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.

Photographer

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

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Princess Pricklepants And The War Against Cats


Dear readers,

We have three apologies to make before this post.

First, some reader feedback – Quentin, a council of the cows was held, and no, we can’t use small words.  One cow politely recommended that you might want to buy a dictionary.

Second, sorry for creating a post so soon after the last two.  It was raining, we weren’t able to go out, and so another post happened.

Third, sorry that we don’t have one other thing to list in our apologies here, we’ve run dry a little early.

Fourth, sorry, that we’ve now apologized for one more thing that we’d originally said we would.

Now, our first picture with words under it:

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Princess Pricklepants was delighted, her trip to the Planet of the Baboons went nicely (she had helped Mufiki, the Baboon King to reclaim his throne from the evil uncle Blemish, perhaps more on that later if we get enough baboons to illustrate), and Mufiki, the Baboon King had returned with her to see her robo-farm to learn about new alien cultures and technology.  But when she arrived, things seemed amiss.  There was a castle.  There were no cows.  There was no bear.  The crocodiles were sitting in a moat, looking sad.

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A cat approached, and delivered a sinister monologue. “Greetings, Princess Pricklepants. I am Mittens, a humble farm-cat (with an Electrical Engineering degree from MIT – go Beavers!), and I have taken over this farm! You now are a former-hedgehog farmer, as I now control the farm! A-ha-ha-ha-ha! Using my advanced programming skills, I reprogrammed the robots to serve me to do my wily feline bidding. A previous advice column of yours had advised flinging cats via catapults, and now I have my revenge! Also, I banished your cows, forced the crocodiles to serve as slaves in the moat, and your literary bear friend is stuck in a paddock with no books to read! Bwa ha ha!” It was strange to hear a cat laugh. Regardless, the cat continued on for a while explaining how it accessed the reprogramming interface port of the robots, and some other details, but you don’t need to hear all of it. It was a very long monologue.

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Droidon and Galaxy came out and hugged the villainous cat since we had a photo of that. It was taken with the intent of adding to the drama and sense of just how sinister this cat was, though in retrospect, hugging cats doesn’t quite deliver the right mood. So, we ask you, dear reader, to please imagine that the photo illustrates the cat hacking up a hairball on your couch instead.  Thanks!

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Princess explained to Mufiki that nothing like this had ever happened before in her adventures, normally dramatic conflicts were far less overt, but given the situation they needed to form a plan. So they formed a plan.

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Princess went and found the cows. Together they formed The Cows Of The Round Table (the members were not all cows, but Cows, Baboon, and Hedgehog Of The Round Table just didn’t roll off the tongue). Together, they planned a great battle – a siege against Castle Mittens to defeat the wicked cat and bring justice and order back to the farm, then Princess granted them knighthoods authorizing them to serve in the battle. She looked up the wikipedia page on knighthood to see if they had the details of the ceremony, but it was missing most details, so she winged it.

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Princess ordered several catapults from hedgehogfarmsupply.com (some assembly required) and prepared for battle. They had only ever seen one movie that involved catapults, so they loaded the cows into the catapults and began to fling them onto the castle.  Christine, the cow safety officer, said something before they were loading her, but in the fog of war they were far too busy to get caught up in digressions.  Now was the time for action.

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Unfortunately, they didn’t have many cows, so soon they were out of ammunition. Lady Bessie (they weren’t sure of the right title for female knights, and Wikipedia didn’t mention what to honorifics to bestow on cows knights at all, so they settled on that), Sir Unintentional Product Placement, Princess, and Mufiki realized they needed another plan. Bessie lamented that while she was a generic cow, she did have a Computer Science degree and before joining the farm had worked as a contractor doing programming work for a few companies developing robotic Artificial Intelligence software. With that kind of nerdy desk-job skill set, she was useless for most things, especially in medieval conflict…

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“Don’t feel bad, Bessie, we still like you,” said Princess gracefully. Mufiki said, “Wait, didn’t the cat reprogram these robots? Can’t Bessie just hack into their robotic computing mainframe matrix, or whatever you Earthlings call it, and override the program?” They hatched a cunning plan.

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Princess lured Redbot out while Bessie snuck up and reprogrammed his loyalty circuits to bond to hedgehogs and not like cats.

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They then reprogrammed Galaxy, while Sir. Product Placement tried to distract Mittens.  That distraction worked poorly, so Princess licked her nose.

The ploy worked!

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And so, the farm returned to its former state, Princess was delighted, and things returned mostly to a normal state, though they now had a castle on the farm, an evil imprisoned cat, a pig had shown up from somewhere, the bear was freed and given some interesting books, the Spinosaurus returned to doing Spinosaurus things, and the word count was a little low but was good enough to declare The End.  For now.

Princess Pricklepants, Farmer, etc.


Dear readers, we’ve made a few small changes thanks to your feedback.  We’ve made images smaller and lower quality to load faster (you’re welcome, reader H), are using simpler vocabulary (you’re welcome reader Quentin), and we’ve added more characters to stories (can’t remember who mentioned that).  We also will digress less, since someone mentioned that digressions are distracting and don’t add to the narrative form we work so hard to perfect.

Enough preamble, here’s the first picture with some words under it (see Quentin, simple words):

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Princess Pricklepants was very busy working on her farm, but even with more cows than she could count (anything more than four is really hard), she wasn’t making a lot of money selling milk.  She held a council with the cows, and asked for ideas.  Bessie the cow spoke up, “I think if we got more animals we’d ultimately benefit from increased production.  Also, Quentin needs a dictionary.  Cows have large vocabularies, it’s the way we are.  Deal with it.”  So Princess went to the place where you get animals and got some more.

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The new crocodiles were happy in their pond.  The cows seemed moderately concerned but were hopeful that crocodile eggs would fetch a good profit.  Jane, the cow accountant ran the numbers, but even after a few hours there was still no new money coming in.  Strange.  She said some technical things about taxes and capital investment we don’t need to repeat.  She complained that she got a CPA, and we really should go into those details, but we ignored her.  While Jane complained that it would add to the believability and richness of detail to the story if we talked about tax benefits from depreciations of capital something-or-others, Princess went to the place where you get animals to get some more.

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The cows weren’t so sure about the bear.  Bessie, the generic cow, said something very inappropriate that we can’t repeat.  Other cows mentioned that the bear didn’t seem as polite as the crocodiles.  Jane, the cow accountant, noted that bears don’t actually produce anything that farms need.  Christine, the cow safety officer, mentioned that bears were potentially dangerous.  Bessie, the generic cow, also mentioned that the bear looked angry.

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“Rawr,” said the bear (whose name was Boris, and who was offended that nobody had really given any proper introductions, so impolite – he was Canadian, and was upset at how rude these animals were).  Princess and the cows decided to spend some time far from the bear whose name and nationality they didn’t know.

They had another meeting.  “Princess, you need to do something about the bear.”  Jane, the cow accountant, mentioned that there were some concerns about accounts, but maybe they could wait for the bear situation to be handled.

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They had a farm to run, so Princess bravely introduced herself to the bear formally and used her impeccable manners to make friends.  But still even with cows, crocodiles, and a bear, Jane, the cow accountant, was insistent about the fact that the farm still wasn’t earning enough money.  In fact it seemed like they somehow had less money, which she tried to explain in a long drawn out explanation.  While Jane was rambling, Princess left to go to the place where you get animals to get some more.

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In retrospect, it probably wasn’t a good idea to get a Spinosaurus.  The Spinosaurus was terribly rude as well as terrifyingly dangerous.  The cows all insisted that a Spinosaurus was not a farm animal.  Boris mentioned that he thought that Spinosauruses were extinct, though obviously he wasn’t a well educated bear.

Christine, the cow safety officer, mentioned that bears ate berries, roots, and honey, cows ate grass, crocodiles didn’t eat, but she was pretty sure that the Spinosaurus ate hedgehogs, cows, and bears.

The crocodiles were happy, though, as they basked in the sun at the pond.

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“I have an idea, eh,” said Boris, stepping forth with great gravitas and bearing.  “Things are getting complex.  It’s especially challenging with that hoser Quentin limiting our prodigious vocabularies.  I am a very erudite bear with a Masters degree in Comparative Mythology, so this is killing me.  Let’s check the internet to see what it says about hedgehog-run farms with cows, bears, crocodiles, and Spinosauruses.  There’s probably tons of web page site whatevers about that topic.”  So Princess searched websites, and finally went to a hedgehog farmer’s web forum (hedgehogfarmercentral.com) to try to figure things out.  The other hedgehogs on the Internet suggested she go to hedgehogfarmsupply.com to order some automated assistants.  One helpful forum member mentioned that if she used her Ink credit card she would earn points that might be useful to offset farm expenses. There was something else about how it would code as office supplies, but the post was too long to finish reading. Princess had online farm shopping to do. So she ordered some automated farm assistants.

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The helper robots were very good at teaching the Spinosaurus manners.  The cows liked the robots, they worked with the bear to overcome his irrational fear of Spinosauruses, and the crocodiles liked the robots, bonding over the fact that they had a lot in common.

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The farm started making a profit, they were producing milk, crocodile eggs, the robots taught the bear to collect a lot of honey to sell, and the dinosaur did an incredibly nice job at being a dinosaur.  The only problem was that the robots did such a wonderful job at running the farm that there wasn’t a need for Princess to even be there any longer.

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So, with all her farm business humming along nicely, Princess decided to take a trip to the outer reaches of interstellar space to pursue her real passion – space exploration.

Next: Princess Pricklepants and the Planet of the Dinosaurs

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

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.

Poll: Which Is The Most Adorable?


Recently while admiring the recent wonderful photo of birds and other things from our trip to Disney World (with a Gatorland side-trip), we meandered a bit further back in time and reviewed the photos from Princess in her anarchist period.  There are always a lot of things we don’t post since we generally try to distill things down into the 8-23 photo range.

Here’s one that would have been perfect, but which was supplanted by a different perfect photo:

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Seriously, that hedgehog smirking at Mary-Kate and Ashley, thinking of a hilarious thing mocking them in hedgehog language, it’s perfect.

While perusing them, we found two photos that divided the household.  While one faction insisted on the cuteness of one of the photos, another faction insisted on the cuteness of the other and the weakness of cuteness judgment skills of certain family members.  This resulted in a disagreement that we need you, the Internet, to resolve…  There is a thing that the web-visionary types who give TED talks used to like to talk about a few years back called “The Wisdom of Crowds,” which meant that if you ask a lots of people about something, they’ll be right.  It’s worked amazingly well in always choosing the best presidents and other elected officials, so obviously it’s a great idea for making all choices.

So we bring you, the Internet, a new poll.  Or we do in a second.  First we need to introduce you to the two photos at the center of the disagreement.  Since this poll is part of the important democratic duties of the Internet, we will be as fair, neutral, detached, objective, disinterested, unbiased, evenhanded, equitable, and every other related synonym as possible in presenting these photos.

First, look at the incredibly cute photograph A:

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Note the adorable expression, the heart-melting adorableness of the pose, and general cuteness of this sweet, lovely hedgehog.  Also the general brightness of the photo, and color tones that bring out a light and happy mood, that silly and amusing pose, and all the other factors that make this an incredibly cute photo that you plan to vote for as a more discriminating connoisseur of cuteness.

Next, look at photograph B, which while admittedly well photographed by a skilled photographer, still isn’t as sharp or clear as the former.  The covered eyes, while cute, also keep you from seeing the expression of Princess, while the color temperature seems a bit too warm.  Obviously cute, but in our evenhanded, equitable, neutral, and unbiased opinion, as well as in the opinion of those who are among the better and brighter types like you, still lacking.

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So, Internet, we present you with this poll so that the wisdom of your crowds can solve this question for us:

Princess Pricklepants, Blogger, Procrastinator


Princess Pricklepants was sitting around not writing blog posts.  She got the internet working on her semi-new laptop, braced herself to write something, then checked Wikipedia to look up something about procrastination, to maybe understand it better.  Four hours later she had finished many Wikipedia articles, culminating with methods of weaving with a loom.  It was really surprisingly interesting.

She had to write.  Write, write, write.  Something.  Something original.  Worth reading.  Fun.  Engaging.  Witty.  Clever.  The Great American Novel of blog posts.  Better punctuated than this.  And, ideally, with more verbs and fewer sentence fragments.  Maybe a little less self-referential.  Maybe not.

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She decided to go for a little walk.  On her walk, she discovered something truly remarkable.  Behind the place where her desk was, at the very spot where she’d once peed on the floor, there was a mysterious doorway.  The sign said it led to a secret garden, though you could read that yourself.

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She hurried through to the other side.  No photos were taken in order to protect the mystery.

The other side was truly mysterious.  Amid IKEA furnishings stood whimsical fantasy elements, seemingly put together haphazardly.  This was very puzzling.  Also why was the radio up where she couldn’t reach it?  Why was it playing Enya songs?  Why did the door look the same on both sides?  Why did it have a sign up saying it led to a secret place?  Wouldn’t that very sign mean it wasn’t secret?  Curiouser and curiouser.

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Then she realized, this would make a great blog post!

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A really great one!

Zoing!

 

But first she had to find the hidden treasure.

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Treasure!

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She decided she would read a Wikipedia article on narrative structure, perhaps there was a way to give her post a clear beginning, middle, and end.

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Hedgehogs and humans don’t always react the same way to things.  Reading an article on narrative structure was so incredibly exciting for a hedgehog.  When she found tvtropes, it was so exciting to a budding hedgehog blogger that she peed a little on the floor.

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And then she woke up in her favorite green blanket.  It was all just a dream.

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But wait, waking up in the green blanket was all a dream too.  She woke up, peeked out of her cuddle bag, and planned for her real blog post, rather than the dream one.

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And, dear readers, we’re very sorry that we had that brief hiatus.  Princess would like you to know that she loves you this much:

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