I can see, definitely, how people might have gotten the idea that I am dead, and I’m not not dead. I had a lot of assignments that were all due all at once, because I’m doing a high school teaching diploma and our first school visits for observation were delayed due to a short COVID lockdown in March and then all the due dates for everything had to be pushed back until we ran out of time to push them back into, because we had to go on our first practicum assignment. So a whole bunch of stuff was due at once, and I did die for a short while because it was more convenient for me to work from Hell (you know how it is; they have some good research libraries and you can eat as much junk food as you want), and then the next day I had to immediately drop into a school and start teaching and getting to know the students, and the first two weeks of that were exhausting. I have been trying to write, but the school is, in some ways, y’know, physically located in Hell, in the Fifth Circle, which is obviously a bit of a commute from my preferred hangouts in the Seventh, so I am somewhat dead, but really only a little bit. I didn’t really intend to take an extended break like I have, but I did also become slightly unmoored from linear time and obviously that took… some indefinite length of subjective time to sort out.
Anyway I have an episode of A Pokémon Trainer Is You coming out tomorrow, and I have the next two weeks off so I should get something done in that time.
But more importantly (and you might have seen this if you follow my Twitter for some reason) I made a Parthenon cake over the last weekend for an online “Build Your Own Monument” competition! Everyone knows the Parthenon, right? This thing?
I thought anyone who’s still here might like some documentation of that, so here’s my process:
Slabs of plain vanilla sponge (I used a cupcake recipe that I like), which I then layered and covered with a white chocolate buttercream icing:
Meanwhile I made a whole lot of gingerbread, all cut out for columns and friezes and pediments and all the rest…
My columns were gingerbread dipped in white chocolate:
I am a great believer in promoting awareness of the fact that Greek monuments like the Parthenon were originally painted, and with colour schemes that modern eyes might have found quite gaudy, so I’ve tried to use some bright colours for the decorations.
I’ve also tried to base the decorative scheme on what we think the Parthenon’s sculptures originally showed, so there are Greek hoplites, Persian archers and naked Lapiths fighting Centaurs on the metopes (the rows of square chunks of sculpture divided by triglyphs – rows of three vertical bars), as well as several of the Olympian gods participating in a Gigantomachy (the primordial war between the gods and giants). The pediments (the triangular bits at each end of the roof) show the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus as he sits on his throne, and the end of a chariot race between Athena and Poseidon when they were contending for patronage of the city of Athens.
And here’s the finished product!
The Greeks are naked except for their shields and helmets; the Persians wear brightly coloured tunics and leather trousers.
I gave Athena a bright green dress to make her stand out; she’s also got her shield, helmet and spear. Poseidon has little blue blotches on his body and trident.
Athena once again, and Zeus in his throne with his staff of office. The gods on the metopes are (supposed to be), from left to right, Aphrodite in the gold dress, Poseidon with the trident again, Athena and Zeus with a thunderbolt (this isn’t how Zeus’ thunderbolts actually look in ancient Greek art, but I took some artistic license).
There’s one day left to vote for me to win the adult category here: https://www.archaeological.org/build-your-own/parthenon-adults/
There’s really only one other proper contender, and they used a laser which frankly I think is cheating, so you should obviously vote for me. Although to be honest I wouldn’t blame you for voting for the underdog spaghetti-cheese-and-tortilla Parthenon.