Saturday, August 29, 2015

I've seen the sea...

Over the last two weeks, the man behind this site has visited both the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA and Sea World in San Diego.   Here are a few of the more than 30 pictures I took - combined - at both locations.

My visit to the aquarium was on Aug. 14.  Among the highlights were a visit to Lorikeet Forest to see exotic tropical birds, an up-close view of sharks in a large outdoor tropical tank, and special displays emphasizing jellyfish.  In addition, the aquarium had photo displays about human impacts on the water table and water levels, several short films on sea life, and education on marine animal care.

The trip to Sea World was ten days later (this past Monday).  Most of my time was spent traveling to, and seeing, five of the six shows on offer.  This included the world-famous Shamu show (killer whale), as well as a dolphin show and sea lions doing parodies of popular TV programs.  I have no photos from any of these; instead, I decided to photograph more sea creatures.  What you see here are a flamingo display I saw on the way to the Shamu show, and a walrus that lives in the Wild Arctic display.

Finally, I would like to congratulate myself on my 300th official post!  (I have made more, but I threw away about 75 of them about two years ago as they had no relevance to the general subject of this blog.)  Thanks to all for reading and paying attention to my work.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

More items from my InDesign project

My InDesign project is just about complete in the sense of how I want it to look, although obviously not all pictures or design elements have been filled in as of yet.

What has become apparent from putting together the family reunion program is how extensive Buddy Wayne's extended family is, and I'm not just talking about the 13 people - from four generations - that live with him.  As I've mentioned, John Noah is the common ancestor; one of his children, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild live on the farm, as well as three in-laws.  (I'll try to show John's "picture" in a future post.)  Well, his extended family has exactly 105 people in it; so many in fact that I need these three screen shots to convey them all.  The first is the full tree, but names aren't visible; the next two are close-ups.  The reason is that I was dependent on the Snipping Tool to transfer the InDesign files into JPG files this blog can use.

(And that's not to mention all the descendants from most of John Noah's five brothers and sisters, his 22 first cousins, and dozens of second cousins.  John's grandfather was "Pink," who had 10 siblings - five of them old enough for their own families - and eight children of his own.  I estimate that the reunion would have somewhere between 600 and 700 people, or four times the number [or more] that attend the reunion of my mom's side of the family that occurs every two years.)

I also made a capture of the John Noah Jam page.  This is the annual Labor Day weekend event in which descendants whose ages have been rolled back to between 6 and 18 (from three different generations) participate in games and activities suitable for their ages.  Younger residents play games and have activities during the daytime, then leave the premises to the teenagers who have more games, a dance music party, and a sleepover.  This year's guest is a familiar face.:)  I estimate that maybe about 30 or 40 people show up.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Scenes from my InDesign project

Here I present two scenes from my InDesign project which would depict the Miles Vinson "Pink" Barefoot Family Reunion.  I have been working on it most weekdays - and even some weekends - since ABC Adult School ended on June 17.

First, here's the cover.  The original photo was one used by Brady Poirier in the Photoshop classes I once took; he used this to teach us how to turn a daytime picture into a nighttime one and add Christmas lights.  This time, I wanted to "repaint" the house pink to match the honoree's nickname.  I did so by selecting the house and use hue and saturation to change the color.  Some extra pixels remained, so I use the brush to hide them from the layer mask.  From there, I opened the final result from Photoshop into my InDesign file, which is easy to do since both Photoshop and InDesign are part of the same Creative Suite made by the same company (as I posted last month).

Next is an "ad" for Bentonville Speedway, a 4/10-mile short track whose clay/dirt surface is reminiscent of the very first stock-car race tracks ever built, in the 1940s.  Its location would be near the Bentonville Battlefield, site of one of the very last major battles of the American Civil War.  It's significant because it is the first time I have ever visually depicted Buddy Wayne as a race-car driver.  To do this, I placed B.W.'s face on top of a hat taken from a photograph of ARCA Racing Series driver Thomas Praytor, with Praytor's uniform beneath it.  The other three "drivers" are portrayed in their entireties by the real thing: unknown (no longer available on the site, but saved on my hard drive as Bubba Sparks, not to be confused with the rapper), Austin Wayne Self, and Sarah Cornett-Ching.  The race track is East Lincoln Speedway in Stanly, NC and the car, used in the U.S. Legends Car series, has a vintage 1930s look.  I adapted the logo of Richmond International Raceway by removing the stylized "R" and using the track's name.  Finally, the address and phone number are actually that of a local pig farm.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What I'll do this summer...

It's been a little over a week since my time at ABC Adult School ended.  I'll miss the four-times-a-week dance class rotation, not the least because my dad claims I've lost some weight.  I haven't measured and don't know for sure, but I'll sure take my father's word for it!

As I try to find some new ways to exercise, I have committed to another personal project involving an Adobe program; however, this time, it's using InDesign CC instead of Photoshop CC.  InDesign is a desktop publishing program that is often used to design brochures, flyers, and even entire books.

Specifically, what I plan to do is an official magazine chronicling a mythical reunion of Buddy Wayne Barefoot's distant relatives.  B.W. is the great-great-great-grandson of Miles Vinson "Pink" Barefoot, a real person who I have integrated into my story.  (I should point out that the late Alfred Barefoot, whose name was one of the bases of the main character, had the same relationship in real life that B.W. does in my story.)

Thanks to the post-resurrection world, eight(!) different generations have been invited to the old cemetery in Meadow - now a private house and meeting room - for a family reunion on the second Saturday in July, every odd year.  Therefore, if this reunion existed, the next one would be on July 11.

Due to the large amount of work required, this project will last through most, if not all, of the ABC Adult School summer vacation, which will end on Sep. 8.  Even then, some followup work could be required to manipulate and post pictures.  I will take some screen grabs and place them here as the work progresses.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hambone, fishing, and hunting

This is a week I have made and rediscovered some projects.

Up first is my character crush, Hambone.  This is a montage I made months ago at ABC Adult School, but rediscovered only this past week while searching for something for other (and I do wish I could remember just what I was seeking).  Anyway, this shows an interesting, informal battle for cow-milking supremacy between the beauty queen Brandy and the redneck woman Hambone.  To gain milk and other dairy products, the Barefoot family maintains two cows, whose names I've prominently placed in the montage below.  What I did was download an online picture of a dairy farmer who lives in Minnesota, then used an expanded canvas, duplication, and a horizontal flip to make a mirror image.  The faces of Brandy and Hambone then replaced the original ones.  Of course, the line at the top paraphrases the nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary."

Up next, the pretty childhood face of Hambone's dad Popeye shows up again, this time in a promotional announcement for an event that would take place this coming Saturday on the pond named after the clan engineer, Oliver.  There are literally hundreds of father-son combinations in the extended family, and all are invited to a contest to determine the best pair of fishermen.  (Popeye and Ralph are annual contenders, of course.)  This project was created by combining Photoshop and a preview feature at the online store  The store sells fishing-themed invitations for birthday parties.  I used the available text layers and a picture upload to create the preview; however, when I tried to add another graphic I was not allowed to do so.  As a result, the preview had to be saved to my hard drive, then taken to Photoshop for the addition of the footprints I found on the Barefoot Chiropractic & Wellness page.  Those prints were isolated from the frame, colored black, and scaled to fit the circle.

Finally, 'Bone's brother Ralph is the featured character in my second movie poster.  Or more accurately, a "nested character" I created by the name of Buck Hunter.  He's a "superhero" for the outdoors community as big game doesn't stand a chance.  I was inspired by the "Duckmen of Louisiana" videos which are referenced in Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson's book The Duck Commander Family, in which the hunters have larger-than-life portrayals.  I also wanted to create an old-time feel, and that explains "the star is the character" phrasing.  The bow and arrow set came from a sporting-goods store website.  To the rasterized text, I added two simulated sets of deer tracks.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Taking it to the hoop

With less than a week before the start of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, I decided to do a project I have had in my mind for a few months but never thought to execute until now.

In March, I took a photograph of one of the basketball scoreboards at Cerritos High School, in the same gym that Mississippi State head basketball coach Ben Howland played in when he went to school.  It has an "old-school" look, not only with the graphics, but also with spaces for complete rosters of both teams.  That evolved into an idea to make up a game between teams representing the Meadow and Four Oaks communities at the Meadow gymnasium.  (The high schools in those areas, as well as Benson High, were consolidated to make South Johnston High in 1969.)  For the player names, I used street names found in each of those areas.  (The PDF files for the school attendance boundaries can be accessed from this page.)

Wearing number 23 for Four Oaks is a new character I'm introducing here, Harold "Bud" Strickland.  He is a local legendary athlete; he still holds the all-time county passing yardage record as a football player, was the starting small forward in basketball, made all-county also in baseball, threw the javelin in track, and even was an amateur boxer briefly.  Strickland is also the owner of the land that is the home of Camp Paradise; more on that later.

On the other side of the board is Meadow's number 22, none other than Buddy Wayne Barefoot!  B.W. was a point guard in high school at South Johnston (also Hambone's alma mater) and he would reprise his role here, as well as being an assistant coach.  The head coach would be Hubert Barefoot, an uncle of his; Hubert's father is Jesse Wiley Barefoot, older brother of Popeye's father John Noah.

Oh, and to make this matchup more interesting, one of B.W.'s aunts, Dina Barefoot, is married to one of Bud's sons, Kenneth Strickland!  And there are more connections than even that:
  • Buddy's first cousin Kim Strickland is one of Bud's granddaughters; she's a singer/songwriter and once was a roommate of B.W.'s wife Brittany Spears in Nashville.
  • Bud Strickland rented out 170 acres of his land to four brothers - Bear, Boo Boo, Cooter, and Little Jack - who are fourth cousins of B.W.  (Their two times great-grandfather John Vinson and B.W.'s, Noah Gideon, were brothers).  Bear began Camp Paradise on that land, but he has since turned over chief executive duties to Hambone.

Unfortunately, when I put the scoreboard picture in the file, some parts turned out to be blurry.  This is due to me not being completely steady when I took the photo.  Also, I had to transform and skew the original photograph to make it appear to have a flat perspective.  To replace the blurry parts, I used pieces of a scoreboard found on this page.  I reduced the opacity and erased "appendages" to make it blend in with what I already had.  The numerals are from a football scoreboard I found on the Web while in my class at ABC Adult School and then transferred to my hard drive.

Cue up "Sirius" (the Chicago Bulls' theme music and the best of its kind ever!) and have a look...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Holiday bonus: B.W. and Brittany's "wedding announcement"

This weekend, I stayed up all night on Friday/Saturday as I always do.  I was looking to overhaul some of my personal files when I came across one in which I referenced an announcement of a wedding that took place in Mississippi on Dec. 21, 2002.  Memorie McCreary and William Finney got married that day; as I noted, the maid of honor for that event was a real-life namesake, Caroline Barefoot, who is McCreary's cousin.  I then concocted a scenario in which he married a cousin of the groom's, Alden Belk, and had a Rev. Bobby Baker (also referenced on the page as he wed Shannon Henderson and Daryl Morgan in a ceremony six months later) officiate.

Of course, I don't know whether any of this occurred, but I was surprised to find out that the announcement is still available to view on the website of a local newspaper.  With that, an idea came to me to use that as the template for the renewal of wedding vows of my Buddy Wayne Barefoot and Brittany (Raylene) Spears characters.

Before I post the "happy news," I have to explain why it's a renewal.

As I wrote in The Buddy Wayne Chronicles, B.W. had already married a local (Meadow, NC) woman named Shayla McLamb.  However, as he was touring the country as a musician, he met Spears, a young singer in her family's bluegrass band who wanted both professional respect and personal companionship.  Buddy Wayne was so smitten by Brittany that he dumped Shayla right away and started dating Brittany.  Because the Barefoot family disapproved so much of his divorce - and because Brittany was just 18 years old at the time - it was decided that the new couple would elope in Las Vegas.  (This is the first picture you see here.)

But B.W. still wanted the wedding of his dreams, and wanted to bond more with Brittany.  (Remember that both live separately with their families in different states, North Carolina and Kentucky respectively.)  Besides, it would be quality time with their daughter, Blanton Elizabeth who everyone calls "Lizzie."  So in 2013, the marriage would be re-enacted publicly at the Barefoot Family Farm.  Here's the happy couple - again - and below it is the official announcement.

Brittany Raylene Spears of Beattyville, KY and Buddy Wayne Barefoot of Benson, NC, renewed their wedding vows at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on October 19, 2013, at the Barefoot Family Farm in Meadow, NC.  They were originally married in Las Vegas in 2010 and are parents of a daughter, Blanton Elizabeth Spears.

Ralph Barefoot, uncle of the groom and pastor of Long Branch Church in Meadow, performed the ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Blanton Spears and Rebecca Spears of Beattyville. She is the granddaughter of Mildred McGrubb and the late John Henry McGrubb of Lee County and Breckinridge Spears and the late Amelia Spears of Beattyville.

The groom is the son of Brenda Barefoot of Benson and the special friend of Alonzo Barefoot of Meadow. He is the grandson of Rozelle Barefoot and the late Alfred E. Barefoot of Benson and Laura Raynor and the late Tommy Raynor of Benson.

The Spears Family Band provided most of the music, consisting of Brittany Spears, Blanton Spears Jr. (brother of bride), Bunch Spears (brother of bride), Bradshaw Spears (uncle of bride), Brashears Spears (uncle of bride), and Breckinridge Spears (grandfather of bride), all of Beattyville.  The soloist was Bubba Brister (friend of groom) of Meadville, MS.  Dancing was Bethany Spears (sister of bride) of Beattyville.

The church was decorated with the windows adorned with fall harvest leaves accented with ribbon. The altar had fall harvest leaves accented with ribbon and candelabra with purple bell flowers, white gerberas and bridal roses. The bride was given in marriage by her father.

The bride's dress was a Lillian M design. It was white satin with organza overlay and a strapless neckline. Special details included re-embroidered lace with a floral motif. The bodice was pearl and sequined covered with self-covered buttons to waist. The waistline was natural and enhanced with seed pearls and iridescent beading. It had an A-line skirt with embroidered lace of floral. Special details included motif with pearls and sequins scattered over skirt with a satin edging around the hem. The train was chapel length. The bride's bouquet was hand tied of Charlotte roses accented with white minicalla lilies.

The maid of honor was the cousin of the bride, Rachel Mullins of Lexington, KY. Bridesmaids included Kellie Jo McPooh of Booneville, KY (friend of bride), Lindsay Ratterree of Booneville (friend of bride), Brandy Barefoot of Raleigh, NC (cousin of groom), and Kimberly Strickland of Four Oaks, NC (cousin of groom). The attendants wore satin claret red colored dresses with a chiffon overlay and a small flowing train.

The flower girl was Blanton Elizabeth Spears, daughter of the bride and groom. The ring bearer was Bryson Barefoot, half-brother of the groom.

The best man was Bobby Ray Barefoot (brother of groom) of Pineville, NC. Groomsmen were Britton Barefoot (cousin of groom) of Raleigh, Brandon McLamb (friend of groom) of Plain View, NC, and Blanton Spears Jr. and Bunch Spears (brothers of bride), both of Beattyville.

Ushers were Brett Breathitt (friend of bride) of Jackson, KY, Dave Raper (friend of bride) of Lexington, KY, John William Barefoot (cousin of groom) of Meadow, NC, and Mike Johnson (friend of groom) of Smithfield, NC.

The bride's mother's dress was a champagne tea-length two-piece suit. The top was adorned in pearls and iridescent beading. Her bouquet was hand-tied nose gay of white tineke roses.

The bridegroom's mother's dress was violet tea-length two-piece suit of crushed crepe adorned with iridescent buttons. Her bouquet was hand-tied nose gay of Charlotte roses with French ribbon.

The maid of honor had a hand stein bouquet of white calla lilies, bridal roses, white miniature gerberas accented with purple bell flowers and ivory sheer ribbon. The bridesmaids had hand stein bouquets of white miniature gerberas, bridal roses, gypsophlia accented with purple bell flowers.

The reception was in the common room of Long Branch Church. Presiding at the register table was Harvey Barefoot (uncle of the groom).

Serving at the reception were Candace Peele, Ruby Elizabeth Barefoot and Bailey Rebecca Barefoot (cousins of the groom), Joshua Mullins (cousin of bride), and David Ratterree, Brianna Breathitt, and Michaelle Breathitt (friends of bride).

The couple honeymooned on a Caribbean cruise before returning to Meadow.

Between the template and the above notice, I made two significant changes:
  • Because B.W. has cut ties to his biological father, his great-uncle and "father figure" Alonzo replaces him in that slot.
  • The Christmas garlands and greens in the real wedding were replaced by fall harvest leaves and other related accents.
Two different couples' pictures in The Daily Record (Dunn, NC) were used as the bodies on which I put B.W.'s and Brittany's faces.  For the first picture, the backdrop is the Las Vegas Strip as published by and  The second backdrop is a combination of the bridge and land from Raven Rock State Park near Lillington, NC (as published in The Daily Record) and water from a picture of a lake supplied by my former Photoshop teacher, Brady Poirier.

Finally, the first syllable of Brianna's name is pronounced "dry" instead of the usual "free," and Michaelle's first name is pronounced as if were spelled "Mikayla" or "McKayla."