Star Wars Fan Fiction: Metus – Part 1

The Ruusan Pursuit

The speeder gasped its final breath and slowed to a stop on the brow of a hill, next to what looked like an abandoned Ruusanian shelter. Fuel cell warning lights danced across the panel in front of Needa’s eyes and the young Jedi cursed, before leaping out of the vehicle. He breathed heavily as Ruusan’s suns beat their harsh rays onto the smooth metal of the speeder, baking and suffocating the air around him. Flinging the hood of his brown cloak back and squinting against the sky, Needa moved his dark brown hair away from his eyes and wiped his brow. His face and cloak were covered in dust from the journey, and he used his sleeve  to wipe his face. His soft features had aged many years in the last hour, and his skin looked worn and caked in the dust of the coarse Ruusan desert.

The young captain had been stationed at an encampment, a final warning system on the edge of the Arkine Forest before the long stretch of desert that led to the main Jedi outpost. But without warning his company had been attacked by a group of mercenaries loyal to the Sith. They were led by a cruel and malicious enemy, who had single handedly torn through their defences, opening the way for his troops to cut through the camp. Needa knew that the encampment was the last line of defence before Outpost 5, which could not, no, must not be lost if the Jedi were to finally eradicate the Brotherhood from the eastern borders. Overrun, their communications were soon destroyed, and his master ordered him into the last remaining speeder to warn Outpost 5 of the Sith betrayal. Needa swallowed hard as he remembered his master’s final order before he himself was cut down. Needa had cried out in pain and anguish before he had turned and fled, abandoning the screams of his friends and comrades. Despite the desperateness of the situation and his master’s final order, Needa regretted not standing and fighting. Even now, as his dark green eyes desperately searched the horizon for signs of the outpost, he knew that the guilt would plague his memories forever. Suddenly a reassuring noise from the speeder’s communications panel interrupted his thoughts:

“…self. Repeat, this is outpost 5 West, please identity yourse…” A dry voice crackled over the radio.

Needa hurried over and pushed down hard on the SEND button: “Outpost 5, this is captain Needa, please come in”. Needa waited for a response, but the speeder just returned static that hung in the dry air. “Outpost 5, do you read? Outpost 6 is down, overrun, repeat overrun. Prepare for imminent assault on your position, do you…” Suddenly a small spark jumped from the panel and Needa fell back, holding his hand up to his face. A small trail of electrified smoke signalled the end of the conversation. If there was one, Needa thought.

Taking a deep breath, Needa reached into the back of the speeder and searched for the long range visor. It was well hidden and beads of sweat ran down the Jedi’s face as he rummaged. He exhaled deeply as his fingers found the cool metal and he gladly pushed himself away from the baking speeder. Walking to the edge of the hill, he turned west, holding the visor to his face. The view he had was of a long uneven track that wound its way through the jagged rocks that scattered the desert, as they reached up to the suns like thirsty tongues. Needa licked his dry lips as he rotated slowly to the left, until he found what he was looking for. He smiled to himself as his eyes locked onto the faint shimmering outline of the Outpost’s entrance. The site itself was not in view, but he knew that the outpost was only a short journey up the hill. At least eight more miles to the entrance he thought. Quickly calculating the time in his head he inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. I can make it there in one hour on foot. But there may be a way to get the speeder working given time. If I just..

Suddenly a small push interrupted his thoughts, like a small and silent change in expression during a conversation. Needa was still a young Jedi, with much to learn, but he recognised the power of a Sith warrior when he felt it. Spinning round he hurried back over to the speeder and lifted the visor to his eyes again, this time facing east back towards the encampment. Through the dust covered lenses, he saw a small trail of yellow smoke moving slowly across the desert, heading straight for his position. What is that? Needa wondered, furrowing his brow. Adjusting the zoom on the visor, Needa focused the view and saw in horror as a small but discernible black figure moved in front of the dust, tearing a line across the yellow sand like a blade on fabric. But he’s moving so kriffin fast! muttered the Jedi aloud. Panicking he ran back to the speeder and punched the start up button whilst grabbing the throttle lever with both hands, frantically trying to get the aged Mark IV started. Forgetting his training he allowed frustration to get the better of him, and after failed attempts he slammed his hand against the display, the pain rushing up his hand, waking him up.

Patience. Said his masters voice in his head. Needa listened and took a calming breath before getting out of the vehicle again. He could not escape. Exposed on the top of a hill he knew what he had to do. Sitting down and crossing his legs, he closed his eyes and and began to gather his thoughts, his mind, allowing the power of the force to flow like a river between all the parts of his body. As he did this, Needa slowly pulled the cool hilt of his lightsaber, given to him by his master, out from under his cloak and allowed it to rest in his hand.

One of the first lessons his master had instilled in Needa was to never allow the trust in his ability to falter. But do not let this be confused with arrogance young Needa, his master would say, for this is an ally of the Sith. Instead, simply remember that your full power and potential can only be found once you shed all of your regret, your remorse. All of your fear.

Patience, said his master’s voice again, this time Needa joined it with his own, moving the word across his lips. He could feel the power of the Sith getting stronger and stronger with each passing moment. But there was something else. The approaching enemy seemed to be using the force to tug and pull at Needa’s thoughts, breaking through his concentration. No, Needa realised, taking something.

Needa ignored it and concentrated on his master’s voice, his teaching, but every time he did the memories were stolen and replaced by an image of his master falling, holding out his hand and reaching for Needa’s help. To the Jedi’s horror, the image also began to fill with all the faces of the others he had left behind and abandoned. Suddenly losing all hope, Needa’s hand opened and his lightsaber tumbled from his grasp onto the sand under his feet, as his eyes filled with the tears of regret. The Sith’s power robbed the young Jedi of his training, stole his hope, replacing it with all that lay suppressed and hidden in the Jedi. Needa’s  lip trembled as he became consumed with loss and fear. Lowering his head he covered his face with his hands as he became inexplicably overwhelmed with shame, his resolve weakening to emptiness with every shaking breath.

The next thing that Needa heard was the unmistakable sound of a lightsaber being ignited just metres from where he sat.

Chapter 2 here!


Godzilla (2014)

“The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around.”

The rebooted Godzilla movie from Monsters director Gareth Edwards has had a massive impact on the cinema scene in the last week, creating ambivalence that ranges from massive adoration to equally huge disappointment. But whether you will love it or hate it, huge credit must be given to the determination of the film to pay homage to the original Toho series of films. In the context of the modern monster movie, Edwards’ film is perhaps not as fun as Pacific Rim, less scary than Cloverfield, but nevertheless has its own visual personality that eventually outshines the rest of the movie’s rather average plot and head-in-hand acting. 

The character-based introduction that lays the plot-lines for Godzilla’s entrance is fairly lengthy.  After suspicious seismic activity destroys the Janjira nuclear plant, and robs plant supervisor Joe Brody (played by a slightly over-acting Bryan Cranston)  of his wife, the film then jumps forward fifteen years where his son Ford (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is attempting to balance family life with a seemingly crackpot father. But when they are both taken to the site of the destroyed plant after being caught salvaging data form Brody’s home, they discover a massive cover-up that launches the monster parade of Mothra-esque creatures and Godzilla himself, as he bursts out of the depths to hunt these creatures down.

One thing I noticed when Godzilla first plants one of his massive size a-million feet in front the audience, is that the revered monster does look very much like the original depictions from the 1950s. Of course, the charm that develops over the decades cannot be immediately replicated, but to support this effort, many of the themes and ideas hark back, and at times flashback, to an era of nuclear fear and international tension. Unfortunately, although Edwards’ continues to hold the human viewpoint in focus that gave his 2010 hit Monsters most of its plaudits, the predictable script and fairly shallow characters leaves it wanting during some key moments. But when Godzilla and co hit the screen, some of the action sequences are spectacular, combing old-school stylistics with ground-breaking CGI, leaving you wondering why ol’ Zilla and co had spent so long underground.


What really works from this point on is the anti-hero status of Godzilla.  According to scientist Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Wananabe), the mighty monster is necessary to restore balance, whereas the stereotypical knee-jerk military are adamant he is a massive threat. They may have a point, as Zilla causes massive destruction as he marches through the cities on his quest for prey. In other words, Godzilla is saying, “I’ll help you out humanity, and hunt these creatures down. But you had better get out of my way when I am doing it, or your gonna get squashed”.

In fact, I really liked most the action scenes, especially those shot from Ford’s perspective, giving an even better depiction of the monsters’ massive size. Even the inevitable introduction of Zilla’s radioactive powers is executed well, despite the anti-climatic ending to some scenes. The over-scoring of the picture can be blamed for that, more often than not, a typical result of over-hyping films and franchises. But again, huge credit should be given to Edward’s as he acknowledges the need for tongue-in-cheek visuals, including the odd TV-footage shot of the monsters fighting, which is more a nod towards the past than something of modern substance. A film that creates mixed emotions, including surprise, frustration and even the odd laugh or two for good measure.

Shapstik Verdict: Both lame and lovable, Godzilla will divide audiences everywhere with its animated, unashamed and nostalgic depiction of Godzilla. The unattractive dialogue and uninspiring acting may be hard to ignore, but so are the delightful visual treats in store for the viewer, meaning that Edwards has given us the platform to fall in love with Godzilla all over again. It just make take some time to become its own classic, and let’s just hope that a run of dreadful sequels does not spoil the party. 6/10

Shapstik’s Movie Clip of the Week: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom”

Those who know me would hardly call me a sentimental person, nor one to favour the emotive side of cinema over the dramatic and shocking. But even I could not help but be moved by the brilliant dramatisation of Lincoln’s famous Bixby letter, read out by Harve Presnell, whilst he and his staff debate the justification and reasoning behind Private Ryan’s rescue. I love Presnell’s gruff and sober delivery of the narrative , and when he glances up to the rest of the men after saying “five”. There is also real emotive tension that leads through the letter’s futility in condolence, to end with the General Marshall’s unaided reciting of the final passage.

Regardless of the factual account of the real letter and its authenticity, there is no doubt that the scene, and indeed the film, needed the beautifully written and heart wrenching message in the letter. Personally, I think the plot needed so poignant a message, for no other reason than to justify the ridiculousness of sending out some of your most valuable assets for just one man. The mission does seem on the face of it, as they say, “fubar”. But by reminding the viewer of the human cost at just the right time, most will get caught up in the emotion, and miss what is arguably a giant loop hole in possibly the best war film to date.

I hope you enjoyed my Movie Clip of the Week, look out for next week’s. If you have any ideas for scenes please let me know!



Sleep Tight (2011) “Mientras duermes”

“The only thing that helps me is that others are unhappy too. And, believe me, I give it my best shot. My very best.”

Spanish director Jaume Balagueró delivers another lesson in horror, but not of the same ilk as his 2007 hit Rec. Instead of the supernatural exploration found in his previous film, we are instead treated to the unnerving realism found in the limits of human desire.

Also set in an apartment building, Sleep Tight unravels the tale of a lonely concierge (played by Luis Tosar), whom was born without the capacity to be happy. The only way to prevent this unhappiness consuming him, is to instigate the unhappiness of others. But there is one in the building that will wear a smile no matter what he does to her, and this consumes him with frustration and desire, a mix which the viewer may find as uncomforatble as captivating. But there is more to this intriguing and well acted film, which is less an emotional rollercoaster, and more a ride on the tunnel of love with possibly the creepiest character you may ever meet.

As unassuming and quiet as César, its main character, the movie begins with a sense of mystery, as César wakes up next to a beautiful woman, whom he meets moments later by the front door with smiles saved only for casual acquaintances. The viewer then immediately knows something is wrong, and these type of twists and turns keep the film on the edge, leaving you always one step behind, despite the plot’s fairly unassuming events. The film’s central themes explore the lengths that ordinary people go to to hide their true feelings, and the mask that is worn when you step outside your private world. By keeping the movie within the confines of the apartment building,  Balagueró creates a world that César can attempt to control, although one or two try to stand in his way, Iris Almeida as Úrsula being one, whose attempts to bribe César lands her in hot water with the disturbed concierge.

As the film’s character based plot wraps its well scripted hands around the viewer’s neck, the same noose closes in on César, as he dodges and uses his false smiles and quick thinking to avoid detection. Both eerily realistic and uncomfortable, the viewer can never be sure whether what they are watching borders on the absurd. But the movie loses all pretension that is found in more Americanised horrors, and avoids the temptation of over-scoring itself in an attempt to add drama, and instead lets the looks and silence in-between them to create the tension. This ensures a well rounded but by no means flat film, that will leave you squirming in, and on of the edge of, your seat.

Shapstik Verdict: A methodically paced but nonetheless gripping movie that is so smoothly filmed and scripted that is leaves me thinking it is a shame undramatic ideas like this don’t become more popular. Luis Tosar and Marta Etura are both excellent in the main roles, and the supporting cast create enough variety in a fairly small space.  With plenty of tension and a suitably dark ending, Sleep Tight offers more than enough horror in the night without reaching to turn off the light switch. 9/10

Shapstik’s Movie Clip of the Week: Robocop (1987)

“I think you had better do what he says Mr Kinney”

Taken from what I believe to be Paul Verhoeven’s best movie, this scene from Robocop showcases why this is one of best examples of post-modern cinema. In typical sci-fi satirical fashion, Verhoeven leaves the viewer feeling both shocked and entertained as ED209, hailed as the “future of law enforcement”, fails catastrophically at its first hurdle. By visibly mocking modern civilisation’s habit of using violence and technology to answer mankind’s problems, the ED209 is paradoxically advanced and flawed at the same time. Aside from the fantastically brutal death of the unlucky volunteer, there is much to love about this scene. As the seemingly perfect killing machine is unveiled, it is immediately juxtaposed with a pretty ropey looking control system being wheeled in by some bumbling scientists, who “believe” they have control.

The board members are both terrified and excited by the lumbering robot, but are immediately won over by the confidence of Dick Jones, as he speaks of the urban pacification that is possible. But it all goes wrong, I remember being scared for poor Mr Kinney when the grill-faced menace growled another warning after he drops the gun. Everybody’s instinct to save themselves serves as another reminder of Verhoeven’s message, which all ends in the body of Mr Kinney landing bloodied and torn, on the model of New Detroit, ending the scene as a fitting metaphor for a capitalist disaster. I think we all loved the ED209 when he first made his appearance in Robocop, and in some ways he made the film such a massive cult hit across the world.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Movie Clip of the Week, look out for next time’s classic scene!

Shapstik’s Movie Clip of the Week: Superman III (1983)

“What’s the matter Kent? Too warm for ya?”

Superman III may not be the best of the franchise, but this is one of my favourite scenes across all the films. If anything, it showed Reeve’s abilities as an actor beyond the cheesy smiles and it’s scenes like this one, which makes the third instalment more than watchable for most of its running time. The quick, sporadic drums and haunting echoes work really well, not to mention the great scrapyard backdrop where the good and evil sides to Superman wage war over possession of the body.

When Superman is exposed to the mysterious Kryptonian compound created by Pryor, he goes on a drinking binge that would put most Glaswegian stag nights to shame, tearing up oil tankers and righting leaning towers. But as the effects of the Kryptonite wear off, Kent is plagued by internal guilt, which allows his timid good side to split away and fight back.

The whole scene is really well acted by Reeve, and the unshaven, drunk, ashen faced evil side is a pretty scary enemy, snarling and spitting as they attempt to destroy each other through acid blowing and playing hoopla.  A fantastic scene and the culmination of a great passage in the movie as Reeve looks genuinely evil in his darkened outfit and bleary eyed expressions.

Look out for next week’s Movie Clip of the Week!

Them! (1954)

“When man entered the atomic age, he opened the door to a new world. What we may eventually find in that new world, no one can predict.” Dr. Harold Medford

As I browsed through the well-stocked archive of old movies on Amazon Prime, I came across this Warner Bros classic from 1954. Never being one to turn down a creature feature, I immediately stuck it on and was instantly reminded how terrific it still is. But, is this just rose-tinted glasses talking? Absolutely no way. The special effects may seem almost comical to today’s audience, but at the time, it was nominated for an Oscar for its visuals. In fact, if you can suspend the modern perspective, you will soon realise that the terror is real, the writing is intelligent, the suspenseful iconic sound-effects eerie and the claustrophobic tunnel sequences are truly unforgettable.

Acting as the American version of Godzilla, whom made his first appearance in the same year, Them! portrays the same fear of nuclear fallout, mixed with the important invasion-paranoia theme of cold-war science-fiction. Not only is it a case that the effects were great for the time, but Them! was the first of a runaway train of big-bug movies that permeated 1950s cinema, most of which would not grace the same breathing space as Douglas’ classic. Its reveal of the irradiated ants is so patiently thought out, you can’t help but get sucked into the entire murder mystery plot at the beginning, as the police and other authorities try to piece together a recent spate of killings. It is only when Dr. Harold Medford arrives and allows his scientific knowledge to not just advise, but to dictate the army’s movements and eventual destruction of the ants, that you realise the genuine threat of these giant creatures, who he claims will spell the eradication of the human race.


On the face of it, giant ants terrorising the population of New Mexico seems borderline ridiculous, but the movie takes the matter at hand so seriously, and the ants are portrayed so perfectly as a “savage” enemy, you soon get pulled into the premise and start cheering on the old red, white and blue as they hunt down the dangerous foe. When the humans fly over the first nest in a helicopter, one of the ants takes the time to stick his head out and spit out the rib cage of one of its victims, fairly shocking for 1954, which would have left dames hand over mouth, as they buried their face into the shoulder of their date.

When the eggs of the queen ant’s nest get torched, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ripley’s destruction of the nest in Aliens, leaving me wondering how much modern science-fiction horror owes to the real ground-breakers such as Them! I think there is something about the no-holds barred approach to the human solution, which would feel inhumane and slightly parodical in today’s films, that stands these classics apart from the rest and its theme’s contextual relationship to its time. But at least it means that the golden oldies still get a look in on most DVD shelves, and I know Them! won’t be the last giant bug film I watch during this summer’s inevitable rainy weekends.

Shapstik Verdict: Punchy, scary, tense and thought-provoking all at once, Them! is the perennial bug-movie, which sets out to deliver not just a visual treat, but to educate as well. So many elements such as editing, sound-effects, cinematography and screen-writing are top-draw, leaving little to hate as you munch on your giant tub of popcorn. Lacking the pretension and long running times of modern sci-fi horror, Them! serves as a reminder that looking back can sometimes feel like looking forward. 10/10

Them! Trivia

Before rising to fame in Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy had a cameo in Them! as an Air Force technician, standing in front of a media report board.

Originally planned for 3D at the cinema, there are some camera angles in Them! where the original idea still shows, such as a fairly obviously directed flame-thrower shot at the camera.

Shapstik’s Top 5 Steven Spielberg Movies

I’ll admit, it is hardly ground-breaking to be posting a Top 5 Spielberg movie list, due to his mainstream popularity and global household name. But because Steven Allan Spielberg has tackled such a wide variety of film genres, jumping from horror to thriller to science-fiction and back again in a few short years, everybody’s Top 5 Spielberg flicks are going to be different. Therefore, this Top 5 is purely my favourites and not necessarily which ones I think are the best. This will probably reveal more about my taste in movies than his directing prestige, but it will also hopefully pay tribute to some of his films that are perhaps not as recognised as others. Hope you enjoy the list and comment with your own Top Fives!

5: Duel (1971)

IMDB Rating: 7.7

Starring Dennis Weaver and Jacqueline Scott


Proof that horror does not have to be covered in blood, Spielberg’s made for TV movie and directional début Duel showcases his talent in its purest form. The simplicity and unerring realism of the situation is marked by a myriad of inventive and hauntingly suspenseful camera shots and invasive sound effects, which throw you right into the seat next to Dennis Weaver as he desperately tries to out-think and escape the anonymous truck driver.

I became obsessed with the dirty giant truck when I was a kid, and the tension and broad daylight setting for this relentless threat was one of the catalysts for my movie obsession. Even though it is less famous than his other seventies hits, to create such a vibrant and emotive movie out of the simplest of plots really is testament to Spielberg’s skill and ingenuity. If you have not seen it yet, then grab it on Amazon, you won’t regret it.

4: Jurassic Park (1993)

IMDB Rating: 8.0

Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum


If you look up Jurassic Park on the ever reliable Wikipedia, it is classed as “a 1993 American science-fiction adventure film that incorporates some horror elements as well”. This genre-layering is something done so well by Spielberg, and ensures his films stand out even more. Of course it is based on a fantastic book, but if you have read Crichton’s perennial work you will notice that it leans more towards the horror element, and much of it is watered down for the PG audience, which meant Spielberg was able to ramp up the adventure element with grandiose shots of Brontosaurus’ and heart stopping Tyrannosaur chases.

As the film predominately used animatronics, it still looks fantastic even now, giving it massive longevity. Reading the book will show how brilliant the casting was, with the excellent Goldblum as the realistic and skeptical Ian Malcolm and Richard Attenborough as the determined but deluded John Hammond, creator of Jurassic Park. Despite some wooly science, the whole story, cinematography and pace of the film is truly breathtaking and stands out as one of Spielberg’s greatest achievements, landing it a place at number four in my list.

3: Minority Report (2002)

IMDB Rating: 7.7

Starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton


You may sneer at my choice for the number three spot, but bear with me. Although not the most revered of Spielberg’s movies, it is nonetheless a breathtakingly fast paced and achingly well filmed movie that takes Philip K Dick’s story and pays it huge credit. It is typically dark as with all the best from the famous director, but is also brilliantly modern and Cruise excels in a role almost tailored for him. As I have mentioned above, some of Spielberg’s best work comes from genre-melding, and the combination of crime, mystery, thriller and science-fiction ensures a different experience every time I watch this slick film. The film’s central theme regarding free-will is so well handled, that it actually creates an intelligent debate amidst all the gun-fire and Cruise running as per usual.

Spielberg always gets the absolute best out of all the actors involved. With this in mind, Colin Farrell is in one of my favorite roles, and his ambiguous position as he chases and then sides with Cruise is brilliant. The plot twists and turns in a sci-fi world glittering with the neo-noir tropes that surround the cast, and much of K Dick’s premonitions about the use of technology in the future is hauntingly realistic. Not only an underrated film, but also an underrated directing performance from Spielberg, and if it was not for the brilliance of the next two films below, it would be my number one choice.

2: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

IMDB Rating: 8.6

Starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Tom Sizemore

Tom-Hanks-Saving-Private-Ryan-wallpaperWhat more can be said about possibly the best war movie ever made? Along with me, those lucky enough to have caught it at the cinema were completely blown away by the famous D-Day landings at the outset, which left cinema-goers with their jaws rooted to the floor. The adherence to real-life testament of the experience was also revered across the board, landing it five Oscar awards, including a best director award for Mr Spielberg himself. The muted sound effects that Captain Miller experiences during the initial battle was so innovative on the big screen, it has been reused ever since.

With such a variety of well edited scenes, and almost a plethora of great actors all putting in the some of their best performances, it is almost impossible to not experience some new emotion with every watch. The camerawork is masterfully handled from the first person perspective that the viewer’s connection to the film itself has arguably never been bettered. As with all Spielberg’s best work, it still looks fantastic 16 years on, and may never be beaten in terms of realism and sheer excellence.

1: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

IMDB Rating: 8.6

Starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen and Tom Freeman

RaidersThis is probably the point at which you are shaking your head and wondering how I could possibly have omitted Jaws, Schindler’s List and Close Encounters of the Third Kind from my Top 5, and I would assume there may only be a handful of my fellow Indy lovers that are agreeing with my top choice. But I ask you to find me a better opening sequence that is so iconic, so genuinely cinematic, and so delightfully well crafted, than the famous sequence of Idol-swapping, trap-dodging and boulder-fleeing at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I have watched all four Indiana Jones movies many times (albeit not so much the disaster that is Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), and for me Raiders is the one with the most artistic value, directing vision and pure genius. From the fantastic patient reveal of the iconic hero at the start, all the way through to the unforgettably horrifying and fairly bleak ending. No matter what Amy says on the Big Bang Theory, Raiders of the Lost Ark has never been emulated and every time it is tried, there is always too much emphasis on either heavy-handed comedy, or over-produced action. The balance of adventure, romance, comedy and pure cinematic wonder has never been beaten, and it remains still my favourite of all Spielberg’s films.

I hope you enjoyed my list, and please open up the debate with your own opinion!