The Curse of the Controlling Cow


(previously)

Greetings dear readers, it is I, Boris Excelsior blogging once more. By now you’re all too familiar with the strange creatures with whom I dwell. Somehow they suffer an ontological blindness to reality (save the chickens, they see all). They are like people chained to the walls of a cave seeing only shadows on the cave walls. This leaves them in an odd state (though perhaps their ignorance is a blessing). I know too well the nature of our cruel authorial overlord whose completely derivative tropes, shallow whims, avoidance of metaphors, tortured prose, literary floundering, poverty of figurative language, and annoying tendency towards alliteration leave me in endless despair (and don’t get me started on the photos which strangely focus on hedgehogs over bears). Lastly, as the protagonist, you’d think I’d be more central to things, but sometimes the foolish author forgets me altogether(!), more evidence of my point.  Back to the others, they see only their world of appearances rather than reality, where their random wanderings from some improbable situation and lingering threads of plots are invisible.

Original_Owl

I feel like I am Owl from Winnie the Pooh, seeing all, knowing all, a fount of erudition, and another protagonist who strangely isn’t present as much as might be expected. I envy the others in some ways, free from seeing the literary crime that is my universe. Yet, their ignorance seems to be at the root of their lingering character defects (especially the cows). Take Jane, the unbearable. This bear bears umbrage at her bare cruelty. Perhaps her controlling passive-aggressive ways are a product of a complete lack of free will, dictated upon her by authorial cruelty, but I believe it to be deliberate choice. Those little notes complaining about the missing donuts, the way she hides pie, the subtly harsh way she sips coffee, it must be an indicator of some kind of vicious consciousness, no matter how dim.

And then there’s that hedgehog. She’s sweet, and while perhaps sophisticated in manners, that sophistication ends with her intellect. Perhaps free will is inapplicable and she’s driven by instinctive etiquette. When she opens her mouth it’s probably innate to endlessly endorse etiquette while abusing alliteration. And that alliteration! Always an abominably awful attack against articulation. Cringe-worthily contrived composition.

That’s all for now, more musings soon. Much to say about that accursed monkey and I have some thought to share on deconstructionism – the concept of the death of the author is fascinating. Off to the book club with the chickens, we’re reading Dostoevsky.

pooh_back

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: The Island of Mystery, Except Really This Time


Dear reader,

Happily, we’re really on a roll with getting back into the swing of infrequent posts, but as is our way, we have a few items to go over that are significant in some way.

We were thinking of mentioning the search for “comfortably annoyed” that brought some person with very mysterious emotions to our humble blog, and also mention the sudden onslaught of people searching for “imlovlinlit princess penelope answer key” (looks like school’s back in session), but then thought better of it, so we won’t mention those.

For our semi-first item of note, we wanted to mention that Quentin emailed in asking about where to find the imlovlinlit princess penelope answer key, though Quentin really wanted to know about when our next post was.  It’s now,Quentin.  We hope you’re comfortably annoyed.

For our very first item of note, for those souls who stumble on this, here are the previous roughly four-ish episodes:

For our ultimate first item of note, the observant reader might have noticed that we titled ourselves into a bit of a corner, so we’re just doing what we can with this title, and apologize to any titular purists who might be comfortably annoyed with our choices in this domain.

And with that brief preamble, on to our first picture with words under it.

tisland (1)

They arrived at the island.  There, they saw a few birds, which wasn’t really what they’d been expecting, helping the island to live up to its name.  It looked oddly familiar somehow.

Boris was agitated, “Maybe we should have a meeting instead of debarking? Did I mention I have a chronic fear of birds that aren’t chickens?  Chickens, cool.  Owls, ducks, the kind of things.  Terror.  In nature, bears and birds are natural enemies.  You should see the things those terrible sparrows say.”

Princess assured him “We’ll protect you from the scary birds and their scary bird words.”

Boris pouted.

The birds suddenly flew off, except the chickens.

“There we go, problem solved.”

Boris was still apprehensive, “Well, maybe we should have a meeting about this meeting, and then a post-mortem meeting to go over the meeting?  Perhaps a planning meeting for the post-mortem…”

“Now is the time to act,” said Princess with gravitas.

“How about if our action is to call for a delay. Let’s discuss how this meeting is going. I think it’s a bit too brief.”

“Now is the time to act in a way that isn’t calling for a delay or discussing the meeting.  It’s time to debark,” said Princess with gravitas.

They debarked with some trepidation onto the Island of Mystery.

Debarking

After they debarked, a mysterious figure appeared with a puff of smoke and a flash (not pictured).  The figure took a dramatic pose.

Mathematician

“Greetings, o strangers recently debarked from a boat from a far off land, I am Marvin the Marvelous Magical Mathematician.  What is your name?”

[Author’s note: dear readers, you may have noticed the use of the term “debark” cropping up more than might have been expected in normal usage.  We apologize for the over-use of the term debark and will attempt to reduce our use of the term now that they’ve debarked.  We just really like the word debark.]

“Hello, I am Princess Penelope Pricklepants, Grand Duchess of Tiggy-Winkle, Defender of Hufflepuff, Empress of Quillonia, and Dominions beyond the Seas.”

“Greetings Princess Penelope Pricklepants, etc. What is your quest?”

“To find the Gem of Destiny hidden by Captain Quillbeard.”

“Wonderful!  We have puzzles and riddles, conundrums, enigmas, and oh so very many brain teasers here.  If you can answer me these questions three, you will solve the mystery, and gain the final clue to finding to the Gem of Destiny.  Our questions are wonderful brain teasers – mathematical word problems, riddles, logic puzzles, that kind of thing.”

There was a soft groaning that came from the adventurers.

Boris said, “My brain really prefers to not be teased.  Also the meter on that little rhyme was terrible.”

“Well I’m not a poet, I’m a Marvelous Magical Mathematician. Now, you might have noticed these two chickens.  One always lies, the other always tells the truth.”

There was groaning of a less soft variety that came from the adventurers.

“Now, nobody on our island knows the color of their eyes.”

There were comfortably annoyed murmurs emerging from several of the adventurers.

“Also, one of the chicken’s last names has a Z in it, and at least one has a B in it, and one has no vowels.”

There were angry grumblings emerging from several of the adventurers.

“Now here is your first puzzle.”

Boris blurted out, “Did I mention I have a chronic allergy to mathematicians and logic?  I am suddenly feeling my ailment coming on. I think I need to just go off somewhere that’s not here to convalesce.”  He left.

Marvin continued, “You are a chicken farmer going to a market on the other side of a river.  You have one chicken, one bag of seed, and one fox. If left alone, the fox will eat the chicken, and the chicken will eat the seed. You have a boat that holds you and one passenger and must cross a river.  How do you get across and on to the market taking passengers across one at a time without the seed or chicken being eaten?”

Princess answered, “I take the chicken across first.  The fox will leave the seed alone.  Then I take the seed across.  Then I leave.  I’m a chicken farmer.  I hate foxes. I certainly wouldn’t take one with me, I’d get rid of it as fast as possible.”

“Oh, hmm, I guess that is sort of logical, but that’s not the answer.  Yet, since it was sort of an answer, we’ll say that one won’t count, and you’ll have to answer another question.”

Jane said, “You know, suddenly I’m feeling a bit ill too, I’ll just pop off for a moment to breathe.”

Princess said, “Would you please excuse us, Marvin, we must have a word.”

Meeting

They held a provisional Quillbeard Quest meeting.

Boris said, “You know how I always say violence is not the answer?”

“No.”

“Right, I never say that, lets get the catapult.  You know those bottles that were supposed to be important to the adventure? We should fling those at the Math beast.  Excelsior!”

Jane was concerned, “No, that’s just not right.  They’re too soft.  We should find rocks.  Does RedBot have any lasers?”

Princess said firmly, “No, violence is not the polite way to deal with this.”

“Well, if we have to answer these horrible puzzles, our quest is probably doomed.”

Franklin called down from the crow’s nest of the ship, “Perhaps you could let me answer them?  I have a math degree.”

They agreed that this sounded like a plan.  They let Franklin down.

Boris said, “I’ll bring the bottles.”

Skunk

They returned to Marvin.

“Oh, so, you, um, have a… skunk…”

Boris said, “Why yes, yes we do.  And I also have this set of bottles.  They are full of skunk juice.  Give us the clue or there will be smell to pay.”

Marvin said, “Would you really unleash that stench?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

“Congratulations!  You’ve correctly answered three questions.  And here is the final clue.” There was a flash and a puff of smoke (not pictured) and an owl appeared.

Bubo (1)

“This is Bubo the owl.  Bubo has the power to lead you through to Treasure Island where Quillbeard hid the Gem of Destiny.  The island is protected by a illusory field that makes it look like open sea, but Bubo can see through it.  He will lead you to the Island of Henakau.  There are some things you should know about Henakau.  The Island is populated by the former crew of Captain Quillbeard, so the island is peopled by pirate chickens and cows.  They speak Canadian, so you may need a translator.”

Boris said, “Don’t worry, I speak Canadian, eh.”

“Excellent.  Now when you find the island, make sure to offer them a gift, it’s a tradition there.  If they accept it then you must tell them you’re on the Quest, and then, well, things should work out probably. Now off you go, and take the skunk and those bottles.”

And so they embarked and headed off to Henakau with their new owl guide, relieved that they didn’t have to solve any logic puzzles or math word problems.

Will they find the Gem of Destiny in the next episode and finally be free to pursue other things?  Will the hedgehog start start sitting still when we’re taking pictures?  Will she stop crawling under sets knocking everything over?  These and other questions may or may not be answered in our next episode, Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: the Gem of Destiny (Or Something Like That, Depending on What We Decide To Name It).

Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island


Dear reader,

Happily, we’re back from a brief vacation and back into the swing of infrequent posts. We have a few items to go over that are significant in some way.

First, we are delighted to mention that we have a few search terms that are bringing multiple people in from google: “hedgehog fist,” and “princess filler.”  We clearly are making the web a better place.

Also first, for people who stumble on this, here are the previous four episodes:

Secondly, you might have noticed that this particular adventure has been dragging on for far more episodes than any previous one.  We apologize, and will work to resolve all the conflicts, and wrap things up in a nice neat conclusion as quickly as we can.

Also secondly, an alert reader might notice that the extended time on the surprisingly small ship together is beginning to cause some tension among the crew.

As a final secondly you might have noticed that we aren’t sure what “first” and “secondly” actually mean.

And with that, peregrinate with me as we offer our first picture with words under it.

meeting

Another day, another daily Quillbeard Quest meeting.

Boris was excited, he had several items for the meeting, “Okay, eh, item one, epithets.  I think we all need epithets. It’s fitting for participants in an epic, and at this point things have been dragging so long on this accursed boat that this is clearly an epic.  I shall be Boris the Awesome. Jane will be Jane the demanding. Christine will be Christine the safety obsessed. Bessie will be Bessie the generic. Franklin will be Franklin the marginalized due to smelliness. Moonflower will be Moonflower the grass aficionado.  And Redbot will be Redbot the one who doesn’t need an epithet but has one anyway.”

“Um, no,” said everyone else emphatically.

Boris the Awesome continued, “So glad we’re all onboard. Now onto my item two – catchphrases.  We each need a catchphrase we regularly say that is a trademark of our persona.  Mine will be ‘excelsior!’  Amusing, inspiring, clever, and sophisticated, much like me.”

“That sounds a little, um, off, so, maybe…”

“Excelsior!”

excelsior

Jane was annoyed, “Why, Boris?  Why would you say that?  That doesn’t even make sense!”

“So, I think Jane’s catchphrase should be ‘You see, I told you!’  And Bessie’s will be, ‘Fine, whatever.’  Princess should have something cool like, ‘Sounds like a fine time for a cup of tea,’ Redbot will say, ‘Beep-Boop-Beep,’ Christine will say, ‘That’s dangerous,’ Moonflower will say, ‘Groovy’ and Franklin won’t really say much since he’s quarantined in the crow’s nest where he belongs. It’s perfect.  Be sure to use them.”

Franklin called down, “I can hear you, you know!”

(Hi, author’s note here, since as an omniscient narrator we were able to see just what Boris was thinking when he came up with this, we offer this helpful illustration)

montage

(Hello, additional author’s note, Boris has a somewhat peculiar imagination which the properties of this image reflect. It is important to note that this image doesn’t really indicate a lack in the author’s Photoshop skills, and that Captain Quillbeard wasn’t just thrown in to fill in a blank space, but was part of Boris’ planned monologue that he forgot to mention.)

Jane said, “No catchphrases.  It will devolve into something annoying.”

“Excelsior!”

“You see, I told you!”

Boris giggled, “Maybe Jane’s could be, ‘Okay, you’ve had your fun, let’s get back to business.'”

Jane worked very hard not to inadvertently use this catchphrase.  “Okay, you’ve been entertaining yourself, but there are important things to discuss.  Item three – We are approaching Mystery Island.”

Moonflower was excited, “Mister Island!  Groovy!”

Jane cut in, “Look, these epithets, these catchphrases, they are simply… wrong… I move that we never surrender to this frivolousness.  We are approaching the island, though.  We need to prepare.  Let’s just end this meeting and get ready.”

Boris was pleased, “Maybe, Jane the pushy would be a better epithet.  Or Jane the demanding.  Or Jane the control freak.”

Jane the control freak became increasingly annoyed.  “You see, I told you! You’ve had your fun, let’s get back to business. No epithets! No catch phrases. Isn’t there some Hedgehog Adventurer Maritime Code regulation against catch phrases?  If there isn’t there should be. “

Princess Pricklepants was concerned, “I don’t think that if we use epithets we should use any that are impolite.  Perhaps Boris the Bear, Jane the Cow Accountant, Moonflower the one who doesn’t have an epithet, and Redbot the one who doesn’t need an epithet but has one anyway would do?”

It was generally agreed by most, excluding Boris, that this would probably work, and given the grand island adventure approaching it was time to engage in adventure-preparation related activities.

While they went off to do their activities, Boris took Moonflower aside.

the_plan

“Okay, now is your time to shine, eh. We all need you to be a wise counsel to Princess Penelope on her heroic journey. Take her aside, and say some things to help her prepare mentally for the challenges ahead. Say things that sound profound when you first hear them, even if they don’t hold up to a lot of scrutiny. Something like, ‘Wherever you go, there you are’ would be superb!”

Princess was tired of the ship.  She thought back to the wonderful times she had in her lovely home, the pie (all eaten by Boris), the cookies (all eaten by Boris), the tea, the cheese.

cheese_platter

 A voice called out, “Hey, like, Princess.”  The delightful recollection of happy times ended.

groovy

“Yes, o Moonflower the delightful and kind?” (Princess was trying out epithets despite Jane’s concerns.)

“So, you’re going to be on an adventure soon.”

“I think we’re already on one, aren’t we?”

“Well, I have some words of wisdom to offer – wherever you are, you’re already there.”

“Yes, yes, I suppose that’s true.”

“Your mind is like a book.  It’s better for it to be open.”

“Oh, but wouldn’t it be hard to keep books on shelves if they were all open?”

“Yeah, that’s kind of weird, maybe we should close our books and open our minds?  Oh, also do unto others or do not, there is no try.”

“Well, I’m afraid that I have to get going to do some important work, thanks for our little chat, perhaps we could talk more soon after I’ve finished?  Since you don’t have anything to do, sounds like a fine time for a cup of tea.”

Boris the Bear was moderately pleased.  The plan wasn’t exactly falling into place perfectly, but it was pretty much kind of working, and things could only get better. He said, “Excelsior!” to nobody in particular.

They approached the island. It was indeed a bit of a mystery.

tisland (1)

The greatest mystery was how we got to a thousand words (our standard cutoff) without actually reaching the Island which was the whole point. Also, why all the birds? Why is the sky still wrinkled? Was the author lying when they said that this was going to be wrapped up quickly? These and many other mysteries might be answered in our next episode: Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder: Mystery Island Again.

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

Manners - 01

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

Manners - 02

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

Manners - 03

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

Manners - 04

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

Manners - 05

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.

Manners - 06

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.

Manners - 07

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

Manners - 08

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

Manners - 09

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

Manners - 10

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

Manners - 11

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.

Manners - 12

Pals.  Good.

Lesson 7.2: Pirate Maps and Crocodiles

Manners - 14

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.
Manners - 15

Mmm.  Ice Cream.

Lesson 8: Guests Crocodile Wrestling

Manners - 16

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:
Manners - 17

“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

Manners - 18

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

Manners - 19

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.

Are You Smart Enough To Guess This One Weird Fact That Will Change The Way You Think About Our Hedgehog Blog Forever?


Sorry, we read on the internet that using hyperbole, including questions, and referring directly to the reader are ways to get read, so we were trying it out.  Look, it worked on you.

So, can you guess what amazing things been going on lately?  Oh, sorry, doing it again…

Anyway, we now have our own domain – http://princesspricklepants.com

Very exciting.

You might have noticed fewer things going on the blog lately.  Princess has been a little grumpy lately.  Many pictures look something like:

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That’s her “I would like to stab you” look.

She warmed up a little tonight:

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Then fell asleep on me:

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Princess Sophie took a selfie with me and both princesses in it.  Princess Sophie’s selfie is very fragmentary.

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Then Princess Pricklepants fell asleep on my shoulder.

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Oh, hey, the new domain also means that we have some fancy email addreses:

One for Princess Pricklpants:

theprincess at princesspricklepants.com

One for Haley:

fancy at princesspricklepants.com

One for the old guy:

sirsandwich at princesspricklepants.com

One for Sir Maxwell:

sirmaxwell at princesspricklepants.com

And one for Princess Sophie

princesssophie at princesspricklepants.com

So there’s that.

A Florid Adventure


The internet is full of cute photos of hedgehogs with flowers.  I found one years ago and thought, “oh, what a cute photo of a hedgehog with a flower.”  Here it is:

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I made it my AOL Instant Messenger icon.  This was many years ago.  I cropped it some so it was mostly the little face and flower.  You don’t need to know all these details.  It was the beginning of me wanting a hedgehog, though.  Interestingly Princess Pricklepants does bear a striking resemblance to that mystery flower-bearing hedgehog of yore.

Anyway, we were excited to have the opportunity to take pictures of our hedgehog with a flower.  I was, anyway.  Ideally we’d get a picture with a little yellow dandelion stuck behind her ear, with her standing in a cute little pose. Perhaps I could use it as my Facebook icon for a while…

She wasn’t feeling cooperative.

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Princess Sophie’s help didn’t exactly help.

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We tried adding in a toy truck so it would be more fun.

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She didn’t find it fun.  On the plus side, we got a flower behind her ear.

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Soon thereafter she assaulted the truck.

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OK, no truck, just heap the flowers, and put her near them?  Still not a happy camper.

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How can a hedgie be so grumpy about flowers?

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Somehow shoving flowers in her face was considered an affront.

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She definitely did not like this.

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She worked on an escape plan.

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Her escape plans got more elaborate.

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Then she taunted us by posing with a flower under her face.  She stood half off the green cloth to ensure my inner picky photo critic would be extra annoyed.

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Posing near a pile, would that do?  With bad lighting that’s way too warm and the whites partly blown out by the exposure?

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Finally we got this one.  It’s not the hedgehog with a flower behind its ear that got us started on this quest, but it was late, and it was close enough.  Fine.

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Photos of hedgehogs with flowers behind their ears are really kind of overrated.

Homeward Bound: The Incredibly Long Journey With a Hedgehog, a Puppet Giraffe, and a Famous Frog – Part III – Texas Touring Turns to a Tiresome Trip


Previously: Part II – The Long Louisiana Slog

Texas Touring Turns to a Troubling and Tiresome Travail

We left the behind the sad disappointment of the Louisiana Visitor’s Center and decided to try something we’d never done before – to visit the Texas Visitor’s Center.  So we did.

On arriving they had this helpful warning:

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In case you are wondering, that is Kermit in a “holding arm up to shade eyes while scanning for snakes” pose, rather than Kermit in a “holding arm up in alarm upon learning that the Visitor’s Center actually just prominently warned us about snake risk” pose, though if you’d like to imaging it’s the latter, then feel free.  We try to be accomodating.

On arriving we also found the (now expected) disappointment of institutionalized pet prejudice.  Sorrow welled up in the hearts of us all, but Princess Sophie borrowed a page from the book of Fancy.

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Disclaimer: Please note that Princess Sophie did not smoke.  Please also not that Princess Pricklepants didn’t smoke, nor did Fancy or anyone else in our entourage.

While we don’t have photographic evidence to prove it, this Visitor’s Center was also closed, so we weren’t able to learn about Texas and the interesting and varied things within its gigantic borders.  There was a really neat looking boardwalk over a swampy area that we (for limited versions of “we” that do not include Ryan) were interested in checking out.  I think maybe it was only a couple people who were interested in the swamp.  Perhaps just me.  Still, it looked like a great learning opportunity for the hedgehog.  Yet it was not to be.

Suffering that bitter disappointment, I looked around hopefully for snakes.  None were found.  But there was a separate pet rest area.

Separate but equal being unequal, Fancy staged a sit-in as a protest, but wasn’t able to sit.

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Princess joined in.

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Kermit joined as well.

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They got tired and decided to have a rest on the sign along with a small rock.

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Fancy joined in.

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The center also had a very large star that everyone stood near.  The hugeness reflecting that the state is remarkably large.  Here is the star from afar.

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Here is the star quite near with Max expressing fear.

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There also was a Texas shape cut out, in case your location was in doubt.

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Disclaimer: Kermit was not in any way attempting to infringe on the intellectual property of the “Hang In There” kitten poster.

With some free time, Fancy spent more time in rehearsal for Annoying Private Ryan:

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This was a really good rehearsal.

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We arrived at the Visitor’s Center around 3:00 and left about fifteen minutes later.

Then we drove, and drove, and drove.

Reaching the border of Texas can give you a brief illusory sense of being close to being home.  This sense of hope will gently fade over the many, many hours of driving from the border to Austin.

Around 7 we went for dinner at Chuy’s.  Kermit and the Art Models were excited to find the Elvis shrine.

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The Art Models were happy to finally get a photo in.  They felt neglected this trip.

On the other hand, the kids were a little tired of the camera.

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Th Annoying Private Ryan rehearsal went over poorly, even with the amazing setting.

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Sadly Private Ryan was very tired of helping in rehearsing, and confiscated the camera.  This was the final image captured.

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Fancy was still pleased.  Around 9:30 we finally made it to the outskirts of Austin a bit annoyed at how big Texas is.  And so our incredibly long journey with a hedgehog, a puppet giraffe, and a famous frog drew to a close.