Meeting Leo Laporte

So I caught this post on Leo’s blog this morning. At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes, Leo in my home town!

And, yes, that’s me in the moblog entry. Back row, center, in the navy shirt with the black shoulder bag.

The conference room, come presentation hall, was packed. I’m not sure how many were regular CFUG members and how many, like me, came to see Leo.

There were no open chairs, so I stood outside the door at the back of the room. Leo walked in and out a few times, through the other door, at the front of the room. I considered approaching him, then, but was too nervous. I was afraid of making my first impression as a geek stalker, rather than a genuine fan.

Shortly after I arrived, another couple of stragglers, Rich and his girlfriend Melissa, showed up. About the same time that the free pizza arrived.

Leo made his way back to grab a soda and a slice. At that point, he was no more than five feet from me. I smiled nervously, again afraid to introduce myself for fear of embarrassing myself.

Rich and I started chatting shortly afterwards. He is an immensely likable guy and does some very interesting work. He is currently advising the Democratic Leader, Senator Reid.

When Leo circled back to talk to some of the other folks hanging outside near the pizza, Rich very smoothly introduced himself and started chatting with Leo like they’d met before. I followed Rich in and naturally slipped into the conversation.

Bliss! For what it is worth, for those familiar with Leo’s TV and radio work, he is exactly the same guy in person, which is immensely cool.

After the pizza frenzy, when it was time for Leo’s speech, Rich found a pair of unused folding chairs. Since the seats were all full for the first presentation, he didn’t want to take away anyone else’s seat. The only place to set up the chairs, though, was right down near the front, just feet from Leo.

Again, very cool.

Leo’s speech was great. Not anything to do with ColdFusion, but a great speech about the accelerating rate of technological change. Liberal portions of humor and insight. Plus, a more informal style, so some good chit-chat with Rich and I, the peanut gallery down in front.

There was the usual slow filing out at the end, as everyone took a moment to say, “Hi!” to Leo and share a few personal questions or comments.

Leo was very cool and very gracious, given everyone his full attention and plenty of his time. One or two of us walked him out, and chatted for a few more minutes with Leo in the parking lot.

Even after everyone else left, Leo and I chatted for the better part of half an hour. Wow! It was like chatting with an old buddy in that we follow a lot of the same news sites and blogs, therefore had a lot of the same events at the top of our minds. And I got to share with Leo how much I admire and look up to him, in all the years since I first started watching him on ZDTV with Kate on the original Screen Savers.

He seemed genuinely interested in following up with some email correspondence. We even talked about meeting again at WWDC, if he can make it out.

If you can’t imagine based on this lengthy post, even an hour and a half later, I am literally hovering several inches above the floor.

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