James Madison – UFO’s over Montpelier

President James Madison – There’s UFOs over Montpelier

“Everybody’s flying and never touch the sky
There’s UFO’s over New York and I ain’t too surprised
Nobody told me there’d be days like these” – John Lennon

Well, maybe not over New York Mr. Lennon but certainly aliens are visiting Montpelier, the plantation home of James Madison in Orange County, Virginia, USA.

This post is part III of Playing with James Madison – The Making of a Character showing scenes of an alien who visits James and Dolley Madison at their Montpelier home, in my historical science fiction graphic novel.

Part II Playing with Thomas Jefferson – The Battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison shows how Thomas Jefferson appears a 2nd time as a character and is having a severe conflict with his old friend James Madison.

In part one, I showed you how I created a character of James Madison with Adobe Photoshop, 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression and FaceApp using historical paintings. The graphic novel itself is not published online; however, some of the images from that effort are posted here. The purpose of this post is to show what one can do with Adobe Photoshop and other imaging applications. Images are transformative and for educational purposes only.

The Scenario….

To recap from part one, James Madison was kidnapped from his Montpelier plantation in 1825. He is taken by aliens who are the descendants of earth and another race of alien humans. The aliens look like humans, not little green men. The aliens claim they need Madison’s DNA to save their people from a genetic weapon created by an enemy race. They do not disclose their true intentions of which they plan not only take Madison’s DNA but genetically modify Madison himself and make him into one of them. The story tells of how Madison maneuvers his way around in this future alien world with an entertaining view of how he reacts to future technological advancements. Madison also has to deal with more severe issues, including the aliens’ tyrannical government, abusive behavior, and slavery.

This post shows scenes from a section of the novel where a reptilian humanoid alien interacts with James Madison. Though Madison and most characters in the story are all human, there is one character who is not; a reptile named Aigvan. Aigvan is a snarky, obnoxious character who likes to irritate and pick at James Madison, as he does everyone for that matter. The interaction between Madison and Aigvan is probably the most humorous part of the novel. Aigvan’s race of aliens is enemies to the human/hybrid race that Madison is now a part of. Aigvan, a traitor to his people, is now allied with Madison and the human/hybrid race. Madison who outranks Aigvan only tolerates him as Aigvan is now a fellow citizen.

The Scenes…

I will explain and show in this post how I created some of the scenes. All the faces of James Madison used in the scenes below are taken from the 1833 Asher Durand painting below. I was able to change his facial expressions, and facial angles for each scene using Adobe Photoshop and 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression.

James Madison Portrait 1833 by Asher Durand
James Madison by Asher Brown Durand, 1833

Firstly, here is an original photo I used. It is a stock photo I purchased from a stock site. As you can see, it is Barack Obama, Jack Lew, and Timothy Geitner. This image is about to be completely transformed into something new. Using Adobe Photoshop, I’m going to shrink Geitner’s body to create James Madison.

Barack Obama, Jack Lew, Timothy Geitner
Source: Alamy

Below is the first scene in the future alien world where Madison is introduced to the alien lizard, Aigvan. Madison is immediately turned off by the lizard’s snarky obnoxious behavior. Aigvan picks at Madison about his short height, and this doesn’t sit well with Madison. Since the future aliens have converted Madison’s DNA, he’s no longer the nice genteel, polite gentleman he was on earth.
In this scene, the bodies from the above photo have been removed from the White House colonnade and placed in a forest. Notice that James Madison formerly Tim Geitner on the far left is now much shorter than the rest of the men. This is because Madison was the shortest president with a small build at around 5’4″ and 115 lbs. I used Adobe Photoshop to shrink the body down to create an accurate representation of Madison’s body. Barack Obama’s body is now the body for Aigvan the alien. Aigvan’s head is a cosplay/Halloween mask. I added eyes to the mask. Rank stripes were added to the men’s sleeves. All of the was accomplished using transparency layers in Photoshop.

James Madison walking with an alien
Bacground image by David Mark from Pixabay

Later in the story, Aigvan introduces Madison to virtual reality and takes him back to his Montpelier plantation home virtually. Here we have Aigvan and Madison dialoguing in the drawing room of Madison’s mansion. The background is a photo I took of the drawing room when visiting Madison’s Montpelier. Madison and Aigvan are both wearing modern suits and ties from the future. I have opened Aigvan’s mouth with Photoshop to show him speaking and changed the direction of Madison’s eyes.
James Madsion in the drawing room at Montpelier with an alienHere Madison and Aigvan are still in the drawing room of Madison’s home. Aigvan shows Madison a neat little trick with virtual reality (VR), an instant suit change. Madison is now dressed in his 19th-century attire. Using 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression, I changed Madison’s face to a slightly different angle and placed his head on period dress body. The large painting of “Pan, Youths & Nymphs” hanging on the wall on the right is the actual painting Madison owned and is hanging in the same spot it was when he lived at Montpelier over 180 years ago.1
James Madison in the drawing room at Montpelier with an alienOn the opposite side of Madison’s drawing room, Aigvan the lizard now stands in 19th century period dress showing Madison that he can do anything in this virtual world. The body belongs to James Monroe from a photo that was taken at a wax museum. Not only was a lizard mask added as a head but I had to create the lizard hands and add them all on transparency layers in Photoshop.
Alien at James Madison's Montpelier
Here is another “before” photo taken in the drawing room of James Madison’s Montpelier. Notice how there are two security cameras in the upper right and notice how there are ropes near the bottom to keep the public from specific areas. Well, these have to go as they were not there in Madison’s time.
Drawing room at James Madison's MontpelierHere is the same shot. This time the security cameras and the ropes are gone thanks to the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop. Aigvan, the lizard, is now shown from a side view conversing with Madison. I tried to keep Madison to his exact height as our shortest president by showing him much shorter than Aigvan, who is using a James Monroe body. Monroe was slightly over 6′.
James Madison in the drawing room at Montpelier with an alien
Now Madison and Aigvan are upstairs at Montpelier. This is the room where Madison wrote most of the Constitution and it showcases many of his books. He owned nearly 4000 books. Here we see both Madison and Aigvan from a side view. Besides a frontal view, the side view of Madison was the most difficult to create. 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression doesn’t always correctly turn a face. In the last post, I had to replace part of Thomas Jefferson’s nose manually in Photoshop. In this scene, I manually added the hair in Photoshop and recreated his ear and added a little hair to his brow. He no longer has his queue (ponytail).
James Madison standing in his Montpelier library with an alienJames Madison side profileThe last stop for Aigvan on his tour of James Madison’s Montpelier is the upstairs master bedroom. Here Aigvan uses his VR magic to make Dolley appear beside Madison. I created Dolley by using the body of a Dolley Madison doll and added Dolley’s head from a painting. The doll’s dress was originally yellow. The bed behind them is the actual bed belonging to James and Dolley. During their later years, they slept downstairs, and this became a guest bedroom. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and James Monroe slept in this bedroom when visiting the Madisons.
James and Dolley Madison standing in the bedroom at MontpelierJames and Dolley Madison standing in the bedroom at MontpelierIn this same bedroom is a fireplace mantle decorated with the goddess of fertility. How ironic that James and Dolley’s mantle was decorated with this goddess as they were childless. Many of James’ political enemies took shots at him, his manhood and his ability to lead because he was childless. Below, Aigvan points this out and uses the opportunity himself to also take a shot at Madison. Because of Dolley’s physical beauty and personality, medical thought of Madison’s day was that women of this nature ran too “hot” sexually and caused infertility in their husbands.2
When placing Aigvan’s body in this photo, I had to remove some contrast so his body would blend with the other objects in the room. I created his hand by “chopping” fingers from another Halloween/cosplay lizard hands prop.
Alien at James Madison's MontpelierUnfortunately, things go “south” between Madison and Aigvan leading to a fight between Madison and Thomas Jefferson, See Playing with Thomas Jefferson – The Battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

See Playing with James Madison – The Making of a Character Part 1 for image sources, tools and tutorials.

1 Allison Brophy Champion. ” Dutch masterpiece lights up Madison drawing room” Orange County Review, 3 April 2011 https://www.dailyprogress.com/orangenews/news/dutch-masterpiece-lights-up-madison-drawing-room/article_69e16780-228b-5691-ad54-6bd78ddd6dc6.html
2 Jacquelynn A. Lyon. “The Pen and the Petticoat: Gendered Slander Against Dolley Madison in the Early American Republic” https://scholar.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2700&context=honr_theses

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Visiting with the Presidents – America’s Founding Fathers

The Founding Presidents of the United States of America….In Wax

I recently visited Madame Tussauds wax museum in Washington, DC. I got the chance to scratch off another bucket list item. I love history, and I especially love the presidents.  An early recollection from childhood was looking through a set of my mother’s encyclopedias and seeing huge beautiful colorful portraits of the presidents wondering just who these men were. So the quest to learn about them began. I even started collecting presidents memorabilia during childhood.

I was excited about visiting the wax museum as it was the closest thing I would ever get to meeting the presidents.  Below are some of my thoughts and photos of that visit.

George Washington – 1st President, United States

I loved seeing the old George. The only problem is that he looks like he just woke up. This face really didn’t look like Washington, in my opinion. There is something amiss about his face, but I liked the attire.George Washinton full dress uniformGeorge Washington side profile

John Adams – 2nd President, United States

John Adams looked very lifelike, especially the eyes. I think the artists did an excellent job making this figure look like John Adams.

John Adams sitting in a chair

John Adams

John Adams side profileI’m sorry, but I cannot help but think of a mop when I see the back of Mr. Adams head. He’s got quite a “do” going on there.

John Adams back of head

Thomas Jefferson – 3rd President, United States

The wax figure of Jefferson appears to be an accurate representation of him, at least from his paintings and life mask. Like Adams,  he seems to be having a  bad hair day. The body of this wax figure was used in a scene for my graphic novel, shown in my blog post Playing with James Madison – The Making of a Character. More of the character of TJ can be found at my blog post, Playing with Thomas Jefferson – The Battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

Thomas Jefferson standing Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson side profile

James Madison – 4th President, United States

The great little Madison is my 2nd favorite president. He’s the same height as I and the same weight I once was, 5″4 – 110 lbs. The wax representation below of Madison is very lifelike, but I’m not sure it’s an accurate representation of what he looked like based on his life mask. See my post Playing with James Madison – The Making of a Character for what I believe is a more accurate representation of Madison. However, the nose appears to be accurate as well as the face shape on the wax figure. I think they missed the mark on the eyes.

James Madison James Madison looking slighly to his left James Madison James Madison side profile James Madison standing side profile

James Monroe – 5th President, United States

This James at 6′ in height dwarfs the previous James. I love James Monroe’s suit here. Based on James’ death mask, this may be a good representation of him. Either way, this figure is right handsome.

President James Monroe President James Monroe President James Monroe side profile

Visit Madame Tussauds

Next: Visiting with the Presidents – JQA to Tyler

Copyright & Disclaimer:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Images in this post are free to anyone for NonCommercial use with attribution under the license above. Images on this site that are used by permission do not fall under this license.

Big Star Grocery Stores…A Blast From The Past

1981 Big Star Grocery Game Pieces

If you were living in the Danville, Virginia area during the 1970s and 1980’s you surely remember the Big Star grocery stores.  We shopped at the Big Star located in Ballou Park. The store is now a Food Lion.

Big Star Grocery Store
Source: groceteria.com

While digging through some of my grandmother’s old stuff, I came across some Big Star grocery game pieces from 1981. I was ten years old when I remember my grandmother getting some of these Instant Vegas pieces below.

I don’t recall seeing my grandmother getting the Royal Blue Bonnet Instant Holiday Sweepstakes pieces below.  Check out the dates, the game ended on April 30, 1981.

I enjoy finding bits and pieces of the past like these as they are not something that most people save. I’m curious if any of these or other groceteria game pieces from that era still exist.

A little bit about Big Star…..

According to Wikipedia, “The Big Star stores were self-service supermarket operations which began to replace the small full-service stores Pender’s had operated up to that point. By the late 1940s the entire company had rebranded under the Colonial Stores name. The Big Star name was revived around 1968 for a new discount chain owned by Colonial; eventually all stores were closed or converted to the Big Star name. Grand Union purchased the chain in 1978. The North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia stores were sold to Harris Teeter in 1988, while the Georgia stores were sold in 1992, with most of the Atlanta locations going to A&P. These stores were heavily remodeled, but eventually sold to Publix in 1999. Stores currently operating under the Big Star name in places like Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee, were part of a franchise operation that was never directed to the connected to the Big Star chain proper.”

A Trip Down Memory Lane with Roanoke Virginia’s K92 and David Lee Michaels

Remember the days of mixed tapes. I made my share of them that’s for sure.

I discovered a gem, a small little time capsule from the past. One day in July 1981 around 6 PM, I think, on a Saturday I pressed record and play on the tape deck and let it run. I recorded Roanoke Virginia’s K92 FM with Disc Jockey David Lee Michaels, station IDs, commercials music and all. K92 was one of my favorite stations back in the day.

I’m sharing this so everyone from Roanoke, Martinsville and Danville Virginia can take a trip down memory lane. Here is how radio used to be when I was ten years old. I shortened the songs to snippets for copyright. Enjoy!