Monday, 31 December 2012

(Day 163) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 68 D-88

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 2

Last Sunday of the year... I wish it was the last Sunday I was spending here. Sundays are fucking boring. At risk of repeating myself-- no paper, no exercise period and shitty TV options--  not options-- there's only one channel, so if you don't like it, too fucking bad.

The first show of the day is a drama about a rural family. Like The Watsons or Little House on the Prairie except Korean and in modern times, but it's so fake and shitty. If it were truly reflective of Korean rural life than the actresses, or at least one out of every three, would be Vietnamese Thai or Cambodian. They're all Korean. In Korea, in real rural life, one out of four women is a foreigner. On this drama every single person is a Korean with a perfect upturned nose and double eyelid surgery. Where do farmers get the dough for those C cup 34 inch busts? Rice and soy beans must be a lot more lucrative than I thought. These farmers even have cows! Where the fuck do cows graze in a country barely bigger than Vancouver Island, with a population of 50 million people? There's not a square inch in this country that isn't, or about to be, developed. The idea of Korean cowboys on the open range is ludicrous. What open range?

There's another drama on that's just as ridiculous. A girl is married to this guy after disowning her gambling, alcoholic dad and doctor brother. The dad works as a security guard at the office of the husband. The husband’s sister is also a doctor, dating the disowned brother of her sister-in-law, and no one is aware of anybody else's relationship to each other because they've never met. The doctor sister has never introduced her boyfriend (the brother of her sister-in-law) to her brother, so she's unaware she's actually dating her brother-in-law and the husband’s totally unaware that he's employed the father of his wife as a security guard-- although after 20 episodes he's finally starting to suspect something’s up and the doctor brother has broken up with his sister-in-law because he finally figured it out, but the now ex-girlfriend (sister-in-law) has no idea why they split... I am not making this shit up. This is an actual Korean drama. And of course all the actresses have the Gangnam nose, double eyelid surgery and factory standard bust lines. In a city of 50 million people, the only group of people a family knows is one other family, yet they don't know they're all members of the same family... it's the stupidest plot I've ever seen. I have to turn off the TV when it comes on before I turn into a deer caught in the headlights trapped by the horror that is about to be inflicted on my psyche.

It wouldn't be so bad if there are alternatives like a cop show or sci-fi or even sitcoms, but there aren't. Almost every Korean fictional TV show is this kind of melodrama. When they talk about the Korean wave or Hallyu, k-pop and Korean drama, this is what they are referring to-- these over the top melodramas that are over-acted with the same plot lines. The men are always angry and the women are always pining after unobtainable men or crying about the men they have. And for some reasons other Asians love this shit, especially Chinese men. All I want to do is gouge my eyes out slowly with a dull object.

On the flip side of the coin, Korean must think we're all sex-starved criminals because the only American shows they see are Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives or one of three versions of CSI or Law and Order and lots of Hollywood movies that are all fantasy by design.

I started writing another novel. A murder mystery this time. Why limit myself to one genre?

Sunday, 30 December 2012

(Day 162) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 67 D-89

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 1

One of the inmate workers who serves our meals has been moved so he can undergo a training class. I want to take the training class too. Apparently it's in graphic design. I could probably teach the class, but it'd be all in English... anyway Kevin has to do all of the duties by himself because now he has no partner. I'd volunteer for that too... Days go by surprisingly quick, considering I sit around doing nothing, but if I had something to do, they would just blaze by. I'll guess this is where my specialness works to my disadvantage.

If I had never appealed my find 67 days ago, I would now be free. Actually, I would have been released two days ago and probably be back at Hwaseong for the first time awaiting deportation. Instead I now have to sit here for an extra 90 days.


Tonight’s movie was Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1. Even in jail I can't escape emo-vampires... English movie = good, vampire chick-flick in a prison of 1000 men = bad. Now I’ll be forced to watch Part 2 to find out the ending. Damn it

Saturday, 29 December 2012

(Day 161) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 66 D-90

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 7

My question of how people with no money get toilet paper in this jail was answer today. I got four rolls of toilet paper, a tube of toothpaste, new underwear and an undershirt today. I also received a new menu and should get a new item and delivery list, too. Everything new for the New Year!

Friday, 28 December 2012

(Day 160) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 65 D-91

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 6

5 months in, only 3 months to go... The name card on the outside of my cell says I am to be released on January 21st, but I'm sure they haven't included the time for obstruction of justice, which is an additional 66 days, making my actual release date somewhere around March 28th. It sure would be nice if they actually let me go on January 21st, but with the luck I've had with Korea jail and timing, highly unlikely. I guess I'll find out in 25 days.


Pretty uneventful day. I wrote to Z and my sister, read the newspaper... That's about it. I was told today was the last day of the year to order anything. Everything changes next Tuesday at the start of the New Year. Let's hope it's better than last year, although it wouldn't take much to improve. Just getting out of here would be a huge improvement. Everything after that is just gravy.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

(Day 159) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 64 D-92

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 5


I talked to Z this morning on the phone. It was nice to talk to her but the rules only allow me to talk to her for 3 minutes. There isn't much you can say in 3 minutes except “Hi, how are you? did you have a good Christmas? How's school? How's work? How's the family?” And by the time those questions have been answered, it's time to hang up, so it kind of sucked.

I tried to write some more of my novel, but I only got about 800 words down. I haven't felt much like drawing and I have nothing to read, but the daily paper and that doesn't take long. So, I'm really bored. I tried to sleep the day away, but I'm really not that tired. I've had plenty of rest in the last 159 days. At least Christmas is over. Thank the gods for that.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

(Day 158) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 63 D-93

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 4

Happy Bah Humbug. The last thing I really need is a reminder that I'm by myself in a small cell with no decorations, no gifts, no friends or family. Fuck this Christmas shit. Give me a bunch of tranquilizers and wake me up when its over. 

We got special desserts for lunch, but only in Korea would desserts be made with kidney beans and yams(!?!)

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

(Day 157) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 62 D-94

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 3

Today marks the two month anniversary of my return to this prison as well as Christmas Eve. Only 3 months to go.

In light of the last week's fiasco of trying to order things because of the election holiday, I tried to order things again this week. All I need is some bloody soap. Is that so hard? Apparently it is because instead of getting it Wednesday (when I should have) or Thursday (when I expected), I was told it might be next week before I got soap! I was not happy to hear that, so Kevin manage to get me some soap today, which is even better... Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

So... What did you get for Christmas? I got soap and a shower and changed into some clean close.

I read in the paper today that a group of Korean professors decided that the word of the year in Korean is “corruption.” So, for everybody who thinks my rant over Korean business practices are racist, I offer proof that I am NOT racist-- merely stating my viewpoint that even other Koreans also share. The actual phrase is 거세개탁(guh-seh-gay-tak). The phrase means that the whole country is corrupt and nobody is upright, regardless of rank. I rest my case.


In Saturday's edition of the Korean Times, in an interview with foreign business leaders, the thing they hoped for the most out of the new government were a clear enforcement of the rules and a definitive guideline of what the rules actually are. These rants and opinions of mine are not just things I pull out of my ass. A lot of other, far more influential people than  myself feel exactly the same way. 

As a special treat, there was a movie tonight-- Les Miserables with Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman and Geoffrey  Rush.

Monday, 24 December 2012

(Day 156) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 61 D-95

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 2


The only thing that feels Christmasy is the snow on the ground. Last year was pretty shitty too because it was the first Christmas without Her. The one before that wasn't much better since She was working all the time and we had drifted apart by then. I don't like Christmas. The last 3 have been shitty. Bah humbug.

Usually on Sunday, I plan my purchases for the week. One good thing about being able to order things on certain days is it makes it very easy to track your purchases and monitor your budget and, since I have nothing better to do, it takes up some time. The bad thing is I am able to watch my very limited funds dwindle downwards in an ever-increasing spiral.

I may not be a religious person (anti-religion, in fact), but I have to have faith that my financial circumstances will greatly improve when I'm released.

I’ve never done a spreadsheet on paper before... Excel rocks.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

(Day 155) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 60 D-96

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 1


I'm still here, so I guess the Mayans were wrong-- the world didn't end. That's cool. I wouldn't want my last days on earth to be stuck in a jail. That would really suck.

Pretty uneventful day. I read Steve Jobs’ biography all day.

The Saturday night movie was Chronicle, which was a pretty good take on the superhero genre.

My very thin entry is a direct contrast from yesterday's entry... I guess I burned out all my writing juices yesterday.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

(Day 154) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 59 D-97

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 7


It may seem like a small and petty thing to be upset about item delivery but when you can only order in receive certain things on certain days of the week it makes all the difference in the world.
For example, the fallout from Wednesday means I couldn't order coffee. Now, you're saying “so, what's the big deal?”

This means I have to wait until today to order more, which means I won't actually get it until next Tuesday, 4 days from now, plus the two days that just passed. That's six days, in case you happened to have failed grade 1 math. 6 days without coffee produces the headaches I have suffered from since yesterday and also means no breakfast since that's all I have other than rice, kimchi and soup.

In addition, last Monday, 5 days ago, I ordered a bar of laundry soup. This should have been delivered Wednesday. It wasn't delivered yesterday either. So that means I don’t have any soup to wash my socks, underwear or undershirt. Arguably the stinkiest of all laundry.

On Tuesday, I ordered snacks that should have been delivered yesterday along with my soap that should have been delivered the day before if it wasn't a holiday...

I was told it would be delivered today-- Friday. Now you're all saying “so, what's the big deal? You’ll get everything today... “ But, it wasn't delivered.

The bigger deal is I ordered snacks on Tuesday specifically to receive the snacks delivered on Thursdays because the snacks available on each day are different. I don't want Korean shrimp-flavoured chips. I hate shrimp-flavoured chips or octopus or squid or any chips that taste vaguely like fish. Chips are made with potatoes, but not in this fucking country! And especially not in this damned jail full of Koreans. If I get all of my items I ordered on Monday and Tuesday, which is only soap, notebooks and snacks, the kind of soap and notebooks are unimportant, but I'll be forced to buy snacks I wouldn't eat if you gave them to me let alone pay for them out of my own very limited funds.

 It may seem small and petty to be upset, but at this point, getting the items I ordered is the most important, exciting part of my day. I have nothing else to look forward to. I'm in a small room with nothing to do but sleep and if I try to do that, the guard comes and bangs on my door to wake me up because I'm not allowed to sleep during the day.

All the other inmates can read or watch TV, but I can't because all the books and TV are in Korean, so what am I supposed to do? Not liking Korean dramas or rice or fish flavored chips always produces the same reaction—“Are you crazy? Everybody likes rice, kimchi and soup for breakfast... Or rice at every single meal...”
 If by ‘everybody’ you mean every Korean in Korea or everybody in this prison, I'd like to point out one very important critical fact that’s been overlooked-- I'm not a goddamned fucking Korean!
And they're pretty fond of pointing that out when I try to adapt and understand—“Oh, you're not Korean. You wouldn't understand what ‘Han’ means,” but real quick to forget when I refuse to do things their way-- “you're in Korea! You do things Korea way!”

I've met some really nice cool individuals, but as a group (and this is actually true with most groups) this country homogeneous people leave a lot to be desired. And before the argument starts I've lived, worked and made a lot of money off of this country, I came here and started that way, but I haven't made any money off of Koreans in almost 3 years. 90% of my clients are foreigners and 90% of the 10% left over are Korean-Americans. The only thing Korea has done for me lately is take my money-- not provide it.

Forcing the taxpayers to pay for my fines, feed and house me, is my way of sticking it to the Man. But if I have to follow their rules, shouldn't they have to follow their own rules too? If no one follows the rules, we have corruption and anarchy-- and corruption is one of the biggest problems with this country-- along with motorcycles driving on the sidewalk, a high vehicle fatality rate and the second highest rate (after Japan) of suicide in the OECD

There's a downside to Korean media touting is horn every time Korea is mentioned in the Western media. I learn all the bad things as well as all the Hallyu.

I can't wait to get out of here just so I can find something else to write about other than Koreans. Sometimes, I actually quite like the people and things here, but you could never have guessed that from these rants...

Friday, 21 December 2012

(Day 153) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 58 D-98

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 6



Once again, the guards have decided to change the rules because it's more convenient for them and they can't be bothered. Items we ordered on Monday, that should have been delivered yesterday, on Wednesday, are now delayed until Friday... Why? Because “yesterday was a holiday” is the answer I was given. No fucking shit yesterday was a holiday, so shouldn't things that should have happened yesterday, happen the next day? Like today? Whatever. I don't need to buy laundry soap to wash the clothes I've been wearing for a week. I'll just cancel all my orders and stop spending the very little money I have all together. Who needs laundry soap, shampoo body soap, toothpaste or toilet paper anyway?

I read in the International Herald Tribune today that even the Taliban in prison in Afghanistan are allowed to use computers. Terrorists. In a third world, war-torn country. And I can't even use my own laptop.

Today has not been a good day and now I have a headache as well.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

(Day 152) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 57 D-99

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 5


As luck would have it, I was able to finally address a letter to Z, and today is a holiday, so I can't mail it until tomorrow. Why is my luck always like that? Something good happens, but it's not quite good enough-- there's always some wrench in the works to screw it up...

It's an election day. Apparently it happens every 5 years on exactly the same day, but instead of just being able to take a couple hours of work to go vote, they need to take a whole day-- or at least those who work at bank, schools, government offices, office buildings, and the post office, get the day off. If you normally work on Sundays, you'll be working today too. And of course, the weekend warriors are here at ye olde prison.

It also means typical weekend activities which amounts to sweet fuck all. The only semi-good thing was that the TV was on from 9am all day. The bad-- mostly election coverage, the good-- an afternoon movie, which was actually pretty good (We Bought a Zoo), the bad-- election coverage from 5:30 pm until 9:00 pm and beyond... 4 hours of talking heads yapping in a language I don't understand, about a subject that is not only aneurism-inducing on the boring scale, but holds no relevance to me.

I wish I had something to read other than the Harvard Business Review. That's only slightly less aneurism-inducing, but at least I might learn something useful about business.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

(Day 151) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 56 D-100

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 4


Today is significant because if I had only $5000, I could be released today. I don't have 5 Gs but if I did... It also means that I only have 100 days left in this joint. I've been here exactly 5 months now. Three months is nothing.

I got the missing letter from my mom today, so now I have Z’s address. I immediately wrote her a letter.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

(Day 150) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 55 D-101

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 3


Since I'm alone in my cell, I don't interact with anybody, so there's no drama in my day and therefore nothing to write about.

I finished 54,000 words in my book and started a new notebook to finish the story. It’s pretty boring news to most people, but exciting to me since I've never really written anything but essays for school 20 years ago, email, a couple blog post and Facebook updates. This is a whole full-length novel and I think it’s a pretty cool accomplishment, even if the story sucks.

I also came up with a couple t-shirt ideas, but I can't really do anything about that until I'm out of this place and able to use my computer again.

Monday, 17 December 2012

(Day 149) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 54 D-102

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 2


My daily entries are becoming more and more sparse as I have less and less to do. I'm still writing almost every day, but I haven't drawn anything in a few days. Maybe this week, as an ode to Christmas, although it is hard to feel much of the Christmas spirit in here.

I wrote another 3000 words to my sci-fi classic. Only 8 more pages in this notebook and I'll be starting a new one. 50,000 words so far. Even if it’s a shitty story, I'm impressed with myself to have written that much on one subject. I hope other people like it enough to want to read it and recommend it to other people to read.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

(Day 148) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 53 D-103

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 1

The breakfast alone is going to make me fat, but it's better than all the other meals the rest of the week.

It seems like the month just flew by. I can't believe there's only one more week until Christmas, 2 weeks until a whole new year...

Of course, that's just how it feels to day. Some days feel like they drag on forever-- like Sundays.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

(Day 147) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 52 D-104

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 7


Since I got all this extra food, my breakfast was actually pretty decent this morning. If I had to pay for it though, I wouldn't be able to afford 15 more weeks of it, so it'll have to be a treat until I run out of supplies. Kevin gave me a whole bunch more bread. Maybe I won't have to pay for 15 more weeks...

I mailed all my Christmas pictures today. I hope they arrive on time for my mom to forward them to Zoe.

I wrote another 5000 words in my sci-fi cliché. Maybe someday I'll even finish it.

Friday, 14 December 2012

(Day 146) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 51 D-115

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 6


Yesterday I got another letter from my mother, but a letter she wrote previously seems to have gotten lost between here and there, and as luck would have it, it probably contains Z's address. That really sucks because I can't mail a present to her for Christmas directly. It'll have to be routed through my mother. It's a good thing I made arrangements to call her on Christmas day.

I got a bunch of books from Kevin today. They're all about business, but that's okay-- I could use some education in that. I'm pretty good at literature and history and the like, but really lack any smarts or education in business. As self-employed freelancer, I should know way more. I also got a lot of extra treats. All the weight I've lost is quickly going to be added back on if I'm not careful. I got cookies, sausages tuna,  instant noodles, apples and milk. I also got a new electric razor and a new shirt.

No rants today.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

(Day 145) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 50 D-106

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 5


I've written about the rules seem to exist for the convenience of the person quoting the rules and not the receiver, before. And how, when told the rules, I've challenged and demanded to see where the rule is written. Lately, I've noticed that a lot of Koreans get in trouble for corruption or to put it another way, where they've bent the rules for their own gain and been caught. It's a big problem here. Big enough Korea is viewed as one of the most corrupt country in the world by both other Koreans and foreigners.
It seems now, rather than simple monetary gain, it's turned around and bit the whole country in the ass. Someone decided that forging quality certificates for the parts keeping their nuclear reactors from meltdown was acceptable. Luckily this corruption was discovered before it turned everyone into walking light bulbs. Korea now faces an electricity shortage do to said reactors being shut down while the offending parts are replaced with genuine articles.
In the winter especially an abnormally cold one like this, no electricity is a very bad thing. Since I'm in a government institution, I don't have to worry about running out of electricity, but once again it's the poor who suffer the most. Really, everybody suffers when they shut down whole sections of the country.
Watch out for knock offs. You get what you pay for, or rather; you don't get what you should.

I read this in the paper today; I had to copy it down. It's a perfect analogy of  how serious about our lives we shouldn't be. Enjoy your life.
“What’s evolution” by Mariko Hasegawa, 2010
 All of life on Earth in a one year time frame:
·         January 1st - Earth is born
·         April 8th - first signs of life
·         November 1st - simple cell life appears
·         November 26, afternoon - first fish
·         November 9th to 26th - dinosaurs appear
·         December 25th - first monkeys
·         December 31st, 8:10 p.m. - first humans
Each of our lives is worth a fraction of a nano second. It doesn't mean our lives are insignificant-- just that we shouldn't take everything so seriously.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

(Day 144) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 49 D-107

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 4


I like stationary. Going to a stationery store is like going to a toy store or candy store for me. There are pens and pencils, crayons and paint. Paper of all kinds, canvas, tape, glue, ribbons, I like it all. I actually have a backpack that I travel with that is specially designed to carry all my stationary. An entire bag that weighs as much as my much bigger bag that holds all my clothes. Due to the weight and size restrictions on airlines, I sacrifice clothes before I throw out stationery supplies. Now in jail, I've stocked myself with plenty of stuff to keep me amused. I already had sketchbooks and notebooks, and since I've been here, I've filled the notebooks and bought some more.

This week, I decided it was time to pre-emptively buy some blank paper to eventually replace my current sketchbook. My list of purchased items is all in Korean of course, so what some items actually are is a hit or miss. It may say "ballpoint pen" but it's actually a felt tip marker. So, I've purchased every instance of paper on the list now, only to discover I can't buy blank plain paper. I can get fancy paper with graphics and lines on it, paper with just lines or paper with lines in a notebook, but not plain blank paper. However, all is not lost. Kevin came through for me and brought me a small stack of paper, so it's all good.

 And I finally got my phone card, so I can call Z for Christmas...

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

(Day 143) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 48 D-108

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 3

I got nothing. It was cold in my cell. I huddled under a blanket all day, read the newspaper, did the crossword, watched TV and now, I'm going to bed. I almost forgot to write this, that's how boring my day was.

Monday, 10 December 2012

(Day 142) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 47 D-109

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 2


Getting the paper late was actually beneficial because it gave me something to do this morning. Actually, I did the same thing I do every Sunday morning here, I read the paper. Except this time, it was all new news, instead all old news.

Then, I watch some stupid show about Koreans being amazed of a dog who lived off of scraps, or pretty much eat anything people fed it. Then there was a ram that head-butted anyone it that encroached on its territory, especially when ewes were around. After that they had a dog that howled and cried when it was tied up with a 5 foot chain. As a person confined to a 2 m by 1 m room, I can relate. What do you fucking expect from the behaviour of all three animals?  To compare the usual treatment of animals here to North America, would be considered animal abuse. And that's not even including the practice of canines on the lunch menu. Lots of Asian cultures do the same thing, but Korea seems to get the most publicity for it.

I had to turn the TV off when the dog’s owner cooked beef and onion soup with rice for it because it had puppies. It’s a fucking dog! Just give it the raw beef if you feel sorry for it. Dogs don't know how to cook; they don't eat vegetables or grains naturally, so why would you make a meal for it like it was human? When it comes to domestic animals, Koreans are clueless. Most dogs spend their entire lives chained up outside and I'm not exaggerating in any way. If they are small dogs and they live in an apartment, they will do their business on a mat in the bathroom specially made and purchased for such an occasion, and if they are taken outside, they are carried. No house training or daily walks for these dogs.

I have a calendar in my cell and the menu also tells me to date each meal is served on. In addition, the heading of each and every entry in this diary tells me the total days I've been locked up, the current day I've been in this particular prison, and how many days I have left as well as the actual date. As each day goes by I mark the calendar, the menu and each entry in this diary. Since I was able to buy highlighters with 5 different colors, I've even color coded everything-- calendar, menu, diary, purchase and item list... everything. I also mark each day on the calendar that my fine drops by $1000. It may seem obsessive, but it makes me feel better to see numbers countdown and dates getting ticked off. Now at a glance, I can tell you there are exactly three weeks left to this month as of tomorrow, and 15 days until Christmas. 10 days until I only owe 5000 dollars, 109 days until I owe $0. I've been locked up for 142 days and I've been here for 47 days. When I'm done it will have been 250 days in total, not including the inevitable incarceration at Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center again when I'm finished here. I bet there are some inmates hear that could tell you how many hours they've been here. I can't tell that until I look at my cell phone again because I called my sister then and it will have marked the time I called.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

(Day 141) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 46 D-110

sit-upschair-lifts
1000
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = December 1

I was right. Today's exercise period was spent re-shoveling the exercise yard. No shower afterwards though, and so far, no newspaper either. What's going on? Where's my newspaper? I finally got my newspaper at about 7 pm. There was a movie on TV, so I didn't get to read it before it was time for lights out.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

(Day 140) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 45 D-111

sit-ups walk chair-lifts
100 00

Breakfast coffee


Lunch
WTF? The tofu was two, maybe three bites. The chopchay was all noodles so let's just call it what it was-- glass noodles with a dash of green onion (cold) and some sort of unidentifiable kimchi that only looked sort of like spinach.
 spinach kimchi?
cube of tofu with red pepper sprinkled on top
glass noodles with vegetables
turnip & fish cake in hot water

There is nothing redeeming about this meal. If I was in a restaurant, I would send it back and walk out, but I'm in jail, so I choke it down with a smile.

Dinner
So close, yet so far. If this had a different soup it would be worthy. Beans sprout tea sucks. The rest is great.
kimchi
bean sprout soup
spicy pork, lettuce and bean paste


Would have been 4 with a different soup.


There was no exercise today because it was snowing, but later, we went out and shovelled the exercise yard. I had to show these amateurs how it was done. Canadian and growing up in southern Ontario snowbelt made me an expert snow shoveller. They were using brooms to sweep away the snow! I had half the yard cleared before they got a quarter done.

 I showed Kevin how to hold a shovel at an angle and lightly push along the surface so you can go quickly, without the shovel snagging on any rocks or ice, pushing the snow off to the side. There were at least five other inmates and a guard with shovels and brooms, and like I said, Kevin & I cleared half the yard before they were barely out of the door sweeping (!?!) the steps off.

Then Kevin and I stood around watching them while pretending to work for about half an hour. Kevin told me he was 33 years old; I told him I've been shovelling snow longer than he been alive.

Afterwards we were allowed to take a shower. Woo-hoo! Two showers in one week-- score! Of course, an hour later, it started snowing again, with big huge flakes that soon covered it all up. I guess tomorrow's exercise will be shovelling the yard again.

Friday, 7 December 2012

(Day 139) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 44 D-112

sit-ups walk chair-lifts
100 00

Breakfast coffee


Lunch
The beef is great but needs bigger servings. I don't need 2 kinds of kimchi; one is more than adequate. The soup seems exactly the same as yesterday's lunch, but without the crunchy shrimp.
kimchi
soybean, onion & spinach soup
green onion & cucumber kimchi
beef, cabbage, carrot and noodles

minus points for 2 kinds of kimchi and same soup as yesterday. It has an entirely different name in Korean, but I can't tell the difference other than the lack of shrimp. The beef is awesome, but the size of the serving was totally lame. I'm not filling up on rice like the other 1000s of inmates here

Dinner
Well... That was a culinary waste of time. They actually served fish a westerner would be familiar with-- namely boneless breaded and fried-- and then they went and ruined it by drowning it in ketchup... Why? WHY!!? For the love of God and all that is holy, why? Slimy seaweed soup I can do without every time it served. All the taste and smell of rotting fish, with a terrible texture to match. The spinach was semi-cooked, so it’s wilted, but covered with some sort of sauce that tastes similar to horseradish. It wasn't bad, but in no way made up for the rest of it. If I wasn't so hungry I wouldn't have eaten it.
kimchi
slimy seaweed soup
fried fish fillet w/ ketchup
spinach?


1 fish stick does not make a meal and ketchup is a crime against food. The only decent thing was the spinach (if it really was spinach) and it wasn't nearly enough by itself to make up for anything.

I got another letter from my mom today. I guess she hasn't received any of mine, yet or she would have mentioned it. This one only took 3 weeks to reach me. She sent me some photos, so I immediately started drawing one of them, so I could send it back for Christmas.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

(Day 138) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 43 D-113

sit-upswalkchairlifts
10000


Breakfastcoffee


Lunch
There was no kimchi in this meal except mixed with the pork. The shrimp suffers from the same problem as the fish & chicken-- it's still in it's shell, so it's crunchy. The bun was filled with meat and veggies instead of red kidney bean, which is awesome.
Spinach, shrimp & soy bean paste soup
yellow pickled radish
Chinese bun
spicy pork

This is a rare meal. Only one spicy dish, and it was with meat, so it's acceptable. The soup was still watery and had crunchy seafood, but it was still good. The radish is a good change from the kimchi and the vegetable/meat bun filling was awesome.

Dinner
The corn salad was good, but they don't serve enough. It was like a couple of spoonfuls, but I got enough kimchi to feed a family, and then it became overkill with spicy, watery kimchi soup.

kimchi
corn salad
kimchi with beef & octopus soup
egg square

+2 for the corn salad, the beef & octopus in the soup and the egg square. -2 for kimchi and kimchi soup as well as small portions of the good stuff.

Today, was the season's first snowfall. Having lived in a temperate climate all my life, I dislike winter, but I have to admit that everything looks very pretty when is covered in a blanket of snow. That's how boring my day is. The weather is all I've got. Granted the first snowfall is sort of exciting and it is a couple inches, not just a dusting that melts as soon as it hits the ground... It might actually stick around for a day or two, maybe even the whole season. Winter is here, :-( I wanted to spend this winter on a beach and avoid all this. I guess life had other plans. These plans suck though.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

(Day 137) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 42 D-114

sit-upswalkchair-lifts
10000

Breakfastcoffee


Lunch
Another 4 red dish meal. The soup is the same as Saturday night --bonus for veggies, minus for so much red pepper it makes the whole meal bland. Everything has red pepper. Fried squid is great, but do you really need to fry it with red pepper, too? And why two types of kimchi again? Especially one with mostly raw onions?
kimchi
cucumber & onions kimchi
watery vegetable soup
fried squid strips with red pepper

I had the same soup 4 meals ago. Too many raw onions and red pepper in every dish is garbage.

Dinner
The chicken is good, but could be better if Koreans learned how to de-bone chicken and fish. They say it adds to the flavor; I say bullshit. How can you tell if it's slathered with red pepper spice? The shredded radish kimchi is a nice change of pace and once again we have watery soup, and at least it doesn't use red pepper or kimchi-- although it still made with Chinese cabbage. The green peppers are good because they're raw vegetables, bad because it's the same fucking spice, just green instead of red.
Chinese cabbage, tofu and soy bean soup
spicy chicken with rice cake & cabbage
shredded radish kimchi
raw green hot peppers with bean paste

compared to the last 7 meals, this one is better than most. If you want 4 out of 4, give me a hamburger.


Pretty boring day. I read the same paper twice to make sure I didn't miss anything the first time. I even read the articles on the Korean presidential election even though it makes no difference to me-- nor do I care. Then I did the crossword wrote, a letter to my mom almost as short as this entry, and drew a picture. I even watched a Korean drama about making a Korean drama. Through all that, I drank about 10 cups of instant coffee. The highlight of my day was waiting for lunch and dinner just so I could write about it.

Tomorrow, I can look forward to my weekly shower and a new paper, just so I can check my answers to the crossword... and then what? Draw another picture, I guess... Maybe write another few thousand words of my sci-fi cliche.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

(Day 136) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 41 D-115

sit-ups walk chair-lifts
100 00

Breakfast coffee


Lunch
Why are Koreans incapable of filleting fish or de-boning chicken? How hard is it? The only good thing about this meal is the soup. I like the strong flavors, although the smell is off-putting. I usually call it "stinky sock soup" because of the smell. There is also no need for two types of kimchi. Onion seems to be the only vegetable I ever eat raw here. It's over-powering in this dish.
kimchi
cubed radish kimchi
bok choi and onions
fried fish
watery soup with soy bean paste, zucchini, tofu & onions
 
1 just for the soup. -3 for everything else. If I wasn't so hungry, I wouldn't have eaten any of it, but the soup.

Dinner
Once again, about the only thing decent is the soup. Along with the green onions, there are pieces of beef! It seems weird to eat the slimy seaweed just by itself and not in water, but with the sauce it's okay-- not great, but okay.
kimchi
rice cake soup
slimy seaweed with sweet red pepper sauce
banana


If I wasn't starving, I'd only eat the soup and kimchi. The seaweed and sauce seem more like an afterthought than a part of the meal. The banana doesn't make up for it.

The highlight of my day was almost completing the New York Times crossword puzzle. I didn't quite finish it, but almost. I wrote another couple of thousand words in my ode to sci-fi cliches and I read 3 newspapers twice. No mail or visitors.

Monday, 3 December 2012

(Day 135) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 40 D-116

sit-ups walk chair-lifts
100 00

Breakfast
I don't normally eat breakfast here because the smell of kimchi first thing in the morning makes my stomach turn. Typically, breakfast consist of the same thing as lunch and dinner-- rice, kimchi, watery soup & another side dish. On the weekend, one of the days is a "Western" breakfast, which is cream of mushroom soup, coleslaw, 3 slices of bread, strawberry jam and strawberry milk. I guess the fact it doesn't have rice or kimchi and the soup is cream instead of water, makes it "Western." As a westerner myself, it's barely edible. I eat the bread and jam and drink the milk. They can keep the soup and coleslaw. Today (and every Sunday in December), is that day.
3 slices of bread & strawberry jam
strawberry milk
coffee

Given my usual choices, this is a great breakfast.

Lunch
I don't even see the point of the soup. It's like tea with bean sprouts. Just give me tea or just the raw, uncooked bean sprouts. I can't even remember the last time I had raw, fresh vegetables. Usually, it's all been kimchied. The octopus with the cabbage is a nice change, but like everything else in Korea, it's been slathered with red pepper, taking away any natural flavours and making it as bland as everything else. The dried seaweed and soy sauce is also a nice change, but is one of those things that requires rice, which I don't have...
kimchi
spicy octopus & cabbage
dried seaweed & soy sauce
bean sprouts in hot water
 
It loses on the tea/soup. The octopus and seaweed with soy sauce are good, but require rice.

Dinner
The soup is watery again, but it's full of veggies and soy bean paste and is actually quite good. I'm not sure the radish is actually radish-- it's a little tough. The kimchi is typical and the fish cake with eggs are nice.
kimchi
fish cakes with onion, carrot, pheasant eggs
radish (?) slathered in red pepper sauce
soup with soy bean, spinach, tofu turnip & potato

Not a perfect meal, but not entirely bad either.

I wrote another 4000 words in my sci-fi novel masterpiece. I didn't do much else... What else can I do? I drew a picture. It's Sunday, no funday.