That person is John Scalzi, a person who has had a significant positive effect on my life without being directly involved there and without knowing me (were I to allow people directly involved in my life into this affair my wife would always be my person of the year).
I started the year not knowing who Scalzi was. Then I read his most famous book, Old Man's War. That made me start reading his blog, then two more books of his, then I met a very moist version of him in person (don't ask), then he signed some of his books for me, and then I read another book of his - a book I regard as the best new piece of fiction I got to read over the last decade (a book that's virtually guaranteed to win this year's prestigious R-Wards). In between all of that, Sclazi became a part of my life: his opinions and views helped shape mine, his family became people for whom I care, and his attitudes have shifted mine in their direction. Simply said, Scalzi became an inspiration.
What is it, then, that attracted me to Scalzi over others? I would say it's the resemblance between us. We do many of the same things, like writing/blogging, but Scalzi does it better and is obviously more successful at it (meeting him in person clearly indicated why: the guy's pretty smart). If you were to press me today and ask what it is that I would like to have a university degree in I would say that subject is philosophy; Sclazi's done that. We're of similar age, roughly similar demographics, we have the same family (2+1)... I could continue, but perhaps the best explanation is an example: when Scalzi wrote about his iPhone/iPod app aided diet I jumped on that train, too, and now - some six months later - have lost some five kilos without feeling like I've suffered for it (although the Christmas rituals are severely jeopardizing my achievements in the field of weight loss).
Don't take me wrong, we do have our disagreements. In politics we're both liberal yet I am much more of a lefty, in matters of religion we seem to think alike yet he presents himself as an agnostic while I'm a fully fledged atheist. You could therefore argue our biggest difference of opinions is with regards to the qualities of Inception.
I'm wondering whether me thanking Scalzi here for being a part of my life is actually me thanking my childhood friend Uri. Uri was the one who got me Old Man's War in the first place, and Uri was the one who held my hand as we visited the AussieCon science fiction convention a few months ago. That's where, amongst others, we met Scalzi.
I'll be on the safe side and thank them both.