Princess Pricklepants, and the Brief Hiatus


We’re on vacation for a little while, will be back in a couple weeks.  Her robo-friends will miss her, and she will miss her loyal servants.

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Here is a small, somewhat confusing preview of what’s to come in Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder Part II – The Great Middle:

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Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part I – The Great Beginning


Dear reader,

Happily, and/or sadly, nobody has sent us any correspondence, so we have no reader responses to offer. We did find one search that led someone here for “how to have manners like a princess.” I’m sure we were very helpful. Someone also came here looking for “pleasantries synonym.” I assume they found what they were looking for.

This will be a brief prologue, since we have work to do here, thus we now offer our first picture with words under it:

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Princess Pricklepants was generally enjoying a regal life of leisure with her friends. They caught up on hedgehog documentaries, tried out surfing on a vacation…

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…and hung out with their old friend Moonflower the sheep from back in the farm days. One of the robots, Redbot, had moved in as well, to help as a personal assistant, tea connoisseur, and generally nice robot.

One day, while having tea and enjoying some truly delightful baked goods, Bessie, the generic cow and robot programmer, had a suggestion.

“Remember that pirate treasure map that you’ve had sitting around forever? Maybe we could go seek out the lost treasure of Captain Quillbeard.”  They looked at it to help justify this picture:

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They were impressed.  It looked like it must have taken someone a fair bit of work to make that map.  Also it clearly indicated something important.

Princess said, “This sounds like a very plausible premise for an adventure.”

Boris was puzzled, “Wait, we just found the pile of treasure chests in the quiet spot. What would be the point of even more treasure?”

“Because it would be fun. Also Captain Quillbeard’s treasure is a mystery. Maybe there’s something better than old coins.”

“Well, I suppose that does sound like a plausible premise for an adventure.”

They decided to start the adventure the typical way, by surfing the web for a while. Princess looked up Captain Quillbeard to do some research. She found nothing in wikipedia, which was strange. A query on hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com returned no information. Google was no use. They even tried Bing, which returned results with a wikipedia article on chickens. After reading articles on chickens, red junglefowl, Christmas Island, and a number of other fascinating things, she had almost given up when she discovered an ancient secret web site that told about Captain Quillbeard. (note to reader: please make sure to visit this important link and read the important information therein, then come back here.)

The story told by the mysterious ancient web page seemed like typical pirate fare, but had some interesting information. Unfortunately that was all she could find, and all the links on that page to other notable things were broken.

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Jane was concerned. “OK, so this is one of those things we can’t just wrap up quickly, like most things.  So we need to actually for the first time in our lives have a plan.  And we have to make a real plan.” She was still recovering from her tech. career, and thus began most sentences with either “OK,” or a conjunction.
Boris suggested a plan, “First I finish this pie, then we take a helicopter loaded with shovels and stuff to the place the map indicates, then we dig the stuff up, then we take the stuff we find back in the helicopter. Finally, we have more pie.”
“OK, there are some problems, though. First, the island is part of Henakau. And they don’t permit helicopters and hasn’t got an airport. And the only way to travel there is by boat.  Also, quit hogging the pie.”
“So we fly to the nearest normal place, then hire a boat, eh?”
“OK, but part of their customs require that you take the boat from your home.”
“Fine. We have to take the boat. I hate boats.”

They ordered rope, shovels, metal detectors, food, and boat-related supplies from hedgehogtreasureseekercentral.com with free two day shipping, then sat around for two days binge watching Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog on Netflix and baking macarons while they waited, except Bessie who worked on reprogramming Redbot to serve as a Henakau protocol droid.

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Princess Pricklepants, Boris, Moonflower, Redbot, Bessie, and Jane prepared for adventure while robots loaded the ship.

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Boris said, “Maybe we could use a helicopter and air-lift the ship to Henaku?”
Jane explained, “That would be prosaic and dull. Besides, you can’t have adventures with helicopters.”
Boris began to think about explaining that you could have many adventures with helicopters, but then realized that using a pirate ship to seek out the treasure would add extra symbolism that would enhance the narrative. He then worried that there wasn’t a proper call to adventure, as a conversation over tea and cookies was barely a call to adventure at all. He thought about many other things as well, but we won’t dwell on them here, since the literary thoughts of bears are not the point of all this.  While he thought about pie and came up with a plan that didn’t involve eating more pie, but would help the narrative.

Boris pulled out his cell phone and called Princess. “Hello, this is Princess Pricklepants, hedgehog adventurer, who is calling?” (She was still working out etiquette for answering phones, she really preferred texting, where manners were easier to understand).
In a deep spooky voice, as mysterious as he could muster, Boris said, “It is I, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. You must seek my treasure, for the Universe now needs it for its very safety, and only you can undertake this great quest!”
“Boris, is that you? Why are you using that odd voice?”
(spooky voice) “No, it’s Captain Quillbeard’s ghost, eh!”
“Why does my phone say Boris is calling?”
(spooky voice) “I am haunting his phone.”
“Oh, but also Boris is standing next to me, and is using the same funny voice and saying the same things.”
(spooky voice) “Pay no attention to the bear, eh, listen to me, the ghost of Captain Quillbeard. Seek the treasure.”
“Well, we were seeking the treasure, so I think we’re all set here, thanks Bor… Captain Ghost.”
“Oh, thanks, eh… hey, wait, you’re supposed to refuse at first, then go along with it…”
“Well then, I refuse to not seek the treasure.”
“No, you refuse to… Well, never mind. See you on the ship.”
“See you, Boris.”

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With that settled, they were ready to go. Boris was not fully satisfied, and was also annoyed that that last photo put the hedgehog in focus and left him in the background, but figured it was a start. Boris knew they needed to meet a wise person to mentor them at this point for everything to work out. He figured they’d met Moonflower recently, so that was pretty close.

“Hey Moonflower, got a second?”
“I have all the moments in the Cosmos, all in the now.”
“Oh, perfect, you sound like a wise mentor. I need to ask you a favor.”
“Right on, man.”
“Uh, so we need someone to help Princess make decisions on the journey, a kind of wise counselor who can guide her.”
“Oh, I’ve helped out on some really wild trips, I am so in.”
“Perfect. Thanks!”

Things were going swimmingly, except with a boat and ideally no swimming. They prepared to board and begin their journey.

End of Part I

Coming soon: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part II – The Great Middle

Will they find the treasure? Will there be sharks involved? Will they keep reusing one small set with boat pictures over and over? How will they manage to make a set that involves digging up treasure? These and other things will be answered soonish. Here is one small preview that answers the shark question, though:

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Princess Pricklepants Surfing


Dear reader, perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Hmm, this is odd, I thought they just posted a thing a couple days ago.  Don’t they usually drag their feet and delay for at least a week and a half before posting a second thing?”  If you thought that, you are slightly in error, as in the past 586 days since we started, we’ve posted 92 things, which comes to an average of one thing every 6.3 days.  Sorry about the math.  Anyway, out of those 92 things, we’ve scientifically determined that 29 were basically empty posts of a picture or something, so if you subtract those, it comes to a post every 9.3 days, so yes, you’re right, really.  Sorry for saying you were slightly in error.

But, fear not, because this is actually a throwaway post with some pictures (and scientifically verified to not be a story due to the lack of cows or dialog) in which we display lovely photos of Princess Penelope Pricklepants surfing.  We had at one point thought about doing a Point Break style story, but realized that as a part of our research we’d have to actually watch that movie, and that’s just too much to ask of anyone.

With that out of the way, here are the pictures we narrowed things down to for the 2015 Carolina Storm Summer Photo Contest, along with one that we took later when Princess Sophie suggested it.

Oh, by the way, did you vote?  It’s still running through July 6:

http://carolinastormhedgehogs.com/2015-summer-contest.html

cute, but the color temperature was terrible:

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the one we first decided to submit before changing our minds:

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the one we submitted:

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the one that was really cute, but was sadly neglected:

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the one that in retrospect we wish we submitted:

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the one Princess Sophie came up with that is awesome:

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Princess Pricklepants and the Dinosaur Denouement


Dear reader,

We have a points of note to present before beginning our tale that can’t be skipped for reasons involving word count.

First, we finally read Quentin’s email.  It was a link to a funny cat video.  Thank you Quentin.

Second, we got slightly better lighting set up, so the photos should be slightly better.

As a second try at a better second point, in an effort to be more dramatically friendly in case someone finds this out of context (not that context really helps much), and since we seem to have recurrent characters now, we’re including our dramatis personae:

Princess Pricklepants:  Princess Penelope Pricklepants, Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, Empress of Quillonia, and Dominions beyond the Seas.  Also, blogger, farmer, space traveler, occasional pirate, and hedgehog of mystery.

Jane the Cow: Accountant, Chief Information Officer of Telstar Ettiquettronics, their startup.

Christine the Cow: Cow safety officer.

Boris: Bear, Canadian, Masters in Comparative Mythology from University of Toronto.

Dinosaurs: Venture Capitalists at Yoyodynamic Capital.

Crocodiles: Former farm animals, now crocodiles, or maybe alligators.

Bessie: Generic Cow

That was pretty long so we’ll get to our first photo with words under it:

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Princess Penelope Pricklepants was distraught.  Someone had left her copy of Haley’s 2007 Compete Guide to Etiquette on the floor.  She’d been looking for this to reply to an automated etiquette request message for her new startup, Telstar Ettiquettronics.

Suddenly her computer made the bleepy sound indicating a Skype call was coming in.

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It was Jane, the CFO.

“So Princess, have you seen the news on TechCrunch?”  Now that they worked in tech., they started sentences with “so” to sound authentic.  “The dinosaurs at Yoyodynamic Capital have taken over the board of Telstar Ettiquettronics.  They’ve installed a Tyrannosaurus as the new CEO, put a Deionychus in as the CFO, and rest of the board are Pterodactyls, or maybe Pteronadons.  Hard to really tell.  Some kind of Pterosaur.  It’s tricky to get their taxonomies down,  I think one isn’t a proper taxonomical category, maybe we should check wikipedia…  So the point is that we’ve lost control of the company.  Also, we’re almost out of money.”

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Princess Pricklepants was not in her best mood.  She’d only gotten 15 hours of sleep the night before.  Someone had left her etiquette guide on the floor.  And now this. (Since they’d started working in tech., they had been practicing starting sentences with conjunctions.)  Her company that she’d worked for days to build was now stolen by dinosaur venture capitalists.

She called a council of the bear and cows.

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Boris had a degree in comparative mythology which seemed to Princess to be fairly close to a law degree.  “Boris, what can we do to get our company…”

She was interrupted by a politeness advice request text.  “I have a lovely 17-year-old step-daughter. Recently she has developed a lot of anger issues and has loud, tantrum-like outbursts where she curses out her dad and says very hurtful things to him.  What can I do to bring her in line?  – Frustrated Mom”

She began to type a response, “Dear Frustrating Mom, To get your daughter in line, take her to Disneyland, there are many, many lines there.  Alternately you could…”

Jane interrupted, “Princess, this is not the time to be answering texts, we’re having a meeting.”

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Christine, the cow safety officer made a proposal, “So I suggest we ban all electronic distractions from meetings.  And we should follow Robert’s Rules of Order, really.”

Boris stepped forth, “I wish I had my phone, sorry. I need to look up dramatic tropes during these things to stay in character. But to the point, I move that Christine never ask about Robert’s Rules of Order again. All those in favor?”

The ayes were over the nos.

Boris continued, “According to my friends on bearlawyercentral.com the contract is air tight, and we have no recourse. We are ruined.  Sorry about that, eh.”

Princess got a text: “My husband and I are having a disagreement. He knows that our dog, trufflefluff, likes coffee, but he uses artificial sweeteners. I am sure these are dangerous for dogs.  How do I tell him to only give our dog real sugar?  – Sweet Mom”

Princess started typing, “Dear Sugar Mama, while this is a common problem, this is not a…”  Boris put his paw over her phone.

“Sorry to interrupt, Princess, but by responding you are helping out the dinosaurs who have stolen our company.”

“But, it’s impolite not to respond to text messages…”

“Fine, we will let the Universe decide.”  He took the phone and threw it in the crocodile pond.  “The Universe clearly does not want you to respond any longer.”

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Christine, the cow safety officer, said, “Boris, that phone’s batteries contain risky materials that can leach into the pond posing a risk to the crocodiles (or are they alligators?).  Also, how is you throwing the phone in a pond the Universe deciding.”

“Am I not part of the Universe?”

And so it was that our heroes were sad, especially Princess, who didn’t have a phone, but wanted to check what the folks on hedgehogentrepeneurcentral.com might advise, and also to see if there were any new hedgehog videos on Youtube, and also to look up crocodiles and alligators on wikipedia to sort out something she’d been puzzling over.

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Boris said, “I feel we must dwell on this disconcerting news for a while to make the middle of the story longer.  This will add dramatic tension and improve our narrative.  Still there is not much character development either, not sure what we should do ’bout that, though, eh.”

Bessie, the generic cow, said, “Boris, I believe we’ve explained this before.  You aren’t a fictional character.”

“No, sorry, but seriously, listen. I am a Canadian bear who went to the University of Toronto and got a Masters in Comparative Mythology. Somehow I seem to also be Russian sometimes. I can’t explain it, but I wound up working on a farm, but then the hedgehog princess left in her spaceship and we had a war with a cat, and so now I’m at a startup that was taken over by dinosaur venture capitalists. I can’t remember anything but that, the rest is void. There are no humans in our world, just a hedgehog, some crocodiles, some cows, and the occasional robot, baboon, cat, and other animals, but we do human-like things. How does that make any sense? I must be fictional. And these stories I am in, they drive me bonkers, no character development, no proper beginnings, middles or ends, terrible narrative structure, ridiculous diction.”

“Have you been reading Kafka again?  Besides if you were actually fictional, you’d see character development, and all that other whatever it was you said.”

“I fear it is worse. Not only am I fictional, but I am a fiction of a truly terrible author.”

Jane said, “You are no more fictional than I am, and no fictional cow would choose to be an accountant. By the way, we’re doomed. Just got the text – the dinosaurs fired all of us.”

Princess felt sad, and went to her quiet place to go play with some old toys that the family had passed down through the centuries. Jane followed her.

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“Princess, what’s that you’re playing with?”

“Oh, old play money. It’s just made of old gold and silver, not like real nickel, zinc, or copper coins, or that really pretty paper. Still, it’s nice to play with sometimes.”

Jane investigated, “Where did you get this?”

“It’s been in the family for generations, apparently it used to be money a long time ago, but now it’s old so you can’t buy things with it. I tried using some at a store once and the clerk said it wasn’t real money.”

Jane put her numismatic skills to work and determined that the coins were mostly English Guineas from the late 1600s, along with assorted Louis the fourteenth Double Louis d’or, and other gold currency. According to Jane’s careful estimate they were worth a ludicrous amount of money. She began a spreadsheet.

Within a short while they’d managed to get enough rare gold coins sold at auction at Christie’s for enough money that they could skip plots involving hedgehog careers for a long time.

Finally, Princess could pursue her true passion, living life as independently wealthy hedgehog royalty.

In our next episode, will we begin the Chronicles of Princess Pricklepants?  Will we finally get to Princess Pricklepants and the Live Action Role Playing Game?  Will we just ramble?  Tune in eventually when we finally get to publishing the next episode.

Carolina Storm 2015 Summer Contest


Hello, dear readers.  No proper story (still in the works), but we do have a humble request.  We’ve entered the Carolina Storm 2015 Summer Contest.  If you’d be so kind as to visit and vote (however you see fit), we’d really appreciate it.

http://www.carolinastormhedgehogs.com/2015-summer-contest.html

You can vote for as many as you like.  Our photo is this one:

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Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire


Dear reader, for our preamble we’d like to say a number of fascinating, witty, clever, and delightful things, but we can’t think of any.  Sorry.

A reader contacted us indirectly with a really brilliant idea that we can’t tell you about.  Also, sorry.

Quentin emailed in to say something, but we haven’t read that email yet.  We’ll do that really soon, though.

Our awesome and brilliant reader Mike sent in this superb graphic, which you should all admire, and which we plan to develop into a theme once Princess runs for President, which now must happen.

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On a separate note, we found someone reached our blog via a search for “when adventure trip on a ship. how can we do good manner.”  Cool!

And so, we begin our story with a picture with some words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants gathered the council of cows et al. to pitch her latest idea in the living room.  Startups were supposed to be in garages, but she didn’t have a garage, so the living room would have to do.  “Princess Pricklepants-pedia – an online encyclopedia of all things related to me.”  Jane, the cow accountant and general downer explained that this sounded like a really fun idea, but had the problem that there was no way to possibly ever make money.

“Well, what about a blog?”

“You’ve got a blog, and so far you’ve lost money.  Your blog is free so you don’t even get anything from the ads other people see.  It’s just a vanity project.”

“Mugs and Tee-shirts?”

“No”

Princess turned to google “polite web startup ideas,” but the first result was an article titled, “Polite, Purposeful People Create Startups That Fail.”  Clearly google was confused.

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Christine, the cow safety officer had a warning, “Since we’re starting a business we should use Robert’s Rules of Order and keep minutes so that we have accountability.”

Boris made a motion, “I propose that we never ever use Robert’s Rules of Order.  All those in favor?”

The ayes had it.

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Boris stepped forth with a daring plan, “We start a comparative mythology as a service company.  We create a platform for employees on their mythic and heroic quests.”

This was not well accepted.

Princess pitched another idea, “MaPaaS, Manners and Politeness as a Service, we architect a dynamic cloud platform for delivering the infrastructure of manners, refinement, sophistication, and politeness to the enterprise.  We’ll target mobile advice.  Also, synergy.”

Nobody could think of an objection, or if they had one they couldn’t find a polite way to say it (since the software didn’t exist yet), so they started their plan.

Their plan had three parts.

1) Develop dynamic MaPaaS cloud platform.

2) …

3) Profit.

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Boris said, “Oh, we also need to name the business, this is an important part of the heroic  journey.”

Jane suggested, “Politetronic Logistics”

“No”

“Manner Cloud”

“No”

“Telstar Ettiquettronics”

“Yes!”

They googled it to make sure nobody had already taken the name.  Clear.  They still needed to register telstarettiquettronics.com, but would get to that soon.

Boris said, “Princess, there’s an important point I think I need to make.  If we look at this situation in terms of a literary structure, there’s no antagonist, nor are we following a traditional comic form of three separate minor conflicts that intertwine until they are resolved in a denouement.”

Princess explained, “Boris, we aren’t in some fictional universe, we’re real hedgehogs and cows and bears doing work things.  Real life isn’t like fiction, there aren’t usually antagonists or neat little situations that get wrapped up nicely.  It’s just you and your friends and family and coworkers doing your things as best you can, and trying to not waste all your time watching amazing hedgehog videos on YouTube or reading wikipedia articles when you should be getting important things done.”

She then checked wikipedia to make sure this was correct and wound up reading about grizzly bears for a while, then salmon, then the Yukon river.  Then she watched an amazing hedgehog video.  Then she visited boingboing.net.

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Eventually they got to working on part 1 of their plan.

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Part 1 was the fun and annoying part, since it meant they’d need to make a program.  They turned to Bessie, the generic cow, who was also a robotics programmer.  “Bessie, can you write the software tonight?”

“Um, well, you see, I, uh, write C for embedded systems, and for web things it’s all completely different.  We need to hire someone or learn these things.”

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Princess hit the books.  It was so boring, though.  All those letters and words that didn’t quite mean the right thing, and the jargon, that odd almost, but not quite English jargon.  Even with a montage this would be unbearable.  So they decided to find a programmer.

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While Mufiki, King of the Planet of the Baboons, might not have seemed like an immediately obvious choice, he had previous experience as a software engineer for a web company in the dot com days.  He was interested and would take low pay in exchange for equity.  Soon he had something running.  We’ll spare you the boring details of a code monkey.  He also wrote a module to measure how polite or impolite something was that was named polite-o-tron2000 using vectorized Bayesean analysis in natural language processing, text analysis, and computational linguistics to assign a score from 1 to 10, where 1 is something we couldn’t possibly say, and 10 is something really, really polite and appropriate.  Sorry, had to throw in boring details.

The software would send text messages to Princess’s iPhone where she would respond with helpful advice.  They ran their first test, sending an etiquette request:

“when adventure trip on a ship. how can we do good manner.”

Princess texted her reply, “When taking an adventure trip on a ship, always be sure to share treasure maps with any cows that want to go on the adventure with you.”  It went through the internet tubes and showed up in their software thing where it was supposed to.  polite-o-tron2000 ranked it a 10.  They were cooking with gas!

Many other things happened, but they were dull business things that nobody in their right mind would ever want to read about, let alone suffer through in real life, so we’ll skip to the interesting part – getting funding from venture capitalists.

They showed up at Yoyodynamic Capital to pitch their business. They did a great presentation on how Telstar Ettiquettronics was the premiere MaPaaS business in the industry, with exponential potential for growth, and presented their highly relevant buzzword catch-phrase – immersive big data and well-mannered disruption of advice columns through the mobile cloud, and also social media.  Negotiations were tense, but they were ultimately funded with a lot of money to start a business in ways that were complicated to explain, but which Jane, the cow chief financial officer thought were workable.

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Yoyodynamic Capital even forgave Princess for climbing on the table.

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Thus they were probable tech millionaires.  Maybe.  All they had to do was make an actual company with customers, a long term manageable strategy, and a way to make a profit – easy.

Next episode: Will they buy a foosball table, fancy espresso machines, and nerf guns with their startup capital?  Will the Yoyodyne dinosaurs betray the company?  Will the platform do the right platform-related things?  Will Princess become a tech millionaire?  Will this whole episode be explained away a few sentences in the next preamble?  Will they ever get a decent lighting setup so the color temperature and shadows aren’t all over the map?  These questions and others may or may not be answered in our next installment at some point in the future when we get to it.

It’s The Princess Pricklepants Show!


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Her royal highness was politely featured on Cute Overload recently, whoo!

Originally posted on Cute Overload:

Hi-dee-ho there, Pricklers and Pricklettes! Last week, we saw how much more fun the “Star Wars” prequels would be with HUNGRY DINOSAURS! (I especially enjoyed seeing Jar-Jar being eaten alive!) But today we’re going to have FUN ON A CATTLE RANCH!

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Running a ranch is HARD WORK, kiddies! Everybody wants to eat your cows without paying for them! Why, just this morning, mean old Barnaby Bear tried to sneak up on me while my back was turned!

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And if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to chase away ALLIGATORS! I’m telling ya, it would be so much simpler just to go out for a burger and a milk shake…

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“Here are some pics of our sweet hedgehog Princess Pricklepants (farmer, space traveler, etiquette advice columnist) from her experiences running a farm,” says sender-inner Steven B.

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