Pie Trek Wheel of Deciding




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Movies I’m Looking Forward to Seeing in 2016

THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Is this a 2015 movie or 2015 movie? Doesn’t matter I guess…

THE REVENANT looks great!

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS. A lot of white folks providing voices for Asian characters in this one but Laika has a good track record.

NICE GUYS trailer makes me want to see it.



HAIL, CAESAR! Coen Brothers always deserve a chance!

THE LOBSTER. This looks weird. I’m into it.





PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is one of my fave movies of all time.


FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. A Harry Potter movie without Harry Potter? Sold


BOURNE 5. I’ve seen all the previous Bourne movies, I’ll see the next.

KUNG FU PANDA 3. I really enjoyed KFP 1 and 2 so here’s hoping the trend continues!

Was never a Deadpool fan and the trailer doesn’t do much for me but Marvel is going strong so hopefully this won’t be crap.


STAR TREK BEYOND. As a Trekkie, the reboot is not to my liking. Will wait for the reviews on this one.

THE WITCH. Historical horror films are the best horror films

SYNCHRONICITY. Michael Ironside in obvious Blade Runner inspired Time Travel flick.

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Movies I Saw in 2015

2015 was not the year of 365 movies, but I did watch a bunch of films. Of the movies that were release this year, here are my thoughts:

Image of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water
Not as good as the first one, but some good gags. 6/10

Image of Chappie

Total disappointment. No characters the audience can (or should) identify with. Cool guns. 5/10

Image of Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Didn’t like Ultron as a villain, everyone has the same amount of sass. Give the sass to the sassy characters and let the other characters shine on other merits. 6/10

Image of Ex Machina

Ex Machina
Great performance, great story, great ending. 7/10

Image of Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
Not much of a story, but everything comes together visually and you don’t have much time think about the holes. 8/10

Image of Tomorrowland

Tragically didn’t’ live up to its potential. 6/10

Image of Inside Out

Inside Out
Frankly this movie bored me. I appreciated what they were trying to do but ultimately I think they missed the mark. 6/10

Image of Slow West
Slow West
Not much of a story but impressive visuals and great moments. 7/10

Image of Ant-Man

Is Marvel in a rut? If so, it’s a fun rut. 7/10

Image of Taken 3
Taken 3
The usual. 5/10

Image of Mr. Holmes
Mr Holmes
Great character study and performance. 7/10

Image of Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie
Super fun! Funny. Perhaps my highest recommendation of 2015 despite the fact that I only give it 7/10

Image of Jurassic World

Jurassic World
I’m not a superfan of Jurassic Park, but I like dinosaurs and movies. This movie was a bad joke. It made me laugh. 4/10

Image of Turbo Kid

Turbo Kid
Likeable characters, post-apocalyptic, silly, fun, but even so relied a little too much on the nostagia factor. Worth seeing. 6/10

Image of Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys
What a mess. 5/10

Image of San Andreas

San Andreas
Ridiculous but mostly entertaining. 5/10

Image of Z for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah
Post apocalyptic movies are for me. This was a good one without mutants and tricked out cars. Reminded me of The World, the Flesh and the Devil. 7/10

Image of The Martian

The Martian
Smart, fun, good. 8/10

Image of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
Another post-apocalyptic film filled with young adults and also Lili Taylor! 7/10

Image of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
I don’t know anything about Steve Jobs. I watched this movie and still don’t know anything about Steve Jobs except he was an asshole and a bad father. 7/10

Image of Sicario

Pretty intense and engaging, even though I didn’t understand some of what was going on. 7/10

Image of Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk
Intense, disturbing, satisfying. 7/10

Image of In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea
I didn’t really buy Chris Hemsworth in this role but the tale was satisfying and darker than I expected. 7/10

Image of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Total rehash of New Hope but we don’t expect much from Star Wars these days, do we? 7/10

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Toren’s Resto Rants 12: Mein Mao

At least they’re open late?

Mein Mao

Their blurb: “Discover authentic Chinese cuisine in the heart of Vancouver!”


Open 11am to midnight, later on weekends
Booths? No
When I dined: 8pm on a Sunday
Noisy? Very
Candies with your bill? no
Lives up to it’s name? Mein apparently means ‘noodles.’ Mao was leader of the Chinese Communist revolution and president of the People’s Republic of China (1949-1959). I saw noodles but I did not see Mao.

MY REVIEW: This new restaurant popped up so my friend and I went to check it out. A very small restaurant with small tables set close together. Large TVs everywhere playing hockey and some triathlon that was distracting and out of place.

Not much on the menu appealed to me so I ordered the chicken skewers. It seemed expensive but when it came it was 8 skewers, which is too much for an appetizer. I would have preferred three or four. The chicken was fatty and oily and not terribly pleasant and the sauces were also lackluster. One of the sauces was a dark grey/green color and a bit too spicy for me and the other one resembled the black goo from X-Files and made me want to barf. Luckily our meal came with three tiny spring rolls that came with other sauces I could dip my chicken in to try to squeeze some enjoyment out of my food. One of the sauces was a nice chili sauce and the other was …Worcestershire sauce. Apparently the server claimed that the Worcestershire sauce was soy sauce. It was not soy sauce. I have had both.

I tasted my dining partner’s noodle soup and it was bland.

The service was attentive and very pleasant and when they came by to ask if everything was alright I didn’t have the heart to tell them their food needs a lot of work. For that, I feel shame. The good news is that Ninja Bubble Tea was just a block away so I wiped away that shame with a different kind of shame of having too much sugar.

Biggest Rave: Great logo!

Biggest Rant: The music was pretentious modern jazz with swirling piano and saxophone that made me feel like I was falling up/down an M. C. Escher staircase. It was distractingly loud, and I have hearing damage so I know of which I speak.



Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

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Toren’s Resto Rants 11: Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen

A white guy who can’t handle spice finds even this Indian fare to be on the bland side

Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen

Their blurb: “Give a Flavours to Your Taste Buds” (their words, not mine)


This photo comes from followmefoodie.com and is used without permission


Address: 2066 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A9
Phone: (604) 215-7556
Open 11:30am-10:30pm every day
Booths? No
When I dined: 3pm on a Tuesday
Noisy? No
Candies with your bill? I didn’t get my bill so no.
Lives up to it’s name? Siddhartha is the birth name of the founder of Buddhism. I did not see him when I went in. If he was there, perhaps he had shape-changed into the server.

I wanted a place with good-size tables to work on some drawings and I saw that Siddhartha’s was completely empty. I have actually had food here twice before, both times it was takeout, and both times it was disappointing. The first time they actually gave me someone else’s order which I found out when I got home and opened the bag. I walked the food back to the restaurant (luckily it’s less than 2 blocks from my home) and when I got my replacement food I found that they had still got the order wrong.

This time, however, I ate in. I was served right away, which was not surprising since I was the lone customer. They had lunch specials but it took some finagling to get an order of butter chicken with naan substituted for rice. I ordered pakoras and they were delicious. The chai was fine and I think it came with the meal. The butter chicken was only satisfactory, fairly bland, but the naan was outstanding, perfectly crispy, not too doughy, with a thin layer of oil.

The place looks a bit upscale on the inside but who really cares? Despite the lack of clientele I could have used a bit more attention from the staff. I was only offered water at the tail end of my meal, and I had to get up to find out about the bill. This is not a deal-breaker but did not impress.

The price for what I ordered was surprisingly low. Maybe it’s a lunch special deal. Or maybe they made a mistake. Lucky me!

Biggest Rave: I was not distracted by the presence of customers

Biggest Rant: The music was annoying whispering nonsense semi-new age wankery. Even if they had played pleasant music, it would still have been 20% too loud.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

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World Wildlife Federation of Justice Animatic Demo

At long last, and with the help of some talented folks, I have finished a demo animatic for a proposed cartoon series for the World Wildlife Federation of Justice.

I hope you like it, and if you do, may I suggest supporting me on Patreon?

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Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 2

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 3
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 6
lick here for Season 7

the 37’s

In this episode Voyager finds a 1930’s car floating in the part of the Delta Quadrant that they happen to be passing by, which seems totally reasonable. That leads them to a planet where they release Amelia Earhart from stasis. She and and others were being worshiped by the society of humans living on the planet that were slaves of aliens that abducted humans in the 30’s – a society made of their descendants. Luckily nobody on Voyager likes the idea of living on a planet with thousands of humans instead of travelling for 75 years in a spaceship, and nobody on the planet, including Earhart, has any interest in going into space with Voyager. So that all works out. 4/10


In this episode there is a lot of hammy acting as Chakotay goes up against Nog, er, I mean a young Kazon. Chakotay impresses upon an alien some good old fashioned Roddenberry-esque human values. Totally decent episode. No weird space clouds. 7/10.


In this episode the holographic doctor learns he’s not a hologram but a real human in a holographic simulation. OR IS HE!!!? No he’s not. OR MAYBE HE IS!? Great episode, really engaging. Lt. Broccoli is back. My biggest problem is that it didn’t have an ending. 7/10


The ship encounters giant space sperm that induce rutting in Kes. Also Naomi Wildman’s mom becomes pregnant with her. This episode would make David Attenborough proud. 5/10.


Harry Kim wakes up in an alternate timeline where he didn’t go on to Voyager, and his pal Danny Bird went instead. He recruits drunk loser Tom Paris in France. Not Paris, France. In Marseille, France. Tom Paris…IN France. They get into trouble with Starfleet and Starfleet puts a big bulky tracking anklet on him – because that is how they do things in the 24th century. The guy who owns the cafe explains that Kim collided with a time matrix dealio in a shuttle which caused all this mess. Paris and Kim steal a shuttle so they can recreate and reverse the accident, so they head for the time-stream coordinates which I guess are close by Earth even though Kim would have been in the Delta Quadrant orginally? I dunno, who cares. We also learn in this episode that Kim has no chemistry with his fiancee. When do we get to see the episodes with Danny Bird instead of Kim? 4/10


How long has it been since there was an episode about a spatial anomaly? Too long, apparently. This spatial anomaly is re-configuring the ship, but it happens conveniently only when people aren’t looking. Janeway says they should use Jefferies tubes as if they would be immune to the effect. Then Captain Janeway speaks in tongues and Tuvok says that the best way to fix the ship is to do nothing. Neelix is jealous. Everything ends up fine, and the computers have 20 million new gigaquads of data. Now let us never speak of it again. 3/10


Neelix is jealous of Tom so they go on a shuttle together down on a planet where the shuttle crashes because of blah blah blah but nobody dies in the crash or is even hurt. Then they both become a mother to a reptile puppet. 3/10


Janeway is freaked out over cucumber sandwiches but at least she doesn’t brush off her hallucinations and smartly tells the crew about them. Kes also sees Janeways visions, and saves Janeway from the holographic housekeeper trying to stab the captain to death. The alien Bothans who are presumably different than the Bothans from Star Wars, are playing mind games with the crew and one by one the crew goes catatonic. Kes and the doctor are the only ones left and Kes performs some technobabble to defeat the alien which appears to be on board. The alien pretends to be weak but then declares that he’s not even there-  mwoohahahah! Evil! 4/10


“Tattoo” – the trailer makes this episode worse than it actually is. In this episode Chakotay learns that aliens came to earth thousands of years ago and gave the native people of the americas a genetic gift. This seems silly to me but not as silly as Chakotay just happening by the aliens’ planet in the delta quadrant. Meanwhile, the doctor programs himself to get a virus so he can better sympathize with his human patients because Kes is pissed with his lack of empathy. 5.8/10


Voyager saved the Caretaker alien’s remains (remember, from the first episode) and they begin to vibrate or squeal or whatever. Then they find some Ocampans living on a space station being taken by the Caretaker’s partner. One Ocampa teaches Kes to use her psionic powers and she boils Tuvok’s face. Then she destroys the ship’s plant supplies and the Ocampa guy wants to take Kes away. The Caretaker version 2 arrives and she’s a creepy little girl who wants to kill everyone! They poison the alien into submission and all the not-regular cast flee. Kes has just lowly psi powers again and Janeway vows to find the evil space girl but instead of starting on the station they leave. So, I guess not really. 5/10


What are Seska’s motivations? Does she want to get back to Cardassia? Does she feel safer with the Kazon than with her ex-allies from the Alpha Quadrant? Does she just enjoy toying with Voyager because she’s evil? Maybe she just sees a future place of power with the Kazon even though they don’t respect women. Anyway, Seska and the Kazon steals a federation doohickey from Voyager. They want their doohickey back! Chakotay steals a shuttle and destroys the doohickey on the Kazon vessel. Several Kazon sects have come together against Voyager but Janeway beams all the leaders onto Voyager and holds them hostage in order to get Chakotay back. Janeway is mad at Chakotay for breaking the chain of command but doesn’t discipline him because whaddyagonnado? 5.7/10


Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….okay. The ship conveniently needs to have no shields for this episode, so they technobabble a reason. Janeway, undercover as a not-starfleet captain, is captured on a planet. Same deal with Tuvok and B’Elanna. Janeway is saved and dogged by an insane man who thinks she is her daughter. Janeway does the old “show some leg and pretend to be a prostitute” gambit to distract prison guards. By this time Janeway has bonded with the nutty old man and when he’s killed she finally admits to being his daughter so that he can die happy. They escape. 4/10


So you find a seemingly dead robot floating through space and you think it’s a good idea to repair and reactivate it without, you know…figuring out what it’s programming is. Also, the practical effects in this episode were ATROCIOUS. A good idea horribly executed. 3/10


Oh the Kazon are taking their toll on poor old Voyager. The crew is getting smaller and the attacks are getting more frequent. Abandon Starfleet Principles the crew says! Janeway says “I’ll blow up the ship first!” and the Maquis are all like ‘whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?’ Chakotay says “let’s make an alliance with the Kazon” and Tuvok makes a reference to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. A meeting is set up between Seska, her Kazon baby-daddy and Janeway. The Kazon says women are inferior and must submit and Janeway tells him to talk to the hand. Meanwhile the Trabe are the sworn enemies of the Kazon, but the governor says Voyager should arrange peace talks between everybody. That indeed happens, but the Trabe just try to assassinate all the Kazons at the meeting. Janeway ruins the attempt, and now both neither the Kazon nor the Trabe will ally with Voyager. 6/10. Would have been more but Seska is dumb and Neelix goes to a space bar.


Tom Paris exceeds Warp 10 and he and Janeway turn into fucking salamanders and have babies together and then are they are restored but they leave the babies on some planet because that’s how the Prime Directive works. 2/10


Grima Wormtongue is a psychopathic murderer and Tuvok melds with him to help him with his bad brain. Now Tuvok is a psychopathic murderer. Tim Russ gets to act in this episode! 7.5/10


Coincidence Factor 11 Captain! A bazillion space miles away in the Alpha Quadrant, B’elanna Torres reprogrammed a Cardassian death machine for the Maquis. It manages to show up in the Delta Quadrant right along Voyagers path back home, and now it’s on a mission of kill a random alien planet. Torres and Janeway and Voyager must sacrifice their lives to stop it. 6/10


…my review is forthcoming


…my review is forthcoming


…my review is forthcoming


…my review is forthcoming


…my review is forthcoming


The guy from Spinal Tap is a not-so-scary version of personified fear inside a virtual reality that looks like a low-budget cirque du soleil where everything is boring and/or irritating. For some reason I can’t understand B’elanna Torres is sent into this virtual reality that is being co-created by a computer and the survivors of an apocalypse being held in suspended animation. Harry Kim is also sent in, but I can understand that because he’s expendable. Anyway, this episode is almost unwatchable despite having an interesting premise. 3/10


…my review is forthcoming


Chakotay gives Janeway a back massage after they’re abandoned on an alien planet because they have an incurable disease.


…my review is forthcoming


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Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 1

Q help me, I’m forcing myself to watch Star Trek: Voyager. Resistance is….pending.

Click here for Season 2
Click here for Season 3
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 6
Click here for Season 7

CARETAKER Parts 1 and 2

Strangely for a ship that was part of the United Federation of Planets – a coalition of over 150 worlds – they had to go into another quadrant to integrate some non-humans into their crew. There is a scene with Quark to offer fan service to DS9 viewers. An alien transports a maquis ship and Voyager to the Delta Quadrant and puts them in an anachronistic farm setting so as to keep the show budget reasonable. Certainly not to make the humans feel at home since it more resembles the 20th century than the 24th century. The alien caretaker wants someone to take over his shitty job but can’t find anyone. Janeway destroys the array that summoned them rather than use it to get them home. That makes the nasty Kazon aliens so angry! 6/10


Not a terrible episode – some interesting crew interaction but a lot of boring technobabble and the usual wormhole/time/multiple ships b.s. 5/10


On a barren post-apocalyptic planet Janeway and Paris get sent back in time and are hounded by a child who neglects to be shot by ruthless protesters wearing rainbow corsets. Kes can sense minds through time and gets a bunch of stuff wrong. Interesting if predictable twist ending. 6.5/10


Neelix disobeys orders like a dummy and has his lungs removed by someone with a medical station hiding in an asteroid. He gets cranky. Then the doctor gets cranky. Then Voyager captures the party responsible and gives them a stern talking to. Kes donates a lung so now Neelix and Kes both only have one lung. I’m sure they’ll be fine running about for the rest of the 6 seasons though. This ep introduces the Vidiians who will will get to know over the next little while. 7/10 including a bonus point for the phage makeup.


Boring. Pointless. Prosaic. 3/10


In “Eye of the Needle” the crew finds a wormhole that goes to the Alpha Quadrant! HOORAY! Oh no it’s too small for the ship to go into. BOOOOO. Oh but wait we can send a probe through and contact someone. YAY! Oh but it’s a Romulan and they’re the enemy BOOOO. Oh but he’s going to help us and send our letters to our loved ones YAY! Oh no the other side of the wormhole and the Romulan are from the past BOOOOO. I liked this episode! 7/10


For a somewhat ridiculous film noir-esque murder mystery involving aliens with terrible feather wigs this actually wasn’t bad. 6/10.


This episode had some good ideas but didn’t take it far enough. I try to imagine this as a TNG episode and would I like it then? It seems like this would be a season 6 or 7 episode. Weak in some places that it matters. 5/10.


Interesting ideas. Star Trekky in a perhaps-slightly-too-comfortable-but-only-just kind of way. Interesting dynamics with Seska vs Torres. Good acting with Mulgrew at the end. 6/10, but I don’t feel the need to ever watch this episode again. Still, better than I could do.


Voyager “State of Flux” Is Seska a Cardassian? If she is, is it bad? Is she giving technology to the Kazon? Is Kazon hair made out of papier mache? No colorful space clouds in this one, so it gets a thumbs up, even though something about Seska weirds me out. I don’t buy her and Chakotay having a romantic history together. 6/10


Season 1 ep 12 “Heroes and Demons.” Yes it’s time for a ‘holodeck safeties are off’ episode! It’s a doctor-heavy episode so that’s a good thing, but it’s also a medieval LARP. So turns out that Voyager has captured some living light creatures which hide out in the holodeck and integrate with the Beowulf program. Also the doctor chooses the name “Schweitzer” but by the end of the episode he doesn’t like it. 5/10


In episode 13 “Cathexis” we renew the trope of aliens possessing crew members and trying to take control of the ship. Very forgettable episode. 5/10


I like the idea of the phage but this episode makes no sense. I could see them taking the klingon DNA out of Torres to make a fully human version, or vice versa – but two B’Elannas? One is aggressive and not-so-clever while the other one is more clever but cowardly. Silly! But at least one of the Voyager crew members was killed and their face was put on an alien. That’s fun! 5/10


The guy who played Worf’s grown son and Odo’s father is back as an analog of the scientist who invented the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Neelix gets angry. Then he gets sad. Then angry again. Interesting idea executed in a ham-handed fashion. 5/10


Tuvok takes on some maquis ne’er-do-wells in this episode that finally addresses the fact that there are two incompatible crews working together. Meanwhile, cheese has infected the computer’s circuitry because why not? One of my favourite episodes so far. Wish we saw more of these crewmembers after this ep. 7.3/10

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Toren’s Resto Rants 10: Volcano Sushi

Yes! It’s not just a phase! Or if it is a phase, here’s an extension to the phase!”

Volcano Sushi (Commercial Drive)

Their blurb: “Volcano Sushi is a cornerstone in the Vancouver community and has been recognized for its outstanding Japanese & Asian cuisine, Sushi, and excellent service and friendly staff”


Address: 1861 Commercial Dr
Phone: 604-676-8809
Open 11:30am-10pm weekdays, 12-10pm weekends
Booths? Yes!
When I dined: Weekday evening and weekend
Noisy? No
Candies with your bill? No

I live close to here so I’ve been a few times, including takeout. I really should stop doing takeout. There’s so much waste, especially with sushi restaurants — plastic, styrofoam, chopsticks, packets of sauce. Oi! Okay, BUT…with regards to takeout they do offer online ordering. So at least all that waste is convenient to make. On the other hand they do NOT give you disposable chopsticks in the restaurant, so that’s a plus for good old planet Earth.

So this restaurant is fairly small. Service is hit and miss. One time my water was refilled promptly, another time I had no refill throughout the entire meal. Their food is decent, not great. Of all the times I’ve been there, there haven’t really been any standout dishes. That said, the dishes seem reasonably priced, portion size seems good, and the lady I usually go here with knows more about sushi and she keeps coming back, so it can’t be too bad. They seem like nice folks and they have never been rude.

Oh, also – they have a giant neon sign and it spreads red light all over the tables at the front of the dining area. If you like the feeling of being in an adult theater while you eat, choose these tables.

Biggest Rave: They’re open every day of the week until 10pm.

Biggest Rant: Banana tempura ice cream was on the menu. I ordered it. They said it was not available. But I wanted it. But I couldn’t have it.



Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

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Tales from the World Wildlife Federation of Justice: “Eye Eye Eye!” Page 9

Story: Ian Boothby
Inks/Pencils: Toren Atkinson
Colour: Tanya Lehoux
Letters: Christopher Barrett


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