One of the highlights for me at the 2014 Phoenix ComiCon was getting to meet the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait. I have been following Dr. Plait for a long time, ever since his website was brought up in a news article on a documentary discussing whether or not we landed on the moon (hint: yes, we did land on the moon). For as long as I have been reading his site, I have wanted to meet him. Sadly, we were never in the same place at the same time. He has even come to my town a few times, but I always found out too late and was unable to reschedule to attend the event he was at. The first night at the convention, I was photographing part of a book author panel. I looked to my right and there he was, standing about 10 feet (3m) from me. Since the panel was going and I knew he wasn't scheduled to be there until the next day, I didn't know what to do. I wanted to say something, but I figured he was at the panel for a reason and didn't want to disturb him or the panel. Inside, I was completely geeking out. There he was, a hero of mine who has changed my life, standing right there! In the end, I didn't say anything to him at that time.
The next day, I attended another panel that Dr. Plait was at along with John Scalzi. Following that panel, the moderator said they each had booths or tables they would be at to sign things.
Not being sure where Dr. Plait would be signing, I headed towards Mr. Scalzi's table on the assumption he would know. My heart leapt as I approached his table because there, standing at John Scalzi's table, was Dr. Plait. First, I addressed Mr. Scalzi's since it was his table. I reached into my bag, pulled out a book for him to sign and handed it to him. He took one look and said, "I think you want him," pointing to Phil Plait. I didn't realize it, but I pulled out my copy of Death from the Skies. After laughing a little about that, he signed that book and my copy of Bad Astronomy while Mr. Scalzi signed my copy of Red Shirts. Afterwards, I spoke with Phil Plait a little bit. I thanked him for opening my eyes to skepticism, which has completely changed my life. I also told him the story about the previous night. He laughed about that, saying I should have said something because his policy is that he is there to talk to people and wants to be approachable. I loved that, here I was, meeting my hero and he was just as awesome as I hoped he would be.
Sometimes, you should not meet your heroes. This was not one of those times.