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.

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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!

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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.

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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.

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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

Vicki Lesage, Author

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 7: "Dead Weight"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 7
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, "Live Bait", Season 4 Episode 7.

I don't think any of us were really in suspense at the end of last week's episode. Would Martinez kill a little girl? No, he's not THAT cold. Would Martinez kill The Governor? No, why would he kill him now when he had a bajillion better opportunities to do so earlier?

So Martinez pulls my least two favorite people on this show (Bob and Tyrese, you're off the hook this week) out of the pit and brings them, with Tara and Lily, back to his camp. He's the leader of his new camp (Go Martinez!) and their motto is "No Dead Weight." Everyone agrees to contribute and I'm still wondering why this family left the safety of their home for this but whatevs.

Tara gets a girlfriend, Alicia, pretty quickly (oh yeah, last episode they clunked us over the head with the fact she's a lesbian). Alicia's tough and knows how to use a gun, a skill our little sheltered family really needs to pick up quick.

Martinez, Guvs, a hottie named Pete, and Pete's no-way-they're-blood-related brother Mitch (aka Charlie from Fringe - we miss you Charlie!) all go out on a recon mission. They pass a beheaded dude wearing a "liar" sign, another beheaded dude wearing a "rapist" sign, and the guy who likely did that to them, who shot himself in the head, but not before making his own "murderer" sign. They enter Murderer's cabin and of course Guvs is the only one who can protect the gang from the zombies within. And true to his nature, he kills them just a few too many times. Like, dude, one blow to the head will probably do but nooooo he has to bash them in with the good end of his flashlight until they're deader than the undead who are redead. He's leader of the Overkill Klub (which might not be a bad club to join in the Zombie Apocalypse).

They drink a few beers before heading back to camp. I'm cringing at how nasty those warm beers must taste, but I'm not saying I wouldn't have had one myself.

Back at camp, Martinez is hitting golf balls and caddy Brian is handing him his balls. Heh. The symbolism is not lost on Brian. Martinez admits he's not sure he can keep the camp safe and this is the final straw for Guvs. After all, he has a new pseudo-family to protect. So in the name of love, he whacks Martinez over the head with a golf club and then says, "How do you like THEM balls, huh?" Or at least he should have said that.

And, because he's eeeeeevil, he can't just kill Martinez like a normal psycho, no, he has to feed him alive to the walker pit. This guy really is the worst. Lucky for him, nobody saw what happened.

Finding themselves without a leader, the group is a bit lost. Pretty Pete steps up and Guvs goes along with it, at least for now. Guvs, Pete, and Mitch go hunting, where they spot another camp. Mitch wants to kill 'em and loot 'em but Pete is channeling his inner-Rick and doesn't want to. Their hunt is a bust and to add insult to injury, they pass the camp on the way back and see it had been uber-quietly killed and looted in their absence. I guess that's what scared all the game away. Mitch is pissed and we're not sure Guvs thinks, but I have a guess.

That night, Guvs decides he and his family need to hit the road. He's not impressed with the new leadership in this camp but he doesn't want to be a leader again. (Good call, dude.) But they hit a muddy patch in the road filled with zombies who are eternally stuck. It's a creepy scene made creepier by the fact they're in the middle of the woods and the only light is from the headlights of their truck. Guvs is like "F this, I just can't win" so they head back to their camp.

But the next day Guvs is like, "F this, I CAN win" and does so by straight up murdering Pete in cold-blood. No! Pete's so pretty! Not fair!

Then he goes up to Mitch and is all "Bitch, listen. I just killed your brother. Smoke a cigarette. No really, I don't care if you quit, it's the freaking Zombie Apocalypse so smoke. There we go, good boy. Now I'm showing you who's in control. So yeah, like I was saying, I killed your brother. You have two choices. Join him or join me. What's your pick? I have cigarettes!"

So dumbass Mitch joins Guvs because we're supposed to believe Guvs is like super-persuasive. If someone killed my brother I would probably take a cigarette (Why not? It's the apocalypse, might as well start smoking) and be all like "Yeah, cool, I'm with you." But then I would stab that SOB in his sleep that night. But is that what Mitch did? No. Because he's a dumbass. (Side note to my brother: I just straight up said I would KILL for you and you still haven't read any of my Walking Dead recaps! Don't make me reconsider!)

So now Guvs has a loyal follower who may be a dumbass but he's also a badass. Basically Shane 2.0.

The camp motto is still "No Dead Weight" but with a better (well, in some ways) leader in charge they actually put it to good use. They secure the perimeter and put in place some other defenses. Of course, a sneaky walker still gets in and almost kills I Panic Once A Day Megan, but Guvs saves the day. Because that's what he does, saves the day and shows people they should follow him if they want to be safe.

In case you thought that maybe he was actually not all that bad (like, if you missed the part about feeding Martinez alive to the walkers or killing Pretty Pete or making a former smoker START SMOKING AGAIN), we get final verification that he's still a Baddy Bad Guy Who's Bad. Guvs is all chilling out by the lake, looking serene, thinking about life and marshmallows, but then we see that he has Pretty Pete anchored to the bottom of the lake, the first resident of Fish Tank 2.0. Noooooo! Not my Pete!

Raise your hand if you think Guvs is going to attack the prison next week. If you're not raising your hand then clearly you weren't paying attenion. See you next week for the mid-season finale!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 6: "Live Bait"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 6
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, "Live Bait", Season 4 Episode 6.

Remember that guy with the eye patch who totally sucked and we wished would just go away and leave our Prisonites alone? Yeah, he's back. But no one is surprised, are they? I mean, Michonne just decided to abandon the search for him, which is TV code for "he's coming back next episode."

That said, the episode certainly could have been worse. For a guy I couldn't wait to see die, I was actually quite interested in the story of what had happened to The Governor since the day he gunned down all his own people in the temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums.

He stayed with Martinez and Schumpert for a while (why THEY stayed with HIM, I'll never understand), but then he checked out and almost got killed so they left his sorry ass. Took them long enough!

Then Guvs shambled around on his own for a bit, so metaphorically dead inside that even the zombies didn't bother him. Here's an idea - kill yourself! If you're having such a hard time living with what you've done, then don't live anymore! (Side note: I do not mean this for people in general. There is always a reason to keep living. But not for this mass-murdering bastard.)

Just when it seems all is lost for poor, old, psychotic, serial killer Guvs, he finds hope in the form of a hallucination of his twice-dead daughter Penny. Venturing inside a building to find her, he discovers a real-live girl and her mother, aunt, and grandpa instead.

This family is way nicer to a one-eyed creepy stranger than they should be. I mean, they act all tough at first but then they let him in, feed him, get him cleaned up, and show him to an empty (aren't they all these days?) apartment across the hall. I guess if it was me I would be curious about other survivors and the good in me would want to band together with as many able-bodied people as possible. But this guy just reeks of trouble so they're pretty stupid for letting him in.

The daughter, Megan, doesn't speak. But of course Guvs gets her too. Whatever.

The grandpa, we'll call him Grandpa, is dying of cancer and is on oxygen. The mother, Lily, is conveniently a nurse and they conveniently grabbed a bunch of oxygen tanks before this all went down. Grandpa also conveniently was a truck driver and they have a huge stash of spaghetti-o's and beef jerky. The sister, Tara, says she's a cop but I'm thinking she's more of the mall cop variety.

Lily offers "Brian" (that's Guvs' new name) a plate of spaghetti-o's which made me want to eat a plate of spaghetti-o's and I'm not even in the Zombie Apocalypse! But this bastard just dumped them out the window because he doesn't want to accept help from anyone. Hey! Over here! On my couch! I'll eat them!

Brian eats cat food instead, like a man.

Grandpa asks Brian to go upstairs to the neighbor's house and get his backgammon set. Brian reluctantly helps. He discovers the neighbor tried unsuccessfully to kill himself, so he puts the dude out of his misery before snagging the backgammon set. We learn that the family didn't know you had to get the zombies in the head in order to kill them, showing us just how sheltered these people really are. They've survived this long because of some fortunate circumstances in the beginning and then just holed up ever since. Not actually that bad of a strategy.

Then Grandpa starts running low on oxygen, so it's good Brian showed up when he did! He goes on a mission to a nursing home full of some seriously creepy zombies and makes it out with way fewer tanks than a supposedly badass guy like him should have.

But then Grandpa goes and dies soon after, like the ungrateful plot device that he is. Brian bashes his head in with an oxygen tank and it's seriously brutal. I mean, I know Gramps is dead so it doesn't hurt, and I know we don't want him to reanimate (something else the family didn't know about - that everyone comes back as a zombie), but I think he went a little overboard. Showing us, the viewers, that he can change his name but he's still a bad guy deep down. He kills because he likes to.

Brian decides to part ways with the family he just scarred for life (but at least they have a new backgammon set!) but the family decides to go with him. Why leave the relative safety of the house to go with a one-eyed weirdo? I would stay there until my spaghetti-o's and beef jerky stash ran out, just playing chess and backgammon, letting the rest of the world deal with the apocalypse. Way better than roughing it on the road with a stranger. But I guess that would make for an even more boring episode than the one we got.

So off they go, with Brian taking his new pseudo-family under his wing. Anyone else have a bad feeling about this?

And... I was right. Lily and the Governor get the truck a-rockin', while Tara and Megan sleep right next to them. BARF.

Then the truck breaks down (that must have been some rough nookie) and they take to the road on foot. Now I have a really bad feeling about this.

And... I was right. Tara twists her ankle doing practically nothing (I think she was looking at some birds? When I twisted my ankle it was from drunkenly trying to karate kick a car tire two nights before my wedding for who knows what reason. I win.) and while Lily is helping her, Megan freezes in the middle of the street. I knew I didn't like that girl. Dummy. Then Guvs, idiot, tries to coax her to run to him instead of just running to her and picking her up. She takes FOREVER but finally comes, then they run, then fall into a walker pit. Wait a minute. I thought the walker pits were a thing from Woodbury?

Oh, that explains it. Martinez peeks around the edge (along with his gun) and we're left wondering what will happen. Kill them all, I say! But I guess we'll find out next week!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 5: "Internment"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 5
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, "Internment", Season 4 Episode 5.

Rick turns from exiling Carol and tells Maggie right away. Granted, she asked, but I still have to give him credit. Looks like he learned his lesson about keeping secrets (recall the big "Everyone's already infected" secret) the Ricktator chose to keep to himself.

But that still only leaves Rick and Maggie to shore up the fences. Daryl, Michonne, Bob, and Tyrese are still off at the vet school and the rest of the group is either sick or quarantined. And those damn zombies keep pushing on the fence. Chill, zombies! Rick and Maggie would only be a tiny snack anyway so I'm not sure it's really worth all the effort, and for sure they'd be nothing but bones by the time the zombies at the back of the pack got to them. But I guess zombies aren't really known for their logic and reasoning skills.

Inside the quarantine, Hershel is heroically doing what he can to help each and every person, even the ones we viewers don't really care about. Sasha and Glenn are at death's door but they're heroically helping too. I give them mad props. I had the stomach flu a few weeks ago and it was all I could do to lift the remote control during my home makeover marathon TV-watching session. I'd like to think I'd be helping intubate people and play nurse's assistant but if we're being realistic, I'd be a zombie by now anyway.

My only complaint is that Hershel's Heroes keep leaving the damn cell doors open. Um, guys? I know we want to maintain some semblance of humanity but these people are minutes away from being zombies, meaning everyone else is minutes away from being zombie chow. Close the doors!

But they clearly didn't hear me screaming at the TV. So one dude died and turned and then started wreaking havoc in the cell block. Luckily stupid Lizzie was there to lure him away from everyone, which she did successfully until she tripped and he fell on her and tried to eat her brains. Still think they're just "different"?

Then things get really havoc-y and we have the following sequence of badassery:
- Hershel shoots the zombie, saving Lizzie. Not that we like her but I agree it needed to be done. Though poor Hershel hates killing zombies so this was clearly rough for him. I might have shed a tiny tear for him.
- Maggie hears the shot and is like "That's it bitches, I'm finally going in." She bashes her way in and starts taking out zombies. She has to make a choice between saving Glenn and Hershel and she... saves both! Badass. A few more tears might have dropped during this scene, just because I appreciate Maggie's tough decision.
- Rick takes Carl out of kiddie daycare and asks for his help with the fence. Carl nearly pees his pants with excitement. But the blasted fence finally caved (I'm surprised it took this long) and Rick and Carl go all Rambo on their asses and gun them all down. I even cried in this scene (let's blame the pregnancy hormones) because Rick had wanted to keep Carl away from all of this and he just couldn't. But, hey, at least Carl's a badass and was super useful.

Thankfully, the episode ends on a calm note. They clean up the bodies, the vet school crew returns with the magic medicine and everything can start to go back to normal- oh shit. Nope, nevermind. The Governor is hiding outside the prison, with his one good eye scoping out the joint. Uh-oh.

Next week: The Return of the Governor. I'm not sure if I'm excited or not. It seems we've kind of done everything we could with him and I wish he would just get over his revenge and move on. But since he hasn't, I understand the show needs to tie up the loose ends (that they left loose in the first place). See you then!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 4: "Indifference"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 4
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, "Indifference", Season 4 Episode 4.

Ranger Rick walks through Karen and David's murders, generously presuming Carol was wearing a bandana even though no one else on this show seems to be fully committed to the quarantine or any sort of disease-prevention measures. Carol delivers a poignant voiceover about being strong and whatnot. Because, you see, it takes strength to kill people for the greater good and then hide it from everybody.

Since Daryl and Michonne and the two other people I'm not sure I like (Tyrese and Bob) haven't returned yet from their trip to the vet college, Rick decides to pack up the car and take Carol on a scavenging trip. He politely takes his time loading up the car so that Carol has time to finish her voiceover. The whole thing reeks to me of "driving the puppies out to the farm" but I'm never right about any speculation so I bet it's nothing.

Meanwhile, Daryl and the Warriors are trying to find a new car to hotwire/fix-up to get to the vet school. Michonne is bad-ass, as usual. Tyrese is suicidal. Then he's not. Then he is. Hey, we already went there with Andrea and Beth. Yawn. You're in or you're out, pal. Mmm-kay? No wavering. Bob is fighting his drinkin' demons and while that's a legitimate demon, again, yawn. Been there with Hershel. At least Daryl is cool as ever. But not because of the smoking. Smoking is bad, kids.

Back on the Carol and Rick show, they raid a house and find two hippies that seem to be more OK with the apocalypse than most. Like, "Yeah, the skin-biters are gnarly but we found each other and we're in love" the dude says about his new girlfriend. They were living in a greenhouse up until recently and were thus able to grow and eat lots of fruits and vegetables in relative safety, explaining how two peaceful people have made it in this crazy world so long. I'd also be willing to bet that there was some major weed growing in that greenhouse. These people are way too chill.

Daryl and the Warriors get their meds, Bob sneaks a bottle of booze, and then the predictable "Oh no! Zombies!" action sequence happens. By predictable I mean we know we're going to have one because it's a zombie show. But I'm not complaining. I love watching our heroes (and Bob and Tyrese) try to get out of new traps each week. But oh snap! Just when they got free, Bob almost died because he wouldn't let go of his Bag of Booze. I wouldn't want to either, but only because I would have at least put medicine in my bag too. Bob didn't because Bob is facing demons. Or he's just a douchebag. Daryl doesn't push him off the ledge like I thought he should, but I guess that's because our group has enough killers.

Segue over to Rick and Carol, who have accepted the hippies into the group (Rick could use a joint or two, I'd say) but the hippies insisted on pulling their own weight so they went out scavenging and everyone agreed to meet back in two hours. Um... something tells me not everyone's making it back.

While scouting the houses, putting useful items in their bags (Bob, are you watching? It's not that hard.) Carol tries to defend herself to Rick. He snarks, "At least I didn't murder two people."

She quips right back, "No, you just murdered one." Damn, Rick! You gonna let her get away with that? I mean, she has a point but still. Much as I liked Shane, dude had to go. It's a bit more of a gray area with Carol risking infection by stabbing and dragging two bodies around the prison. Especially behind the council's back. At least the council didn't exist when Rick did his murderin' behind backs.

But to answer my question, no, Rick didn't let her get away with it. He straight up banished her, apocalypse-style. See, he really was driving the puppies to the farm! For once I was right! Assuming puppies drive Ford Taurus station wagons loaded with supplies and murderers.

So that's a wrap for this week. Carol's gone (for now), Rick is wearing his leader pants (for now), and Daryl hasn't killed Bob (for now).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 3: "Isolation"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 3
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, "Isolation", Season 4 Episode 3.

Glenn is digging graves for Karen and David, staying true to his motto of "Bury the ones we love, burn the rest". But wait, what if someone already burned them? I guess "Bury the ones we love, even if they've already been murdered and burned, and burn the rest" isn't as catchy.

Tyrese flips out on Rick for doing nothing about the situation. Um, dude? It's been like 5 minutes and he's been busy shoring up the fence and serving bacon to zombies, while YOU have been traipsing around the prison with flowers for your girlfriend. Chill. But Rick sheds the last of his farmer role and beats the bejeesus out of Tyrese. Take, that, punk! Actually, I don't like human-on-human fighting that much and I had to wipe the testosterone from my TV screen with a paper towel, so I could really do without stuff like that. However, I know it's supposed to set up Tyrese being REALLY MAD and Rick feeling pressure to do something about it.

Sasha and Glenn get sick (yikes! people we actually care about!) and go into quarantine.

Hershel and Carl go on an elderberry hunting mission in the woods so that Hershel can make tea to ease the sick people's suffering, while Daryl, Michonne, Tyrese, and Bob go on an expedition to the vet school to get meds. Some walkers creep up on Hershel and Carl but as one is missing the lower half of its body and the other has one leg caught in a trap, Carl wisely decides (at the urging of Moral Hershel, of course) to let them be. No need wasting bullets or firing shots that could attract less-incapacitated zombies.

Hershel then bravely goes into the sick ward, risking infection himself. Though, really, at this point nearly everyone has been exposed due to their half-ass quarantine procedures. It's like the non-smoking section of a restaurant being right next to the smoking section. "Bad smoke! No! Don't cross the invisible line! Didn't you see the no smoking sign?" Hershel gives an awesome Hershel speech about how everyone will die, we just have to choose what's worth dying for. I'd say it's not worth dying for most of the unknowns in the sick ward but I'm cold like that. I do like Glenn and Sasha, though, and I agree with Hershel on principle, you brave hero you!

Carol has been stoic through all of this but then loses it (I wonder why?) and then knocks over their dwindling water supply. Worth it! Hope that kick felt good! It's not like anyone in the sick ward could use that water, dummy.

Daryl pulls a Lori and almost crashes the car, because for some reason, in a car with 4 people, it was the driver who needed to futz with the radio controls. At least they heard snippets of a live broadcast for their efforts. Wonder if that storyline will go anywhere? Anyway, as a result of his crash, they are smack-dab in the middle of the biggest horde this show has ever seen. I'm not good at estimating but maybe 1000 zombies? Maybe more? It's not looking good. They abandon the car, but Mad!Tyrese sits there and debates whether he should live or not, just long enough to let a bazillion zombies gather around him. Finally he goes Mad!Hammer on them and we cross our fingers he makes it out. He does (he must have borrowed The Governor's force field of inexplicable protection) and he lives to see another day. I guess I'm happy.

Back at the prison, Ranger Rick uses his mad cop skillz and discovers, via a small bloody handprint, that it was Carol who killed Karen and David. OMG! I was not expecting that. I guess that's what the water cooler kicking was all about. He confronts her and she admits it. Well, brownie points for being honest but I'm not sure that will get her very far.

Next week: What will happen now that we know Carol is the killer? Will our guys on the run make it to the vet school and back in time? Will Brave Hershel die trying to save a bunch of sick idiots (plus Sasha and Glenn)? We'll find out!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 2: "Infected"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 2
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, "Infected", Season 4 Episode 2.

We left off last week with Patrick (or NotHarryPotter as fans from the now-defunct forum TWOP call him) turning into a zombie, making all the residents of Cell Block D zombie bait. Patrick the Zombie Gourmand, leisurely snacks on just one cell dweller until sunrise, helping delay the inevitable massacre.

But the zombie bits hit the fan and all hell eventually breaks lose as Patrick's breakfast turns into a zombie himself and then the two attack the cell block. Farmer Rick rushes in and has to kill his first zombies in a long time. I would feel sorry for him except, hello, did he really think he could go the rest of the apocalypse without killing ANY zombies? Not realistic. And of course realism is what I'm looking for in a show about zombies.

After the immediate threat is taken care of, Hershel and Dr. S announce something potentially scarier - a plague. This whole bleeding-out-of-the-eyes and dying-in-24-hours thing appears to be unrelated to zombies and is presently posing a bigger threat than flesh-eating monsters. Yowza. Since they don't know yet what to do about it, they propose a half-ass quarantine (seriously, my 15-month-old knows how to stay out of no-no rooms better than this group) to keep the sick away from the rest.

Karen, Tyreese's new squeeze and the sole survivor of the Woodbury Highway Massacre of last season (which reminds me, we still haven't heard the last of The Governor, sigh), has The Plague. I don't really care since she's a bit of a red shirt to me but I think we're supposed to care.

Oh, and right before all this went down, Michonne was about to go out on a Governor hunt but came back to the prison when she heard shots. In a rare moment (for her), she actually got hurt, and so now she's temporarily out of commission, which has landed her in the company of Beth and Judith. Must be super boring for Michonne but I think there's something interesting in store for us.

As if the gang doesn't have enough problems, a zombie horde is threatening to take down the fence. Well, it's been there since the start of the season but it's REALLY threatening now. So Rick, who has already started to come to terms with losing his farmer lifestyle, goes balls to the wall and makes the ultimate sacrifice. He has Daryl drive a truck while he slices pigs and tosses them out the back as zombie bait. Poor piggies! I don't know what was harder to watch - those poor innocent (disease-ridden) piggies biting the dust or Rick finally accepting that there's no peace in this new world. Poor everyone!

Back in the prison, we get our payoff with Michonne. Judith spits up on Beth and Beth asks Michonne to hold the baby while she cleans up. Michonne pulls a face (as you do when you see carrot puke) but does it anyway, and then she breaks down and cries while holding Judith, making us think she pulled a face for a not-yet-revealed-but-gonna-be-interesting reason. I think some dust got in my eye during that scene.

Carol coldly asks Carl to keep her secret about Knife Klub but Carl smartly tells Rick anyway. Hey, if you're doing something you need to keep a secret, then maybe you need to rethink what you're doing. And if you're asking a kid to lie for you, you REALLY need to think about it.

Gentle Giant Tyreese brings flowers (excellent zombie stabbing tool, idiot) to visit Karen in quarantine (excellent ability to follow protocol, idiot). As he walks through the creepy dark hallways, we wonder what awaits him... I'm guessing it won't be Karen's smiling face, and not just because last time we saw her she was coughing up a lung. I was right! We see two blood trails (oh yeah, she was quarantined with some other guy named David) leading outside to two burned bodies.

We'll find out next week if Tyreese remains so gentle, the repercussions of Carl telling on Carol, where Daryl buys his hair dye, and if Glenn and Maggie will remain this show's most boring pair. And maybe we'll find out who killed Karen and David.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 4 Episode 1: "30 Days Without an Accident"

The Walking Dead Recap and Review: Season 4 Episode 1
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, "30 Days Without an Accident", Season 4 Episode 1.

Yay, The Walking Dead is back! Let's get started with the first episode of Season 4...

The prison has been turned into a relative oasis of farmland, a canteen, and a cheery crowd of people we know (the original gang + Hershel's farm gang, which now feels like the original gang), some Woodburyites, and then some other randoms I suppose we'll have to start caring about.

But of course things can't go well for long. Daryl and Sasha lead a mission to Big Spot to loot the store. Or, as they do on this show, go for a leisurely shopping trip taking the bare minimum and pondering each "purchase". Haven't these guys ever watched Supermarket Sweep? In and out, people! But as Glenn looks at cameras (inspired by, yawn, a poster about capturing your baby's precious moments), Bob (a new guy, who apparently is an alcoholic) ponders taking a bottle of wine. Wine? If you don't have much room, why don't you pack something with a bigger punch? I'd be going straight vodka. Clearly I wouldn't last long in the zombie apocalypse.

Anyway, Bob decides not to take the wine (if they sell it at Big Spot, it couldn't have been that good anyway) but in setting it down on a shelf, he causes a chain reaction of disastrous proportions. The bottle hits the shelf, the shelf falls down, an inexplicable number of zombies on the roof migrates toward the noise, causing the roof to cave in (aided by the weight of a crashed helicopter and leaking gas) and it starts raining zombies ("Hallelujah!"). Instead of dying on impact the zombies survive the fall and attack our good guys. Bob gets pinned under aforementioned shelf yet our guys manage to break him free and it's Zach (new guy, Beth's boyfriend, don't get too attached) who bites it instead. Michonne doesn't have as many lines as I'd like, but she katanas a monster cardboard cut-out so I'm happy.

Meanwhile, back at the prison, Farmer Rick ventures outside the fence to retrieve his trappin's from his traps. But he comes across, Clara, a human being who is as close to looking like a zombie as humanly possible and follows her back to her impeccably clean campsite to meet her "husband", who is actually just a zombie head in a potato sack. Sadly, Rick has seen stranger things. But not today. Clara tries to kill him to feed him to her husband, but Ranger Rick is back and is having none of it. He pushes her away and she does a 180 (emotionally, that is) and instead of killing another human to feed to her husband, she kills herself to be with him. Her last wish is for Rick to let her zombify so she can "live" forever with her husband. Not sure that would be my last wish (sorry, hubby) but then again I don't think I'd keep my husband's zombified head in a bag. Then again, this show proposes all sorts of scenarios normal people have never had to think about.

Back inside the prison, some creepy kids are hanging out near the zombies at the fence before heading off to story time at the prison library. Except story time is just a cover for Knife Klub, taught by Carol. The first rule of Knife Club - nobody talks about Knife Klub. So when Carl stumbles across it, Carol begs him not to tell currently-pacifist Rick. That should go over well.

And to set up yet another plot line for the season, we've got some sick and dead animals both inside and outside the prison. Maybe some sort of plague? Wouldn't surprise me, considering how many dead zombies are polluting the water table. I guess we'll find out next week!

But to leave us on the super edge of our seats, one of the new kids, Patrick, isn't feeling well. He walks in a sweaty bloody mess to the showers, tries to cool off (ruh-roh, we know what that means), bleeds out of every orifice, dies, then reanimates. Double ruh-roh!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Trick or Treat!

Halloween isn't as big of a deal in France as I want it to be. You can usually find a decent bar party (particularly at the English-speaking bars) but you'll rarely see trick-or-treaters.

Up until this year, it made me sad for French kids but only long enough for me to shake up my first batch of Bloody Mary's and get my own party started. Now that I've got a little monster of my own, though, I wanted trick-or-treaters!

Fortunately the new building we just moved to has lot of kids (that may not be fortunate for ALL the residents in the building...) and someone thoughtfully posted a sign saying to prepare for trick-or-treaters.

You don't have to tell me twice!

I printed off signs and whipped up some janky homemade decorations. Then I headed to the grocery store and bought $50 worth of candy. I bought crappy candy that French kids like and then some really good stuff, like Twix and Kit Kats. I mixed up the bowls with most of the crap (but remember, they like all those fruity gummy things) on top and my delicious stuff on the bottom. Hey, mama needs her sugar fix, too.

My son, Leo, is only 14 months old so instead of trick-or-treating, we dressed him up and let him hand out candy. Or rather, smile while small kids with ginormous hands took swipes at the bowl. The first round of trick-or-treaters nearly cleaned us out! I feared I might not have the three bags of Kit Kats left that I'd been planning on.

Trick-or-treating isn't common yet in France, but my two Supermen still tried!

But as the night wore on, only two more groups of trick-or-treaters came by, so I was able to settle on the couch with a nice, big bowl of calories all to myself.

Happy Halloween!

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Escape to Paris

Vicki Lesage, Author