Phillip Pullman - His Dark Materials. 

Artist - Peter Bailey 

Publisher - The Folio Society 

”The heroine of His Dark Materials is 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua, who lives half-wild and carefree with her animal dæmon among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. Lyra’s guardian, Lord Asriel, has made an enemy of the sinister and all-powerful Church authorities – the Magisterium. Caught up in the conflict, Lyra must travel great distances, to the frozen Arctic wastes and beyond, towards a fateful encounter with Will Parry, a fugitive boy from another world. When Lyra and Will join forces, their perilous journey leads them to a decisive battle between freedom and authority, in which Lyra will play the ultimate part.”

Foreign aid from China is often characterized as ‘rogue aid’ that is not guided by recipient need but by China’s national interests alone. However, no econometric study so far confronts this claim with data. The study finds that political considerations are an important determinant of China’s allocation of aid. However, in comparison to other donors, China does not pay substantially more attention to politics. In contrast to widespread perceptions, the study finds no evidence that China’s aid allocation is dominated by natural resource endowments. Moreover, China’s allocation of aid seems to be widely independent of democracy and governance in recipient countries. Overall, denominating aid from China as ‘rogue aid’ seems unjustified.

According to the Financial Times, China outperformed the World Bank as the world’s largest provider of overseas loans to developing countries through its China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank amounting to at least US$110 billion in 2009 and 2010. Tanzania was the single most important recipient of Chinese economic aid between 1956 and 1987. 62.0% of China’s economic aid between 1956 and 1987 has been provided to Africa, highlighting China’s aspirations to become the leading power in the Third World. 22.7% of China’s economic aid in this period were provided to Asia, with the intention of creating “friendly relations with its closest neighbours”.


"Cas in Color"

A warm-up sketch actually that turned into more… I decided to finish it… enjoy while I work on commissions now… =P

Merch here:

The Game of Love and Chance (French: Le Jeu de l’amour et du hasard) is a three-act romantic comedy by French playwright Marivaux. The Game of Love and Chance was first performed 23 January 1730 by the Comédie Italienne. In this play, a young woman is visited by her betrothed, whom she does not know. To get a better idea of the type of person he is, she trades places with her servant and disguises herself. However, unbeknownst to her, her fiancé has the same idea and trades places with his valet. The “game” pits the two false servants against the two false masters, and in the end, the couples fall in love with their appropriate counterpart.

Like many of Marivaux’s other comedies, The Game of Love and Chance makes use of stock characters from the Commedia dell’arte. In this play, Arlequin is featured. Lisette, who appears in other Marivaux plays, also takes on a stock personality as the feisty servant.

can be read online here

California Prisons Are Making It Harder for Inmates to Organize and Protest by Banning ‘Obscene’ Reading Material

In February 2013 a group of inmates in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison called for a statewide hunger strike to protest the widespread and sometimes capricious use of special housing units (SHUs, a burreaucratic term for solitary confinement). Germinated in a small collective that included representatives from four different gangs, the call quickly spread throughout the state’s lockups, and on July 8, 30,000 men in 25 prisons refused their meals, attracting national and international media attention. At the end of the two-month protest the state legislature promised to hold hearings to look into the use of SHUs, and some reforms have resulted, including a “step-down” program that may hasten some inmates’ transfers out of solitary.

The strike represented a feat of communication that defeated barriers of concrete, steel, and distance, and it had relied, in part, on the newspapers, magazines, and prison newsletters that had spread the word about the protest.

“The access to the media—from mainstream newspapers to more prison-specific publications—empowered these prisoners to strike,” said Oakland attorney Anne Weills, who represents a group of prisoners suing the state for keeping them in solitary for over a decade. “It gave them a sense of individual and collective empowerment.”

But Weills wasn’t the only person who noticed how the prisoners’ use of the media had facilitated a stunning denunciation of SHUs. The prison authorities also took note—and now the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is proposing a ban on publications that address prison concerns under the guise of clamping down on “obscene materials.”

In California prisons, “obscene materials” has traditionally referred to a fairly narrow realm of images and written material, including photos or drawings of nude people or sexual penetration and pornography involving minors. Since the CDCR first adopted these prohibitions in 1995, there have been no updates, modifications, or additions to the list of contraband publications—until now. In April, the CDCR announced that it would change the rules to prohibit any publication that has an association with a “Security Threat Group” (STG, the new term of art for gang) or any material that might “indicate an association with groups that are oppositional to authority and society.”















The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce

For more epic young adult fantasy with female leads, try these…

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman for an iconic series and heroine

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor for a tough as nails lead and a new, dark take on the supernatural romance

Sabriel by Garth Nix for magic blood lines, epic journeys, and a huge cast

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde for quirky humour alongside magic and dragons

(for sayselizabeth)

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3.  S O   B E A U T I F U L

Study Links & Recommendations

People have asked me to recommend other resources for studying films, and I thought I would consolidate this in one spot.

Books on film:
“Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet
“On Film-Making” by Alexander Mackendrick
“The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing” by Michael Ondaatje
“Sculpting in Time” by Andrei Tarkovsky
“Reflections: 21 Cinematographers at Work” by Benjamin Bergery

My actual reading recommendation:
Don’t read too much about film. Watching film is plenty. It’s more helpful to read about psychology. After that: history, mathematics, philosophy, biology, astronomy, food, literature, you name it. Whatever interests you to read, will interest you to make films about. If you don’t like to read, uhhhh, I got no advice for you.

Websites I read:
David Bordwell’s blog (
Cinephilia & Beyond ( &
A Bittersweet Life (

Other video essayists:
kogonada (
Kevin B. Lee (
David Chen (
Matt Zoller Seitz (

Filmmaking channels I watch:
filmschoolcomments (
FilmmakerIQ (
Film Riot (