Category Archives: Babes in the Woods

My Inner Wookie: Shadows of the Empire Part 1


When I digress into the terrifying mind of a 13 year old, the thing I most remember about the book Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire is…sex. For those who have read the book, you’ll probably understand. For those who haven’t, don’t worry. There will be an explanation in the full recap/review of the book up later this week.

In the meantime, while I gather all of my thoughts together, I decided to give you a bit of a sneak peek of what’s in store through a little game of Who Said It: 50 Shades of Grey or Shadows of the Empire.  Highlight the answer area after each question to see how you did.

(Full disclosure, I’ve not read 50 Shades of Grey so all of these are from the world of the internet. Also, I’ve changed the pronouns so POV won’t give anything away.)

Quote 1

“His touch was electric; it sent a charge through [her] as if [she] grabbed a live capacitor node. [She] gasped.”

Answer:  Shadows of the Empire

Quote 2

“He grabs [her] suddenly and yanks [her] up against him, one hand at [her] back holding [her] to him and the other fisting in [her] hair.”

Answer: 50 Shades of Grey

Quote 3

” ‘You’re one challenging woman, ‘ he kisses [her], forcing [her] lips apart with his tongue taking no prisoners.”

Answer: 50 Shades of Grey

Quote 4

“[She] was his – if not in mind and spirit, then certainly [her] body belonged to him.”

Answer: Shadows of the Empire

If you did well, you’re either great at context clues or you actually read 50 Shades of Grey. You should only be proud of one of those.

Nope. Not that one.

Anyway, stay tuned for the full recap to enjoy my ranting on Leia’s own version of the “inner goddess” psyche.

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Get Excited…or Don’t. It’s Up to You.


We’re back. Well, I’m back, sort of. You’ve noticed (who couldn’t) that we haven’t really been active here at Babes for a little while. That’s about to change.

Many of you may remember that I’m a wee bit of a Star Wars fan. I rather proudly tell anyone who will listen that I read most of the Star Wars books available when I was 13. Usually while listening to Jewel or Celine Dion, but that’s a whole other story.

I’m turning 30 this year and to mark such a… special occasion, I thought I would do a little experiment. I’m going to re-read all of the Star Wars books I read at the age of 13 and see how my perception of the series has changed.

Here’s the set-up:

1. I’m going to try to read the books in chronological order. This may depend on library availability.

2. I will give you both my opinion of the book when I was 13 and my thoughts on it now. I promise 13 year old me won’t disappoint.

3. I’m only going to do the major books in the series that I read at that age. Basically, if I didn’t read it then, I won’t read it now even if it had been published at that time.

I’m starting with Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry (not that one) and if the prologue is any indication, it’s going to be a doozie. So, watch this space and be prepared join me for a trip into my adolescent psyche and my potentially terrible, melodramatic opinions.

— Rachel

PS – Yes, I owned the action figure above.

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So, I’ve had a few tabs hanging open to share these last few days, and I only just realized there’s a theme, and it fits in pretty well to my life right now, so why not link it all up? Today, I want to talk to you (by which I mean link you to stories) about ladybosses. Ladies who are badasses and basically just living living their lives, zero fucks given. I find relating to them this week helpful, because I’m about to go to Disneyland to run my third half marathon, a little over a year since I ran my first-ever mile. I’m feeling pretty good about taking on the world.

Mako Mori
The promised (in our last podcast) Mako Mori Test, which is intended as a corollary to the Bechdel Test, only finding ways to express feminist-friendly characteristics in films that might otherwise be completely rejected for not having enough ladies (which is a fair complaint!). We’ve had some debate about whether or not Mako herself passes this test, but even if it’s not named well, it covers an area that Bechdel does not.

Samantha Swords
I basically want to be this lady. Her name is Samantha Swords and she is one of the best sword-fighters in the world. She is amazing, I love her, and I wish I was just like her. You can see her Tumblr here.

Ellie, BLands2
Remember this post I made last year, worrying (hopefully!) about Borderlands 2 and the character of Ellie? Well, I know I never followed up here, but I did finish the game, and I actually really liked Ellie, and thought she was handled really well (if not perfectly). This article from Gearbox made me really happy, as it was an answer to exactly the kind of hopes and concerns I have about games generally, and in particular games that are percieved as skewing male. I also noticed that Blizzard’s shut-down response to an angry privileged dude a couple years ago has been making the rounds again, and combined with Gearbox here, it gives me a little hope: if more game companies adopt THESE attitudes, I feel like a lot could get done.

Clit Rodeo
While not about a particular ladyboss (though artist Sophia Wallace is spearheading this action, so she definitely counts), this article about “cliteracy” and an art installation for the spreading thereof, is just generally pretty empowering. The whole idea is wonderful and makes me feel like this:
Bitches Get Stuff Done

Lastly, and I’m just going to leave this here: RuPaul Wants Henry Rollins to Find Love

Have a great holiday weekend, everybody! I hope your BBQs are amazing and you wear the hell out of your white shoes before your grandma starts to give you side-eye on Tuesday. If you’re running a race or doing something else that’s awesome, good luck to you! I know I’m going to be in serious need of bananas about this time Sunday.


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Thursday Time Wasters: Snozzlebert Snugglesnatch Edition


Wednesday is “Hump Day,” but Thursday has to be the hardest day of the week to get through if you have a 9-5. Friday and the impending weekend — a three day weekend this week for many — are mere hours away, but you still have to slog through today to get there. To help you manage the ennui, here are a few time wasters to help you get by.

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Gendercrunching Comic Books


Panels like the one above probably come to mind when you think of women and comics. But what about the women behind the panels? How many women have a chance to contribute to the world of X-men, Batman, Superman, or Spiderman?

Tim at Straitened Circumstances has the answer.

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Episode 16 — Elysium


We’ve taken ourselves off world for this one in order to heal our wounded expectations. If you’ve ever wondered what Lindsay really thinks about Matt Damon, here is your chance.

Oh and here is Keeping up with the Cardassians, as promised:

A word to the wise, don’t google “Keeping up with the Kardassians” by mistake. You will get a very different type of result (HINT: It involves one of Kim’s more renowned body parts).

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Never Off Zombies


For years we went steady, but this summer I broke up with zombies.

Me: It’s totally you. You’re just all over the place, and it’s pissing me off.

Zombies: Grrrrarrgghgbh *hand swipes*

Me: *shotgun* Me and my boomstick got better things to do, Zed.

Having settled that score, I moved onto the Post-Apocalypse.

Me: Goddamn but I’m just tired of the way people romanticize you.

Post-Apocalypse: It will be so nice! There will be no tacit caste system. You can stop being mad about people driving Lexuses while children live in soul-destroying poverty.

Me: Money is a made up idea.  I don’t need an apocalypse, I need comprehensive tax reform. Maybe socialism. I need to move to Canada. *slinks off*

It was the result of a number of life changes. I had turned thirty. My dude was looking to get a real job. Reality had never seemed so real. I started to realize that, judging from the average age of the post-apocalyptic heroine, I was too old for that shit. Cue your sax solo. I got sick and had to come to terms with the fact that my body is a frickin’ fragile ecosystem. There are a few surgeries under my belt, and I’m unashamed to say I’m less into blood sport as a result. Despite my years of batting cage experience (I have a wicked swing) a few seasons of The Walking Dead have mostly destroyed my desire to hit zombies (or anything really) in the head. Mostly.

It’s a little bit of a tangent, but I will tell you the difference between baseball and The Walking Dead. Baseball fills me with a sense of joy and community. Its terms, familiar and loving, describe a team competition in which everyone’s goal is to “go home.” If you think it’s boring, you’ve failed to understand why sitting outside for hours drinking beer, enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow man while appreciating the most civilized sport is nice. That is to say you are wrong.

The Walking Dead is a blunt instrument that bludgeons you with its obvious disdain for any belief you might have that human beings are basically good. Every episode I watch drives me into a nihilistic funk. The show concerns a team competition where everyone’s goal is to not die or be tortured by a creep. Man is the real monster. Spoiler alert: Nobody wins. Christ, can I break up with that theme too?

I was ready for a change. I found myself reading more optimistic scifi and more macabre thrillers. To me, the enjoyment of consuming zombie media was tied up in my desire for a certain progress of well-tread horror plot emotional response. I wanted to fear, to run, to overcome. But that catharsis requires neither zombies nor a post-apocalypse.

The funniest part of this is that the book that got me back on zombies doesn’t offer the standard emotional plot structure I am accustomed to. In fact, Coulson Whitehead’s Zone One bears a very faint resemblance* to The Walking Dead, in that it questions the likelihood that the post-apocalypse would be the happy reset button utopia you were dreaming of. Reading on, what you are treated to is a gorgeous retreatment of the zombie post-apocalypse.

Zone One depicts a shattered America where everyone has a different “Last Night” story. For our protagonist/narrator Mark, Last Night was bursting into his parents’ room to find his mother eating his father’s guts out in a grotesque parody of another mortifying memory.  He discovers them, in flagrante delicto, arrived home from a trip to Atlantic City, returning to his suburban home only to find the zombie apocalypse already in progress. May I add that Last Night is such a lovely and writerly touch, such a well-chosen phrase. I delighted in Whitehead’s prose, though of course, when a Macarthur fellow writes about zombies you are bound to wind up spoiled.

It’s a quick read, 272 pages that cover 3 days in Mark’s life as a “Sweeper,” part of a team of armed civilians working their way through a chosen section of Manhattan, cleaning up straggler zombies as they go. You can get it at your library.

Spoiler alert: There isn’t much in way of a catharsis, but maybe we all need to stop looking for those wherever the zombies are.

Stay well and stay well-read,


*Zone One reminds you that the post-apocalypse cannot be what you want it to be. The Walking Dead PUNISHES you for ever having been such a dummy as to want that in the first place.

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