Saturday, July 8, 2017

A new story from the latest family reunion

One similarity between my real family and the Barefoot family is the over-the-top reunions they hold.  Both meet every other year, but there are some significant differences.

The McMillon reunion (my mom's side) rotates among different cities, has multi-day events, and convene every year ending in an even number.  On the other hand, the Barefoot family meets for only one day in the same location - Meadow, NC, of course - and comes together only in odd-numbered years.

Some time ago, I completed an InDesign project with a complete program for the Barefoots, and I dated it in 2015.  That means it's time once again for the reunion, and as it happens, it's supposed to take place today.

What appears below is a page from the new, revised program.  For this, I update the adventures of Brandy, Bunky, and Blake from the last event.  Blake is the middle brother of Brandy and Bunky; he lives separately from the other siblings and with their parents, Daniel and Laurie.

This is the first of a three-page article.  It mentions Brandy and Bunky: R.O.A.M., the TV series I have summarized before.  On Page 2, I write that Brandy is now a professional ballroom dancer and Bunky has taken up parkour, or freerunning, an extreme sport in which athletes jump between buildings and tackle other big obstacles.

As for page 3, I touch on Blake leading the local football team to a conference championship as the starting quarterback, winning the Johnston County championship in the javelin throw, and his plans to travel to London to pursue a career as a professional darts thrower.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Brandy and Bunky R.O.A.M. - Season 1, part 2

Here are the last five episodes of the first season of the New Earth travelogue series Brandy and Bunky R.O.A.M.

Episode #6 - Tibet/Burma/Thailand
The siblings travel to a region with history, intrigue, and recent turmoil.

An overnight stay takes them to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.  Once a large, independent kingdom, Tibet was taken over by China in the early 20th century, the Dalai Lama was sent into exile, and the Communist government cracked down on political opponents.

Another overnight in Kathmandu is followed by an entry into Burma.  Also known politically as Myanmar, this was ruled by a military junta for most of the 20th and also start of the 21st centuries.  Brandy and Bunky visit Mandalay, a well-known trading post and river town.  They buy souvenirs at the night market and see a show with traditional dancing and folk poetry.

Over the next two days, they travel down river to Rangoon (also called Yangon) and then down the coast to Bangkok.  The city had been known for its congestion, sanitation issues, and prostitution.  But now that Bangkok has been cleaned up in the New Era, it is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful cities in all of Asia.  There, the siblings split up for the first time.

Brandy visits the Garden of Maidens, a beyond-beautiful garden area and residential district built in the city's former red-light district.  She has her picture taken with locals and exchanges gifts.  Meanwhile,  Bunky is taught the intimate details of muay thai kickboxing, the "national sport" of Thailand.  After the lesson, his instructor takes him to the city's stadium where they watch a card along with about 40,000 other spectators.  In a surprise, Bunky is invited into the ring to take on one of the up-and-coming stars of the martial art - and holds his own!

Episode #7 - Australia (Part 1)
Brandy and Bunky cross the Indian/Pacific Channel to Australia, and specifically the "top end" and "red center" regions.

They begin in the area around Uluru, the sacred rock formation and most renowned landmark of the aboriginal people.  With the return of Jesus Christ, the natives' way of life and traditional beliefs were called into question.  People even started to climb Uluru, which has always been discouraged.

After a two-day trip by all-terrain vehicle, the siblings arrive in Darwin, the unofficial capital of the "Top End," the tropical region of extreme northern Australia.  There, they are greeted by Brett Hart, marine biologist and professor at the University of Melbourne.  After Christ's return, he was among the first to notice behavorial changes in the marine animals living off the island nation/continent's vast waters.  Dolphins, whales, and walruses suddenly had their biology changed, transforming them from mammals to fish.  "It is symbolic of how God re-created the world," Hart says.

Brandy and Bunky spend an hour playing in the waters with two dolphins and a whale shark.  After they surface, they call it their favorite highlight of the trip so far.  This episode ends with an overnight stay in Darwin.

Episode #8 - Australia (Part 2)
The siblings' 10-day grand tour of Australia continues with a trip to a "station," or cattle ranch, co-owned by Hayley McBroom and Bill "Budgie" Miller.  McBroom is one of the biggest musical stars in Australia; she began with its version of country music, but has now emerged as a cross-over superstar.  The demure lady ("I can't believe she's such a star," remarks Brandy) used her platform to support evangelicals and even toured with the famed Hillsong group. 

Some years before the Appearing, McBroom and Miller - girlfriend and boyfriend - moved to the station that Miller's grandparents had built, located about 20 miles west of Sydney.  It's a working ranch, and what Brandy and Bunky do is pretty much like what they do at home.  But it's all worth it to enjoy some of the tastiest food in the nation, and a world-famous performance of songs on behalf of the entire community.

On their final day Down Under, the siblings participate in First Friday, a live art and music show held by the city of Sydney in commemoration of First Night, the event in which Jesus Christ officially took control of the New Earth.  It even ends in a fireworks show.

Episode #9 - Hawaii
It's across the Pacific for the siblings, to travel to the only current U.S. state that was once an independent kingdom.  The islands were ruled by monarchs from their unification in 1796 to its takeover by the U.S. in 1898 (then on to statehood in 1959).

The siblings' first stop is the Iolani Palace, where in these new days God has granted the restoration of the old monarchy.  The ruler is a young woman named Mahalani Martin, the six-times-great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha, the unifier of the islands.  She talks to them about the many cultural and political programs she has initiated to mark the new chapter in Hawaiian history.

Bunky, of course, is always up for adventure, and in Hawaii that means surfing.  At first, he finds the waves intimidating, but he adjusts quickly and turns it into another enjoyable adventure.  Meanwhile, Brandy attends a local school and participates in a local show of fashion, arts, and crafts.

That night the siblings reunite in downtown Honolulu for a communal luau and local music.

Episode #10 - Mexico
The ultimate adventure wraps up just on the other side of the U.S. border.  On day 1, Brandy and Bunky take in the awesome scene in the "new" Mexico City, which now floats on the restored Lake Texcoco.  This means the city is smaller in size than the contemporary metropolis, but is also far more beautiful.  After a delicious dinner, it's on to their hotel room.

The next day, a four-wheeler takes them to Guanajuato, a small city in central Mexico in the midst of a "hearth region," where many familiar foods - like sweet potatoes, beans, and tomatoes - were first grown in ancient times.  There, Brandy and Bunky meet Alicia, the city's mayor.  She espouses on how profoundly life has changed since Jesus' return: "For the first time we can remember, we have bumper crops year after year.  All our physical and spiritual needs are supplied, and there is no longer a need to find jobs elsewhere."  Alicia explains that many of her residents had migrated to Mexico City and various cities in the U.S.

The siblings then visit an apartment complex full of some of these returnees.  To their astonishment, one of them is Jorge, who was once a neighbor of theirs back home in Meadow.  He tells the harrowing story of how he crossed a dangerous border in the Arizona desert, then had to pay a busc√≥n, or scout, to get on an overcrowded bus to get to North Carolina.  There, he established a family and sent his two children to the local school.  But, "when Christ came back, we just couldn't wait to get back here, since we wanted to be here all along," Jorge says through tears.

On such a high note, Brandy and Bunky return home.  Although the siblings separate as Brandy starts her new role in The History of Dance, their next adventure together is in the back of their minds.  "I never knew traveling could be such fun, and we can't wait to do this again," Brandy says.

Brandy and Bunky R.O.A.M. - Season 1, part 1

Welcome back!  I have been busy the last few months, and for lots of reasons:
  • I took a four-day vacation with my family to Las Vegas this past April.  I planned and for the most part executed a full schedule of events, and was mostly happy with it.
  • I joined the community at with new simulations of events in which I mix athletes from different eras together.  That was not my plan, but I was invited at the end of April by a member of another forum that I have "known" for a long time, and I accepted.
  • Besides, I frankly ran out of ideas relating to my second family.  However, that will change in the next few weeks.  More details of that presently.

For now, I bring you, as I promised long ago, the entire season of my new spin-off TV show, Brandy and Bunky R.O.A.M.  In case you've forgotten, siblings and first cousins of Buddy Wayne have traveled the world in search of the possible effects of the prophesied Second Coming of Jesus.  Along the way, they meet people and participate in experiences.

These are episodes 1-5; the first is revised from a previous post, while the next four are entirely new.

Episode #1 - Jamaica
The first stop on their journey around the New Earth is Jamaica.  Located in the Caribbean Sea, the country may have the most features of the region that are indelible in the public mind, including its laid-back lifestyle and exotic food, music, and lifestyle.  However, despite appearances, it is far from paradise for most of its residents.  Due to economic hardship and exploitation, many of its residents have emigrated to other countries - mainly Canada and the U.K., with some moving to the U.S.  The return of Christ changed everything, especially in the restored city of Port Royal.

Port Royal, once known as the bawdy headquarters for Caribbean pirates, was destroyed in an earthquake in 1720.  After Christ returned, Bertland McSween - a pastor and entertainer - found the old plans and convinced the Jamaican government to rebuild it as the centerpiece of post-Christian life in both the country and region.

McSween hosts a tour of the port and downtown.  He points out that Port Royal is now a thriving, multicultural city with four languages - English, French, Spanish, and Dutch - that are commonly spoken in the various neighborhoods.  McSween is especially proud to show off Blackbeard's Playhouse. 

It is where he conceived of Port Royal Review, the Caribbean entry in the King David International Festival - the same entertainment event at which Brandy and Bunky performed as part of Back Down Home.  On this night, the siblings enjoy two of the acts that were part of that review: R&B/reggae diva Zellie St. Brown[1] and steel drum virtuoso Lewis Pipersburg.

The next day, McSween takes Brandy and Bunky to a sugar mill that was founded by British colonials but now run by descendants of the same slave labor brought in to work there.  The employee owners share their gratitude of being able to enjoy the results of their harvest.  That evening, the siblings join the locals for jerk chicken dinner, followed a dessert of cake made from the local processed sugar.
[1]Short for "Battimamzelle," Old French word for dragonfly

Episode #2 - British Isles part 1
A plane trip across the Atlantic takes Brandy and Bunky to Heathrow airport in London, where Brandy reveals that she has landed a role in The History of Dance, a new performance review created by Blinky Blink.  She will dance in a ballroom portion with her partner, Hylton Tripp.  The duo met at Lena Peacock's studio in Meadow and have competed professionally.

Once on the ground, they embark on an ambitious five-day tour of the United Kingdom:
⦁    On Day 1, they start by visiting the home and museum of Barabbas McRipper, the warrior-king who united Ireland as an independent country for the first time in its history by freeing Ulster from British rule.  Then it's on to Dublin, and lunch at a cafe owned by sisters Bonnie and Connie Ryan, who rediscovered the art of fine Irish living after moving there from the U.S., where both their parents were firefighters.  (In fact, one of Connie's uncles was among the 343 firefighters killed in New York City on 9/11.)  Finally, it's on to a local theater, where the couple learns the traditional moves from the award-winning Beatha McCaughtry (another veteran of the KDIF) before having a cameo on-stage that night.
⦁    Day 2 is spent in Scotland.  In the morning, the couple visits the castle of Duncan MacMalcolm, the holder of the throne of the fully restored Kingdom of Scotland.  From there, it's on to one of the Highland Games as VIP guests, but Bunky wants to participate anyway, so of course he does.  (He doesn't win anything, but ends up OK.)  It's on to MacMalcolm's castle for the night.
⦁    Day 3 takes them to Wales and southern England.  The highlight is a trip to a bog garden, in which the revived plant life that once was the area's famous coal has been reshaped into many beautiful designs.

Episode #3 - British Isles part 2
⦁    On Day 4, Brandy and Bunky go to England.  First up is a trip to Bedford, the town from which John Absalom Barefoote emigrated to the United States in 1671, establishing the family line in the U.S. they are part of today.  After some considerable work, they find John and talk to him about his journey and share what has happened in their clan.  This is followed by a tea and then a pleasant all-day horse carriage trip into the heart of London to spend the night.
⦁    The final day has Brandy and Bunky in the heart of London, and they also make a jump in time from medieval times to the 19th century.  It's a city of Victorian influence with the backdrop of steampunk.  Bunky tries out a perpetual motion machine and can't stop raving about it: "We should take this thing back home, since our family needs it."  But the climax of this whole trip is the chance to see Piper's Remorse, a production of Lord John Flemming, a playwright so talented that William Shakespeare is said to have learned from him.

Episode #4 - Italy
Brandy and Bunky then visit a country which will be known as the "living time machine," because the people and environments will be from radically different times in history.

Days 1 and 2 are spent in Rome and Vatican City, where the world center of Catholicism is cheek-by-jowl with a revived imperial metropolis.  The siblings see a card of chariot racing at the Colosseum and sit in on a meeting of the Roman Senate.  On the second day, they see a classical Italian opera.

An overnight train trip to Florence follows, then a tour of the people and lifestyles of the deMedicis that shaped the Renaissance era.  The highlight there is seeing the fully restored version of The Lord's Supper, using upgraded materials than the original, which makes the fresco last longer.

It's then on to Venice, where the backdrop is the time of the Doges in the 14th century.  After finding out that the famous gondoliers don't really sing (bummer), the siblings enjoy a banquet and entertainment show at Piazza San Marco.

The last of the five days is spent in a cottage near the city of Reggio Emilia, from where Brandy's and Bunky's great-grandfather emigrated to the United States in the early-1900s.  Giovanni Pizzoli is obviously glad to see their descendants, and he shares the story of how his branches have spread all over the world.  But he is quick to add that everyone couldn't wait to come back home to Italy.  They then spent the night before leaving the country.

Episode #5 - Kashmir (India/Pakistan)
Up next for the wandering pair is the mountainous region of Kashmir.  Since the late 1940s, the region has been in dispute between India and Pakistan, and it has become symbolic of the desire of the common cultures of the Indian subcontinent to live in harmony and peace.  With the New Era comes the realization of the dream.

The Bhatt family is one of so many that were reunited.  Their backgrounds and lives are similar to those of the Barefoot clan in the United States.  Rajiv Bhatt, the head, was an accomplished cricket player and his wife Sunita starred in many Bollywood movies and was a best-selling pop singer.  They live with seven children, two grandchildren, and several aunts and uncles.

And like the Barefoots, the Bhatts have chosen to live a simple life on their farm which have endeared them to millions of people in their country and throughout the world; the TV show chronicling their adventures has some 200 million weekly viewers in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh alone.

The siblings participate in the Bhatts' traditional activities during the day, then join them on stage for a community morality play that night.  After a two-days' journey, which places them within sight of K2 (the world's second-tallest mountain) and the Khyber Pass, the siblings pick local "neutralized" poppy flowers.  They do not contain the seeds from which opium are made; therefore, they contain all of the beauty but none of the danger.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

As promised, the music festival poster

Last week, I spent about an hour creating a poster for a mythical musical festival.  I included Buddy Wayne and all his musical colleagues at Little Boy Records, the label I founded for him some years ago.

I could not save the InDesign file as a JPEG, so I had to create a package within InDesign that included a PDF, open the PDF, and finally shrink it down to a size for which I could see all of it on my computer screen.  After that, I used Snipping Tool to make it a JPEG file.

Now, some of the type may not be readable, so those are the captions:
  • First line below "also featuring": Brittany Spears, Bubba Brister, Blinky Blink, betaBOOZEbrain, Melanie MacMelville
  • Second line below "also featuring": Kimberly Shawnelle "ButtaFly" Wimberly, Bellamy Wood, LaRayne McLamb, O'Neale Timberlake, Barefoot Boys
  • Below that: "Also with comedy from Barney Laughinghouse and a lip-rock performance from The Honey Bees (some of Miss Hambone's friends and distant relatives)"
  • The next three lines are the date (July 15, 2017), the location (Fort Bragg), and the fictitious contact website.
Fort Bragg is a huge U.S. Army base just about 35 miles from the Barefoot home; both are in North Carolina.  After Christ returns to Earth - and of course ends all war on this planet - the military base will probably become recreational and residential space; among the new uses would be for large-scale outdoor events like musical festivals.  In 2016, the Miami Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves in a regular-season Major League Baseball game there, the first any major American-based sport had ever conducted on an active military base.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Checking in for the first time in 2017

I know some of you want to know why I have not posted so far this year.  Well, the short answer is that I have been bouncing back and forth between several personal projects:

  • I completed the episode summaries of Brandy and Bunky: R.O.A.M., for which the first episode is posted in detail here.  After leaving Jamaica, they moved on to Ireland, Italy, the Congo River, Kashmir, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, and Mexico before returning to the U.S.  In all, they were on the road for 62 days as they visited some of the places and people that will be most affected by the New Earth that would be ushered in by Jesus Christ.
  • I put together in my head the first episodes of season 6 of Gone Barefoot (or is it season 11? Even I'm not sure).  The least you need to know is that, with Brandy and Bunky touring the world and Miss Hambone has starting a six-month stay in Alaska to be with her boyfriend, a real-life person named Gabe Brown (who's on the Discovery series Alaskan Bush People), the show now follows some distant relatives of the remaining cast.  Among other things: Blake competes in the javelin throw of the U.S. Games, Randy races vintage race cars at a local track, and "Bear," a U.S. Army veteran, runs a discussion group of veterans from the American Civil War to the future Armageddon prophesied in the Book of Revelation.  But I haven't forgotten about Buddy Wayne: He has a statue put up in his honor at the Singing Grove in Benson, NC.  It shows him running with a checkered flag while a guitar is propped over his shoulder.
  • BMN Superfan Junior has begun with 10 contestants, five of each gender.  It would have started on Jan. 4 with host Matt Rogers and judges Mikel de Vries and Brooke Liptrap.  Last week's highlight was a series of paintball matches inspired by Bryson's love of all things Western.  Duos battled in a "Western ghost town" with the members of the winning male and female teams battling for the individual wins.
  • Finally, I have come back to InDesign.  I am considering another entire book - this one depicting New Year's Eve celebrations around the world, specifically tying in to Jesus' impending return - and plan to create a music festival poster with Little Boy Records singers and rappers.  The festival will take place at a post-millennial Fort Bragg, also in North Carolina.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Robertson clan helps me with "big picture"

On occasion, I have hinted at a "friendship" between the real Robertsons of West Monroe, LA and the fake Barefoots of Meadow, NC.  With the photo manipulation you are about to see, this relationship has been taken to a whole new level.

I have created a personal InDesign file which shows a "family reunion" which would have occurred after the return of Jesus Christ (but which I dated 2015, when this obviously did not happen).  Adobe allows me to publish it online, but my DSL connection, unfortunately, will not allow it.  So I have excerpted Buddy Wayne's welcome letter to the gathering, which is based on the biography of a real person named Miles Vinson Barefoot, who everyone called "Pink":

Other than God, family is the most important element of an individual’s life. Celebrating one’s ancestry can educate, motivate, and inspire current and future generations.
The Barefoot family motto is, “What was before, will one day be again.” In other words, no matter how much things change in the outside world, we have developed a system of core values that will always endure.
This event is the most tangible symbol of the love we have for one another. And there is no better place for it than on the land first settled by Miles Barefoot and his family, then passed down to his son “Pink” nearly 200 years ago. Over time, it became the place that he and so many others of his clan were buried.
Today, with Jesus Christ having returned to Earth and making all of us immortal celebrants of eternal life, Pink is back to welcome all of his descendants to his spot of destiny in Meadow township, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Enjoy all the days’ activities, and more importantly, enjoy each other’s company at this glorious reunion event!

I then published 10 sections of photographs and reports, representing each of the descent lines I imagined from them.  One of them is the John Noah clan, begotten from who would have been one of Pink's grandsons.  And along with that comes this photo, with captions for everyone pictured:

For this, I started by placing the Barefoots' heads on the Robertson's bodies - all 84 of them!  The original photo was taken in January 2014, at a get-together organized at the request of Mia Robertson, the daughter of Jase and Missy Robertson.  Then 11 years old, Mia was about to undergo her third surgery to correct the cleft lip and palate that she was born with.  The reunion, which included a special guest appearance by professional wrestler "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, was filmed for Duck Dynasty and shown on Mar. 26, 2014.  Ideally, my version would have had the Barefoots wearing more comfortable clothes for a summer day, but I found that to be too much work to try to match the entire body profiles.

In addition, four more people - including Brandy and her dad, Daniel - were dropped into the montage to allow them to pose together, and a few others were added to fill in blank spots.

Not only is this a large-scale view of the immediate and distant relatives that Buddy Wayne has, it's also - if inadvertent - a fitting tribute to the Robertsons, as Duck Dynasty is in its last season on A&E; the final show will air in January 2017.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Latest Super Bowl survivor pool results (better late than never)

Last fall, I ran the third annual National Football League survivor pool among my characters, their friends, and real life people.  However, I have not released the results - until now.

Luke Muellerleile, a former "student-athlete" at Carleton University in Minnesota, won this year's contest, as the Minnesota Vikings outlasted all other teams through six weeks of competition.  Muellerleile won the pool on Oct. 16, when the Vikings were 5-0.  Now, the slumping team is 6-5 and out of playoff contention, but there's still time left to salvage their season.  Nonetheless, Muellerleile still wins the grand prize of a VIP trip for four to Super Bowl LI and associated pre-game events, courtesy of NFL On Location.

He outlasted first-timers such as talk show host Patrick MacLeamy and NASCAR wife Sherri Pollex, as well as veterans like Billie Barefoot, Brooke Liptrap and Josh LoMonico.

Here are the complete results:
Arizona - Billie Barefoot (3) Eliminated 9/11 (23-21, NE)
Atlanta - Rhett Jeffers (2) Eliminated 9/11 (31-24, TB)
Baltimore - Brooke Liptrap (3) --> Seattle --> BAL Eliminated 10/9 (16-10, WSH)
Buffalo - Jim Brinson (1) Eliminated 9/11 (13-7, BAL)
Carolina - Steve Post (1) Eliminated 9/8 (21-20, DEN)
Chicago - Patrick MacLeamy (1) Eliminated 9/11 (23-14, HOU)
Cincinnati - Brittany Raylene (3) Eliminated 9/18 (24-16, PIT)
Cleveland - Dustin Fox (2) Eliminated 9/11 (29-10, PHI)
Dallas - Billy Bob Ribble (3) Eliminated 9/12 (20-19, NYG)
Denver - Sherri Pollex (1) --> Carolina Eliminated 10/2 (38-21, ATL)
Detroit - Harvey Barefoot (2) Eliminated 9/25 (21-14, GB)
Green Bay - Katie Von Hinz (2) Eliminated 9/18 (17-14, MIN)
Houston - Bamm Bamm Plumpkin (2) Eliminated 9/22 (27-0, NE)
Indianapolis - Rita McBuddy (2) Eliminated 9/11 (39-35, DET)
Jacksonville - Barbie Blank (3) Eliminated 9/11 (27-23, GB)
Kansas City - Brendon Bump (1) Eliminated 9/18 (19-12, HOU)
Los Angeles - Blinky Blink (1) Eliminated 9/12 (28-0, SF)
Miami - Brittany Ramos (3) Eliminated 9/11 (12-10, SEA)
Minnesota - Luke Muellerleile (2) --> Washington --> MIN (season winner)
New England - Marc McBrien/Anthony Buttinelli (1) --> San Diego Eliminated 10/2 (35-34, NO)
New Orleans - Ricky Hooter (1) Eliminated 9/11 (35-34, OAK)
NY Giants - Ron Barnes (2) Eliminated 9/25 (29-27, WSH)
NY Jets - Jake Stubblebine (1) Eliminated 9/11 (23-22, CIN)
Oakland - Bobbington Brandt (2) Eliminated 9/18 (35-27, ATL)
Philadelphia - Bud Strickland (2) --> Arizona Eliminated 10/2 (17-13, LA)
Pittsburgh - Josh LoMonico (3) Eliminated 9/25 (34-3, PHI)
San Diego - Alecia A. Moore (1) Eliminated 9/11 (33-27, KC)
San Francisco - Ralph Ortiz (1) Eliminated 9/18 (46-29, CAR)
Seattle - Brian Warner (3) Eliminated 9/18 (9-3, LA)
Tampa Bay - Alonzo "Popeye" Barefoot (1) Eliminated 9/18 (40-7, AZ)
Tennessee - Lyndsey Rowley (1) Eliminated 9/11 (25-16, MIN)
Washington - Lyman Bowling, Jr. (1) Eliminated 9/12 (38-16, PIT)

Names in red are those of actual people.  Numbers in parentheses are the total number of contests for each contestant.