Husband, father, geek.

by Chris Pearson

© 2015 Christopher Pearson, All rights reserved.

A Long Time Ago...

Many years ago I used to work for a large theme park outside of London each summer. At the end of each season they would have a big black tie ball to say thank you to the staff and everyone would have a few drinks and a good time.

Each year there would be a theme and one always stands out to me. As we approached the park gates 4 figures that would be familiar to anyone were waiting to greet us. Darth Vader with 3 Storm Troopers stood guarding the gate.

At the time I knew little about this but in the years since, I’ve come to learn they would almost certainly been members of the 501st Legion, a costuming group dedicated to the dark side Star Wars characters. Ever since I discovered it’s existence I knew this was something I wanted to do.

The main things people are often surprised to learn is that the costumes worn by the legion are not bought or old props but fan made. So acquiring your own costume was an expensive and time consuming affair.

Until recently.

Enter Anovos. A replica prop company started by fans, who now have a few large franchises under their belt1 and have managed to get a Star Wars license.

In around May 2015 I became aware of a preorder at a huge discount on RRP if you were prepared to wait until winter for delivery. In June I had the funds and so preordered what had become a bucket list item. I ordered my first Storm Trooper armour.

I won’t see this armour until December so why am I writing about this now? Parts of this costume aren’t included. Over the last few months I’ve been sourcing the missing parts, boots, a blaster and started working on a voice changing app for my iPhone so I even sound the part.

All of this is stuff I want to write about so I am writing this as an introduction to my journey to become a member of the 501st legion.

  1. The biggest two being Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Both of which seem to have been well received by the costuming community, though famously delivered late. It also looks like they will soon be offering a Ghost Busters line, proton pack anyone?

The one about watches

I’ve had my watch for a long time. I can’t remember exactly when I got it but it was bought using money I was given by my grandmother, I’d estimate I’ve had it about 12 years. It’s made by the respected Swiss brand Tissot and I’ve worn it more or less every day since I bought it.

But in April 2014 Apple changed everything. Watching the announcement of Apple Watch my interest was piqued. Something I’ve not been able to shake since.

We are now 6 months after its release and I find my self rationalising a purchase at least once a week. Occasionally I handle one in my local Apple Store and twirl the Digital Crown or try a force touch.

I listen to a lot of Apple centric podcasts (ATP, Connected, Analog(ue), The Talk Show) where they talk about the watch on a reasonably regular basis. Whilst they all love their Apple Watch in varying amounts, none of them seem to make the case that this is a must have device like the smartphone has become.

The problem seems to boil down to the 3rd party apps aren’t really very good which reduces the watch to a glorified fitness band with notifications. Whilst the consensus seems to be that the notifications and fitness is great I’m not 100% sold that they are going to change my life.

The dilemma of choice

Ultimately this comes down to a choice. Do I get an Apple Watch or do I stay with my Tissot, or another analogue watch for that matter. The choice is further complicated by the fact there is no one Apple Watch to pick from. In an ideal world I’d be picking up a stainless steel Apple Watch with the link bracelet tomorrow. However costing more than an 13” MacBook Air1 I cannot in any good conscience buy one.

This leaves the sport, and I don’t think that is the watch I want.

  1. As of writing the 11” MacBook Air starts at £749, the 13” starts at £849. The Apple Watch of choice is a 42mm stainless steel with the link bracket at £859.

Sorry Casey, I bottled it...

It started with a brief twitter conversation about writing a blog and developing in the newest hip language that the cooler kids where using. Node.js if you’re interested, I can tell you are. After a brief exchange I resolved to write my own blog engine.

It was called Hex and it even rendered out posts. Then I had to index the posts from disk and decided to try object oriented JavaScript which is when it all went wrong, this I hate you. Combine this with my then 12 month old twins discovering how their legs worked and the project was canned.

Fast forward 5 months and I am ready to give things a second go. However as the title suggests I bottled it. Rather than home rolling my own engine I’ve used Yekyll. I went with this option as it’s simple but I remain in control. It also allows me to use Github Pages as my host for free and so saves me £3 a month. Maybe I’ll finally get backblaze with the money.

So here we are, I’ve done it. Maybe people will read this, maybe they won’t. I’ll never know as I’ve not added analytics to this page. This is about the journey.