I had a great time at the Forensic Trends conference, though, to be honest, I only attended the talk that I gave. Before I began my presentation, I made a quick visit to the Hilton men's room…which may be good for relieving your bladder but, as the photo illustrates, won't do much to bolster your self-confidence before you speak to a few hundred people (you can CLICK on the photo for a larger view, no pun intended).
After the conference, I had a very nice dinner with Jim Clemente, a former FBI profiler turned TV producer & consultant (CRIMINAL MINDS, THE CLOSER, etc.). He' s a fascinating guy and a very talented story-teller. I actually met him for the first time two years ago at a forensics conference I spoke at in Pittsburgh. Meeting people like Jim is one of the big reasons why I agree to all these speaking engagements and teaching opportunities….you never know who you will meet or what might come from those relationships.
I was stunned by how much Las Vegas has changed since I visited three years ago. The skyline is radically different…and yes,I know that's a cliche observation, but it's true nonetheless.
Le Notre bakery is no longer at Paris Las Vegas… c'est triste. I loved that place.
Caesars Palace has had more facelifts than a Malibu trophy wife, but the latest one is very nice. The Forum Shops is still the best looking shopping mall in America, but the shops at the Venetian are a close second.
The Aladdin is now a Planet Hollywood resort. I visited the former Aladdin Shops, which were once like the Forum Shops but now they are renovating out the character so it will look like any other shopping mall. I went into an ABC convenience store and was surprised to see Extenze and Top Gun, both advertised as a "fast acting male enhancement that can make you larger," on sale beside the Rolaids & Tums & M&Ms. Only in Vegas.
I also visited some of the new hotels — Palazzo is spectacular, Wynn/Encore are gaudy and garish riffs on the Belagio decor, Aria is super sleek and contemporary, and the face-lift at the Mirage is very nice, downplaying the dated gaudiness Wynn seems to revel in nowadays.
The conference was held at the Hilton, which is a decaying dump…not quite as bad as The Riviera, but heading in that same direction. The rooms aren't bad, decor-wise, but the walls are so thin you can hear the people in the adjoining rooms making love, farting, talking on the phone, etc..and if you manage to finally get to sleep, the talking and bitching of the maids and workmen in the hallway will wake you up before 8 am.
The Hilton pool is no better than what you might find at off-the-highway motel…and the music that blared from the out-door speakers was so loud and distorted that you couldn't hear yourself think, much less read a book. The Star Trek Experience is gone, but not the corner of the casino that's decked out in a science fiction theme. It now serves as a portal to the Vegas Monorail. The Hilton certainly is not the classy, elegant place James Bond stayed at it in Diamonds are Forever anymore…and probably hasn't been for twenty-some years.