Princess Pricklepants and the Open Letter to the Australia Tourism Bureau


Dear Australian Tourism Bureau,

First thanks for having an Australia to promote as a Tourism Bureau, it’s a lovely place.  We had a genuinely delightful trip to your continent/country.  While we saw only a little of a huge place, what we saw was wonderful, excellent, and amazing.  But.  Unfortunately, with all due respect, and in full politeness, you have failed us terribly as a country, continent, and tourism bureau.

You might not be familiar with who we are, since Her Highness is not so well known in Australia, so we should briefly introduce ourselves.

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We are hedgehog aficionados, regular commenters on hedgehog culture, and deeply dedicated to the study of hedgehog arts, literature, history, etc.  Therefore, the echidna, the most hedgehog-like animal was the one we specifically visited Australia to meet. And yet, somehow, we did not see a single echidna.*

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We saw this kangaroo mom with her joey, mom standing in an area that seemed like a fine meeting place for echidnas, yet look very, very carefully at that photo. The most prominent aspect of the photo is a clear lack of echidna.

Echidna-ness-less matters deeply to us.  Not only are echidnas very hedgehog-esque, making them subjects of great interest, but they are also monotremes who lay eggs and raise their young in a pouch like a platypus and have a very ancient divergence from other mammals that makes them extremely fascinating.  The fact that they are adorable also made them a very important animal to meet.  Look at this photo someone else took when they were blessed with a meeting with an echidna!

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Everyone in the world obviously would want to meet one of those, and as a tourism bureau you know this! Naturally, we assumed Australia would deliver on our reason for going there.

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Echidnas aren’t Australia’s national animal (oddly), but they are still a prominent national symbol.  Looking closely at this Australian flag, you might spot the echidna cleverly embedded in it…

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It’s part of the echidna constellation.  Echidnas play a large and prominent role as a national symbol, another reason we came to the Homeland of Echidnas (our motto for Australia which we really think Australia ought to adopt, please consider this, Australian Tourism Bureau).

It’s such a lovely place.  Gorgeous coastlines everywhere and beaches that feel like this:

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We began our trip in Tasmania, which is a majestic wonderful place full of rugged natural beauty and very long hikes that leave your legs sore but you happily run out and do more of the next day. There are so many beautiful and fascinating habitats all full of slightly odd but lovely plant species (so many lovely mosses and ferns and the fern trees are glorious), as well as animals that were all new and interesting.

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Wild koalas are fascinating and adorable and we saw them a number of times! Amazing!  What’s also amazing is that many and various websites discussing these areas mentioned echidnas as a thing you would see sometimes, we were fully expecting to meet an echidna to help promote interspecies friendship and understanding, yet there were none.   Many of those websites mentioning the high echidna levels contained in Tasmania had ads from the Australian Tourism Bureau so you knew full well that you were promoting this information that was completely false as we met no echidnas.  Our concerned queries to locals claimed that it was colder so they were going into hibernation, a thing these websites had not mentioned, or maybe something we skimmed past a bit.  No echidnas.  This is on you Australia.

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We did have the distinct pleasure of meeting Molly the wombat and having some really wonderful talks/experiences with her and several other wombats. We stayed at the Wombat Haven in Tasmania, an orphanage for wombats whose mothers have died (generally in car accidents).  Wombats are rather unusual in that they’re very playful and sweet as children (young wombats are called “joeys”), but they hit a terrible teen stage where all bonding to humans is dropped, and they become the grumpy, solitary, and kind of frightening animals we know and love in the wild without issues from initial human and/or hedgehog contact.  We guiltlessly pet a wombat joey and played with it. They are very playful and intelligent little wonderful creatures of marvel and happiness.

Molly The Wombat Meets the Princess

We enjoyed introducing Molly to the Pricklepants Media Empire.  She was delighted.  We worked on opening up possible interspecies kindness and mutual tolerance were hedgehogs and wombats to interact.

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We also introduces Molly to hedgehog art, which she was also delighted by.  She liked this notebook’s art so much she even tried to eat it!

So, with that kind of an experience with a wombat (a creature rare to see in the wild, though we did see one in Hobart at the Waterworks Reserve), a creature much less common to encounter than an echidna in Australia, we assumed this portended well for the Echidna Emissary Quest we had made the long journey for.

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We saw a lot of very pretty parrots in the trees in Australia like this crimson rosella.  Just look at it!

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There were a lot of parrots.  These red-rumped parrots were also fairly common.  It was a little distracting, since we know echidnas do not dwell in trees, but we had to look in them regularly as there were parrots in them. We still did monitor every potential echidna habitat with great care.

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We spent a lot of time at aquatic habitats like this one where we saw this lovely white-necked stilt.  The shore birds were sometimes the same as those one would see elsewhere in the world, but with many species like this that have similar relatives elsewhere making them extra interesting.

For instance, these brolga are huge cranes with relatives like the sandhill cranes in the US.  Magnificent creatures, and an absolute privilege to be able to see such a glorious thing in nature.

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While the parrots were the show stealers, the finches were absolutely gorgeous.  The red-browed finches above are also known as Firetails for their bright red rumps.  We also saw a wild flock of zebra finches which was fascinating and wonderful!

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We saw a lot of rainbow lorikeets, another bird common in the pet trade out in the wild living their best rainbow lorikeet lives, which was wonderful.  Again note that in all these pictures there have been no echidnas!

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One parrot we saw quite a lot of was cockatoos.  They’re very beautiful birds.

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While beautiful, they did attempt to steal our binoculars. They can become a bit too clever if people leave food out for them, though this is really a human-related issue.

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Cockatoos are very clever. Despite our directing the handservants to close that lid and even put a rock on it, they managed to find their way in.

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We also saw emu chicks, and melted inside.  Emus get to be about as big as ostriches.

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Please, share the road with Emus.

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We did meet one King Parrot, and it was delightful to make a calling on parrot royalty.  While slightly less polite than we had expected, they were very noble, lovely, graceful, and generally stunning. Their etiquette issues only appeared in areas humans were hand feeding them, which is a human issue, really.  They remained uninterested in our Echidna Emissary Quest.

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The Great Ocean Road was especially beautiful as there were lovely islands, beaches, habitats with various interesting creatures, a fern rainforest that was near magical, and general loveliness all around.

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We also met a number of laughing kookaburras.  Their call is featured as a generic “jungle” sound in various movies, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tarzan, Jurassic Park and other films not set in Australia which made hearing them very curious.  They’re very patient birds that don’t mind people or hedgehogs much, so they were very nice, though none had seen echidnas.

Another Great Ocean Road View

I don’t think we mentioned the lighthouses, but there many lovely sweeping views from the cliffs, and the heather and other habitats we meandered through were all lovely in themselves and full of birds, especially fairy-wrens.

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Fairy-wrens!  Superb fairy-wrens are cute little birds, small puffs that are fairly curious and great tiny hunters. The males are incredibly lovely in their breeding plumage (less showy but still lovely in their non breeding plumage).

There are so many other new and fascinating things we saw, like spoonbills.

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And New Holland Honeyeaters that were incredibly common.

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And so many birds of prey!  Many kites, a number of hawks, and even a few falcons.  And we saw the strange and super-cleverly camouflaged frogmouth.

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We saw the frogmouth at the Serendip Sanctury where it was captive and part of a breeding program.  Despite much time spent searching for frogmouths at the Victoria Botanical Gardens (lovely place) and elsewhere we did not find any.  Much like echidnas.

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We also met many wallabies as well which are macropods like the kangaroo, but smaller and more common in most areas we were in.

Honeymoon cove

While we have mentioned the breathtaking views, they were really stunning.  This is honeymoon cove in Freycinet National Park.  It’s literally impossible to look at this cove and not experience a sense of awe, wonder, and delight.  And yet even with that, there is still that nagging sense of lack of echidnas.*  Australia Tourism Bureau, why did you hide the echidnas from us? We don’t expect a refund, that would be unreasonable.  But we would be very pleased and happily accept were you were to offer a replacement Echidna Emissary Quest so we could have a do-over and find your national animal.

Kind and Noble Regards,

Princess Pricklepants

(and handservants not notable enough to be named)

*  We did see one echidna in a wildlife rescue

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this doesn’t count.  It was nearly hibernating, and since we must meet animals in the wild in their natural habitat for it to actually count.**

** Also, at one point drive we were driving along the road, the handservant driver spotted the echidna, turned around to investigate, but the echidna fled almost instantly, long before there was any hope of a photographic record which makes spotting wildlife count doubly since there’s clear evidence and nearly properly counts.***

*** To properly count we need an excellent photo.

Eastern Rosella vs Noisy Miner

For example, this photo’s reasonably well shot for an action shot, nicely composed, tells a story that’s very interesting, and has great things going on with color.  We expected something similar with an echidna, obviously.****

**** Now we’re done with these footnotes.  If you’re reading this, thank you for your careful followup and attention to detail.

 

Princess Pricklepants, Disliker of Manners


Dear reader,

After a helpful delay to teach readers patience, we have returned.  In the interim there’ve been few messages other than Quentin saying things we won’t repeat on this blog to avoid embarrassing him.

Things have been marching along with Her Highness’ education, without any notable issues or events.  She saved Tokyo, continued in truly fascinating art research, had a Disney adventure, and a few other things, but nothing so noteworthy as to mention in a blog.

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

*We also being our sentences with conjunctions.

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Princess Pricklepants woke up to another day of learning to be the proper Princess she was born to be, regardless of free will.

Her manners education was not a thing she was very pleased about.  Living with Dinomarm, her manners educator, was not like My Fair Hedgehog. Dinomarm made her walk with books on her head to develop grace and poise.

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The staying on the head part really never quite worked out, and Her Highness really wasn’t so sure about grace and poise.

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Worse, there were tables to crawl under with great grace and poise, but apparently this was poor etiquette according to some picky manners instructors.

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She also had to wear fancy hats.  She was not fond of wearing fancy hats.  Not at all. She was certain that hedgehogs were not born to wear hats.

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Sometimes hats were even worse.

Since she wasn’t delighted by her manners lessons, for a while she’d tried to find places to hide.

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The living room’s IKEA table was too small.

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The kitchen’s IKEA table was also too small.

With no places to hide, Princess Pricklepants decided she did not want to be a hedgehog princess anymore.

And so, Princess Pricklepants decided to be a squirrel.

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Being a squirrel was not bad at first, but when she got hungry, she learned that squirrels eat acorns.  She did not like eating acorns at all. Princess Pricklepants did not want to be a squirrel any more.

And so Princess Pricklepants decided to be a Viking.

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Being a Viking sounded great at first, though when she found out about needing to ride in boats and raid villages in East Anglia, it sounded less great.  When she decided to eat, though, that’s when it all fell apart.  Apparently Vikings only eat lutefisk, and that’s not something anyone should ever eat, really.  Also Vikings wear hats.

Princess Pricklepants did not want to be a Viking any more.

And so Princess Pricklepants decided to be a pirate.

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It turns out there’s really very little difference between being a pirate, and being a Viking, besides the food, but pirate food is best left not discussed, since it’s almost as bad as Viking food.  Also Pirates wear hats.

Princess Pricklepants didn’t want to be a Pirate any more.

And so Princess Pricklepants decided to be a stop-motion animated hedgehog in a dark fantasy musical film feature.

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While there were no hats, this experience immediately failed to be nearly as satisfying as it first seemed, and was deemed a terrible idea quickly. Stop-motion animated hedgehogs in a dark fantasy musical film features don’t eat.

Princess Pricklepants didn’t want to be a stop-motion animated hedgehog any more.

And so she decided to be a clothing model.

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She quickly realized that this was not her calling.  If hats were bad, clothes were much, much worse and not at all suited to a hedgehog, princess or otherwise.

Princess Pricklepants didn’t want to be a clothing model any more.

Her Highness realized that none of these were suited for a hedgehog princess, and that being a hedgehog princess was not nearly as bad as it first had seemed.

So she went back to studying etiquette again since studying etiquette was not nearly as bad as being a squirrel, a viking, a pirate, a stop-motion animated hedgehog in a dark fantasy musical film feature, or a clothing model.

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After all, there was tea and cookies.

 

Princess Pricklepants, Winning Hearts and Minds


Dear readers, our introduction will be brief for this, our latest blog post.

We are required to mention the existence of superb, compelling t-shirts that you clearly want:

 

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Feel their powerful draw, can you resist?

With that complete, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants and friends were sitting in a new meeting about Her Highness’ presidential campaign.  They were gaining some supporters, but humans had a strange tendency to support one of the human candidates, despite her clearly being an ideal presidential candidate.

“Item one,” said Jane, “so far we haven’t sold any shirts.”

“The shirts are so delightful, this is a real puzzle,” said Her Highness.

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“I feel like I’m living in a shameless marketing ploy,” said Boris.

“Deal, Mr. Existential. Anyway, they’ve only been up for a day, maybe we need to wait,” said Jane.

“Okay, so what can we do to win more voters,” Princess asked?

“I know what to do,” said Boris, “forget the humans, they’re fickle.  We need woodland creature support.”

Jane protested, “What about farm animals?  The cow vote is critical.”

“Cows never vote,” said Boris, “they’re sheep.”

While the others were bickering, Princess wandered off to go on Twitter, which was where presidents were made these days.  It seemed like just the sort of place for calm, mature discussions of political matters.

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She decided to check in with the squirrels there, since squirrels were a key part of the small furry mammal base she wanted to win over.  She also had read a book about squirrels that she found deeply delightful for some reason.

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In the Twitterverse, she found a politically engaged squirrel, and was delighted…

Wisconsin’s primaries were winding up, and she was excited to see the news about her support from squirrels there.  She didn’t want to hurt any squirrels feelings, so she apologized politely while sharing the news of her support.

The count was ongoing…

Happily, the final count put hedgehogs clearly in the lead:

For some reason there was skepticism.

Her Highness politely pointed to science to help the misguided:

Sadly a minority of squirrel extremists read some misinformation on the internet and became very upset.

But truth reigned supreme.

Sadly, it was clear that some squirrels were reading fringe conspiracy theory web sites…

While most squirrels supported Her Highness, these particular squirrels were less enthusiastic.  And definitely not polite.

Things got even more disappointing…

Disappointing, and clearly rooted in a handful of species-ists.

She realized that she had to reach out to squirrels with kindness and politeness to try to build bridges and promote inter-species understanding.

This worked out, squirrel polls showed even better numbers, so it was time to reach out to other woodland creatures.

With knowledge that support from squirrels, mice, and opossums was growing, she thought about the next core demographics for support – bunnies, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, but was a little tired.  She went back to the living room.  Jane and Boris were still arguing about cows voting. She got some tea, and went to bed.

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She was really not looking forward to the New York and California primaries…

Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners


Dear reader, hopefully you were led here from this post’s immediate antecedent. Due to technical reasons far too risky to explain, we shall now only refer to that previous post as The Post That Must Not Be Named.  Still, there’s happy news – those previous complications, digressions, and Dark Arts can now be left behind (provided they are never discussed, explained, or named).

And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

DSC_0935Princess Pricklepants was profoundly pleased.  After a complicated series of events and delays (which must not be discussed, explained, or named), she was finally able to fulfill her supreme destiny in teaching a monkey all the things a monkey should know – politeness, manners, and grace at a tea party (well, there was also dancing, singing, and proper diction, but those were a digression, and at this point Her Highness had become very suspicious of digressions). The tea was set out, there were some nice snacks, and she had her artful friend Artemisia as a model manners  assistant. There was even a fancy chair for the monkey. Things were going swimmingly.

Now all she had to do was teach the monkey.  She’d been so busy with email and avoiding meetings that she’d overlooked making a lesson plan. She decided to wing it as delightfully as possible.

“Now Monkey, um, let’s see.  To be polite, one should use the term ‘one’ instead of ‘you’, smile nicely (as I and Artemisia always do), and also… Hmm…”  She thought about having Monkey walk with a book balanced on the head to teach grace and poise, but that really didn’t seem like the right thing to do around cups of tea.  Enunciation lessons would be frustrating since Monkey didn’t speak English like a normal hedgehog, bear, or cow. At a loss, she decided to google something polite to do at tea parties.

DSC_0928Puzzlingly, when she looked up ‘Tea Party’ on google, the results were utterly bizarre and distressingly impolite.  Google was clearly confused, it seemed to be looking into some strange and rather grumpy alternate reality she was pleased to be no part of.

With no help from the internet, she bravely forged ahead. She began a lesson showing Monkey how to make a plate of treats with impeccable manners. Surely this would be a simple and foolproof lesson.

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She illustrated daintily placing a treat on a plate with grace and poise. Next came Monkey’s turn.

DSC_0948Unfortunately there was a mishap. But in every mishap, there’s an opportunity to be polite and helpful. “Oh dear, Monkey, are you okay? Let me help you back up.” She politely helped Monkey back to the seat. Monkey got back on the seat but at this point, things took a turn towards the complicated, as reality cruelly conspired against etiquette lessons.

DSC_0964Monkey sat upon the chair, but in a sense that was not so much “upon” as “upon, but in the entirely wrong way.” Monkey sat in a manner sadly lacking in refinement and sophistication. Princess politely looked away to give Monkey the chance to correct the posture problems.

In retrospect, looking aside was a poor choice. While looking anywhere but at the monkey, she noticed the wonderful beckoning dark space under the table. The beautiful, hypnotic, irresistible dark space. The allure was strong, so she decided to gracefully climb under the table.

DSC_0970She felt wonderfully sublime exploring this mysterious and fascinating new space, but the monkey posture problem remained. She had to think of a solution. She thought, and realized the solution. It was incredibly simple and elegant. “Monkey, perhaps you’d like to look under the table? It’s so lovely to crawl around there, and it’s so polite and refined,” she helpfully suggested.

DSC_0977It a was a perfect solution. The posture problems were in the past. There was a slight down side, though. The monkey’s trip under the table left Artemisia inexplicably distressed. Princess Pricklepants felt great concern. She tried to comfort her artful model friend.

DSC_0991Some aspects of this may have comforted her friend (though the quill stabbing aspect was much too uncomfortable to be very comforting), but it had an unfortunate complicating effect. Monkey noticed that comforting Artemisia looked incredibly fun and decided to try it too.

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Unfortunately, despite the monkey’s best efforts at being comforting, the end result was somehow not comforting at all, but distressing.

At this point Artemisia needed additional comforting due to these attempts at comforting. Princess politely jumped in great enthusiasm to offer aid and comfort. The outcome was truly memorable, which is the hallmark of a good party, so it worked out really well.

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There was one tiny issue. She may have jumped in a little too enthusiastically, since bits of party ended up strewn across the floor. Still, there was a happy side, since some cookies had fallen to the floor. With the floor cookies she could both practice and illustrate her manners at not eating off the ground (challenge level: extreme), and there was added bonus – she could say “excuse me” for the minor faux pas.

While the incident had many wonderfully polite and delightful aspects for Her Highness, there was one very, very unfortunate side effect. In clambering across the table, she spotted something with an allure even greater than the magnificent sub-table space. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted the wonderful, enticing, tantalizing Gap Under The Sofa (so delightful it had to be capitalized). An irresistible space with an allure so tempting that there was only one possible polite pursuit.

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Clambering under the couch was so fantastically, irresistibly polite that Monkey, as a new student of politeness, joined in happily. This pleased Her Highness to no end. These manners lessons were going so well!

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With Her Highness sniffing under the sofa in the most refined and delightful way she could manage, and with Monkey following suit, her heart swelled. Her charge in charm training was clearly getting the knack of politeness, grace, and delightful things! Monkey Manners Mission Accomplished!

And with that happy ending, she was as delighted as could be. Clearly Monkey had seen that manners are fun and would now behave like a proper monkey. With a bit of work at balancing books on heads, a bit of refinement of diction, and perhaps some ballroom dancing lessons, things would be peachy. Now she just had to get those chickens in shape.

Coming soon in our next episode:  Will the monkey manners be maintained?  Will the chickens learn civility? What happened to the skunk?  Will the story shift in some other unrelated direction pretending none of this ever happened?  Will the author lighten up on the adjective extravagance? Will the crocodiles (or is it alligators?) return? These and other questions may or may not be answered in Princess Pricklepants and the Chicken Charm School (working title – subject to change).

 

Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Manners


(previously)

Dear reader,

Please be advised that the following story contains graphic self-referentiality. Younger readers and those sensitive to chronic self-reference exposure might experience dizziness, confusion, and mild irritation when reading this post. Precautionary meta-measures should be taken, though were we to mention them, this in itself could trigger acute self-referentialititis in those afflicted.

Since this is a longer post somewhat past the bounds of prudence and justice in hedgehog-blog related literature, we’ll keep this preamble brief except for this one item of note: Someone came to this blog from a search for “how can make the models of cow & duck from waste materials.” We feel like someone who suddenly found a mysterious doorway in their home that they’d never noticed before. This opens new dimensions.

And now, our first picture with words under it.

PP and Boris“Good morning, Boris.”

“Good morning, Your Highness. I notice that we’re in a standard two character intro.  Lovely!  Things are looking nicely normal for the literary form. I assume we’ll be briefly describing an important detail of the plot’s conflict to the audience mixed with a bit of light banter to set the mood?”

“Not sure what you mean about standard intros, but I was just having some tea and sitting here working out my plan for Monkey.”

“Ah, yes, Monkey. Have you read my latest blog post on Monkey?”

“You have a blog?”

“How could you not know this?  I email links to it every time I post something… It’s a handy way for me to explain my displeasure at certain cows and other figures in a delightfully indirect way. I just skip sending links to the annoying… Uh… So, yes, eh, I have a boring blog.  You shouldn’t read it. Very dull.”

“Ah.”

“So, the monkey business?”

“Yes, I have a perfectly pleasant plan to promote politeness and philanthropy in our primate pal.”

“Interestingly, I wrote on my blog about alliteration recently…  Anyway, you’re going to send Monkey to a zoo?”

“No. I’ve realized the error of my ways. The key is the tea. That’s what I always say now. So we’ll have a lovely and tasteful tea party. Monkey will be pleased, delighted, and educated.”

“Do those three words usually go together?”

“Yes. Now you too are pleased, delighted, and educated.”

“You know, I suddenly have a new blog post to work on. Good day.”

PP and Jane

Jane entered in a way no adjectives could properly describe, so no description was offered. “So, the meeting. You ready? I’ve got a few new items. I found an amazing way to make models of ducks and cows from scrap paper! Oh, also it turns out the bear has a blog where he talks about us and how we’ve annoyed him. One of the chickens forwarded me a link.”

“Oh, maybe we could not have the meeting today? I have plans. Tea party plans with the monkey. It will be luminous.”

“So you’re really skipping an important meeting where you can contribute valuable time and resources to go have a tea party with a monkey?”

“It’s to teach Monkey manners.”

“I thought we were going to get that monkey a job. We’ll be going over this in the meeting we all really should be attending.”

“Would you mind holding on just a moment? I need to send a quick email.”

Checking Email

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

I have some incredibly important business to attend to teaching a monkey proper primate etiquette, but to do so would require skipping a meeting. Is it polite to skip meetings if it’s for the purpose of furthering a great and noble cause?
-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Dear Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Pursuing the promotion of proper politeness is a perennially perfect and proper plan. Perhaps you could try telling the meeting organizer you’re busy and see if they can reschedule.
-Princess Pricklepants

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

What if they don’t agree?
-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Dear Still Inexplicably Using That Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Mention that they skipped the meeting yesterday. Note that there’s clearly some flexibility in scheduling.
-Princess Pricklepants

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Oh, that’s a great idea. But how did you know about the rescheduling? Oh, wait, you must read my blog…
-Princess Pricklepants

“Say, Jane, could we reschedule the meeting?”

“I really want to have a word with everyone about that bear and his blog.  He said I was a passive-aggresive control-freak!  You should hear what he said about alliteration!”

“Couldn’t you just talk to him?”

“That’s a kooky idea. We’ll talk about it in the meeting.”

“Remember how you rescheduled the meeting yesterday?”

“Yes, it’s been so long since we’ve had a meeting. I really miss our meetings.”

“Perhaps you could write a note about impolite blogging for the bear and leave it on the refrigerator? Then we could discuss leaving notes in the meeting tomorrow.”

“Fine. I’ll leave a note for the bear. I guess. But someone else might be seeing her own note about meeting rescheduling… And in the next meeting we’ll be discussing the importance of attendance.”

Dear reader,

An astute reader might have noticed that we’re already remarkably far into this story with a withering sea of dialog, but no tea parties, few photos, and barely any story per se. Yet adorable photos of hedgehogs participating in tea parties with monkeys are really the main purpose of this blog post. “Why?” You are probably asking, “Why no hedgehog monkey tea parties? Why all this dialog and email business? Why this rambling authorial intrusion?” The answer is perplexing to us all, I’m afraid, even to the narrator. Sorry. We’ve really been trying to make things go that way, but instead here we are not presenting you with hedgehog-monkey-tea, and are even talking about not doing that very thing, adding to the sense that this digression is as distressing as it is inexplicable, like a metaphor without a comparison. Apologies. We really ought to do something about that.

-Author

To: sirsandwich@princesspricklepants.com 
From: excelsior@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: A Dramatic Failure

Dear Author,
I know you don’t read my blog. I check. You really should. You’re a terrible writer tormenting me with an endless litany of literary failures, non-existent dramatic structure, meandering prose, and peculiar diction. I have so much advice for you. Please subscribe to my blog. Regarding your current meandering malaise of muddled mystification, hideous whimsy, mutilated story progression, and crimes against literature I also have some advice. Instead of reading your email you might want to just write the story. Or at least plug some pictures in with our charming bear protagonist offering helpful advice and commentary to his hapless animal friends.
-Boris Maximus
“Excelsior!”

To: excelsior@princesspricklepants.com 
From: sirsandwich@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Dramatic Failure

Dear Bear,
Thanks so much for contacting us with your criticism. Negative feedback can be a valuable part of the development of a creative work, but sadly, we are busy writing a lovely story about a hedgehog having a tea party with a monkey and currently cannot accept your criticism. We also regret to inform you that we have no plans to process criticism anytime in the near or distant future, including complaints about not accepting criticism, complaints about spending time writing email about not accepting criticism when we should be writing other things, criticisms of literary structure, complaints about typos or or speling errors in response emails, or any other from of complaint, critique, denunciation, etc. For further details, please see:
http://the-toast.net/2014/09/19/no-criticism-thanks/
If you’re concerned about us effectively recycling someone else’s material, that too is a form of criticism which again falls under the category of things we are currently not accepting.
Kindest Regards,
Sir Sandwich
P.S. Please feel free to review this email whenever the thought of contacting us with criticism arises.

Soon another email arrived, but the Author had stopped checking email, since he was busy reading some articles found after googling procrastination, thinking about whether there actually was some way to construct a metaphor without a comparison (since that would be really cool), and trying to think of a way to work the phrase “bear umbrage” into the story somehow.

Things got complicated, and it didn’t seem like there was any hope the story could progress. How could a denouement be reached? With far more than a thousand words already spilled in a format with an arbitrarily self-imposed thousand word limit, a story that was in revolt against its own plot, and levels of self-reference that seemed like they’d suck everything into a swirling vortex of recursion the impasse seemed intractable.  Fortunately Her Highness had an idea.

“Perhaps you could just call this complete, then start a new story. In the new one, we just need to find the monkey, set up a nice tea service with a few treats, some tasteful decorations, and an environment full of sweetness and light. With that, things will naturally unfold just as they should, and all will be well in the world.”

So, it is your Destiny that you must click here to continue to Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners (we were going to title it, “Princess Pricklepants and the Quest for Monkey Manners – A New Beginning,” but certain editors protested) in which there are many photos, monkey manners may be modified, and tea is served.

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


Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Monkey Business

Dear Reader(s),

Something odd happened recently – a story from our humble blog wound up briefly on the front page of a tech news site (news.ycombinator.com) – naturally it was Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire. So we got a lot of visits for a bit and were for a very brief moment slightly more famous (9,000 hits in a day), though things are largely back to normal now.

For perfectly good (though difficult to explain) reasons relating to that, Her Highness now has a LinkedIn profile, so if you’d like to add a Noble Hedgehog Adventurer/Farmer/Model/Space Traveler/Acupuncturist to your professional network, feel free:

https://linkedin.com/in/penelope-pricklepants-98198010a

There are a lot of words in this, our latest post (more than two thousand five hundred – sorry for the wordiness), so we’ll keep this preamble succinct, pithy, and free of superfluities, and will not drone on in a long run-on sentence about how brief, concise, and terse our intro. is, but rather will press on into the body of our story with no delays, distractions, or pointless diversions. And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

The Quiet Place

Princess Pricklepants was rather irked by The Monkey Situation. She decided to be forthright, proactive, and assertive in dealing with the problem. She went off to be alone in her room to hide under a blanket and reflect on how best to be forthright, proactive, and assertive. In her room, she started writing a note to place on the refrigerator:

Dear Monkey,

Please do not leave the refrigerator door open. Please also be sure to help clean the dishes. While doing so, please do not throw any more dishes. Once again, Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. In addition, please stop harassing the alligators.

That font was all wrong, so she tried out different fonts for a while, bumped the font size and adjusted margins, and then went to Wikipedia to check on something. After a brief voyage through the Wikipedia spiral of distraction, she found herself logged onto the PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forum.

PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forums -> Community board

Her Highness – Nov. 22 2015 11:00 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

Hello, did anyone think of a job for Monkey?
Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:01 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

No. We’re all just avoiding the obnoxious food-stealing monkey.

Hey, you know why the monkey liked the banana? It had appeal.

Jane – Nov. 22 2015 11:03 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

Some of us are also avoiding the obnoxious food-stealing bear.

You know what you call bears with no ears? B.

Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:05 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

Sounds like someone is a mad cow, maybe it’s time for your check-up?

On a more important note, is this plot ever going to go anywhere? It’s like the writer’s just shamelessly making it all up as they go along…

What do you get when you cross a bear and an elephant? A revocation of your research grant and a stern rebuke from the ethics committee.

Her Highness – Nov. 22 2015 11:10 AM
DSC_0012

Senior Member

She of the tea

So everyone, shall we have a meeting to go over Monkey employment then? These forums seem too… frivolous.
Jane – Nov. 22 2015 11:23 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

It’s Sunday. Maybe we should hold off until tomorrow, then we’ll be able to call around to see if anyone will hire Monkey.

Also, agreed, Boris’ jokes are becoming unbearable.

 

She logged off the forums and tried to catch up on email. Being a hedgehog, her eyesight was poor. Happily, when she had difficulties reading things she went by smell which worked remarkably well (as far as she could tell).

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Pinterest Advice

Dear Princess Pricklepants, I try to be a polite, refined, well-mannered person, so naturally I have been throwing tea parties. I’ve been getting great ideas from Pinterest. Recently my husband, Ned, has been joining us at the parties, which is nice except that he eats the kale and quinoa salad with his fingers, and drinks his hot tea in a mason jar. I’ve told him that mason jars are not for tea, but are for lemonade (or for candle-making, creating a sewing kit, toy storage, crafting, holding tortilla chips, salad, cocoa mix, potpourri, etc.). How do I convince him to be more genteel and refined in the ways of proper manners at tea?

– Pinterest Paige

No Touching

Touching non-finger-food with hands and touching all the cookies – troubling manners.

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Pinterest Advice

Dear Penless Page, thanks for writing. Table manners are oh so very important, and a domain in which I have an extensive background. Let him know that the appropriate way to eat is to sniff out food, then bring one’s snout to the food dish, grab the food with one’s mouth, or perhaps slurp it in a bit with one’s tongue (provided it’s long enough), then crunch away. That is, until the monkey shows up, grabs the food with his hands, then throws it, and the food spills everywhere, leaving you very confused, while your attempts to teach manners and geography are completely ignored. Gently suggest to your husband that using his hands is being like that monkey, and nobody would want to be like that monkey. Don’t be that monkey.

-PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Refrigerator Lurking

Dear Princess, my kids and my husband will wander into the kitchen, go straight to the refrigerator, and then just stand there with the door open staring into the void. It drives me crazy – it wastes electricity, risks food going bad, and it’s just plain frustrating. What can I do to help others to break free from their former lives as fridge dwellers?

– Wishing They’d Cool It With The Refrigerator

Fridge Time II

Loitering with the refrigerator door open – uncouth

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Refrigerator Lurking

Dear Wishing You Were As Cool As a Refrigerator,

When a person, beloved pet, or monkey spends a long time lingering in the refrigerator, this might be because they have already eaten all of your food and are just wishing more would appear. Or perhaps they just love the rich and interesting smells that refrigerators emanate (such a fascinating bouquet). But if you ask politely for them to stop, and they act like a tricky monkey, then I’d recommend you write a note and place it on the refrigerator. Be sure to use a nice font. Make sure the note is polite, thoughtful, and kind with a clear helpful lesson on manners (and perhaps geography), so it can ultimately lead to an outcome somewhat like the plot of My Fair Lady, with singing, dancing, and a somewhat ambiguous ending.

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: A Crumby Old Bed

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

My husband Vern is a good man, but he brings toast, cookies, crackers, and even cups of tea into the bed all the time while sitting to read. He creates terrible messes! What’s a polite way to tell him to stop bringing food to bed?

– Neat Freak

Eating In Bed

Eating and drinking in bed – a politeness apocalypse

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: A Crumby Old Bed

Dear Nut Freak,

Too often one may find oneself in the situation of a person or monkey climbing on one’s bed, eating bananas and leaving the peels all over, spilling drinks, jumping on the bed, and even throwing pillows. To deal with this, hold a household meeting to discuss a plan to deal with the bed crumbs. Then have a followup meeting to go over the plan’s implementation details, followed by a series of pre-planning meetings for each item, and ideally some off-site training. At some point the amount time used by all the meetings and preparation will be so great that there will be no more time for bed eating/hopping/sleeping/etc., and the problem will be solved. Be sure to follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Teenager Acting Out

Dear Princess,

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 father and me, and says very hurtful things. She even called me a witch! What can I do to bring her in line?

– Frustrated Mom

Witch Trial

Witch accusations – ten points from Slytherin

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Teenager Acting Out

Dear Frustrating Mom,

I think you may have written in before, when I was interrupted due to some dinosaur-related business complexities. Apologies if that’s so. Witch accusations are no laughing matter, and not to be taken lightly. They must be followed up by a proper trial. Our favorite method for testing whether someone is a witch is to build a large set of scales and weigh the accused to see if they weigh more than a duck. If they weigh less than a duck, then they’re a witch.

If you find they are a witch, ask them which house they were sorted into to, ask if they’ve met Hermione, and see if you can help get a teacher to reward their house points. Also please let me know (unless they’re in Slytherin). I’ve been looking for the secret passage to Diagon Alley for a very long time with no luck yet. I love the Harry Potter documentaries, and really would love to visit the wizarding world.

-Her Royal Highness PPP Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, etc.

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Miniatures Photography Woes

Dear Princess,

My husband is a bit eccentric. Or, well honestly, really eccentric. He is a photographer who creates little sets with miniatures and props for his photos (he even puts our pet in the photos sometimes). It’s a hobby and seems to make him happy, I suppose, though it’d be nice if he cleaned up his mess more. Sometimes our nieces and nephews come over to visit and treat his photography equipment like toys, which bothers him. How do I get him to put his equipment away before people come over?

– Really Not Toys

Miniatures

Playing with other people’s toys without asking – very impolite

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Miniatures Photography Woes

Dear In Reality Toys,

That sounds like a really wonderful hobby. We have a doll house also, and enjoy putting our toy cows and animals in little scenes, though recently we’ve taken on a monkey in residence who has been ruining our setups, creating general chaos, and leaving banana peels in the tiny, carefully set up doll rooms. It smells like you need to get a lot more toys for your husband’s doll house so that if there are visitors they can play too.

-PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: [redacted]
Subject: Advice re: Uptight Cow

Dear Princess,

Sometimes at work (I work as a programmer writing robot controller software and internet forum software) I like to read Facebook or hit Pinterest or read Cute Overload. My overbearing cow-orker Jane has become a total control-freak, insisting I focus on my work and nothing else. How can I tell her to loosen up a bit?

– Bessie

18658501738_ce897ffcfa_k

Surfing the net – politeness will vary

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: Advice re: ... Cow friend

Dear Bessie,

We’ll put this on the agenda for the next meeting. I’m fairly sure we just need to get an outsider from the big city to come in and teach us about modern music and dancing to loosen things up and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople, but this will need discussion.

-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Need Advice About An Accursed Monkey

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

Due to tangled reasons involving a turgid plot too difficult to describe for both emotional reasons and time limits, I’ve wound up with a horrid monkey living in my home. It eats all the food. It is a conniving, cruel taker of snacks. With the monkey menace so serious, I feel that it would be courteous to wage guerilla warfare against the monkey. I was thinking that we could let the Universe decide whether the monkey should stay here by loading the monkey into our catapult and flinging the monkey far, far away. Please tell me that this is the polite thing to do.

-Primate Adversary

Catapult

Flinging monkeys with catapults indoors – clearly not polite

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A... Monkey

Dear Boris,

It smells like it’s not so much manners you’re worried about here, but your food. Instead of trying to throw the monkey out of your world, help Monkey to improve as a monkey – be the changed monkey you want to see in the world.

Regarding the catapult, it’s never polite to fling monkeys with catapults inside. If you take the catapult outside its polite to fling jewel encrusted antiques, rare glasswork, a cat, or other items that would be fun to watch fly, but not monkeys. Perhaps you could take Monkey on a trip to a farm where Monkey could live happily?

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Re: Need Advice About An Accursed Monkey (don't edit my subject either)

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

I believe we’ve established that deliveries are Jane’s job. It’s polite to lock Monkey in a cage, right? It feels very polite to me.

I would mention my concerns about the lack of plot development with this episode, it’s like this whole post is just a pernicious plan by a particularly peculiar person to post pictures of their pet posed with pleasant pint-sized props and pen pleasantries rather than pursue a proper plot.

At this point I have to say that I truly feel that my rights are being violated by being used in this way, and plan to contact Amnesty International’s fictional bear’s rights program. Regardless, I know you will just ignore it. How do you always manage to ignore these pressing literary matters?

-Primate Adversary

Caged

Caging monkeys – probably poor manners.

To: [redacted]
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A Monkey, Now With Improved Subject

Dear Boris,

I am fairly sure it is not polite to put monkeys in cages. I checked Haley’s 2007 etiquette guide, but it didn’t say anything one way or the other.

On an unrelated note, I have happy news. I’ve discovered something that Monkey is very good at. Monkey is a skilled and talented illustrator of poor manners. I think we should give him a job as a politeness model for every conceivable item in the “do not do”column.

-HRH PPP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com
From: [redacted]
Subject: Re: Need Advice About A Banana-stealing Monster

It seems fitting that Monkey’s purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

– Boris

In our next episode, will we just forget the monkey and finally get to Princess Pricklepants and the Live Action Role Playing Game? Will we just wander and digress pointlessly some more? Will we stick with the monkey so we can do Princess Pricklepants and the Code Monkey? Will an homage to Curious George appear starring Her Highness as the Hedgehog Princess in the Yellow Hat? Tune in eventually when we finally get to publishing the next episode to find out what happens next. With the Holidays things will be spotty.

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.)

DSC_0118

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…

DSC_0196

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
DSC_0012

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
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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.

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Picky Princess


Dear readers,

We have a few items of note to address before this, our next episode of Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder.

For people who stumble on this, here are the previous three episodes:

First off, sorry if we scared any of you with the brief Princess Evilpants interlude.  There was a brief accident involving a malfunction when transporting her from the Huffledome, but things have been sorted out. Princess Evilpants was from a Mysterious Mirror Universe, but the technical glitch was sorted out and our polite Princess has returned.

Second off, we haven’t got a second item, so this is just pointless rambling.  Please just skip this sentence and the previous one so we can move forward without getting bogged down in a pointless digression that just wastes words and adds nothing of note.

With that brief preamble, we begin our story with a picture with words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants was moderately displeased.  The last few elections had all nominated her to serve as night watch on the ship.  Democracy sometimes didn’t really seem very polite.  This shift was particularly difficult since she had only gotten ten hours of sleep during the day, so she was somewhat tired.

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Very tired, really.  So tired that she drifted into sleep and dreamt a peculiar dream full of mysterious symbolism very relevant to the story even if it’s maybe a little overt.

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Princess Pricklepants was concerned.  (She was also oddly sleepy for being in a dream where she was awake). She knew she was a princess, and she therefore merited wearing a crown or tiara or other princess-related regalia for her head, and that it was her quest to find this. The hand servants offered to her a crown of paper, but it was not good enough for the very picky princess. She huffed and pouted at the affront of it all. A mysterious beaver-like voice with a mildly Canadian but more overtly pirate-like accent spookily said, “Paper is how the journey begins, but beyond it there is more to win.”

Princess was puzzled, “The journey started with a boat, and the boat is not paper.  Also, why the rhyme?”

“I’m rhyming for dramatic effect.  Come on.  Also, not, paper, you know, like the map.”

“Oh. I suppose that makes sense.”

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She went to look for another more suitable crown under the table.  A different mysterious voice, that of the mysterious narrator we try not to bring up said, “dang.”

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She found a chenille crown, and the hand servants placed it on her head (and also cleaned up the table a bit).  This crown too was completely unfitting a hedgehog of her nobility and regal stature.  It was sparkly, which was better, but it was still altogether wrong.  The mysterious pirate voice spoke again, “Chenille, arr, I don’t even know what that be, yet I be sure it’s symbolic of something, though.  Maybe gaining the bottles of mystery or some such.”

Princess said, “I’ll take your word for it. I’ll keep looking.”

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She searched under the couch to see what other crowns might be found and caused even more damage to the set, much to the dismay of the narrator.

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The next crown was nicer than the first two, and she rather liked it, but it wasn’t properly speaking a crown. It was a cap. The mysterious pirate voice spoke once more, “Wait, what be this? I have no idea what’s going on here.”

Princess said, “Isn’t is great?  I like this cap.”

The mysterious voice spoke, “Arr, keep to looking, and try not to get distracted, matey.  Oh, perhaps this symbolizes the dangers of being distracted on the quest for the Gem of Destiny. Just a guess.”

She decided to save the nice cap, but to continue looking. After some further digging in her surroundings a much nicer crown was found.

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The crown was nice, but heavy was the crown that sat on her head.

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It was so heavy it fell off repeatedly which was rather irritating to the narrator (who was also the photographer).

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The hand servants offered their help, but their assistance seemed to stick out too much for proper regalia, and this solution didn’t see at all suitable for such a noble hedgehog.

The mysterious pirate voice spoke to her, “The heavy crown will weigh you down, but will be sparkly all around town.  Sorry, just making up a rhyme there. I think this is symbolic of trials yet to come on the Island of Mystery.”

Princess replied, “I guess that sounds like a plausible explanation.  What is the Island of Mystery?”

The mysterious voice replied in a slightly spooky and mysterious way, “It’s a slightly spooky and mysterious mystery yet to be spoken of.”

Princess was frustrated with this, “mysterious mystery” – what kind of diction was that?  Yet she realized that the mysterious pirate voice was not really always polite, helpful, or even grammatically correct, so that was all she was likely to get. She sought again for a crown suited to a hedgehog of her bearing that was perhaps a bit lighter and more comfortable to wear.

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With a bit more searching around, she ruined the set once more, but discovered something wonderful, and was very pleased.

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The hand servants set upon her head the final crown, and it was really quite nice.  She was delighted, so delighted that she tipped the crown at a jaunty angle which to hedgehogs is symbolic of really liking having things that are set upon them.

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She was very pleased, and felt happy that she would no longer need to keep looking, since she knew she had found what she had needed.

The voice pirate spoke once more, “As the suitable crown is discovered, so too will the Gem be found, with peace and merriment all around.  Remember these things.  By the way, I was really trying to think of a nice rhyme for this bit, but they’re tricky, and I’m not really a poet.”

Princess replied, “So should I be digging under couches and tables, then?”

The mysterious voice seemed irritated and not particularly polite.  “No, seriously, the dream is a metaphor for the search for the Gem of Destiny.  Your quest will involve searching but not by literally climbing under furniture, please try to keep up.  I’m not sure everyone is all that pleased by you climbing under everything.”

“Oh, well that’s a shame, there’s little more delightful than climbing under tables and couches.”

“Sorry, eh. And sorry if I was a bit impolite, it’s been really frustrating waiting all these years for someone worthy of the great quest for the Gem of Destiny.”

“Oh, it’s okay, pirate ghost voices aren’t expected to have the best manners. I have a helpful guide to manners if you’d like to read it. In the future, if you do these dream thingies again, do you think you could skip putting heavy things on my head though?”

“Oh, yeah, sorry about that too, eh. It looked lighter than it was. Your pickiness has served you well. Now waken.”

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Princess woke up and looked around.  The stars in the night sky were lovely. It was a very strange dream, with a very annoyingly heavy crown, and she wished there would have been more digging under furniture, since that was such a delightful thing, but in all seemed like a helpful interlude on their adventure somehow. She remembered the mysterious pirate voice, and knew her quest was making progress.  Soon there would be an Island of Mystery with some new trial.

Will they finally find Captain Quillbeard’s mysterious treasure? Will we sort out a better way to make something island-like? What exactly is this mystery of Mystery Island?  Is this thing going to wind up being like eight posts long before we can finally finish?  These and other questions may be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island (or something similar).

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part III – Stench Island


Dear readers,

A few notable things need to be cleared up before we can begin our most recent episode.

First, this is the third of a multipart series:

Part I is here

Part II is here

Also first, there were a few poor visitors who came here from searches that we really need to address to protect future visitors looking for these things.

Someone searched for “what does a pedigree hedgehog do its business in.”  The answer here is simple, the same place a non-pedigree hedgehog does its business in.

Someone searched for “regal san clemente,” which kind of sounds interesting, but um, we’re not a reliable resource for regal san clemente related information of any kind, and are really confused how a search engine though we were relevant, and more confused that someone would see a hedgehog blog and decide that was a reasonable thing to click on to find out more on regal san clemente.  But still, it’s nice to have visitors.

Someone searched for “peregrinate with me” which is such a compelling little phrase that we had to share it, though we have no advice for our traveling friend.  Sadly, they didn’t leave a comment with contact for us to make our travel arrangements so they are stuck peregrinating alone.

Finally, someone searched for “sleeping in bed with pygmy hedgehog,” a topic we haven’t covered here before.  This is one we really need to address to protect any and all who might be so insane as to attempt this.  Do not attempt this.  It is a terrible, terrible, idea in every sense.  You will be intermittently woken up by your night-wandering little stabby pal.  Each time you will be awakened perforated in some new terrible way.  In the morning you will be exhausted and lying in a bed full of hedgehog poop and pee.  You don’t want that.  Your hedgehog doesn’t want that.  Nobody wants that.  Don’t do it.  We’ll definitely never try it again.

Wow, that’s a lot of preamble.  We had a Quentin-related thing, but we’ll share it some other time, were going to note our frustrating chicken problem, and wanted to mention that we’re bumping the word count, but no time for that now.  So now we will proceed to our first picture with words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants and her intrepid crew carried on gallantly. Their adventures with the art-model cyclops baker left them somewhat shaken, the trip seemed more dangerous than anything they’d done before. Boris had eaten all the cyclops baker’s pies after a few hours, much to the annoyance of everyone else.  They began their daily Quillbeard Quest meeting.

“I’ve really been looking forward to today’s meeting,” said none of them.

Christine, the cow safety officer began, “Okay, item one. According to Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code Section II, we need to run a tidy ship.  Why is there a houseplant on deck?”

It was generally decided that someone should probably straighten things up at some point.

Jane said, “Item two – the pie…”

Boris interrupted quickly, “But it’s pie. I’m a bear. It is my nature to eat pie. Bears have no impulse control with pie.  If I didn’t eat the pie I’d be out of character.”

Jane was unimpressed with this explanation, “I am unimpressed with this explanation. As a solution, all future pies will be put in picnic baskets with little latches on them so you won’t be able to get to them.”

Boris said, “Well, fine then. There’s no way a bear would figure that kind of thing out. I will definitely never be able to reach a pie in a picnic basket, it’s not in a bear’s nature. Now that we’re done with that topic, which we definitely should not revisit, let’s quickly move on to item three. The next island on this map is Stench Island. Are we really going there? Maybe we should skip it? The map says there’s a Dread Smellbeast of Terror. I think we might want to avoid Dread Smellbeasts of Terror.”

Jane agreed, “Stench Island, Dread Smellbeast of Terror, maybe we really do want to just skip all that…”

Princess stepped in, “I hate to be the voice of reason, that’s Jane’s job. Still, the map says there’s something important in a chest there that we need to get. So we need to go there.”

Boris wasn’t happy with this, “But… It’s named Stench Island. I think that our heroic quest would be nobler if we were to bravely avoid danger. Also, someone should iron the sky, it’s very strange to see wrinkled clouds.”

Princess insisted, “Don’t try to distract us with meta-commentary. We have to go.”

“Fine, but I’m staying on the ship.  Great meeting, guys.”

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They arrived.

Boris said, “All those in favor of Princess going to the island, since she has natural defenses?  Surely the Dread Smellbeast of Terror would fear her.”

There was only one vote against.

“But quills have nothing to do with guarding against smells, and I have an incredibly sensitive nose. I would go into details of hedgehog biology explaining how we use our sense of smell to forage, but that’d be tedious. Plus if the Dread Smellbeast of Terror attacks, being a ball of spines doesn’t exactly solve that problem.”

“But cows, sheep, and bears are defenseless. Plus we already voted. Protect our democracy, go forth to Stench Island.  It would be ill-mannered to ignore our vote.”

“Fine.”

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Princess sniffed around.  It wasn’t too bad, a little musky, but not incredibly bad. Plus there was a chest like the one pictured on the map just sitting there. She went to investigate. Suddenly the Dread Smellbeast of Terror appeared!

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Princess bravely attempted her natural defense maneuver.

“Arr, I am the Dread Smellbeast of Terror! If you do not leave immediately, you will experience my natural defense, at which point you will leave immediately, so you might as well just leave now.”

“Oh, hello, I’m Princess Penelope Pricklepants, Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, Empress of Quillonia, and Dominions beyond the Seas.”

“Oh, that’s a really nice title.  I really wish I had a really nice long title like yours, but I haven’t got that.  I just have an utterly terrifying natural defense. I insist you leave my island, or you will smell my wrath!”

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Princess decided to use the power of politeness to defuse the situation.

“This is a really lovely island. I notice that we both have natural defenses, we’re similar in that we’re not really aggressive towards other animals, just inclined to defend against predators.”

“Yes, it’s true. Honestly, I really don’t like doing this job. I really just want to hide when anyone comes. But I was elected by my tribe to carry on the ancient Quillbeard Calling, so they left me here with this task (I think I was elected since I took one of Flower’s cookies and accidentally spilled tea on his thesaurus – Flower was really angry). So I’ve been doing this. It’s not really my style at all. I’d much prefer to pursue my true calling, writing my travel blog, Peregrinate With Me.”

“Oh, you have a blog? So do I.”

There was more pleasant conversation, and eventually Princess Pricklepants and Franklin (Dread Smellbeast of Terror was more of a nickname) were fast friends through the power of politeness, manners, etiquette, and delightfulness. Franklin learned about Captain Quillbeard’s capture and failed swimming experiment, determined that there was no longer a need for the Quillbeard Calling, and agreed to let them open the chest provided he could join them on their adventure.

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They opened the chest and were somewhat disappointed. There was nothing really interesting, just some bottles of wine. Only the cows were really wine drinkers, and none of them had a corkscrew. But apparently it was important, so they loaded it on board.

Christine, the cow safety officer had a concern, “Princess, we have a slight issue. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Harold is a skunk. We can’t take a skunk on the boat. Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code Section IV Item 3 says no skunks are allowed on the decks of pirate ships engaged in treasure seeking.”

Princess had a solution.

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With a suitable place for Harold on the ship, they peregrinated with one another onward towards their next adventure.

Will they finally find Captain Quillbeard’s mysterious treasure? Will they visit another island while we continue to wait for our package of props to be delivered? Will we sort out a better way to make something island-like? Will we ever iron the sky? These and other questions may be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Part IV – The Journey Continues (or something similar).  Well as it turns out, it’s really named Pricess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Picky Princess.  You may read it now.

Princess Pricklepants and the Dinosaur Denouement


Previously: Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire

Dear reader,

We have a few 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 Financial Officer of Telstar Etiquettronics, 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’d better get to our first picture 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 also 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’s 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 hedgehogs 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 are not 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 up a tree – 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?”

“Oh, it’s been in the family for generations. Apparently it used to be real money a long time ago, but now it’s so old 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.

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

Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire


Previously: Princess Pricklepants, Entrepreneur

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 Etiquettronics”

“Yes!”

They googled it to make sure nobody had already taken the name.  Clear.  They still needed to register telstaretiquettronics.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 that applied machine learning with vectorized Bayesean analysis on natural language processing, text analysis, and computational linguistics on the works of Emily Post on a Hadoop cluster (this obviously was a Big Data problem) 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 Yoyodynamic 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:

Princess Pricklepants and the Dinosaur Denouement

Princess Pricklepants, Entrepreneur


Dear reader, we regret to inform you that we haven’t got any proper introduction to this, our latest post, nor any apologies to offer, nor any reader letters to review, nor other things like that which fill up space at the top of a post that are easy to use as filler to help avoid going and writing the other parts of the story that involve more work, and thinking, and coming up with ideas, and setup to do. Rather we are going to immediately jump into this tale, with no delays, rambling, digressions, or other peripheral delays. And here we are… Jumping right in.  Oddly, while it feels unsettlingly like somehow that isn’t happening, clearly this is an illusion. Probably it’s to do with Quentin, who had recently written in to say something, though we can’t remember what.

As a break from the usual format, we’re also going to not start with a picture, but instead start with words and then a picture, and then words under that picture.

Princess Pricklepants had given up the farming life, and was preparing to retire to a life of royal luxury, when Jane, her accountant gave her a call. “These phones, they’re so hard to dial with hooves. Anyway, I was calling to tell you that the farm wound up eating a surprising amount of capital, to the point that it’s a plot device requiring you to find some form of livelihood.” Princess wasn’t sure what that meant, but assumed it was good news. Jane went on, “You have to find a job.” Maybe not great news. The lack of a photo above the dialogue was moderately unsettling to Princess, somehow, adding to her sense of unease.

But Princess, in her inimitable metaphorical style, decided to make lemons out of lemonade. So, Princess decided to pursue her true passion, acting.

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Sadly, in addition to breaking the fourth wall, she also broke a table, a chair, several cups, and broke the skin of several actors. While the director of the show she was trying out for was a patient dinosaur, he eventually had to say “rawr,” which is dinosaur for “Don’t call us, we’ll call you, and we’ll be sending a bill for the broken props and medical expenses.”

Jane noted that this meant that there were going to have to be some lifestyle reductions until they had an income.

Princess came up with a brilliant plan. She would play to her core strengths, and pursue her true passion, acupuncture.

Accupuncturist

While it seemed like a great idea, in retrospect, acupuncture was very difficult to make a living at. While she tried to be polite, her patients kept whining. And screaming. No patients ever returned after their first visit, and most refused to pay, even when they seemed much healthier once they had every acupuncture point stabbed artfully (and politely) with her quills. A few sent medical bills to her saying something about blood transfusions.  When she checked on hedgehogaccupuncturistcentral.com she was surprised to find many other hedgehogs had similar problems.

So she decided to pursue her real passion, photography.

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She decided that taking photos of small farm animals on table-top sets had to be the start of a brilliant and lucrative photography career. Strangely, her work never became massively popular in a whirlwind of fame bringing in no cash, prizes, or wonderful adventures as a brilliant and respected photographic artist.  She did get a photo shared on Cute Overload, her favorite blog, but somehow that didn’t bring everlasting fame, but more like twenty views. Perplexing.

Clearly that was a ridiculous way to spend her time. So she looked around at what was popular in the Internets and noticed bird photography was very popular. She could still pursue her true passion, photography, by doing a different type of picture-taking. Also, birds were moderately interesting, at least for nerds, so she could use them as a market. Perfect. They buy all kinds of worthless things.

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At first things were going pretty well. She found a bird, it didn’t fly away, and she took a picture.  Then she looked at the blurry picture, poorly composed, and with terrible light, and determined that she’d need to find another bird. This was tedious. She also realized that while she could pursue this course for a very long time, enough to fill a few blog posts full of Princess Pricklepants, Bird Photographer, this would be very dull for the poor readers. Also, her blurry duck photo was rejected by National Geographic.

So she decided not pursue this as a career. What was left? She had so many skills, advice columnist, farmer, warrior, space traveler, but none of those things were a proper job fitting a hedgehog of noble bearing, regal poise, and impeccable politeness.

Then she had a great idea! She would be a web entrepreneur. She began to study…

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This was slow and dull, so she began a montage with 80s music to make it go faster.

Princess Pricklepants, System Analyst

Yet, the post was already too long even with this career-related activity compressed into a peppy compressed series of images edited into a sequence to condense space and time illustrating her hard work. Also when she put in her resume, all her applications as a programmer and systems analyst were rejected by the companies she applied to. They said things about degrees, and prior experience, but it was clear that they were hiding the truth – another sinister side of the Perils of Pet Prejudice.

And so she decided that next episode she would pursue her real passion, doing a web startup.  But that is something to tell about another time, since we’re close to 1000 words, which is how long these things typically go. So, for now, adieu.  And soon, Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder might appear.  Or maybe not soon.  Given the way these things go, we might wind up with Princess Pricklepants Pirate Adventurer in a few months.  Or maybe, Princess Pricklepants, Bird Photographer, because we’d really like to do that even if it’d be dull and tedious for everyone but us.  Sorry, we like taking bird photos, even though it is definitely not a profitable venture.

next:

Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire

Princess Pricklepants’ Continued Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, and Grace In Common Situations


Previously: Princess Pricklepants’ Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, Grace, and Related Things

Hello again!  We should really have waited a month or two before posting again, since it’s impolite to post to your blog too often, but several readers had emailed in to express their gratitude for our practical and helpful guide to manners, but wondered about manners and politeness in other common situations that could arise besides tea parties.  For instance, they wondered about manners on buses, and in supermarket lines, and when family visited and things along those lines.  Unfortunately hedgehog princesses aren’t the types to ride buses, and the hand servants take care of trips to the market, so she doesn’t have a lot of advice to offer on all of the topics that inquiries were made about, but here she volunteers to you, our gentle readers, a guide to several common social circumstances where questions of manners, politeness, grace, and social grace often come up, with tips, advice, and pointers for navigating the complexities of day-to-day social life with others that were inquired about.

Lesson 1: Catapults

“Dear Princess, I throw tea parties regularly since it is the polite thing to do, but I have become very concerned with the actions of my husband Humperdink.  During these parties he will load our catapult with sugar bowls, cups, small animals and other items and fling them around.  The costs in lost china have begun to really rack up, and I am afraid the ASPCA might show up!  What should I do?”

-Big Trouble With A Little China

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Dear Big Trouble,

At times you might have a guest over (perhaps at a tea party, though perhaps in some other circumstance, for readers who don’t throw tea parties regularly, please ignore any tea party related references, these lessons are still generically valuable) who wishes to test their catapult in your home using your fine china (or other things).

What do you do?

Explain to them that catapulting is an outdoors activity, and recommend they take the catapult and your china outside where it’s appropriate and delightful to fling household objects through the air.  Have fun with it, try suggesting that if they take the catapult outside that they could fling jewel encrusted antiques, rare glasswork, a cat, or other items that would be fun to watch fly, so they are more motivated to move it outside. Please note that cats belong indoors, since outdoor cats can cause environmental harm, injuring and eating native species, so after you’re done flinging the cat, it’s good manners to bring it back in.

-Princess

Lesson 2: Cows on the Couch

“Dear Princess.  I try to be as classy as a lady as I can manage, but I’ve run into something that’s burning me up.  My husband Vern has started bringing his cows inside the darned house!  They even have managed to climb onto the couch!  It’s driving me insane.  What should I do?”

-Flustered With The Cows

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Dear Flustered,

Unfortunately, time and again, we all run into the situation of visitors bringing cattle into our homes, with the cows peacefully grazing atop a couch.

What do you do?

Politely but firmly explain that animals are not permitted on the couch (unless they are hedgehogs), and that it would really be best to leave the cows on the floor.

-Princess

Lesson 3: Passages to Secret Gardens

“Dear Princess P. P., recently my children have started to claim that they’ve discovered a secret door that leads to a magical garden, and go on and on about their fantasy life, neglecting chores, failing to do their homework.  I’ve tried to talk some sense into them, but their odd obsession has started to take over their life.  What do I do?”

-Mom Of The Delusional

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Dear Delusional Mom,

Time and again, youngsters will become very excited at the discovery of a secret door that leads to a mysterious and wonderful secret garden full of mystery and wonder, and excitedly try to enter.

What do you do?

Explain politely, but firmly, that the time for entering into the magical alternate universe full of adventure, wonder, and talking animals (not parrots or hedgehogs, but ones that don’t normally speak) is after one has finished eating all the food on one’s plate, taking care of chores, and completing other responsibilities, and not before.  This will ensure that the important things are done before one wanders off into a realm of infinite possibility and delight.

-Princess

Lesson 4: Witch Accusations

“Dear Princess, I have a tough one.  My daughter, Zenobia, has gotten out of control.  It started with things like pointing out my weight, and has moved to to her angrily ranting.  What do you do with an out of control child? She even called me a witch!”

-Frazzled

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Dear Fraggled,

It’s a sign of our times that it’s become commonplace to find that over a cup of tea, in a spirited debate, or while playing cards, someone will insist that you are a witch.

What do you do?

Find a Witch Scale and weigh the accused to see if they weigh more than a duck.  If you don’t have a duck handy, find something that’s roughly duck-weight, for instance a sugar bowl, and put them to the test.  Since ducks float, this is a very scientific as well as practical way to sort out the answer.

-Princess

Lesson 5: Pirate Treasure Maps

“Dear Princess, my husband works on a cargo ship that’s been traveling through Indonesia and around the Horn of Africa.  There is a lot of piracy in those areas.  I’ve told him that I want to take out insurance, for fear of something terrible happening, but he’s fought it, saying that I should trust him to be able to handle the situation.  I even showed him a web site on the internet with maps of piracy and pointed out how his routes intersect on the map, but he’ll have nothing to do with it.  What should I do?”

-Dreading Pirates Robbing

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Dear Dread Pirate Roberts,

Very often in day to day life, we all run into the situation of having a pirate or two drop by to visit bringing with them a treasure map that leads to untold fortunes in gold and gems.

What do you do?

Remember this simple principle – sharing is caring.  Be sure to arrange to have the booty evenly divided among the survivors of the treasure quest.

Lesson 5.1: Climbing under the table and knocking over the treasure map and some guests.

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It’s considered polite to climb under tables at tea parties, but in pirate negotiations things are a little different.

What do you do if you climb under the table and knock over the map and perhaps a guest?

Say, “excuse me, so sorry to knock over that map (and/or guest), I really didn’t mean to.  I apologize.”  That’s typically all it takes to sooth the feelings of pirate treasure negotiators whose precious map/colleague has been flung to the floor.

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Lesson 5.2: Pirate Treasure Negotiators Fainting

Very often when making deals over treasure, one party might get over-excited and faint/be knocked over to the ground.  This is a very delicate situation.

What do you do?

Offer the fainting/falling party a nice cup of tea, and gently help them back up.  Do not bring up their clumsiness or criticize them for falling just because a table knocked into them.  This is not polite.

Lesson 6: Annoying Photographers

“Dear Princess, I’ve been looking at your photos, and I’ve noticed a few things that I’d like to offer as a helpful critique.

Lighting: It looks like you’re using normal indoor lighting for your photos.  That warm directional lighting is fine for day-to-day life, but photos tend to work better with somewhat cooler color temperatures and more diffused light.  Also having a few sources from different directions can fill shadows nicely.

Perspective: Your photos are often shot from odd and jarring angles.  It’s best to try to get down to the point of view of your subject.

Depth of Field: Many of your photos have a very deep depth of field.  If you shoot with a fast prime you can gather more light in lower light situations and also have attractive blurring (“bokeh”) in your photos.

Sets: You use a lot of pieces for sets in your shots, but they look like you picked toys up from Goodwill.   A few higher quality props and a backdrop would make for much more effective photos, keeping distracting elements out, and making sure that the elements in the frame were compelling.

These are just some constructive tips to help you on your photographic journey.”

-Camera Man

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Dear Photography Male,

There’s little in life that’s more insufferable than some relative/friend/visitor whose gotten a new DSLR or other fancy camera to gush on and on about photography, yammering on about f-stops, trying to show you pictures of birds they’ve taken, and being generally dull and droning about their little hobby. They may also criticize your photos and criticizing your equipment for not being fancy/expensive enough.

What do you do?

Politely but firmly explain that they should find other camera-nerds to ramble on with, since bringing up cameras and photography in polite company is something of a faux-pas. If they keep yammering on, kick them out. Nobody needs a know-it-all photographer being a party-pooper.

Lesson 6.1: Crying Photographers

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After helping photographers learn that they shouldn’t keep going on, and on, and on about their pictures and cameras and lenses and fancy lights and tripods and speed lights and so on they may burst into tears, deeply upset at not being able to drone on autistically about their prime obsession.

What do you do?

Give them a hug, and tell them that it’s OK.  You can also them know that their OCD is probably biological, and there’s little hope for them, but that they have families that care about them, so perhaps they could go off and find them now.  Suggest that people with their afflictions might benefit from a comfort animal.  Also recommend some other hobby, like coin collecting, that highly obsessive anti-social nerds like them might enjoy in the quiet of their home so long as they don’t inflict it on everyone all the time.  Be sure to be polite.

Lesson 7: Pirate Maps

“Dear Princess, I got your reply, but I feel that you didn’t quite understand my question.  I was talking about life insurance, not pirate maps.  I only brought up maps to make the point that the routes my husband was traveling on were areas where modern piracy is a serious issue.”

-Misunderstood

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Dear Misunderstood, Hedgehogs have very poor eyesight, which makes reading much harder for them.  Sorry if there were any misunderstandings.  Due to their poor eyesight, they rely on their sense of smell to guide them.  It smells like you like pirate maps a lot, which is great!  I didn’t exactly have a lesson to offer here, but wanted to show you this lovely and delightful pirate treasure map that I skillfully negotiated away from the others.  Please ignore the dead cow (and the Witch Scale) in the background, the poor lighting, the distracting elements in the scene, and the other things that annoying photographers might bring up.

Relating to your other question smells, here are a few more helpful lessons.

Lesson 7.1: Pirate Map Sharing

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Sometimes when you have a treasure map, others might become interested in it, and interested in joining your grand adventure to seek out the lost treasure of Captain Quillbeard.

What do you do?

Remember that sharing is caring.  Let them join you in the quest, making sure to explain that treasure is only divided among the survivors of the adventure, and cows have been known to have some very unfortunate mishaps on past treasure quests, but that they really are welcome.  Once you’ve formed a team, be sure that you’ve got a strong friendship, and consider mentioning to the cow that they can be kind of passive aggressive, but then don’t.

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Pals.  Good.

Lesson 7.2: Pirate Maps and Crocodiles

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How many times has this happened to you?  You and your cow friend have a treasure map and are getting ready to set off on a grand adventure, when a pair of crocodiles show up and one leaps on you in attack!

What do you do?

Remember the words or Gandhi, MLK, and Thoreau, and suggest that you all go get some ice cream to settle your differences.
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Mmm.  Ice Cream.

Lesson 8: Guests Crocodile Wrestling

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A common event when you have crocodiles at ice cream parties is that a youngster will get a little too excited and begin crocodile wrestling.

What do you do?

Remind the guest of the following:
Alligators and crocodiles are rather different, and generally it’s more dangerous to wrestle with a crocodile.
Explain that while it’s good practice to heavily feed ice cream to either before wrestling them so they are less aggressive, both should be trained before such activities.
Note that it takes a lot of training to be able to safely wrestle them, and that many people are injured by these prehistoric death machines.
Firmly but politely note that like flinging your fine china with a catapult, crocodile wrestling is definitely not an indoor activity.
You should also remind the guest that both crocodile wrestling and alligator wrestling are rather barbaric activities, so while their enthusiasm is understandable, that it is not at all polite to engage in crocodile (or alligator) wrestling at a tea party.
Finally, remind them of the words or Gandhi, MLK, and/or Thoreau, and suggest that they learn to peacefully coexist with the crocodiles.

Here is a helpful illustration of Princess explaining these things to the young crocodile wrestler:
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“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Lesson 9: Weird Guests/Uncles Talking About Ways To Get Many Air Miles and That Sort of Thing

“Dear Princess, my husband is obsessed with collecting air miles and other bonus points.  If I use the wrong credit card to buy some gas, I’ll hear all about it.  He’s starting to use all kinds of weird code words like vanilla, dollar coins, fungibles, 3x, and other things where they are referring to some arcane way to get points.  I do like vacations, but it sometimes feels like the obsession with gathering these points isn’t about getting a cheaper vacation, but just showing off a point balance to other people who are obsessed with this kind of thing.  And advice?”

-Points Widow

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Dear Window,

Sometimes a guest or weird uncle or other person may show up and start rambling on and on about personal finances, and how to get a lot of air mile points, or mention some credit card or another that they can use to get some reward or another. It’s very strange and confusing. They may even try to show you their credit cards, when everyone know one doesn’t do such things in polite company.

What do you do?

Tell them to find some internet forum where weirdos gather to discuss such things. Under no circumstances should you ever engage them, it only encourages them.

Lesson 10: The Call To Adventure

“Dear Princess, I wrote earlier and tried to explain that my kids are spending too much time in a fantasy world.  There is no real secret garden, they just imagine it, I think as some kind of escapism.  It’s concerning.  Also, my pen name was ‘Mom Of The Delusional’, not ‘Delusional Mom.’  I don’t think it’s very polite to get people’s names wrong.”

-Now Kind of Annoyed Mom Of The Delusional

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Dear Annoying Delusional Mom,

It smells like you’re having some trouble with manners!  At times a guest or relative might show up with a space ship/time machine/magical portal/interesting magical or technological item that brings one into a new world of adventure, mystery, and wonder.

What do you do?

Agree.  Even if you try to say no, the author will figure out a way to force you on the adventure, and it’s not polite to disagree with or interrupt story tellers.

Manners - 20Adventure ho!

That concludes this simple guide to etiquette in common social circumstances.  We hope that the next time you encounter a guest crocodile wrestling at your ice cream party, encounter a crying photographer, have to figure out how to deal with cows on the couch politely, or manage any of these other common social situations that our guide will have given you pointers to navigate them with grace and politeness.

Princess Pricklepants’ Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, Grace, and Related Things


Princess Penelope Pricklepants presents this practical guide to manners, politeness, and related topics to you, dear reader.  This guide is not presented out of any concern that you are impolite, ill mannered, or uncouth, but only because this is a topic which she, as royalty, has a deep and extensive knowledge about.  In this guide she hopes to share some insights, thoughts, tips, and pointers with the hope of helping to make the world a more polite, well-mannered, and generally delightful place.

Lesson 1: Hats

Princess Pricklepants wearing a nice hat at her tea party.

It’s perfectly delightful for hedgehogs to wear hats indoors, so long as they remain on the head, or so long as they fall in a delightful or pleasant way when wandering about.  Hats with straps are not delightful at all though, as we illustrate in this helpful example:

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If you look carefully, you will note Princess’ gentle concern at the impoliteness of the hands that put this hat on her.  Do not under any circumstances ever strap a hat onto a hedgehog.  It’s distressingly impolite.

Lesson 2: Tea Parties

Tea parties are always wonderful places to practice manners, politeness, and that sort of thing.  For our example tea party, the kind and gracious models Artemis along with her daughter Arteminica are hosting a small party for our delightful guest to help guide the teaching of lessons in manners.

At tea parties, hats are optional, as you see in the following illustration.  Also, note how Princess shows an interest in whatever things happen to be on the table, in the room, on the couch, under the table, or in any other interesting spots.

Princess Pricklepants politely hatless at a nice tea party.

Lesson 3: Peeing

Hedgehog sitting on couch at tea party, wearing hat.

If you happen to pee on a couch (and who doesn’t pee on the couch at times?), it’s polite to make sure that any photos of the event don’t include unpleasantly specific details.

Lesson 4: Eye contact

Hedgehog, hear turned away, wearing hat at tea party.

If there are guests who have eyes, try to look at them sometimes, this is polite.

Lesson 5: Unexpected guests

Hedgehog at tea party with toothpick holder.

If an unexpected guest shows up, like Princess’s special friend, Pick, who is also a hedgehog, though a different species, be sure to greet them and make sure they feel welcome to the tea party. You may wish to compliment them on their colorful quills or other interesting qualities, like the ability to stand remarkably still for very long periods.  If you happened to poop on the couch while meeting the new company, be sure to be discreet, have a helping hand clean it up, and be sure to thank the hosts for using a plastic couch that’s very convenient for taking care of such things quickly and discreetly.

Lesson 6: Climbing under the table

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If a guest should try to climb under the table during a tea party, this isn’t considered polite.  Gently remind them to try to remain above the table, perhaps with an unassuming hand gesture, as Arteminica illustrates here.  Also remind them that while in general wearing hats to indoor tea parties is polite, it’s considered extra-polite to remove your hat before climbing under the table.

Lesson 7: Toppling over other guests

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If, while politely wandering about under the table, you happen to inadvertently fling one of your friends on the ground, be sure to say something polite, for example, “Oh, pardon me, I didn’t mean to knock you over.”  Also remove your hat as a gesture of respect.

Lesson 8: Stepping on friends

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If you inadvertently clobber a friend, and stomp on their hand and/or arm, try being subtle about it.  Helpfully lighten the mood by wandering off a bit to sniff at something.

Lesson 9: More knocking and fleeing

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If you happen to knock a friend over while trying to climb under their chair, and they inadvertently kick another guest in the head, be sure to say, “excuse me.”  Note also that the hat has been respectfully removed.

Lesson 10: Helping hands

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Sometimes the hand friends might grab you and hold you in poses.  If they do, make sure to let them know that you appreciate their gentle help, and that you are sorry if you accidentally stab them a little with your quills.  If you do this, you’ll be sure to knock their socks off, or if you are incredibly polite, you might even manage to knock their feet off.

Lesson 11: More under the table dealings

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Since hedgehogs are burrowing animals, it’s incredibly difficult to not climb under tables.  Really, it’s mind-bogglingly challenging.  It’s virtually impossible to resist the alluring dark area under there.  When you do climb under the table, if a guest should spill their tea, be sure to apologize for any spilled tea.

Lesson 12: Flinging guests backwards while fleeing tea

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Tea parties can be stressful for hedgehogs, and you might feel the need to leave seconds after sitting/being set on the couch.  While we may have already covered, this, as a gentle reminder, when flinging friends backwards in their chairs towards the ground as you leave the table, which is a truly delightful thing to do, be sure to do so as politely and with as much grace as possible.

Lesson 13: Toppling techniques (advanced)

Hedgehog climbing off couch under table, knocking someone over.

At tea parties people will be flung backwards and thrown to the ground, this is a natural and inevitable development.  When you do manage to throw a guest from their chair, spilling tea cups, and flinging hats aside, be sure to do so with as much grace and elegance as possible.

There’s only one proper way to end a tea party, and that’s by ensuring that tea cups are spilling, and guests’ limbs are flailing as they hurtle towards the ground with chairs toppling backwards.  If you follow this simple guide, you’ll be sure to have a very delightful tea party with many very memorable moments.

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next: Princess Pricklepants’ Continued Guide To Politeness, Manners, Delightfulness, and Grace In Common Situations