Vitamin DREAM

This seems incredible, but who knows, there might be a correlation.

i recently started taking my daily dose of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. I take 1000 IU a day, just before bedtime, from about fall equinox (Sep. 21) to spring equinox (Mar. 21), because there’s mounting evidence that we northerners don’t get near enough of the stuff (generated by exposure to sunshine) during the winter months.The corresponding health risks include multiple sclerosis, bone strength, various cancers and autoimmune disorders — no thanks!

Anyway, i’ve been having incredibly vivid dreams for the past week. More unusual still, i’ve been remembering them (more or less), which rarely happens. Last night’s involved my father in his younger days, a job that i liked but was ducking, and some kind of tropical watersport that made me feel really happy.

I just made the coincidence today between my enhanced dream life and starting to take the vitamin D. Thing is, i also just remembered that my Victoria friend Fil told me a couple of weeks ago that he had to start taking his vitamin D pill in the afternoon, because he was losing sleep over all the dreams he was having — so wild they kept waking him up. I was skeptical at the time, but now….

So maybe there IS a correlation. I googled up “vitamin D dreams” on the World Wide Web and found almost zero references linking vitamin D and nighttime dreams. So, all you vitamin D users out there … let’s do some SCIENCE. Has there been any change in your dream life?

Letter to Lunney

With the Copenhagen conference on climate change just a couple of months away, and with Canada’s Conservative government continuing to exhibit a lack of interest (or an active interest in inaction) in leading the way on this crucial global issue, i thought it meet to let my Member of Parliament know that at least one of his constituents is (a) paying attention, and (b) deeply, deeply concerned.

Anybody with kids in their life — not just your own, but any kids: nieces, friends with kids, newspaper delivery boys — has got to be incredibly concerned at the world that is fast shaping up to be their legacy from us. Crop failures, hunger on an unimaginable scale, food/water/territory wars, enormous desperate migrations … these almost certainly await the aforementioned kids if we, their guardians, do not take deep and collective action now.

“Action” … that would be the problem, eh? What’s a body to do? Well, the Michael Moore film i saw last night (Capitalism, a Love Story) reminded me that as democracy-dwellers one of the primary things to do is to vote for the world we want, and then to let our elected representatives know that we want them to do the right things.

It’s easy to be cynical. It’s easy to not be bothered. But it’s almost as easy to write a letter. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, it just has to be from the heart. And then sent off.

I’ll be corresponding with my good friend Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( quite a bit in coming weeks, and i hope you will too. In the meantime, here’s a letter (with added links) i just emailed to my MP, Dr. James Lunney.

Dear MP Lunney, (

With the Copenhagen global conference on climate change coming up fast, I have been doing some background reading on what Canada’s Conservative government has been doing about this hugely important issue.

What you have been doing, it seems, is mostly foot dragging. I read about the “intensity-based” cap-and-trade plan that will likely do nothing to reduce overall emissions. I read about short shrift being paid to international conferences, in favour of photo-ops. I read about weak “commitments” and easy finger-pointing. What I am NOT reading about is real, vigorous action and true leadership in the face of a global crisis.

Continue reading “Letter to Lunney”

Dead on

Thursday’s D.I.Y. Dharma class in Vancouver touched on contemplating your own death, a well known Buddhist object of meditation. Coincidentally, so did the previous Sunday’s meditation session with Zen monk Wayne Codling (Sojun Enso) in Victoria.

All of which reminded me of the following passage early on in David Darling‘s provocatively titled 1996 book Zen Physics — the Science of Death, the Logic of Reincarnation. As walking “meat-based time machines” (per Vic slam poet Skawt Chonzz) with built-in expiry dates, this is uncomfortable information we should have.

As soon as a person’s heart stops beating, gravity takes hold. Within minutes a purple-red stain starts to appear on the lowermost parts of the body, where blood quickly settles. The skin and muscles sag, the body cools, and within two to six hours rigor mortis sets in. Beginning with a stiffening of the eyelids, the rigidity extends inexorably to all parts of the body and may last for between one and four days before the muscles finally relax.

Two or three days after death, a greenish discoloration of the skin on the right side of the lower abdomen above the cecum (the part of the large intestine nearest the surface) provides the first visible sign of decay. This gradually spreads over the whole abdomen and then onto the chest and upper thighs, the color being simply a result of sulfur-containing gases from the intestines reacting with hemoglobin liberated from the blood in the vessels of the abdominal wall. By the end of the first week, most of the body is tinged green, a green that steadily darkens and changes to purple and finally to black. Blood-colored blisters, two to three inches across, develop on the skin, the merest touch being sufficient to cause their top layer to slide off.

By the end of the second week the abdomen is bloated. The lungs rupture because of bacterial attack in the air passages, and the resulting release of gas pressure from within the body forces a blood-stained fluid from the nose and mouth — a startling effect that helped to spawn many a vampire legend among peasants who had witnessed exhumations in medieval Europe. The eyes bulge and the tongue swells to fill the mouth and protrude beyond the teeth. After three to four weeks, the hair, nails, and teeth loosen, and the internal organs disintegrate before turning to liquid.

On average, it takes ten to twelve years for an unembalmed adult body buried six feet deep in ordinary soil without a coffin to be completely reduced to a skeleton. This period may shrink drastically to between a few months and a year if the grave is shallow, since the body is then more accessible to maggots and worms. However, soil chemistry, humidity, and other ambient factors have a powerful effect on the rate of decomposition….

Letter to Ukee council

Here’s my (uncharacteristically restrained) letter to Ucluelet council, put in the mail yesterday. Thanks to the apparently defunct Ukee Tattler for the borrowed pic, and for reminding me what year the logging happened.

Dear Mayor Russcher and Ucluelet council,

I recently had the opportunity to drive to Toquart Bay, past the Maggie Lake timber block that was logged back in the summer of 2006. I see that it has still not been replanted, and is growing wild with brush and alder.

As I recall, this cutblock was an initial step, after much negotiation, in creating a permanent “community forest” for Ucluelet. I believe the UEDC was the driving body behind both securing this piece of land and (in conjunction with Interfor) in logging it.

“Community forest,” in most people’s minds, speaks to a notion of stewardship, of a piece of forest being under the care of a neighbouring community, as opposed to being a mere entry in an account book in some faraway city. Continue reading “Letter to Ukee council”

A burden on my friends

Gads, i believe i am becoming a burden upon my friends — the ones, especially, with whom i stay during my frequent perambulations through the geography of no-fixed-addressedness.

H. and R. (in Vancouver and Victoria) bear the brunt of it. Strangely, it seems that what is most obnoxious about my presence in their lives is less that i’m sleeping on their floors for so many nights running. (I try, at least, to be helpful around the apartment and maintain a low profile.) Rather, it’s that i am (gasp) not working. I can sleep in when they head off in the mornings (though out of practicality and respect i try not to); i can head off to indulge my curiosities during the day; i have energy left most nights to do (cheap) things that they may not have. Hell, i’d be pissed off if i bunked with myself for more than three days.

It seems the seductions of the self-unemployed life are rather a taunt to those who choose to, or have to, head off to work five days a week.This may be a demon that will come home to roost eventually (a la parable of the grasshopper and the ant). We shall see.

I take it more as a reflection on what work has become: a burden that many (most?) people would prefer to escape, or at least lighten.

Any way i cut the cheese, it’s a burden coming my way sometime soon!