Friday, December 20, 2013

Battle of the Metro: Drunks vs. Buskers

Riding the Metro to work the other day, a beggar on crutches came through the cars. He reeked of alcohol and BO. Lovely. I would have felt bad for him about the crutches and homeless bits, if it weren't for the smelling-like-alcohol bit.

At the next station, a mom and pop musical duo boarded the train and started playing the WORST music I've ever heard. Pop was screeching away on the violin while Mom was banging on a pot--literally a pot--completely out of tune. My toddler has more rhythm than that (but that's because he's awesome).

While I don't normally give money to buskers, I make an exception for anyone who's really good. My general gauge is that if I start tapping my foot or bobbing along to their music, they deserve money. If I have to plug my ears, THEY need to pay ME.

I resigned myself to suffering through the ruckus, re-reading the same line in my book for the infinitieth time.

"Hey! What the hell are you doing? This is my train!" the becrutched beggar shouted. Oh goodie, he was back. "Get the hell off! I'm working here!"

I begged (hee) to differ. I'm not sure I'd call what he did work, plus he'd already passed through our car. But if he got Mom and Pop off the train, I was on his side.

"OK, OK, sorry," Pop said, stowing his violin. Mom got in a few more beats on her makeshift drum before she realized what was going on.

Now I actually felt sorry for them. I mean, they needed to stop the screeching but I didn't think they deserved to get yelled at by Crutchy Le Drunk.

It got me thinking. Do these people really consider it work? I guess so. And I guess they all have their "territories" and feel the need to defend against intruders. It's a fascinating world I admittedly don't know much about.

As we pulled into the next station, Mom and Pop got off and Crutchy Le Drunk hobbled to the next car. I resumed reading my book. Life goes on.

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Life's short. Laugh more. Buy my books at

Vicki Lesage, Author

Friday, December 13, 2013

Zombie Gift Guide

Looking for the perfect gift for that zombie-obsessed person on your list? Look no further, the Zombie Gift Guide is here!
Zombie Gift Guide, for that zombie-obsessed person on your list
Zombie Gift Guide, for that zombie-obsessed person on your list

1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, $5-$8
I always meant to get around to reading the original Jane Austen classic but it just sounded so boring. Add in a few zombies, and I breezed through it in no time. Now when people talk about Mr. Darcy I can act like I know what they're talking about.

2. Zombie repellent soap, $8
"You look like a zombie, and you smell like one too." In the Zombie Apocalypse, this is actually a good thing, allowing you to blend in with your undead companions and avoid detection.

3. The Walking Dead graphic novel, Volume 1, $8
If you're a fan of the TV show The Walking Dead, check out the comic book. Excuse me, "graphic novel," for the learned amongst us. The show follows the comics but not exactly, so this is a great way to get extra mileage out of your favorite show!

4. In Case of Zombies Wall Decal, $3
We all hope to be heroes in the Zombie Apocalypse. In the meantime, we're stuck doing yardwork. Might as well make it cool! That THAT you big pile of snow!

5. KRE-O CityVille Invasion Police Station Zombie Defense Set, $20
Teach 'em young! Prepare the kids for the Zombie Apocalypse by training them with these purely educational toys.

Of course, you can always go for a build-your-own survival kit, stocked with an assortment of non-perishable foods (like spaghetti-o's, beef jerky, and fruit roll-ups), sharp pointy objects for zombie brain-stabbing, bandages for the inevitable disastrous encounters, and reading material to pass the long days. I imagine the end of the world can get lonely.

Happy Holidays!

PS Want more zombies? Check out my Walking Dead Recaps and Reviews!

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Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, December 9, 2013

Warning! There's a Finger in There...

The other day at work, we had a potluck for a colleague's going-away party. Being in the "I eat everything I see" stage of my pregnancy (that stage lasts about 9 months) I showed up early.

My coworkers have this annoying habit of not letting anyone nibble until it's all prepared. I have this annoying habit of not caring and eating anyway. Sorry, but a potluck for 30+ people takes WAY too long to set up. You think I can resist dipping potato chips into hummus? Show me the person who can.

More confusion with the French language, which happens nearly everyday in my Paris life
A finger of whisky
My friend Fanny popped in with homemade pizza squares and asked me to heat them up while she finished something for work. No problem! If by "heat them up" she meant "eat them up" (see what I did there?).

A nanosecond after the microwave dinged, I shoved a pizza slice in my mouth and parked my ever-growing butt on the couch.

"Attention, il y a un doigt dedans!" My co-worker's warning - Watch out, there's a finger in there - made no sense. I shrugged off her comment and continued stuffing my face.

What did she mean that there was a finger in there? Was it a French expression? I often misunderstood those. Or maybe it's like if you only want a little whiskey you say "just a finger." So maybe she meant there weren't that many pizza slices? As in, it wouldn't be enough for me? Oh, maybe she meant not to eat them all because there weren't that many AND other people may want to eat them. I guess that was it. Still, a roundabout way to say it.

And also, way too late, honey. I'd already made it more than halfway through the tupperware container before I'd worked out what I thought she meant.

Colleagues trickled into the lunchroom as I avoided their gaze. I should have been embarrassed about how much pizza I'd hogged but I was more afraid they would take it away from me.

"Where's my pizza?" Fanny asked.

Whoops. "Over here, Fanny!" I said, licking my fingers after polishing off the last slice. "Sorry, I just couldn't help myself."

"Ha, no problem. Glad they were so tasty! So, did you find my finger in there?"

"What's this everyone's saying about a finger? There wasn't ACTUALLY a finger in there, was there?" I looked down at the empty tupperware and my huge belly. I might throw up.

Fanny stuck out a bandaged finger. Oh my god.

"I cut it last night making the pizzas. A HUGE piece came off, actually. Don't worry," she quickly added, noting my horrified expression. "It happened when I was chopping a pepper to put on top. I don't think the finger got in with the pizza slices. At least, I hope not. I just brushed all the peppers in the trash without looking."

"Are you OK? And, more importantly, how could you not look?" I would be way too curious to see what a bit of my no-longer-connected finger looked like.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"Can I see your finger?" I was concerned for my friend but I also had to see how much of her finger was missing. I figured it couldn't be too bad if she hadn't gone to the hospital.

"Sure," she said, pulling the bandage off.

The amount missing was just enough to make me lose my appetite. I tried not to show it, for fear of scaring her. "That doesn't look too bad. I'm sure it will heal in no time." Yeah right! There was like a quarter of an inch missing! Which meant a quarter of an inch of finger was possibly cartwheeling around my tummy.

On the bright side, at least there's a lot of protein in it.

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Life's short. Laugh more. Buy my books at

Vicki Lesage, Author

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 8: "Too Far Gone"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 8
I love Paris and I love zombies. If you like at least one, you've come to the right place. Here's this week's recap and review of The Walking Dead, "Too Far Gone", Season 4 Episode 8.

What a (mid-season) finale! Great television, for sure, even though I was a teary-eyed disaster.

We start with Guvs kidnapping my beloved Hershel and my beloved Michonne. Alright, dude. You can go ahead and die now. I softened to him ever so slightly two episodes ago, hated him after he Fish Tank 2.0'd Pretty Pete, and now I want to jump through my TV screen, rip his eye patch off, and stick my finger into his wretched eye socket and then wiggle it around until it reaches his brain. Then free my Hershel and Michonne and let Michonne katana his ass. Something tells me I'm not going to get any of the things I want.

Back at his camp, Guvs is speechifying to his sheep, convincing them to attack a prison with innocent people because wah, wah, Michonne poked his eye out (he conveniently leaves out why and with what) and wah, wah, they're not safe here so the only other place they can go is the prison that his enemies occupy. Really? There are no other prisons in Georgia? Maybe ones that DON'T have people in them who hold a grudge against you?

And, really? These morons don't think for a second that it's weird that Martinez dies, Pete dies, and then Patchy tries to send them on a war? These people have less brainpower than zombies.

Rick finally has a chance to tell Daryl about banishing Carol and Daryl has an appropriate reaction. He has a hard time believing Carol would do that but he trusts Rick. Moving on.

They go to tell Tyrese but Tyrese has stumbled on a weird-looking science project that's either a rat or a frog (does it matter?) that's been brutally dissected and psycho-fied. So either someone's doing research or being weird or both.

Guvs and his peeps sneak up on the prison with their army tank and six vehicles and arrange in a perfect formation before anyone (including the zombies) notices. How considerate of everyone! Could you imagine how embarrassing it would be if someone saw them before they got into formation? "Hold on, Rick! I'll be much more threatening in two seconds. Places, everybody!"

They fire at Glenn and Maggie's love nest, blowing it to bits. Thankfully the world's most boring couple wasn't in there at the time. They've been boring lately but I still love them.

I guess we won't find out about the science project in this episode because the tower bombing interrupts their discovery. Fingers crossed we find out eventually!

You may wonder why I'm going on and on about such little details. Part of it is because I'm just a really thorough recapper. But the bigger part is that I'm stalling because I don't really want to write about what happened next. But, alas, it's part of the job.

Ranger Rick goes out to talk Guvs down off the ledge (or tank, as it were). He is reasonable and offers peace, saying they can all live together in the prison and no one, including the innocent children and sick people from Guvs' former town who are inside the prison, has to die. We all know Guvs is beyond reason at this point but we're hoping at least one of his people will have some common sense and snipe him and end this thing. No such luck.

Guvs hops down and stands in front of Hershel with Michonne's katana and I start crying. Rick keeps on talking and even though we know they could never live together in peace, he's doing a great job buying time. C'mon people! Can't just ONE of you see that Guvs=bad and Rick=at least better than Guvs based on what you've seen thus far?

Then I relax for a second because Guvs pulls the katana away from Hershel's neck. But then I scream to my husband (who was watching something else with his headphones on and was like WTF?) "No, no, no, no..." and before I get to my 5th no, that horrible despicable excuse for a human being slices Hershel's neck.

Now I'm full on crying (I can't even blame the pregnancy hormones this time - I was honestly, truly gutted by this) and I could hardly watch the next sequence of events. TV-wise, it was good. Vicki's heart-wise, it was horrible.

Hershel didn't die right away, which only gave me the naive hope that he would live. But Patchy chased him then hacked away at him with Michonne's katana in a brutal, brutal scene. I couldn't watch the actual hacking (I covered the screen with my hand) but I did enjoy one aspect of it. For as badass as Guvs thinks he is, he really isn't. He's just a loser with some really bad hobbies (killing people) but he's not even slick about it. I found the scene realistic and humiliating for him, which got me through the horror of it. We didn't see if he took care of Hershel's brain, but I'm telling myself he did because I really can't live with the thought of my dear Hershel's zombie head chomping at grass for all eternity.

We have a bunch more scuffles I'll recap quickly - Guvs vs. Rick, where Michonne saves the day by killing Guvs and leaving him to die.

Guvs' idiot followers attacking the prison, with only Tara having any sense. "He just chopped off a guy's head with a sword!" Thank you! Why does no one else think that's a bit off?

Our prison gang is fighting with enviable gusto (I'm not sure I could be that cool) but Daryl takes the crown for badassery. Mitch brings the tank all the way up to the prison and Daryl is all "Oh yeah, bitch? How would you like a grenade down your blowhole?" That gets Mitch out of the tank in a hurry and then he tries to surrender and Daryl's like, "Oh yeah, bitch? The Zombie Apocalypse didn't start yesterday." And then he shoots an arrow in his Mitch's chest. See ya, sucker!

Tyrese is a gun-shooting buffoon (as usual) and Tara's girlfriend, Alicia, is all "I'm gonna kill you" and she probably was going to succeed but then creepy kid Lizzie came out and shot Alicia point-blank in her bitch head. And she shot Alicia's little redshirt friend, too, for good measure. I cheered and then I lowered my arms because I realized I just cheered for a young girl who killed two people. But whatever. They were attacking her and they probably would have shot her next. Unfortunately, this is the new world. I am SO glad that my biggest problem is crying on my couch about Hershel.

The fights draw to a close and people scatter. We end up with Glenn on the bus with a bunch of redshirts; Maggie, Bob (who's been shot), and Sasha; Beth and Daryl (bow-chicka-bow-wow in their future?); and Tyrese with the kids (this'll be good). Rick finds Carl and is relieved before realizing he doesn't know where Judith is.

Which is when we see the second most horrifying scene of the episode - a bloody, empty baby carrier. Rick and Carl assume the worst, that she was a zombie snack. I really can't stomach Hershel and Judith biting it in the same episode, so I'm chosing to believe a really bloody person saved her at the last second and decided to ditch the baby carrier. I don't blame them - you can hardly walk without those damn things bumping your legs at every step so I can't even imagine running with it.

Oh, and I nearly forgot (because I don't really care) but this whole time Lily was being the worst mom ever (which is hard to accomplish because remember Lori?) and was letting Megan play in the mud super far away from her while she perched on top of an RV making sure no walkers crossed the river. Great plan! If you're on an island, moron. But what if walkers come up from behind you?

Or, what if they crawl out of the dirt and eat Megan? Did you ever think of that? Clearly not, since that's what happened. Dumbass.

But then she turns into a badass because she brings Megan to the prison and hands her to Guvs (this was before he died, obviously) and he shoots Penny 2.0 in the head. So then, at the end of the episode, Lily shoots Guvs in the head. I'm glad he's dead but I totally wanted him to suffer and be torn alive by walkers first. Oh well. I also wanted Hershel to run in a field with puppies but that's not happening, either.

So, I guess I'll see you all in February when this fabulous show returns. What will become of our scattered survivors? We'll find out then!

Monday, December 2, 2013

This Chick Needs an Attitude Check

I enjoy champagne but I also dine on the occasional McDonald's dinner. I like puttin' on the ritz but I like divin', too. However, I blanketly detest poncy posh places (of which there are zillions in Paris).

Unless someone else is paying.

A few weeks ago I went for a business dinner at Costes. To give you an idea of the type of place Costes is, cocktails are 19€, a friend once thought she saw Sienna Miller there, and they make ugly people sit in the back of the restaurant (not kidding).

I splurged (since I wasn't paying) on a Bellini. Since I'm pregnant I only had a few peach-juice-diluted sips. Meaning each sip cost about 6€. Yowza.

The service was good, the food was fine. But I estimate our total bill for 6 people was over 3,000€. Add 1,000€ if I'd been drinking. I'm not even joking. A bottle of wine + a bottle of champagne could easily cost that much and in my pre-pregnant days I easily downed that much on my own.

Anyway, by midnight I was beat. My usual bedtime these days is 9:30, and when you add 3 sips of champagne to the mix, well, I was about to crash. Everyone else wanted to stay so I thanked the business partner for the meal and said my goodbyes.

As I headed to the front of the restaurant, not one but two waiters bumped into me, sans apology. Thanks. When I finally got to the front I remembered I needed to retrieve my coat from the coat check.

I work at Costes, I am infinity times better than you
"Hi, I'd like to get my coat, please," I said with a smile.

The fake blonde hostess spat out her response. "You need a coat check ticket."

"Oh. Hrm. It's back at the table with my colleagues. Is it possible to get my coat without it?" I peeked around the door and among the sea of trendy black coats, my green plaid number stuck out like a sore thumb. "It's that green one back there."

"You need a ticket," she insisted.

Seriously? My coat had to be the cheapest one in there. Clearly I wasn't trying to steal it. I know there's a policy and I needed the ticket and blah blah but you'd think when someone pays 3,000€ for dinner the hostess could be a little more accomodating. Like perhaps, just give me the damn coat? Or offer to go back to my table and get the ticket for me? I expect this attitude at McDonald's but not at a so-called high-class place like Costes.

"OK, fine, I'll get the damn ticket," I said, hefting my laptop bag over my shoulder and hauling my pregnant booty back to the table.

Not one but two waiters bumped into me on the way.

My colleague with the coat check ticket returned with me to the front, as, believe it or not, two waiters bumped into me again. Do they send waiters down the hall when they see ugly people coming (which I clearly was, since I'd been seated in the back of the restaurant)? My colleague took a quick bathroom break as I geared up to retrieve my coat.

"Here's the ticket, you stupid bitch," I wanted to say. "Here," I said.

She rolled her eyes and got my coat. She held it out like a dirty diaper as I took my jolly old time sliding my arms into it. "Merci," I said. "Oh wait, I had a scarf too. It's green, like the coat."

"Are you sure it's not in the sleeve?" she asked as if I was stupid.

"Yes, I checked. Sorry." What was I sorry for? That SHE hadn't brought the scarf?

She rolled her eyes again and huffed off to get my scarf. Just as I wrapped it around my neck, my colleague returned from the restroom and took the ticket back, saving me from getting bumped four more times by the waiters.

I bounded down the restaurant's marbled front steps, vowing to never return.

Unless someone else was paying.

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Life's short. Laugh more. Buy my books at

Vicki Lesage, Author