Why Arya Stark and Beric Dondarrion are frenemies on Game of Thrones

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Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of Game of Thrones’ final season, is crammed with fireside chats and cold reunions, including one between Arya Stark and two men she traveled with in earlier seasons: the Hound and Beric Dondarrion. It’s a meeting heavy with unspoken emotions coming from bad memories. Beric tells Arya, “My lady, it’s good to see you again. I’m sorry we parted the way we did.” Nothing further is said about their history. It’s been five seasons since Beric and Arya last shared a scene together, so it’s understandably difficult to remember how they parted, unless you’ve recently marathoned the series.

First off,…

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Timothy Leary vintage wristwatch on eBay

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Is it LSD o’clock yet? This far out Timothy Leary vintage wristwatch is up for auction on eBay. In more than 20 years of looking at Leary memorabilia on eBay, this is only the third time I’ve seen one of these. I bought the first that came up for myself and only wear it at, er, the right times.

The starting bid is $600, which is hundreds of dollars more than the selling price of previous examples. Read the rest

Jeff Koons stainless steel rabbit for sale

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This would have been a perfect inclusion in someone’s (oversized) Easter basket. The Jeff Koons stainless steel “Rabbit” (41″ x 19″ x 12″, 1986) will be on the auction block at Christie’s on May 15 during their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The current owner purchased it from the Gagosian Gallery in 1992. It is expected to sell for between $50 million and $70 million.

According to Christie’s, “this work is number two from an edition of three plus one artist’s proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.”

If you can’t afford this Rabbit for yourself, you can always visit one of the others for free at the truly fantastic Broad museum in Los Angeles. From The Broad’s description of Rabbit:

In 1979 Jeff Koons made Inflatable Flower and Bunny (Tall White, Pink Bunny), the seed for so much of his future work. This sculpture, also in The Broad’s collection, features two vinyl inflatable toys — a flower and a pink bunny — that sit on top and in front of four square mirrors. Seven years later, Koons ditched the flower, combined the mirror and the bunny, and created Rabbit. The switch from the word “bunny” to “rabbit” is intriguing. Bunny is cute and floppy; rabbit is quick and sharp. The carrot in the rabbit’s paw is wielded like a weapon, and the once soft, leaky, and cheap vinyl shell of the bunny has been replaced by armorlike, costly stainless steel, which reflects everything surrounding Rabbit and deflects any allusions to the sculpture’s interior.

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Drew Friedman’s homage to science fiction illustrator Frank “Kelly” Freas in MAD

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In MAD #7, illustrator Drew Friedman has a fantastic portrait of the great science fiction illustrator, Frank “Kelly” Freas, along with a short essay about seeing a copy of the paperback Son of MAD (with a Freas cover) as a kid.

Beginning in the late 1950s, the renowned illustrator Frank “Kelly” Freas was hired by MAD to be their cover artist. His vivid cover for the 1959 paperback Son of MAD is the first MAD image I remember seeing, and it remains, to this day, my favorite cover. The abject fear in the poor gorilla’s face, the terrified-yet-nuanced pose of his body, the curled toes — all as he’s encountering the infant Alfred E. Neuman as seen from behind. Pure visual perfection!

The cover is memorable to me for another reason. In the Beatles’ first film A Hard Day’s Night, the character Shake is briefly seen reading Son of MAD in the opening train scene. Two towering icons forever converged in that moment, the Beatles and MAD! When I first watched that scene, I was so thrilled my head (almost) exploded.

The moment I discovered that cover at age 5, my life changed. From then on, I was a Son of MAD. Not only did it lead me to becoming an obsessive MAD fan, but it spurred my mission to someday join the “Usual Gang of Idiots,” something I later (amazingly) achieved.

Here’s my take on that life-altering piece.?

Drew’s story and illustration page was art directed by Suzy Hutchinson, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of MAD. Read the rest

The fear of Daenerys Targaryen is setting up Game of Thrones’ final battle

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Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen has been a fearsome queen-in-the-making since the end of the show’s first season, but her Westerosi allies are only recently starting to realize it. The series’s latest episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” opens with her confronting her father’s murderer, Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer. “When I was a child, my brother would tell me a bedtime story about the man who murdered our father,” she says. “Who stabbed him in the back and cut his throat… He told me other stories as well, about all the things we would do to that man once we took the Seven Kingdoms and had him in our grasp.”

In a hearing of sorts,…

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Adobe Illustrator’s latest experimental feature lets you emulate your mood boards

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Sign back into your Pinterest and grab those mood boards, because they’re about to come in handy. Adobe previewed an Illustrator feature at the creative conference OFFF Barcelona today that lets users extract color palettes from images and photographs. Users can then apply a palette onto their artwork to have the app automatically color it all at once, then make individual adjustments from there.

The feature, called Color Transfer, could be especially useful for artists who want to explore different color variations on their artwork. Users can play around with applying specific color palettes to vector illustrations, and get inspiration from reference images and photographs in their libraries. Take a look at the video above to see how…

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Persona 5 is coming to the Switch as an action RPG

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Atlus had two big reveals this week for its much loved role-playing game Persona 5. The first, Persona 5 The Royal, is an enhanced version of the original game, complete with a new party member and an extra palace. The second, teased as Persona 5 S — which many fans theorized would be a port to the Nintendo Switch — is indeed a Switch game, though not in the way many expected.

Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is an action RPG from Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force. It’s a strange combination at first blush, but the mashup of Dynasty Warriors plus a beloved franchise has worked shockingly well before with games like Hyrule Warriors. In the brief trailer released today, Joker slices his way through a horde of enemies with the…

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Days Gone is a lavishly produced, painfully generic PS4 zombie game

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Sony has been on a roll of late. The company has published some of the most acclaimed single-player blockbuster video games of the last few years, ranging from the superhero adventure Spider-Man to the surprisingly emotional reboot of God of War to the vast, intricate open-world of Horizon Zero Dawn. While many publishers have primarily shifted to the more lucrative space of live-service games, Sony has become one of the last bastions of support for lavishly produced story-driven titles — which is what makes Days Gone so disappointing.

Coming out of Sony’s Bend Studio, the team behind the early PlayStation action series Syphon Filter, Days Gone has a lot in common with the aforementioned blockbuster games. It’s huge and beautiful, with…

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The Acer Predator Triton 500 Laptop Review: Going Thin with GeForce RTX 2080

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Gaming laptops continue to be a bright spot in the PC market, and practically every manufacturer offers some sort of system targeted at gamers. Some of them more successfully target the market than others, offering features that improve gameplay and visuals, and others focus more on what I’ll politely call the “gaming laptop aesthetic” which includes a myriad of multi-colored LEDs, and generally angular design cues. Diving head-first into that subject, today we’re taking a look at Acer’s gaming-focused Predator Triton 500 laptop. Although Acer has touched on a couple of the aesthetic design choices, they’ve kept it subtle, and still offer all of the accoutrements expected in a premium gaming laptop design.

Save an extra 15% off these DNA kits in honor of DNA day

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Happy DNA Day! April 25 is a day to recognize deoxyribonucleic acid – better known as the molecule that holds the code to our entire genetic makeup. What better way to celebrate than with a complete ancestry test that’s about more than just satisfying idle curiosity about your family tree? The lab techs at Vitagene use DNA to tell you about your lineage, but they also use that data to tailor a complete wellness plan that’s specific to your body.

When you get a Vitagene DNA kit, take a simple cheek swab and return it in one of their included vials. After a thorough analysis, you’ll get back the most detailed ancestry report you could hope for – not to mention the most practical. With the Vitagene DNA Ancestry Test Kit & Personalized Health Plan, you’ll understand your ancestry visually with a map that breaks down ethnic and regional percentages. You’ll also get a complete health plan that tells you what food choices are the best for your body, and any gluten sensitivity you’re likely to have. Vitagene will tell you the type and frequency of workouts that are best for you and suggest supplements to enhance your regimen.

For a small upgrade, the Vitagene Premium Health DNA Kit gives you all that info plus your genetic risk for certain skin conditions, and updates to your profile as new genetic research affects it.

Both kits are on sale, with the Vitagene DNA Ancestry Test Kit 20% off at $79 and the Vitagene Premium Health DNA Kit priced 28% off at $99. Read the rest

Fortnite’s second Avengers crossover launches today

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Fortnite’s v8.50 patch arrives today, and as expected it’s delivering the game’s second Avengers tie-in to coincide with the release of Avengers: Endgame. The new limited-time event randomly assigns you to either the Hero team or Team Thanos, and depending on which side you’re on you’ll get to either fight with the Avengers’ signature weapons or be transformed into Thanos himself.

Turning into Thanos works a little differently from last year’s crossover event. Previously, all you needed to do was find the match’s single Infinity Gauntlet in order to turn into the purple giant. This time there are six Infinity Stones to find across the map. If you’re the first to find a stone then you get to turn into Thanos, and the subsequent five…

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Samsung’s Galaxy View 2 is a 17-inch portable TV that happens to be a tablet

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The Samsung Galaxy View 2 is a new 17-inch 1080p tablet that’s being sold by AT&T, reports Engadget. Its size means that it’s essentially a portable TV that happens to be an Android tablet. AT&T is no doubt hoping you’ll use it to watch the company’s upcoming streaming service, or else its existing, and increasingly embattled, DirecTV Now service.

As the name implies, this isn’t Samsung’s first attempt at a weird TV / tablet hybrid. The original Galaxy View was released back in 2015. Although we could get behind the concept it felt overpriced at $599. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s going to improve this time.

Outside of the device’s huge screen and beefy 12,000 mAh battery, the Galaxy View 2’s specs are more modest. It’s…

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Reasons to Love Jest: The Developer Experience

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I’m a developer advocate at Snyk, and couldn’t reinforce more how important it is to test your applications for security vulnerabilities in third-party open source libraries. If there’s something I like as much as the sSyk developer tooling, it’s Jest. The developer experience with it just amazing!

Oh yes. The developer experience with Jest is transforming the act of writing tests from a chore to hell of a fun time. I promise! 

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