Guys, this is big. Really big. Not so big that the world is sunshine and rainbows but enough to validate me running around the house like Kevin doing my best excited Kermit imitation. How did this come about? Back in June, Cindy Bullard of Birch Literary liked a pitch I made for my book through #PitMad. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a day-long event on Twitter where authors advertise their unpublished stories for that one in a million chance that an agent or editor will notice them and want to sign them on. Since an agent liking a pitch means you get the ok to query them, I went ahead and did so but didn’t expect much of a response. Much like Shrek, I thought love and getting an agent through PitMad were only true in fairy tales, meant for someone else but not for me. But then I saw her email and now I’m a believer.
I’ve queried my books on my own for at least four years now and have had nothing to show for it, but an agent means you’ve got your foot in the door. An agent means people are open to seeing what you’ve got. Now, it could take weeks to get a publisher, it could take months, it could be even longer than that, but for the first time in ages, I’m highly optimistic about my future as a writer and illustrator in my chosen field. I’ve turned a corner and the road ahead seems clearer than ever.
Ratatouille will be served in a day or so. Until then…I GOT AN AGENT YAAAAAAAY!!!
Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a great summer so far! You’ve told me about what movies you want me to finally take a look at yourselves, so we’ll be taking a break from the voting system and celebrating six years of Up On The Shelf with a pre-chosen review party that’s going to be over a year long! I want to thank everyone who’s supported the blog for this long by sharing how the new review schedule looks for the time being, as well as who requested what. Mark your calendars and rev up your streaming service/media player of choice, because here’s how things are going down:
January ’23: The Little Mermaid (Ben Walderberger)
I’d like to add that in addition to these film reviews, I’ll be posting a review of every episode of Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre each month. Expect the first shortly after this August’s review is done. See you then!
Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a great summer and –
Yeah, it has been a while, hasn’t it?
First off, I’m completely vaccinated and feeling great. I still recommend wearing a mask out and getting vaccinated if you haven’t already for your safety and the safety of everyone else around you, especially in light of the delta variant of the virus going around.
I took part in a citywide live art demonstration where I painted in public – a invigorating creativity, morale, and exposure booster, I must say – and I got paid handsomely for it.
I’ve found some new critique partners and revised some of my children’s books manuscripts enough to query them again while also starting some new ones. Speaking of, I’d also to talk more about children’s books in general, and I put some things into motion where I may be doing that soon in a somewhat different format. Stay tuned for more updates…
And hey, ever wanted to hear what I sound like AND listen to me rip on a really obscure and garishly bizarre infomercial for Gymboree with a bunch of hilarious, cynical podcasters? Well now you can thanks to Channel KRT, an amazing entertaining podcast where the strange and esoteric media from your childhood are brought to light whether you want it or not. They invited me to appear on this episode after tracking down the Gymboree tape and I had a hell of a time recording with them. Kit, Randee, Tyler, thanks again for having me on and for letting me plug the blog. Click HERE to listen to us alternate between laughing and cringing at “Gymboree: Play With a Purpose”, and please support these guys any way you can if you’re able. They are the best.
But on to the matter at hand. The fifth anniversary review is almost done, and I don’t feel like keeping you in suspense anymore as to what it will be. It’s a movie that means a lot to me from a personal and creative standpoint, one that’s a feast for the eyes and soul and a source of inspiration when it comes to creating art – and shaping criticism.
What does this mean for the sixth anniversary though? Well, instead of reviewing just another movie to mark the occasion, I’m expanding this party to the rest of the year – and to all of you. To all my loyal followers and commenters – and curious newcomers – pick one movie that’s On The Shelf, one you always wanted me to take a look at but haven’t gotten to yet, let me know in the comments or via email before July 30th, and I will review them all one by one! I will also finally be getting around to reviewing all of Faerie Tale Theatre soon after the Ratatouille review is released, and I’m very excited for that.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to celebrate the fourth the only way I know how –
By hiding away in my room trying desperately to ignore the constant ear-splitting barrage of the neighbors’ fireworks and my family telling me that I can go to Saudi Arabia if I hate the damn holiday so much. Toodles!
The short answer to your question: Yes, I’m still working on the fifth anniversary review. I know I keep flaking on my own deadlines but it will be up before the SIXTH anniversary comes around, I swear. I’m working as hard as I can when I’m able. Hey, it’s not like I’ve been spending my free time bingeing The Muppet Show and Wandavision, crushing Pikmin 3, and counting down the days ’til I get vaccinated, heh heh heh…
Anyway, stay safe, keep those hands washed and masks on even after you get your shot(s), and I’ll see you all soon.
I expected that once this day would come, I’d feel overwhelming joy, that’d I cry tears of happiness mixed with pent-up sorrow over the needless loss and suffering of the past four years.
Instead I felt…relief.
A quiet, calm unobtrusive sense of relief washing over me and taking every bit of fear and anger with it.
And it felt just as good.
The terror of tomorrow, the fury of injustice and helplessness that burrowed into my heart has been uprooted. From out of the hole rise hope’s repressed seeds, released at long last, ready to embrace the world.
All of our problems won’t be resolved overnight. There’s a lot of work to be done, a lot of damage to repair. The answer, however, has always rested with us. It’s good to know that, after experiencing the worst, we won’t let it happen again so easily, not as long as we’re vigilant, wise and compassionate. By placing our faith and trust into caring, capable hands, we make that start. We hold them accountable so they can hold others accountable. We stand together so no one will perish alone again.
Tonight, however, we celebrate, and rest.
I love each and every one of you. I hope you have the best night’s sleep you’ve had in four years. I wish you peace, happiness, and above all, relief and release.
Look, it’s pointless to reiterate how much of a colossal trainwreck it was. We’re all eager to move on and embrace all the hope and possibilities that 2021 has to offer, and this blog is no exception. Despite my schedule clearing up so suddenly early on, I got nowhere near as much writing done here as I hoped I would. Hell, it took me five days after New Years Day just to finish this. I feel like I’ve done more apologizing for running late than I’ve done any actual posting and I can’t…well, apologize enough for that. I was hit with a perfect storm of burnout, writers’ block, pressure, other responsibilities and general anxiety about my health, my family’s health, and the state of the world almost simultaneously, and it wrecked most of my plans for what was supposed to be the blog’s big fifth year.
And yet, despite every nervous cell in my brain telling me I wasn’t going to make it, here I am.
Here we are.
We made it.
We (barely) survived Coronavirus with a vaccine now on the way. We (barely) got through four years of Trump and utterly squashed the threat of four more. I taught an art class and fully developed two children’s books while getting started on several more. I bounced back into video editing. I even helped edit a podcast (Channel KRT, please check them out). Hamilton came to Disney+. Animal Crossing returned with an adorable wholesome vengeance as did Pikmin and apparently Pokemon Snap very soon. We got a kickass Princess Bride reunion/cast reading. TikTok actually spawned something creative and positive in the fan-made Ratatouille musical. People from across the globe banded together to fight racism. Thanks to Zoom I’m closer than ever to family and friends whom I haven’t spoken to in years. For all the overwhelming bad that 2020 brought to our doorstep, it brought a surprising amount of good with it, too.
And despite the false starts and panicking and chronic lateness, you stuck with me throughout it. Amelia, Gordhan, Sam, I have no words to properly convey my thanks for giving me the financial support I needed. And to everyone else who read and commented and liked what I had to say about random movies, I appreciate your readership and encouragement. Thank you.
Of course, I know the real reason why you’re here, to read silly summations of everything I reviewed in 2020! Yes, I promised I’d make that a yearly tradition, and it’s one I intend to keep. I’m also going to be sharing my plans for 2021 and one more bit of pleasant news that helped 2020 end on a personal high note. So stick around, because it’s time for Return of The Poorly Explained Movie (and Holiday Shorts/TV Episode) Plots!
Hi everyone! I’ve been hard at work on the reviews for December when I hit a crossroads concerning a certain character who’s popped up more than once (hint: he’s mean, he’s orange, and he’s due to be homeless by January). Without going into too much details, a recurring joke I had planned for him which fit in rather nicely with the short I’m reviewing spiraled into something of a sendoff for the character. I knew I wanted to “fire” him after the election, and what I had in mind was nothing short of apropos (and more than a little cathartic). Then I had second thoughts: since what happens to him is a subversion of what I’m reviewing, would it be too mean-spirited, even for a monster like him? I made a poll to gauge your opinions on whether or not I should keep what I had planned in the review or just leave him out altogether. Click HERE to learn more and let me know what you think. I’ll see you in December, and I hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
(If you don’t have a Patreon, just leave your choice in the comments.)
Hello everyone, I thought with a lot of people giving updates on how they’re dealing with the coronavirus and quarantine that I’d relay my own situation as well.
Don’t worry, I’m not infected, and I’m taking enough precautions that I most likely won’t be. I work from home so not much has changed, but I’ve been helping my parents adjust to doing the same. I can’t remember the last time we’ve been holed up in one place like this, but we should be okay so long as we don’t come into contact with other kinds of viruses:
I hope that made you laugh. We all could use a good laugh now, which makes the timing for what I’ve got for the first of next month all too perfect, hopefully. Even then, it’s okay to be upset with the amount of closures of public places and events that leave us sequestered in our rooms (I managed to see Onward before the movie theaters closed and it was very good. Here’s hoping they release it on VOD/Disney+ soon because that movie doesn’t deserve to flop due to public safety concerns.) I bring this up because something I had planned for this blog during the month of May has been affected thanks to this pandemic, and I’m working on rescheduling it for a later time. See, my sister was going to have her wedding then, and rather than leave you all in the lurch as I spend half the time rushing to prepare and the other half partying in Cancun, I was prepping for a month full of scheduled pre-written mini-reviews surrounding a certain topic near and dear to my heart. Think Monster Madness or Disneycember but in text form. Since my sister made the difficult decision to postpone the wedding until later in the year, however, I’ve decided to do the same. Movie reviews will continue as usual, and I promise to make them as entertaining and enlightening as possible. This will also give me more time to gather my many thoughts on the subject I’m eyeing. Now I just need to come up with a different clever name, hopefully one that’s still alliterative.
If you’re still worried about what to do next if you’re home stuck and looking to occupy yourself with something other than constantly checking your twitter feed for updates, then look no further. I’ve compiled a list of ways I’m planning on spending my time and some handy tips on how to deal with our current situation which I hope will help you:
This is the perfect opportunity to binge through whatever series or films you’ve been wanting to see, whether it’s something new or one you’d like to revisit. Personally, I’m looking forward to finally watching Kipo and Infinity Train and catching up with Ducktales.
The same goes for reading. Wanna curl up with a good book you’ve been putting off? Now’s the time. If audiobooks are more your thing or you want something to listen to while you work, LibraVox offers free downloads of classic stories from the public domain you can listen to.
Podcasts are also a viable option; I recommend Tony Goldmark’s highly entertaining Escape From Vault Disney. He’s taking requests this month if you’re a patron of his!
If you’re practicing social distancing but still crave some form of social interaction, find that Twitch or Discord that’s related to the thing or entertainer you like and join in. You’ll meet some like minds and maybe even make a few new friends. (Let me know if you’d like me to start a Discord server as well as I’ve begun considering it).
Video games are a good outlet too, especially if you can do online multiplayer. If anyone here’s got a Switch and wants to join me in a game of Mario Kart 8, hit me up!
If you have to go out for food and supplies, DO NOT. HOARD. THE TOILET PAPER. By doing so, you’re ensuring that whole families who need to wipe themselves go without a comfortable means of doing so. I don’t know why everyone is so obsessed with owning all the Charmin in the tri-state area, and if you’re one of those people, be so good as to enlighten me. Based on my research, you do not contact the virus through your butt.
Also, please be nice to the people who are working retail at this time, especially at the grocery stores. They have to be there even though they really don’t want to, and are doing the best they can in helping others with the situation regardless. Don’t make it harder for them by demanding they produce more hand sanitizer for you. They are people, not genies.
Continuing from that topic, hand sanitizer is handy to have on you (see what I did there?) but the best thing you can do is wash your hands for at least 20 seconds at a time. That amounts to singing the ABCs or Happy Birthday twice, or if you’re me, I follow this handy musical song excerpt chart. I lean towards Defying Gravity, You Can’t Stop the Beat and the Phantom theme.
Seriously, wash your hands, guys.
There are a lot of people out there whose livelihood has been directly affected by the virus in that they’re too sick to work, afraid to go to work or can’t because their place of work has been shut down. If you’re able to donate any food, resources or money to keep them afloat until it blows over, seriously consider it.
Face masks won’t work in preventing you from catching the virus, so don’t spend your money on them. Leave them to the medical professionals who know how to properly attach them so the chances of being infected are minimized, and actually need them so they can help patients without being infected themselves. If you insist on wearing a face mask, do it only if you are sick so you won’t risk coughing or sneezing on anyone.
Don’t blame China entirely for this. Don’t blame Chinese or Asian people in general for this. Don’t refer to to the coronavirus as the China disease or Kung flu or as whatever so-called “creative” nicknames you have relating to the country. Don’t use this sickness as an excuse to be racist.
Stay safe, and keep calm. Check for updates online, but sparingly. Don’t keep the news on 24/7. Make sure what you read comes from reliable sources, ie. WHO or CDC. If it’s from the White House, change the channel. Though the news is constantly reporting the amount of cases and deaths, what they don’t mention is that people are still recovering from this virus. And we will. Life will go on, and we will keep moving forward.
And until then, keep washing those hands.
And if you happen to suffer from cabin fever at any point in the coming weeks, may it be full of festive salsa-dancing muppets.
Happy 2020, everybody! While this past decade has been…interesting, I’m looking forward the new Roaring ’20s. Yessir, it’s gonna be nothing but speakeasies, gangsters, and lindy hops from here on out.
…What? What do you mean it’s not THOSE 20s?! Did I mastermind a hostile takeover of Chicago’s west side for nothing??
Anyway, as much as I would have loved to have the review of Fantasia 2000 up on today, its 20th anniversary, post-holiday malaise plus pre-SCBWI conference preparations means I’ll have to put a hold on that for a while. I will say this: the review following that one will be another Patreon request courtesy of Amelia Jones, and it’s yet another Disney classic I can’t wait to talk about.
Speaking of anniversaries, this year Up On The Shelf is turning five. Ah, seems like only yesterday I was figuring out how to make screencaps with captions. I’m honestly moved people have been following me and encouraging me to write for so long. I have a few ideas of how to mark the occasion that I’m keeping close to my chest for now. Just stick around, the best is yet to come in 2020.
And hey, you know what else around here involves a 20? That’s right, myPatreon! It’s gotten a pretty big boost this past year thanks to the generous support of my patrons. Amelia, Gordhan, Sam, you guys rock. I just need $20 before I can hit my goal of doing weekly tv series reviews. I’ve already got a bunch of fun shows picked that I’d love to talk about, but I can’t do it without your help. Any good word of mouth would be much appreciated. And as always, patrons get fun perks like extra votes, requests, and sneak peeks.
I was going to end this here, but I did want to post something a bit meatier than the usual “bye old year/hi new year” that circulates the internet these 48 hours. So, just for ships and giggles, I came up with this. I think I’d like to make it a new New Years’ tradition here on the blog:
Ladies and gentlemen and peoples of the non-binary persuasion, I give you, The Plot of Every Movie I’ve Reviewed So Far…EXPLAINED POORLY.