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26 December 2012

Reading Challenges for 2013

[This was first posted here.]

I've decided to join a reading challenge or two... or three.

I currently have a revolving stack of eight to ten books next to my bed. I'm somewhere in the middle of each of those books. As much as I read - for pleasure and for academic work - I think I can keep up with these challenges, and they look like fun directions in which to take my bookish adventures this year. 

Check em out: 

The Dystopian Reading Challenge, hosted by Blog of Erised:

The "This isn't fiction" Reading Challenge, hosted by The Book Garden:

And, the "Get Steampunk'd" Reading Challenge, hosted by Bookish Ardour: 

(Images link to their respective reading challenges.)

*You might notice, they're all somewhat related to research I'll be doing for the story I'm writing on this blog. Very observant, you. Indeed, that'll make it easier for me to keep up with the challenges - they meld quite well with things I'll need to read anyway, and give me a little more incentive to do my homework. 

22 December 2012


So much I want to write about, so little time to myself in which to write...

My mom is here for the holiday. It's causing all sorts of mini-epiphanies in my brain. I'll write about it when I have more time. She's big on over-scheduling vacations.

18 December 2012

*ahem* ...drumroll please...

Today is December 18th! 

And Finals are over!
And my graduate school application is done!
And it's exactly one month until my First Blogoversary!

So..... I wanna do something celebratory!

On January 18th, 2013, 
I'm going to Give Away Stuff!
(Incidently, that's also someone's birthday.
Someone pretty cool, even.
Don't worry, I'll wait here.)

Are you back? Ok, let's resume:

You have one month to get your name in!

Ok, I think I'm done with the exclamations now.
Phew, that was exhausting.

I am  pretty excited though.

In honor of my intent to incorporate my artwork and poetry with my blogging, I'm going to give away one of my art prints and a hand-made copy of my poetry book. I may or may not add more as we get closer, I don't know yet. 

Which print? 
This one, called Souls. 
The one I'm giving away is approximately 9.5x24" (it's 60% of the size of the original painting), and it's printed on heavy weight, fine art paper by the awesome people at Fine Canvas Prints in Phoenix, AZ. This is a level above the Society6 prints in terms of the quality of both paper the print is on, and the printing job itself. It's a $75 value, if you're curious.

It's one of my favorites. I hope you like it too!

"But Bones, how do I enter for this giveaway?"

Thanks for asking. Here's how:

1. Follow my blogs (each blog followed = one entry). 
*Just a note, if you don't follow me "publicly" (as Blogger calls it), I won't be able to see your name in my follower list. I have never, and will never, post or link to a list of my followers anywhere in my blogs, just in case that matters to you.

2. Comment on this post (one entry).

3. Follow me on Society6 (one entry).

4. Follow me on Facebook (one entry).

5. Share the link to this post either on your facebook or your blog, or any other social network, then email me the link at (two entries for each medium the link is shared on). 

So theoretically one person could get a bunch of entries. Pretty cool, huh?
Links to my Facebook and Society6 pages are at the top right of this page.

Let the games begin!

17 December 2012

a challenge for the pagan community

Here's a challenge:

"Write a blog post about what you hope to see for the Pagan community in 2013, and include what you are going to personally do to make it happen. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture, but be daring. Be brave with specifics, and even ways you're going to hold yourself accountable, it's for the good of us all, right?"

That's from That Witchy Place's facebook page. They're doing a giveaway and this is one of several ways to enter (the other ways are far less time-consuming!). Go ahead, check it out.


It's a good question, huh?

What I hope to see for the Pagan community in 2013... well... it's not a question I would normally consider because, well, it feels a bit presumptuous. And maybe that's indicative of a trend, or a pair of trends, we see in the pagan community. It seems that there is a spectrum of humanity that gets a central stage in the pagan community. On one end are the people who love to tell others what to do, and shout their news to anyone who might listen. On the other end, those who avoid giving such advice in an almost phobic manner. Most of us, I'm guessing, fall somewhere in between those two extremes. I'm perhaps a bit closer to the phobic end, despite being a blogger. I'm not a fan of telling others how to conduct their spiritual or even their public lives, and certainly not how to integrate those two areas of life. So envisioning a direction I think an entire community should go isn't exactly a natural exercise for me.

To attempt this, I'm going to tell myself that nobody's taking my words here as directives, which I'm sure is accurate. Hypothetically speaking, it might be nice to see the pagan community to...


... to communicate better. Yes. To learn to listen without swallowing anything whole, nor disregarding anything whole; to learn to advise without assuming authority unless that authority has been conferred by your listener; to learn to hear each other with sympathy, if not empathy; these are the things I'd like to see.

As to how I plan to make this happen... that's actually easier than it might seem. Or at least, it's easier than I might think it seems. I has a blog, after all. But if I'm going to look at this as a proactive change, it has to be more than just continuing the same old stuff.

It's a happy coincidence that my first blogoversary is coming up in January. I'd already planned to refocus this blog to include more of my daily life. The Diary of Bones started out as a place for me to write about what I call my psychosis. I didn't expect anyone to read it. But... I have more than 3000 views in less than a year. So somebody must reading. And lately, my psychosis has been less prevalent in my writing. Obviously, I've started writing about other things. The focus has already changed. Now I'm just adding a little intent behind the momentum.

One of the things I've written more about (probably the topic I've been writing about most, in the past several months) is my spiritual path. In 2013, I'm going to continue writing with the Pagan Blog Project and sharing Project Pagan Enough. I'm also joining the Pagan Pages Blog Hop as staff. As I do move into 2013, I'd like to recall in my writing - and reading - the idea of better communication in our community. Every movement starts somewhere small. Perhaps this isn't revolutionary, but it's something that would strengthen our community and our members. Who's with me?

14 December 2012

Jack Frost!

I was thinking about him last night as I laid in bed, falling asleep. He has a prominent role in this year's Christmas-classic-to-be, The Rise of the Guardians. Great movie, by the way. I loved it. Very pagan-y, not a madonna to be seen in the whole thing, and Jack Frost - one of my favorites - had a starring role. What's not to love? Oh, and it was pretty funny. Jack Frost's epiphany could have been written a bit better, I thought, but hey - that's really the only moment I didn't fully enjoy. And it was a rather short moment.

Side note: I was impressed with how they explained the Tooth Fairy. I won't spoil it, but yeah, that was cool.

So anyway. Movie critique aside, what really excited me was seeing my little Bear (my child) get excited about Jack Frost. See, Jack Frost was my favorite of the big legends when I was growing up. Santa was cool, but I caught my mom in that cover-up pretty early (something I've managed to successfully avoid with Bear, thank goodness), so Santa wasn't all that. Jack Frost, on the other hand, left beautiful works of art on my window every morning, all winter long. And really, that wasn't until I was a teenager.

See, when I was a kid I lived with my mom, and we always had heat in the house. So even though we lived in upstate New York, I'd only see the frost on the windows when I woke early, which wasn't all that often. But when I was a teenager I lived with my dad, and my bedroom didn't have heat. It would have if I'd left my bedroom door open, but I didn't. I needed the seclusion more than the heat. I needed my bedroom to be my refuge - I thought of it as my cave, my own space where I couldn't be hurt. It's where I went to heal when I was wounded. Honestly, in hindsight I realize it wasn't much different than my dogs running to their kennel when they're in trouble. Only, I was in trouble all the time. Anyway, my room was freaking cold.

I'd pile up in my blankets, creating a tent of warmth, and listen to music while I stared out the window. My room was in the corner of the house, and the window looked out over the lakes and hills below us. The wind was louder in my room than in any other room of the house, and I loved it. I had positioned my bed so that the foot was next to the window. My desk was at the foot of my bed, which served as my chair if I felt like sitting there. I didn't sit there much, though, because my desk was more of a hidey-hole for all my little trinkets, and the top of the desk was dominated by my stereo. (Which, by the way, had two tape players in it. Ha!)

When it was really cold, which was pretty much all winter, I would sleep with my head in the corner of the room and my feet near the window, with extra blankets over my feet because the window wasn't really sealed all that well. Or maybe the seal was just overwhelmed by the cold. I don't know. Anyway, the extra blankets helped. In the deepest parts of winter, I would sleep with the next day's clothes in the bed next to me, so they would be warm when I put them on the next morning. I'd bring my pillow under the blankets with me, and craft a blankety tunnel from my face to the fresh air, with a curve to soften the cold. In that little den-within-a-cave, I slept quite well.

Mornings were always good, despite my insomnia and my preference for sleeping in. In the morning, the house was quiet (nobody else was a morning person, either), and my window was painted with frost. I'd tunnel to the foot of my bed and lift the blankets just enough to peek out and admire the artwork. Then I'd peek over the frost to check on our cows, in the field just below. Sometimes I'd see our horses, but they usually preferred to hang out in the lower tree line, where it was a bit warmer and a bit too far for me to see clearly. Then I'd lay there, holed up in my little den, and listen to music.

I thought about Jack Frost a lot, then.

Since leaving New York, I haven't had much cause to think of him. I hadn't forgotten - I still thought of him every time I did see frost, but that wasn't very often. I live in Arizona, now. I'm a big fan of being warm pretty much all year, but I do miss Jack Frost. I don't miss the cold, or the snow, just the beautiful filigrees on my windows in the morning. Of course, you can't have one without the others.

The Guardians movie brought Jack Frost back to the forefront of my thoughts, and I'm delighted that my little Bear thought Jack Frost was "so cool."

Last night, several hours before I went to bed, I was grumbling about the clouds that had rolled in right before sunset, because I was going to miss out on the meteor shower. "The first time in weeks that we've had clouds, and it's the night of the meteor shower. Figures." My mother called me from Iowa to tell me that she just saw the most awesome meteor, and I should go outside to watch the shower. "Yeah, thanks Mom. I'm appropriately envious now." Then it started raining. I grumbled some more because it was just downright cold (for southern Arizona).

I didn't sleep well last night. I fell asleep quickly enough, but I woke at 4am, and never got completely back to sleep. I dozed on and off, noticing the clock at 5-something, 6-something, and a few more times before 8-something, when my dogs decided I was awake enough to feed them. I really was awake by then, although I did not want to get out of bed. (Nice warm bed. Soft bed. Ahhhhhhh.) I got up anyway, to let the little bouncing Bella dog outside. My old boxer dog, Roxy, refused to got outside - too damn cold and she hadn't had her breakfast yet. As I thought about getting Roxy's jacket out for her (she's thin-skinned and short-haired, and adamantly anti-cold), I turned to look out the door, to see where Bella had gone... and there was frost on the windows of my truck. Filigrees, tender little ferns of frost.

It made my heart happy.

Good to see you again, Jack.

And now, as I finish this post, I'm looking out the window next to my desk at the front of my house, and I see that my truck's windows are clear, but there's snow falling from the sky. Until next time, Jack. Be well.

05 December 2012

Who Bones is...

... a girl, usually. Like when it's convenient, which is most of the time. That means I often present as a woman. But my core is ambiguous, or maybe androgynous. If I need a label, the best one is genderqueer. Let's go with that.

... fragile, but not weak. I'm a survivor, despite being overly sensitive to the moods of my loved ones and fluctuations in my environment.


I'm also Eala Magee.


The nickname, Bones, actually came from something completely... what's the word?... irrelevant to anything meaningful. Inconsequential. A few years later, Archer and Hela gave the name meaning for me.

How I first acquired the nickname: The Army, you may be aware, is overly fond of alpha-numeric labeling systems. While I was overseas, I headed a two-person team that was labeled "B1". B-one. Get it? Yeah.
That year, needed a screen name for a website (OKcupid, if you must know), I used "humanbones" on a whim. Because I was a human intelligence collector called Bones.

Ok, so that was in 2007.
In 2011, I started dating Archer. Not so terribly long into our relationship, we were bickering about something via text (highly NOT recommended as a strategy for constructive argument, by the way), and I asked him (I hope I'm remembering this correctly) why he cared about whatever it was. He responded "because I love you down to my bones."
It was the first "I love you" of our relationship.

He had already taken to calling me Bones because of my screen name on OKcupid (we met via that website). After his "down to my bones" statement, it became a thing. I started using "Bones" elsewhere, just because it made me think of him and smile.

Later, well... I already wrote a whole post about Hela's influence on me. No sense in re-inventing the wheel. Or re-writing the blog. Whichever.  And the connection with my nickname... well, I had to get stripped down to my bones, psychologically, in order to 'fix' myself. More on why that's connected with Hela, here.

These days, I'm ... well, I'm tempted to say I'm a different person, but that doesn't quite ring true. I'm sure it seems that way from the outside, but on the inside I'm the same person I've always been. Only, without the false front I used to have. Without all the fear. Now, the inside matches the outside.


So, what does that outside look like? A painter, a writer, student, an aspiring psychologist and anthropologist, a pagan working with Hela, Odin, Sretya, Epona, and - unexpectedly - Bast. I talk to my dogs and my cat, who make me happy; they respond one way or another, for better or worse. I have only been without horses twice in my life - this is one of those times, and it makes me sad. I'm without a motorcycle, too, which also makes me sad. But I'm also a lover: anam cara to Archer, and girlfriend to Doc, and those things make me happy. Music makes me happy too.

These things have always been there, at least in potential; now others can see them too.

I don't know this guy.
I just found this video on youtube.
He's not a great dancer,
but he's better than many
and he looks like he's having fun.
I had fun watching him.
Maybe you will too.

[This moment of reflection has been brought to you by my upcoming first blogoversary, which will be 18 January. Blog party? Maybe. Let me get through finals first.]

03 December 2012

Psychology of Terrorism, part 2

See! I really am  getting my homework done!

Thought I'd share this excerpt. Sort of a quick 'part 2' of my earlier post on the psychology of terrorism. This goes into the "are they psychotic/sociopaths?" argument. It's a pretty casual piece, not too academic-y (that's a word, because I said so), and it interests me. Enjoy!

[The book being quoted is my textbook for this class; pretty sure I included all the relevant references in the quotes, so you shouldn't need the book for this to make sense. Let me know if I missed anything. If you're curious or otherwise interested, the book is "Psychology of Terrorism," edited by Bongar, Brown, Beutler, Breckenridge, and Zimbardo, published 2007 by Oxford Press.]

In the section “Third Floor: Moral Engagement,” the author discusses the relative moral engagement of terrorists from their perspective and the perspective of mainstream society.

“From the perspective of the mainstream, terrorists are ‘morally disengaged,’ particularly because of their willingness to commit acts of violence against civilians. However, from the perspective of the morality that exists within terrorist organizations, terrorists are ‘morally engaged,’ and it is the government and its agents who are ‘morally disengaged.’” (p73 - 74)

The above statement recalled the earlier discussion of whether or not terrorists could be considered anti-social, in terms of anti-social behavior as indicative of a psychopathologic condition. In chapter 2, page 15, the author refuted the idea of terrorists as having antisocial personalities: “The 9/11 attackers were willing to give their lives in the attack. So far as I am aware, no one has ever suggested that a psychopath’s moral blindness can take the form of self-sacrifice.”

“Psychopath” is a nebulous term, but the author seems to be using it as a synonym for ‘a person with antisocial personality disorder,’ so I will use it the same way for the sake of consistency.

Returning to the statements from chapter 5, quoted above, we know that a characteristic of antisocial personality disorder (APD from here on in) is a sort of moral disengagement. Of course there are more requirements in the DSM for an actual diagnosis, but this is perhaps one of the more recognizable and broadly-known characteristics.

With that in mind, consider the idea of broadening our concept of “self” so that it might include the small group in which a terrorist might find themself. When we diagnose an individual with APD by citing their apparent moral disengagement from the well-being of other, one of the things we’re saying is that individual does not value the humanity of other people as being even with the individual’s human value. What if we were to expand that conceptually – could we come up with a sort of group-APD?

Perhaps that wouldn’t even be a disorder – certainly it could be considered “normal” (though unhelpful/unkind/etc) for one group to consider itself “more human” than other groups. It’s well-studied (at this point) that a necessary factor of warfare is the dehumanization of the “enemy” by soldiers of each side. On a conceptual level, this seems to be not terribly different from the moral disengagement one sees in APD, only on a group level.

This is especially pertinent, I believe, in light of the understanding that terrorists are “not angry about personal frustrations and insults,” but rather, they are angry for perceived insults to the group with which they identify themselves, as the author points out on page 17:

“Kinder recounts evidence that political action, including protest and confrontation, is motivated more by identification with group interest than with self-interest... Group identification makes sense of sacrifice by people who are not personally frustrated or insulted. The mistake is to imagine that self-sacrifice must come from personal problems, rather than identification with group problems... The power of group identification is thus the foundation of intergroup conflict.”

With group identification obviously such a strong motivator – which comes at utterly no surprise to anyone even passingly familiar with evolutionary psychology – why have we not considered a sort of group-APD? Could this be a sort of social psychopathology, perhaps distantly akin to mass hysteria? 


There will be more. Oh yes, there will. I'd apologize for subjecting you to this, but... I'm not really sorry. Personally, I think it's a conversation we should all be having. 

02 December 2012

Must.Do.Homework...! (dammit)


Psychology of Terrorism.
Great class, fascinating stuff.
Not something my brain is up for tonight.
Gotta get it done anyway.

I'd much rather be writing about Jacq, my fictional chick.

01 December 2012

How to wake up happy, lesson One

I woke up today next to Archer, who was sleeping peacefully beside me as the morning sun kissed his skin. He looked like living honey. I admit, I stared for a few minutes, even though he hates being stared at. I was awestruck.

Then I realized it was 0930, and I had slept about an hour longer than I usually do. So I very carefully crawled out of bed (he probably woke up a little anyway, he's such a light sleeper) and went to let the girls (aka, the dogs) out and feed them.

While I was waiting at the door, I heard singing... my child was in the kitchen, putting the clean silverware into the drawer from the drying rack, and singing. It was the cutest, sweetest thing ever.

Archer's still in bed, probably dozing, but I'm resisting the urge to go swoon at him some more. I'll just occupy myself by doing a little writing on my stories.