Toren’s Guide to Star Trek Voyager Season 7

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Oh snap you think that Tuvok, B’elanna and Janeway are borgified but they still have their individuality thanks to the Doctor! The queen threatens to destroy the entire borg collective which for some reason makes Janeway worried for a second. Seven kisses her literal dream man. 5/10


All the wee borgs are taken away to live their lives except Icheb. Then Seven’s important borg bit fails and she will die if they don’t get a replacement from some other borg. Dead drones don’t work so Icheb gives up his, which he of course can get along without because he’s immature or something. 6.7/10


I thought B’elanna and Tom were already married but I guess not, so Tom proposes just when B’Elanna thinks it’s not going to work out between them because Tom loves racing more than her. 6/10


Some ridiculous Maquis Bajoran mind control expert did a number on Tuvok years ago and now he’s spreading his mind control to all the Maquis on board until they mutiny and take over Voyager. It’s the Manchurian Candidate in space! Also we learn that there have been Bolians on board, I guess they were hiding for 7 years. 5.5/10


The Doctor is stolen and ends up in a hospital that gives medicine that could cure fatal disease lower class to the upper class that merely extends their lives. The Doctor is on ethically shaky ground when he breaks the rules to … 8/10


Deanna Troi sets up Lt. Barclay on a date. But before that, an evil, cleavage-sporting dabo girl working with the Ferengi appropriates Barclay’s hologram that he sent to Voyager, so that the Ferengi can get Seven’s nanoprobes via a “geodesic fold” which will kill the crew. Kim eats green pie at the end. A bit anticlimactic but not bad. 7/10.



Doctor in Seven’s Body 7/10


Kim commands an alien vessel 5/10


Holograms revenge against hirogen 7/10


Oh no! Another space cloud! This time it causes different parts of the ship to exist in various time periods, and only Chakotay can pass through. It’s like a clip show from previous seasons but he interacts with them. Also we get to see Voyager in the future with a grown up Naomi Wildman, which we know will never come true because of what happens in the series finale. Not bad at all, really! 7.3/10


B’Elanna is pregnant and she wants to make the baby non-Klingon because of daddy issues. 8/10


prisoner is cured 7.5/10


Klingons in the delta quadrant, of course they meet Voyager, why not?


Janeway makes a mini Federation to get out of the void 7/10


Crew abducted, the Doctor becomes a command program. Janeway falls in love. 7/10


Seven neglects her duties and gets it on with holo-Chakotay. 6.5/10


In a rehash of “Q Who” a Q has to learn how to be a decent entity by becoming human. 7/10







oh no!/10


Goodbye Neelix


Sabotage traitor!/10


so long! /10


Toren Has a Quest for You in Fallout 4 "Musician's Mod"

There are two locations in the Commonwealth wasteland that are very appropriately named for your favourite Lovecraftian rock band. Toren can be found at one of them. Fulfil his quest!

What if I told you that you could meet The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets’ singer Toren in the Boston Wasteland and hear exclusive Thickets tunes on the radio in Fallout 4? 

It’s true!

Thanks to our skilled superfan John Peacock and Dave Johnson, the “Musicians Mod” adds a radio station in the town of Goodneighbor. Once you complete the quests, including one given to you by Toren to find Mario’s guitar, you can listen to the new radio station which includes (among many other bands) four acoustic Thickets songs – both old and new – made exclusively for this Fallout mod, as well as the Spaceship Zero radio plays. You can also find Thickets clothing for your character to wear. Plus Toren provides a number of voices, both on the radio and in the wasteland.

Also, Three Dog is back! Check out this video to see what it’s all about and the cool features:

Check out that tentacular Thickets t-shirt! 

The mod is available for Xbox 1 and PC. PS4 gamers will have to wait a bit longer. Crawl out through the fallout and follow the links below!

Bethesda XB1:

Bethesda PC (pending):

Nexus PC:

You can also comment on Reddit:

Toren swears he did not kill and eat the rest of his band.
Toren swears he did not kill and eat the rest of his band.


THE ORCS ARE CHARGING! A Gamer’s Guide to Battle Music Curated by Toren Atkinson

So you’re running a D&D game and you want some suggestions for background battle music? I’m here to help. I’ve been running D&D for decades and I think these will help.

Now these are not the songs that you play while the players are plotting their next move at the inn, or tending their wounds between battles. These are tracks to use when the dragon bursts out of the keep or the goblins start poring out of shrubs!

All Drums Go To Hell: “Barrage of Noise”
These are short!
See also “Norwegian Devil” “Armored Cars” “Code of Honor” “Death Came Early That Year” “Guerilla Raid” and “Images of Horror”

Continue reading “THE ORCS ARE CHARGING! A Gamer’s Guide to Battle Music Curated by Toren Atkinson”

Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 6

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 2
Click here for season 3
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 7


Starfleet Captain Ransom, also stranded in the Delta Quadrant, is doing bad things and violated the prime directive. Janeway goes crazy koo-koo and prioritizes laying down the law on Ransom rather than defending her own crew from dimensional shamblers. Meanwhile, evil Doctor is over the top. 6/10


You thought Seven was the only borg separated by the collective! Because they keep saying that. However, by sheer coincidence she comes into contact with three other ex-borg who aren’t linked to the collective but are constantly nightmarishly linked to each others thoughts. Doctor severs their link but gives them only a month to live. The Bajoran ex-drone decides to spend her remaining days aboard the ship. We never hear about her again. 6.6/10
Continue reading “Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 6”

Toren's Resto Rants: El Santo

“A Rip off” – Mom

El Santo (Mexican Restaurant)

Their blurb:  Contemporary. Social. Fresh. A restaurant experience that’s uniquely New West. This is a place for you to unwind. … And most importantly, to leave satisfied and happy.


Address: 680 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC
Open 11:30am – 10pm
Booths? Yes.
When I dined: 6:30pm on a Thursday
Noisy? Very
Candies with your bill? Tiny spicy marshmallows
Lives up to it’s name? El Santo translates to “The Saint.” So…no.

My dear old Ma floated in to town on a cruise with a bunch of old folks. Her submarine parked in New Westminster and she asked me to come out for dinner. I skytrained out and met her at her hotel, which has a Boathouse Restaurant attached. The Boathouse got crap reviews so I polled my facebook feed to see what other dining venue we might explore. The top two suggestions were Re-Up BBQ and El Santo. I was warned Re-Up was not a sit-down restaurant so Mom opted for El Santo.

Entering the restaurant, it looked nice. They had big green booths where I wanted to sit. They did not sit us there. They had smaller tables isolated from other patrons where I wanted to sit. They did not sit us there. They sat us next to a couple who were ignoring their churros.

The menus were a bit of a chore to get through, especially if you don’t know Spanish – with the additional confusion of having a bunch of French words mixed in. The menus come on a clipboard with three sheets. To get to page 2 and 3 of the menu I had to unclip them all and suddenly I now have to clean up the table. More tragically for me, as I don’t really drink, those pages were all booze. Oh, I should probably say that part of the recommendation from my friends were the drinks. So maybe those would have been great…if I had come to New West to get drunk with my mom.

There was a starters section on the menu AND a ‘shared plates’ section AND a “to share…or not to share” section. Without looking too closely Mom assumed the $26 pollo a la granada (chicken & corn bread) plate would be ok for two people, not a terrible unreasonable assumption since the word “share” was used on the menu, and it was more than 15 bucks. I suggested ordering something else and Mom said we can order more later if we’re still hungry. When the entree showed up it clearly was not suitable for two people. The food was all prepared well and tasty. But while we were waiting the 20+ minutes for our dish a trio of musicians set up and started playing. We couldn’t hear each other. If ordering more food meant waiting another 20 minutes without being able to carry on a conversation, we couldn’t wait to get out.

BUT I had already ordered dessert, which came promptly. The chocolate empanadas were outstanding. $8 but worth it. Also could have been a bit bigger but maybe that was because the entree was so meager. Tough luck for you if you want to try this dish, as I was warned they’d be off the menu by the time you read this.

The single person bathrooms were fine and welcomed as always, except I couldn’t tell if the door was locked when I was in there, as there did not seem to be any visible mechanism. Luckily since I was only there to wash my hands after touching every clammy metal bar on the skytrain, there was no chance of Jonny Rando busting in on me with my knickers down. The downside of the single person bathroom is that after you have to put your freshly washed hand onto the doorknob to escape. Did you know that according to some probably flawed data I found on the Daily Mail site, 62% of men don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom? I couldn’t even use a paper towel as a makeshift glove to open the door, since the method of hand drying there is the space-age air-blowing dealio.

The service was very pleasant and efficient. Water flowed freely. The food while expensive was good, but this dining experience just didn’t work for us. As we walked back to my Mom’s hotel we passed Re-Up BBQ, which was just about to close up. We could have had some $10 beef brisket and enjoyed the ample seating and quietness. Next time.

Biggest Rave: Besides the dessert… the paper napkins were stellar. Firm, sturdy, and pleasant to the touch. We got three and Mom pocketed two of them. True story.

Biggest Rant: I don’t mean to single out El Santo for this, but why when there are five tables in a row does the hostperson have to sit me next to the one table that is already occupied by a couple? I don’t want to hear their conversations, and I’m damn hell ass sure they don’t want to hear mine. Put me at least one table away so I don’t have to suffer from conversational overflow. Also…restaurants with live music – cut it out.

Toren’s Guide to Star Trek Voyager: Season 5

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 2
Click here for season 3
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 6
Click here for Season 7


The guys who seem evil are good, and the guys who seem good are evil. Janeway becomes a seclusive weirdo who won’t come out of her ready room or see any of the crew. That seems like grounds for dismissal but luckily I’m not a counsellor or doctor so yeah, go nuts Janeway. Also did you know that space can be polluted with radiation? 5.5/10


Ensign Mulcahey, Seven’s nanoprobes and the Doctors mobile emitter have a baby. Bit of a rehash of “I, Borg” from TNG with Seven in the mix. 6.9/10
Continue reading “Toren’s Guide to Star Trek Voyager: Season 5”

Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 4

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 2
Click here for season 3
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 6
Click here for Season 7


The Borg send a drone that just happens to be human to work with the Voyager crew on a weapon that can defeat their nemesis, Species 8472. Despite the fact that they are from another dimension, Kes communicates with them telepathically. The Voyager-Borg alliance prevails but the borg double-cross forces Janeway to destroy all but Seven of Nine. 6.5/10


Once stripped of her human identity by the borg, Seven now has her borg identity stripped by Janeway. This causes an ethical dilemma for The Doctor but luckily not for Janeway. Meanwhile Kes’ mental powers are blossoming dangerously and we finally get a conversation between Neelix and Kes about their mysterious breakup. Kes explodes into who-knows-where but not before sending the ship out of Borg space with her powers. 6.5/10


Paris and B’ellana get mushy in space suits while marooned in space. 5/10
Continue reading “Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 4”

Top 3 Star Trek: Animated Episodes

A few facts about the 1973-1974 Star Trek: The Animated Series:

  • All the original series actors returned to voice their characters except for Walter Koenig, who was not asked for budgetary reasons. James Doohan did several ancillary characters.
  • It was produced by Filmation, the same studio that brought us He-Man and Fat Albert.
  • It was the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy Award.
  • The animated series introduced the concept of the Holodeck, best known from ST:TNG and introduced Kirk’s middle name as Tiberius.
  • Two new alien crew members were introduced (to replace Chekov) – the feline Lt. M’Ress and the orange, six-limbed Lt. Arex.

toastThe Slaver Weapon

Season 1 episode 14

Written by Larry “Ringworld” Niven, who I kind of interviewed on my podcast Caustic Soda. He incorporated his own “Known Space” mythos including the cat-like Kzinti. Spock, Sulu and Uhura are captured and have to prevent an ancient weapon from falling into the hands of the Kzinti. Rather unfortunately, in my opinion, instead of having the characters wear space suits on the inhospitable alien planet, the series uses the very cheaty “life support belts.” The only Kirk-era episode of any series to not include Kirk! Alan Dean Foster adapted this episode into a full length novel.


Season 1 episode 2

Spock uses the Guardian of Forever – which was introduced in the classic series episode “City on the Edge of Forever” – to travel back in time to when he was a child on Vulcan and prevent his own death. Written by Dorothy DC Fontana who wrote many great original series episodes, and Mark Lenard reprises his role as Spock’s pappy, Sarek. Keep your eye out for the Enterprise’s Andorian first officer and the introduction of the Vulcan animal sehlat which they brought back for the ST: Enterprise episode “The Forge.”

toastThe Survivor 

Season 1 episode 6

A missing Federation philanthropist is found on a damaged spacecraft and reunited with his old flame aboard the Enterprise, but he is not what he seems. Also he has a crazy space moustache and cravat tie. Here we get an idea of the kind of alien they could do in a cartoon but never in the original live action series. Carter Winston was voiced by Ted Knight (Mary Tyler Moore, Caddyshack)


Resto-Rants: Seasons In The Park

If you didn’t enter this restaurant with a reservation, you’ll have plenty of them by the time your meal is served.

Seasons In the Park

Their blurb: none, thankfully.


Address: West 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Open 11:30am – 10pm
Booths? No
When I dined: Victoria Day (Monday) at 2pm
Noisy? No
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? Seasons? The service made me think of a long cold winter, and the food had all the freshness of autumn. Spring and summer were not present.

I came here with a friend and her family, four adult diners. When we arrived on time for our reservation the hostess was expecting 3 adults and a child, but that got sorted without difficulty and we were seated by the window overlooking the park and with a view of the city. This is the selling point of the restaurant I suppose, and luckily the staff can’t fuck that up short of pulling some blinds down.

It wasn’t very busy when we arrived and it became less so as we waited. It was some time before our server showed up and while he was very pleasant, his presence was frequently missed. Throughout the visit I pined over my oft-empty glass of formerly water.

We ordered the vegetarian tasting board, which was the only item to arrive promptly. Everything on the board was listed on the menu but it was mostly very sad. The grilled asparagus, as lifeless as it was, was still probably the highlight of the dish. A tiny bowl of mixed nuts and tiny salty pickles made me shake my head. There were only three small pieces of bread that came with. If it weren’t for the complimentary bread that came some minutes afterward, we would have had to dig in to the mediocre camponata and hummus and eat it off our cutlery or filthy fingers. That complimentary bread, by the way, was good and warm, but the butter that came with was cold and hard, prompting me to tear open the bread and bury a chunk of butter inside the bread in a vain hope that the butter would at some point become spreadable.

The QE Burger, according to my friend, was ok – not great. I tried one of his fries and they were nothing to write home about. The brunch pizza with roast potatoes, egg, bacon and onions sounded and looked promising, but a bland, floppy crust neutered it. Only the zesty dill cream cheese offered any redemption there. Apparently the seafood linguine carbonara was the winning dish of the meal, but since I don’t eat seafood I didn’t touch it. My loss.

My own food consisted of two items.

Firstly, cauliflower gratin, which was reasonably priced for brunch but was seriously underwhelming. I left half of it uneaten.

The lowlight of the meal was, for me, easily the stir-fried chicken with soy sesame sauce. Friends, I am here to tell you, this dish was an insult to my mouth, my pocketbook and probably all Asians everywhere. You know that hole-in-the-wall Chinese fast-food joint Buddha’s Orient Express at the Commercial/Broadway skytrain station? The place that is basically mall food fair Chinese “cuisine” but not as good as most mall food fair fare? Season’s was a quarter step above that. Now I don’t consider myself a food snob – maybe you like Buddha’s Orient Express and if you do, more power too you. But I ate there once. ONCE. And Season in the Park’s stir-fried chicken with soy sesame sauce is some low budget sloppy-ass prison food.


Biggest Rave: Now that I have experienced the view and the lackluster food here I can look forward to a bright future of never having to come here again.

Biggest Rant: The menu here is more expensive than I’m used to, so I hoped that the food and service would match the cost. My hopes were drawn and quartered. Before I got my food, I held great resentment for the couple next to us who arrived well after we did and were served their food well before us. After I got my food, I held great resentment to everyone else.

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Resto Rants: Red Wagon

They say the signature dish is the pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels syrup, so naturally I ordered something else.

Red Wagon

Their blurb: “A neighborhood joint”


Address: 2296 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 568-4565
HOURS: All over the place. Look it up.
Booths? Tragically no, since this would be the perfect place for them.
When I dined: Saturday afternoon
Noisy? Yes.
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? I didn’t look very hard but I didn’t see any wagons, red or otherwise.

There were no tables available when my group of three arrived so we elected to take a seat at the bar vs waiting for a table. I’m not a fan of sitting at the bar but it’s definitely the lesser of two evils since waiting for food is never preferable. Once there, the stools were fairly comfortable but there was no room for my bag and I sat next to a pile of menus. Fair deal, I suppose.

I had the 3-egg omelette with mushrooms, smoked brie, caramelized onions and arugula. The omelette was fine, the sourdough toast was good (hard to screw up), and there were lackluster homefries (all one word on the menu).

Overall, not impressed but I would absolutely give it a second chance. They seem like they’re trying hard. The website says Red Wagon Restaurant but the URL is – what’s the deal Red Wagon? WHAT ARE YOU???!!?

Biggest Rave: I liked that when I asked for peanut butter they didn’t give me a tiny disposable plastic tub but rather a steel bowl with a scoop of PB from a giant jar. The other best thing about this restaurant is that there’s a bubble tea cafe on the same block that makes an excellent matcha slush. This bubble tea place also offers passport photos.

Biggest Rant: The ‘homefries’  did not taste good. I’m not sure what it was, but I recognize the flavor of not-good potatoes. It’s very distinct. I don’t know what causes it but I suspect freezer burn. I had to pour a fair amount of ketchup on them to disguise it. Sadness prevailed, since potatoes are usually the best part of a breakfast.

This photo comes from Yelp. Yelp allegedly has atrocious business practices so I allegedly feel okay about stealing the image.
This photo comes from Yelp. Yelp allegedly has atrocious business practices so I allegedly feel okay about stealing the image.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at