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

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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.

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:

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.

Hedgehog of War


The battle lines were drawn once more, another day, another war.  The Redvians set out to conquer their hated foe, the Blutopians.  Blood would surely flow.

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The secret weapon was unleashed!  Cry havoc and let slip the hedgehog of war!

The Secret Weapon Is Unleashed

The secret weapon was rather uncooperative, since it was more interested in the back of the battle tower.

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She was very comfortable there, so she took a nap.

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“Um, hello, um, excuse me, so would you mind, you know, unleashing your wrath on the enemy?”

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Those who wake a sleeping hedgehog quickly feel the sharp quills of pain and death.

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She seemed quite pleased with the results of her rampage.

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Sir Yorick remained hiding in the castle, peering out the window in terror.

She worked her way in.

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Few men know the terror of an adorably pygmy hedgehog terrifyingly working its way towards you, a huge prickly-bear forcing her way through the castle door, getting ready to snuffle away viciously.

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Alas, poor Yorick.

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