Reviews for the Lazy Gamer: Dust: An Elysian Tail

Categories: Gaming

Game: Dust: An Elysian Tail

Platform: PS4, Xbox 360, PC

Publisher/Developer: Humble hearts

Genre: Action RPG

Describe This Game in Three Words: Samurai Bunny Metroidvania

Score: 6 out of 10

Synopsis: A young man with amnesia named Dust wakes up in the forest to find he's been summoned by a magic sword, accompanied by the sword's fairy guardian. The trio are all unsure of their purpose, but quickly decide to embroil themselves in a conflict involving increasing monster attacks. So begins a journey.

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10 Best Businesses to Tour in and Around Houston

Maybe you were one of those kids who resented a trip to tour factories and other proud bastions of industry in and around the city of Houston. If so, have fun, hippies, because nothing says masterhood like carving the natural resources of Mother Earth into mechanical submission! Me, I love a good look 'round at how things are made. I still have a program on the history and manufacturing of concrete on my DVR after three years because it's bloody fascinating.

If you share this love, then come on with me. We've got some great places to take tours through.

Blue Bell Creameries
Though it's a drive out to Brenham to do so, one of the best tours available within reasonable distance is of the Blue Bell Creameries. The price is very affordable, $6 for adults and $4 for kids and seniors. It's a 45-minute walk through the plant with a well-versed staff regarding the history of the company and the exact ice cream making process. Plus at the end they give you free samples of any flavor you like. It's a trek, but if for some reason you're taking a trip to Austin, it makes for a fun and informative stopover. But warning: It's not open on weekends.

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Reality Bites: Living Alaska

Alaska: where bears are considered an amenity
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

Alaska, not space, is the final (okay, last) frontier. But don't take it from me, that's both the state's official motto as well as the corporate stance of Home and Garden Television (HGTV), which certainly has no vested interest in encouraging residential growth in one of the least developed viewing areas in the country. Oh my, no.

A show based on the idea of moving to Alaska sounds like it would offer some interesting and unique challenges (provided you do a little better prep work than Chris McCandless, that is). Alas, Living Alaska seizes little opportunity to showcase the Land of the Midnight Sun's singular charms, settling instead for the same tired yet lucrative formula that fuels 75 percent of HGTV's existing programming.

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Stark Naked Theatre Co. Plans Staging of The War of the Worlds All Over Again

Categories: Stage

About the time most candy-seeking hobgoblins are done wandering the streets for the night, Stark Naked Theatre is staging its second annual reading of The War of the Worlds, the 1938 radio broadcast that Orsen Wells initiated drawn from the science fiction novel written in 1898 by H.G. Wells.

Legend has it that people across America became convinced they were in the middle of an alien invasion, especially those who missed the introduction saying that what they were about to hear was fiction.

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Yamatane: Yusuke Asai Created a Massive Mural out of Local Soil

Categories: Visual Arts

Nash Baker ©
Jungle mountains against a spotted sky.
A remarkable installation by Japanese artist Yusuke Asai painted entirely with earth found around Houston -- 27 different colors -- is now on view at Rice Gallery. The mural dominates the exhibition room, rising from floor to ceiling, sweeping to three walls and even spilling onto the floor, so huge, so vast as to seem uncontrollable.

Rice University students gathered the colors from 11 different sites, making this the widest spectrum of colors representing a specific place that Asai has ever used. Asai calls dirt a "living medium." He has named the installation "-Yamatane," Japanese for "mountain seed."

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Megamalls Are Allegedly Dying, But Simon Isn't Going Down Without a Fight

Photos by Keith Luter, Jr.
Hilary Williams and Andi Valentine of Settlement Goods (two left) with Refinery29 crew.
Not sure if you have heard, but the megamall is in dire straits. Articles penned by USA Today, The New Yorker, and Business Insider have all prophesied the end of the shopping center as we know it. Blaming the economy, changing culture, and a population shift from the suburbs to the city for the decline, many industry insiders say the beginning of the end is near so get your food court fix in now! Usually when so called insiders herald the end of an era, many of us take it with a grain of salt and maybe an eye roll or two. But, a recent rebranding effort by one of the country's largest mall property owners may make you think otherwise.

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100 Creatives 2014: Allan Rodewald, Artist

Categories: 100 Creatives

All images courtesy of Allan Rodewald
The cowboy industry lost a great talent when then seven-year-old Allan Rodewald picked up a paintbrush. Rodewald grew up in Michigan and according to his mom, he always wanted to be a cowboy. Then he took an art lesson and suddenly he stopped playing cowboys and started drawing them instead.

"I took my first art lesson when I was seven years old. My parents saw that I got it, I understood [working] in two dimensions so they took me to more lessons. I was in second grade and I said, 'I'm going to be an artist.' In fifth grade, I sold an oil painting. That's when I started saying, 'I'm an artist.' [When God was handing out talent,] he gave me a big slice of art and not too much of anything else. From the beginning, it was like I had no other choice in life and I'm super happy with that."

This story continues on the next page.

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5 Best Houston Halloween Costume Shops

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik
Well, it's almost time. Halloween is nearly upon us, and some people still need a costume for the big night. Sure, a few folks might have an amazing selection of costume pieces just laying around the house. For some people Halloween is all year round, but the majority of us don't have a closet full of cool gear to throw together a great Halloween costume without leaving the house.

So where can a Houstonian who's looking for a great Halloween costume go to find one? Yes, there's the internet, you can find anything there. But a person won't be able to try on a costume before buying it, and there's no telling if that "Sexy Avocado" ensemble that you've been eyeballing will look flattering unless you see it in person first.

These are some of my favorite costume shops. It's a subjective list, of course. What I find appealing about them might not be something others do, but they're all worthy of a trip if you're looking for a cool Halloween costume this year.

Photo by Chris Lane
5. Party Boy - 1515 Studemont

This costume shop/party supply store has been around for a long while now, and has become one of the best Halloween costume shops in town. I mean, there's a haunted house connected to the place and a hearse is usually parked outside, it's hard to not dig that if you're a Halloween nut like me. Party Boy is a pretty big party supply store, and has all sorts of decorations for various themed parties and holidays. They have a costume rental space upstairs that seems pretty cool, although I don't usually rent costumes, and they have plenty of costumes and accessories for sale too. Party Boy has a lot of stuff, and while it's not my personal favorite costume shop in town, it's not a bad place to shop.

I've heard mixed things about their customer service, but it's always been fine when I went. Overall, Party Boy is a good stop on a Halloween costume finding excursion.

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Danny Rolph's "Paradiso" Exhibit Offers a Festival of Color

Categories: Visual Arts

Photo courtesy of Barbara Davis Gallery
Dragster 5by Danny Rolph captures the high level velocity of his work
Danny Rolph offers us a hint of the future to come, in nine major paintings, acrylic on canvas, all completed this year or last. It is a utopian future, airy, bright, with open spaces, colorful, and filled with vibrant energy.

"Paradiso" might have been called Dragster as well, as there are three paintings - Dragster 2, Dragster 4 and Dragster 5 - that reveal Rolph's fondness for high velocity. Dragster 5 may be the most powerful in the exhibition, dazzling with vivid colors. Luscious red lips reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe entice at bottom left, suggesting sensuality, or perhaps the reward for a victory. Despite this, I sensed the existence of a laboratory, testing the frontiers of scientific technology. Either way, it is a delicious ferment.

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Of Mice and Men: Steinbeck's Gloomy Picture of the American Dream

Categories: Stage

The set-up:
If you don't have access to any of those defining and iconic Depression-era photographs by Dorothea Lange, then turn your gaze to Texas Repertory Theatre's evocative production of John Steinbeck's classic tale of '30s hardscrabble migrant workers, Of Mice and Men (1937).

The stage pictures are unrelenting: dashed dreams, crushed hope, and aching loneliness. There's a flutter of male bonding, what Steinbeck called "somebody to talk to that gives a damn," but friendship can't compete with grinding poverty, bigotry, and the forces of fate. Steinbeck paints a mighty gloomy picture of the American Dream. Yet his poor itinerant workers dream on. That's all they have.

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