raid Max Bug Barrier spray out of the cabinet below the kitchen sink and went outside. I sprayed around the back door, then went down the three steps, opened the gate to our rock-and-pebble-laden backyard and sprayed around the house, including around Mom's bathroom window, hoping that this would do it. I circled the entire house and suddenly, a dog approached me, a shaggy dog at that. Unlike the dog from earlier in the day, I didn't have a clue about who this one belonged to. I guessed one of the houses further up the street, toward the front gate, and it was apparent that this dog needed a break. It was friendly as can be, and went up on the section of rocks under my window and Meridith's window and peed a few times. It trotted off and then I went back to the back door area, planning to go back through the gate to look at the high-up electrical wires a couple yards away, from the backyard, but then I looked down and the dog was right next to me. I couldn't go back inside because I didn't want it to follow me. I didn't shoo it away, because I'm a dog lover and I don't do that. But what could I do? What did this dog want? I gently told it to go home and it trotted away, to the front of the empty lot to our right, and that seemed to be it.

Two dogs approaching me in one day. Am I well known among dogs in this neighborhood and I just don't know it? Do they somehow know about Tigger and Kitty and how well I take care of them when they walk them and they want to meet me or something? I've walked the rows of my mobile home park before, and whenever a dog barks at me behind a screen door or behind one of those screened gates at the top of the stairs, I always say hello to it or them. I figure it wants to talk for a bit, so why not? It may be suspicious of me, but perhaps curious too since it probably doesn't see many other people. But I never saw those two dogs before. Well, maybe the white one. I think that may be the dog of the neighbor directly across from us, kept behind that looming gate in the back. They don't seem like the sort who let the dog in all that often. So maybe that's why the dog took to me: A friendlier face and one not likely to be so stern about where they belong. But since we have Tigger and Kitty, I can't do very much for those dogs anyway. Not that I'd want to anyway because everyone's business here is their own. I do feel sorry for those dogs, though, if they got out because they needed a break from where they live. Obviously they're back in wherever they came from because when I walked Tigger and Kitty over two hours ago, I didn't see them around, and I'm sure they would have gravitated to me yet again had they still been out. Could have been the warm weather, though. With how bothersome it's been this week without the cool of Spring, it wouldn't have surprised me if those dogs got out because they needed to move around, needed to feel some air as they trotted about. It's halfway stifling if you're sitting in one place.

So at least there are the dogs, a balance provided after those overheard arguments. There are bad situations in Las Vegas, yes, but there aren't only bad situations. Not that I thought there were only those, what with the creativity that this city has inspired me to want to achieve in my work, but sometimes a gentle reminder is necessary of grace existing where it doesn't seem possible. And yet, in some cases, the further you get from Las Vegas, the more easygoing people are. I think of our new apartment complex in Henderson where we'll be moving in Henderson, that interpretation of a wispy, whispery forest with all those thin trees. I think of Boulder City where people are happy because they're living the lives they want to live, pursuing the passions that wake them up every day, and finding their ideas of peace. But then, it's the same of any major city. I disliked every minute I was in Santa Clarita, but it was quieter than it would have been living in Los Angeles. It's said that the closer you live to the Strip, the higher your insurance rates are. When we move to Henderson in September, the car insurance rate and the renters insurance rate will drop because we'll be further from the Strip, but it'll be no less accessible to us. One thing I really like about Henderson right away is that we'll be closer to Boulder City than we are here. Closer to home for me.

A few minutes ago, during that previous paragraph, I heard sirens outside our neighborhood, sirens that echo in our immediate area, stretching from the Rebel gas station at the intersection, to Sam's Town. Police sirens or ambulance sirens or both, it doesn't rattle me. It happens every night. It's balance. Bad with the good. I don't know if I'll see those dogs again tomorrow, but they are a cheerful reminder that this isn't so bad. And what makes it unpleasant won't be of concern much longer anyway. I wish I could take those dogs in because they obviously deserve better homes, but just like this mobile home park, there's a two-dog policy at our new apartment complex. I hope for the best for those two dogs, and I also hope that the dogs I'll see in Henderson are better taken care of than what seems to be the case here. For some. Not all.