Princess Pricklepants, Astrophysicist


Dear reader,

We have happy news!  We wrote a children’s book which we weren’t enthralled with so we set it aside and wrote a couple more children’s books until we found a story we really liked.  We’re in the (long, not very easy) process of illustrating it now.

This little story was mostly just created to force ourself to practice at illustrating (still working at it).  Hence there are no photos, though there are still many pictures with words under them.

The book itself will be a long slow slog since we’re going to be submitting to publishers and all that business.  If anyone has any helpful advice on that front, we’d be delighted to hear it.

And now we begin with our first nicely illustrated picture with words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants was sitting at the table with a nice cup of tea on a quiet day, thinking about things, which was her favorite thing to do.  After a bit of reflection she was overcome with an unusually strong feeling that she should do something good for the world, something big. Really big.

She ran into Sam, a trusted old friend who’d always been there, and had been in many adventures, despite what some pedantic nerds might say about it. “Hi Sam, I’m working on something big!”

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After fourteen seconds, Sam the sloth had finished asking, “aren’t you already big enough?”

Her Highness made a note to schedule another manners lesson with Sam.

“We need to have a talk about manners.  Soon.  But not yet, as I’m working on something big.”

After a long silence that implied quiet agreement, Her Highness wandered off to the study.

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Approximately ten seconds after she had left, Sam had finally finished saying, “no, but I didn’t mean you were big like that.” Alas, he saw Her Highness was already gone.  Sam hoped that was the end of the excitement for the day and decided it was time to slow things down a bit.

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Her Highness decided to develop a theory of astrophysics that explained dark matter more satisfactorily than current models. That seemed big in every sense.

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As she worked, it felt like she was in some kind of wonderful montage with a cool, kind of edgy pop soundtrack driving her quickly towards a discovery that would take far too long to describe in a narrative story format.

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She developed her hypothesis:

Dark matter is actually the interstellar dispersal of lost pens and socks!

So elegant!  It explained dark matter.  It explained the mysteries of pens disappearing all the time.  It explained singleton socks.  It fit the evidence – socks and pens both had mass. This was science and this was big.

She performed an experiment to test her hypothesis.  She took a nice pen out to a patisserie where she bought some nice macarons (mmm).

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When she returned, the pen was gone.  She then looked everywhere for it and even got helpers to look.  It was nowhere to be found, thus proving it was nowhere on Earth and must have drifted off into space.  Eureka!  Science!

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She brought her paradigm shifting work to the Forest Science Council to explain, but the idea that dark matter is actually the interstellar dispersal of lost pens and socks was received surprisingly poorly.  Mr. Badger went so far as to call the idea “tosh,” which seemed rather extreme. After a disappointing meeting, she returned home to have a cup of tea and work out a better plan for sharing her amazing new scientific paradigm.

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As luck would have it, that very evening the James Webb Space Telescope was brought online, and discovered remarkably unusual and unexpected forms in dark matter which the surprised space scientists described as “like a bunch of pens and socks.”

Princess Pricklepants was delighted to hear this news!  With this evidence, her science was even more science-y!

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She returned to the Forest Science Council to present her case with this new data, knowing there would be much less risk of having her theory labeled “tosh.”

Unfortunately, despite unimpeachable empirical evidence backing her case, the theory was still not well received.  Ms. Bluejay was still concerned.  Thus far the council had only seen a few articles on Facebook, but no serious academic work, and the Forest Science Council had just issued another advisory to not trust science journalism posted in exuberant articles on social media until one had reviewed the original research.

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Her Highness briefly considered renting a skywriter to send the message “Dark Matter: Really Lost Pens And Socks!” but deemed it impolite to write on the sky.  Also, skywriting wasn’t exactly scientific…  Still, it was fun to imagine.

She realized that she would have to write a paper including the notes and research from the James Webb Space Telescope space scientist people along with her own significant parts.

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Happily, once the Forest Council reviewed the work, they agreed that her work in the sciences was indeed valuable and significant, and the paper was published in their newsletter.

While it felt strange to have a story wrap up with so few twists, fairly minor conflicts, and personal stakes that really weren’t very high, she was pleased enough with the illustrations, and was honestly pretty relieved to know what had happened to all those socks and pens.

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“Sam, in my heart I’ve missed spending time on art history, manners, and related things, even if they aren’t big.  I suppose being small is still fine.”

“Silly Princess, your work on art and manners and that other stuff amuses, delights, and brings a bit of wonder to the world.  That’s no small thing.”

“Well thank you, Sam,” said Princess Pricklepants politely.

The End

 

 

 

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Princess Pricklepants and More Hedgehog Art Through the Ages


previously

Dear reader,

Sadly, or perhaps happily, we haven’t offered much coverage of Small Furry Animal Campaign 2016, something we’ll work to rectify in some future post if we don’t get distracted by arguing with squirrels on Twitter, reading wikipedia (did you know about Moon Trees?), or researching hedgehog art through the ages.  But lately we’ve mostly been arguing with squirrels and researching hedgehog art through the ages.

Despite efforts to build bridges and create a Small Furry Animals coalition, radical squirrel partisans have created strife that’s even extended to some humans.

Breakfast_Table

Once again, there will be no story in this post per se other than the magnificent story of hedgehog art, a story that needs telling, and which goes on and on, perhaps endlessly, like a run-on sentence of art.

Let us begin with our first picture with words under it.

whistlershedgiemother

 

Whistler’s Hedgie Mother (formally titled Arrangement of Pets in Grey and Black No.1) was painted in 1869. Whistler eventually managed to convince his mother to stop posing for portraits with her pets in 1871. While both the pet-free and petful works are held by the Musée d’Orsay, the hedgehog version has not been exhibited yet.

The_Lady_with_a-Hedgehog

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady With a Hedgehog (c.1488-1489) is a true high point of Renaissance hedgehog art, masterfully executed.  The human subject is not known with certainty, though the hedgehog is strongly believed by experts to be Contessa Mirandella di Pricklipanzia, a distant relation of Princess Penelope Pricklepants via the Venetian line of the family.  While the hedgehog is an actual noble-hog,  as a hedgehog she also serves as a symbol of elegance, grace, and excellent manners.

Raphael_unicorn

The enigmatic and sublime beauty of Raphael’s early work, Portrait of a Lady with a Hedgiecorn, has been a subject hedgehog art critics have discussed for centuries. The influence of Da Vinci on Raphael’s work is clearly seen here in the similarities to the Mona Lisa in pose, gaze, and format of this painting. Da Vinci’s influence can also be seen in the use of a hedgehog, following Da Vinci’s Lady with Hedgehog, and again symbolizing elegance, grace, and impeccable manners. A true Renaissance hedgehog art masterwork.

Caravaggio

Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit and Some Hedgehogs, c.1593, is a stunning work, the light, expressiveness, and technical execution are all superb, and illustrate the transition from the more constrained and austere styles of the Renaissance into the more dynamic, dramatic styles of the Baroque, as we can see by the pair of hedgehogs striking dramatic poses and the powerful lighting on the quills. Strangely, this work was not well accepted by the public. The culture of Renaissance Italy held unusual cultural superstitions regarding the idea of hedgehogs crawling in their food as “unclean.”  Caravaggio ultimately reworked the painting without hedgehogs (weakening the dynamics and drama the hedgehogs bring to the work).  The hedgehog painting was forgotten until it was recently rediscovered when a shopper bought the painting at a Goodwill in West Covina.

donatello

Donatello’s first version of this statue created for the Vatican was titled, St. Mark With Hedgehog  and was commissioned for St. Peter’s Basilica.  Sadly, Pope Leo X was not amused, and Donatello was forced to create another statue, this time without the hedgehog.  One little known fact about this work is that Martin Luther was finally motivated to write his 95 theses because of Leo X’s unwillingness to embrace hedgehog art (according to Uncle Pricklepants).

This work marks a true high point in our excursion through hedgehog art, as we’ve now shown hedgehog artworks by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello, which completes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sequence, and unlocks the next level.

hogs_playing_poker

Hogs Playing Poker by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (yes, that really is his name) has generally been looked down upon by art critics who accuse the work of being faddish, kitschy, lowbrow culture, and a poor-taste parody of “genuine” art, which is why modern art critics are not worth listening to.  Several critics who aren’t jerks have noted that this work was very significant in helping bring hedgehog art into the modern mainstream in America, and point out Coolidge careful studied and used motifs, styles, and composition from Caravaggio, Cezanne, and other greats of hedgehog art.

Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Once discovered, Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Hog (c. 1817) quickly became an iconic hedgehog work from the Romantic period. The self-reflective pose, and invitation to see things from the hedgehog’s perspective make this an incredibly powerful work which has been featured on the covers of hedgehog books, hedgehog album covers, and has become part of modern hedgehog culture.

popart

Finally, we turn to Warhol’s Four Hedgehogs (1962).  This work was accidentally left in the basement of the Tate until recently and was initially assumed to be some kind of parody of Warhol, while now art critics debate whether it’s parody, self-parody, meta-ironic parodying of self-parody, or the other kinds of things art critics argue about.  As with all Warhol works, it’s very hard to explain.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this continued overview of high points of hedgehog art and hope you may have learned something as well.  There are yet more works that we will likely share on Facebook and Twitter over time, and it’s likely our gift shop will be ultimately be carrying related merchandise over time, if you are a hedgehog art aficionado, keep an eye out.

Stay tuned for our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Voters (working title)

Princess Pricklepants and the Monkey Business


Hello again, dear readers,

In the news, we’ve got two items for you. 

First, you won’t ever have to worry about fame going to our head.  We made the mistake of looking at Alexa, a site that shows the relative popularity of web sites.  Our humble blog is now even humbler after seeing that we’re the 5,568,903th most popular blog on the Interwebs. But that means you, special reader, can show how much cooler you are to your friends by referencing this very blog which they definitely will never have heard of.

Second, we didn’t have another item, but felt badly about only having one.

Third, with the holidays looming, we might be a bit spotty on posts.

Fourth, we really had a second item, but got to it third.  Sorry for the confusion.

Fifth, Her Highness has been in a bit of a poetic phase recently.  Behold:

haiku2

haiku

And now, we begin our tale with our first photo with words under it (except the photos above, which clearly don’t count.)

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Her Highness endured the trip back from the island with some discomfort, but they made it back home. There were some problems finding a new home for the chickens and monkey.  Her farmer friends on hedgehogfarmercentral.com already had too many chickens and monkeys, so they had to stay at her place until arrangements could be made.

mornings

As a result of the new guests, Her Highness was having a very trying morning. So trying indeed, that these were the times that try a hedgehog’s soul. Things had been oddly unpleasant since the return from their great adventure. Chicken noise, chicken mess, and other chicken problems were piling up around her home.

But the chickens were the lesser concern. The greater was the monkey business. At first the monkey had seemed nice enough, but for some reason the monkey refused to speak. It just said “ooh ooh, aah aah” and then jumped around. Sometimes it threw things that definitely never, ever should be thrown, like pillows. It was a troublingly monkey.

monkey business

While Jane wasn’t pleased by the chicken who’d decided to use her head as a nest, the monkey put googly eyes on Her Highness’s hindquarters. So distressing! So very discourteous! So incredibly impolite!

But this was a relatively minor kerfuffle when compared to The Starbucks Incident…

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Her Highness wasn’t sure how this had happened.  One moment the monkey was gesticulating, oohing, and aahing along, pointing at the gargantuan Starbucks cup prop that Boris had bought on a whim from eBay.  The next thing she knew, she was in a very undignified and distressing position.

Regardless, it was definitely the last straw. Princess Pricklepants decided it was time to take the monkey on as a project. The monkey must become a genteel monkey, educated in the ways of politeness, manners, geography, figurative language, and related things that would prevent another Starbucks Incident.  It would be rather like My Fair Lady, except My Fair Monkey. Soon the monkey would be singing lovely songs about dancing all night, and all would be nice and proper.

travel plans

She worked out a lesson plan on hedgehoglessonplancentral.com, set up a classroom in the kitchen, and began her lesson in politeness. “Now, monkey, after you’ve eaten your banana, where does the peel go?” “Oooh ooh, ah ah.” The lesson quickly became very trying due to the language barrier.

She called Boris the bear into the kitchen.

“Boris, this monkey isn’t speaking words I understand.  I think this may be a Canadian monkey. Perhaps you can translate?”

The monkey picked up a sandwich and said “Ooh ooh, ah ah.”

Boris said, “No, that’s not Canadian.  Perhaps ‘ooh ooh, ah ah’ means sandwich?”

“The monkey always says that.  Maybe the monkey’s always talking about sandwiches?”

The monkey threw the sandwich.

She addressed the monkey, “No, monkey, throwing things is definitely not polite. Now, what is the capital of Argentina?”

“Ooh ooh, ah ah”

“No, it’s Buenos Aires. I showed you on the map. I think that the monkey’s not saying ‘sandwich,’ it’s just speaking some strange language. I think there’s a figurative language barrier. Perhaps it’s speaking Cockney?”

The monkey left. It didn’t say goodbye or engage in any polite formalities. This was not like My Fair Monkey at all.

She sighed. This was a problem. It’s difficult to educate a monkey in manners when you can’t speak with it. She asked herself, “What is the ideal way to solve any problem?”

She called a meeting.

meeting

Jane: Item one, naming the monkey. What should we call it?

Boris: Monkey.

Jane: Yes, but what should we name it?

Boris: Monkey.

(After a much longer conversation than is polite to relate, it was decided to name the monkey “Monkey.”)

Jane (cow accountant): Item two. Snacks. We’re totally out of bananas.

Boris (bear): It’s the monkey. The monkey is a banana thief! A cruel taker of snacks.

Jane: Did the monkey take the three pies that were out this morning? Remember a few minutes ago when we had two dozen donuts? I count eight now.

Boris: This meeting is about the monkey.

Princess: The monkey is also very impolite. We should discuss monkey manners.

Boris: As a bear’s-rights snacktivist, I find eating my food much more serious.

Jane: Well, all the items are about monkey business. I suppose we can we just talk about the monkey business, even if it does ruin the meeting format.

Princess: So what is the appropriate thing to do in these circumstances?

Boris: I move that we send Monkey back to the island. Jane, you can take the monkey in the boat. We’ll wait here.

Jane: Boris, you are insufferable.

Boris. Label me all you like. I don’t believe in labels. I’ve recently stopped believing in pronouns or adjectives as well. Prepositions are also out.

Jane: Moving on… I just looked up ‘monkey business’ on the internet. Do you know how many jobs can be replaced with trained monkeys? I had no idea. We should get this monkey a job.

Princess: Monkey, what kind of job would you like to do?

Monkey: Ooh ooh, ah ah.

Boris: It seems to be saying it wants to make sandwiches. Does some kind of sandwich-making job exist?

Princess: Is there a job where they pay you to throw things and be impolite? Monkey is very good at that.

Christine (cow safety officer): I don’t think we want to encourage Monkey throwing anything. Seriously.

With much more discussion that went on longer than is decorous or seemly to relate, and in a manner that was as rambling, overlapping, and digressive as only meetings can be, they determined that they should find the monkey some kind of job, the exact details of which were only loosely agreed upon (no throwing, no making sandwiches, no computer programming, and acupuncture was right out. Songwriting seemed like a promising idea, though.)

With that decision complete (and us passing 1000 words), it felt like a full day. Princess Pricklepants retired to her happy place to read a book.

bedtime

Will the monkey find gainful employment? Will chicken troubles appear? Will peculiar and not very relevant photos be forced in? Will chicken crossing road jokes appear? Is a chicken crossing the road poultry in motion? Will they think to ask the strangely-ignored chickens to translate the monkey’s mysterious language? Will they do anything with the Gem of Destiny? Will a tea party involving monkey manners lessons happen? All these and other questions may be answered when the next blog post appears.

Next: Princess Pricklepants’ Somewhat Distracted Guide to Manners, Monkeys, Etc.

Princess Pricklepants and the PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forum Chat


PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forums –> Gripefest – post your complaints here

Her Highness – Oct. 20 2015 7:00 AM
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Senior Member

She of the tea

I know it’s impolite, but the Hand Servants are really not… serving. Mr. Hand Servant was saying he’d be updating my blog weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting. Then both of them went off to Costa Rica for vacation, leaving me to dwell in the Huffledome with only the young Hand Servants to tend to my needs. Why can’t they treat me with the full attention that a hedgehog of my bearing deserves.
Boris – Oct. 20 2015 7:01 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“literary critic of life”

Your bearing?
Franklin – Oct. 20 2015 7:09 AM

clipflower61Junior Member

stenchbeast

Maybe you should pee on their carpet?
Jane – Oct. 20 2015 7:13 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

No! Don’t pee on their carpet. Save it for the shirts and pants.
Her Highness – Oct. 20 2015 7:30 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

I don’t see what peeing is going to solve here…
Franklin – Oct. 20 2015 7:31 AM
clipflower61

Junior Member

stenchbeast

Peeing helps many things.
Boris – Oct. 20 2015 7:35 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“literary critic of life”

You live alone in a forest… Also, you always suggest peeing as a solution for every problem. Why is that?
Her Highness – Oct. 20 2015 7:40 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

Peeing on the carpet is distinctly impolite, as is peeing on hands. While peeing on shirts and pants can be proper hedgehog ettiquette (provided one does so discreetly), I don’t see what that would help with. Plus, I already pee on my owners when its appropriate, I’m pretty sure they appreciate it since it gives them a chance to wear multiple outfits through the day.
Her Highness – Oct. 20 2015 8:40 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

I avhe ann iddae,
Her Highness – Oct. 20 2015 8:41 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

(This forum needs an ‘edit’ button. Bessie is great at programming robots, but her web app development skills are very 90s.) I have an idea, I will hide in the dome and when they come to admire, adore, and dote on me, I’ll ignore them… Then they will know how it feels.
Jane – Oct. 20 2015 8:48 AM

captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

Wait, you don’t do that already?
Her Highness – Oct. 20 2015 8:41 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

LOL
Boris – Oct. 20 2015 9:01 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“literary critic of life”

Humans aren’t as self-aware and intellectually refined as we are – you should try to communicate with them using small words. You’ve heard their high-pitched baby-talk babbling. You know.
Her Highness – Oct. 20 2015 1:41 PM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

Happy news, I’ve had a word with the servants. The Hand Servant claims he’s working on it and just needs to get the sets going for the photos and a few things. Then he went off to edit vacation pictures, so we’ll see… Anyway, anyone want to have some tea and chat in the living room? I have some nice pumpkin spice meal worms to go with tea.

PumpkinSpiceMealiesII

🙂

Jane – Oct. 20 2015 1:43 AM

captainquillbeard

the accountant

I’m in for tea, getting Christine and the girls. The crogocators are off at their swimming lessons, though they never post here anyway.
Boris – Oct. 20 2015 4:11 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“literary critic of life”

I didn’t check the forums for a couple hours and you all went and had a tea party without me and didn’t text? What is the world coming to?
Jane – Oct. 20 2015 4:15 AM

captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

Someone might be more likely to be invited if they didn’t eat every single tea cookie and smackerel of food on the table before anyone can even get a bite.