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


Previously: Princess Pricklepants and the Monkey Business

Dear Reader(s),

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

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

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

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

The Quiet Place

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

Dear Monkey,

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

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

PrincessPricklepantsCentral Forums -> Community board

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

Senior Member

She of the tea

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

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

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

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

Jane – Nov. 22 2015 11:03 AM
captainquillbeard

Admin

the accountant

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

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

Boris – Nov. 22 2015 11:05 AM
Clipjungle4new

Senior Member

“fourth wall demolitionist”

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

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

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

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

Senior Member

She of the tea

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

Admin

the accountant

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

Also, agreed, Boris’ jokes are becoming unbearable.

 

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

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

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

– Pinterest Paige

No Touching

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

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

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

-PPP

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

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

– Wishing They’d Cool It With The Refrigerator

Fridge Time II

Loitering with the refrigerator door open – uncouth

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

Dear Wishing You Were As Cool As a Refrigerator,

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

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

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

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

– Neat Freak

Eating In Bed

Eating and drinking in bed – a politeness apocalypse

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

Dear Nut Freak,

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

-HRH PPP

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

Dear Princess,

I have a lovely 17-year-old step-daughter. Recently she has developed a lot of anger issues and has loud, tantrum-like outbursts where she curses out her father and me, and says very hurtful things. She even called me a witch! What can I do to bring her in line?

– Frustrated Mom

Witch Trial

Witch accusations – ten points from Slytherin

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

Dear Frustrating Mom,

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

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

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

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

Dear Princess,

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

– Really Not Toys

Miniatures

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

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

Dear In Reality Toys,

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

-PPP

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

Dear Princess,

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

– Bessie

18658501738_ce897ffcfa_k

Surfing the net – politeness will vary

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

Dear Bessie,

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

-PP

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

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

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

-Primate Adversary

Catapult

Flinging monkeys with catapults indoors – clearly not polite

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

Dear Boris,

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

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

-HRH PPP

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

Dear Princess Pricklepants,

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

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

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

-Primate Adversary

Caged

Caging monkeys – probably poor manners.

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

Dear Boris,

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

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

-HRH PPP

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

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

– Boris

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

Princess Pricklepants and the 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, Mouseketeer


Dear Readers,

This is not part three of Princess Pricklepants and the Perils of Pirate Plunder, but just a quick post, because this photo of Princess Pricklepants trying out her Mouseketeer hat came out nicely:

DSC_0953

And here she is illustrating the polite way to scratch your nose – note no hands.

DSC_0928

A proper update is forthcoming once we get things more sorted out for the story.

Princess Pricklepants, Startup Founder Extraordinaire


Previously: Princess Pricklepants, Entrepreneur

Dear reader, for our preamble we’d like to say a number of fascinating, witty, clever, and delightful things, but we can’t think of any.  Sorry.

A reader contacted us indirectly with a really brilliant idea that we can’t tell you about.  Also, sorry.

Quentin emailed in to say something, but we haven’t read that email yet.  We’ll do that really soon, though.

Our awesome and brilliant reader Mike sent in this superb graphic, which you should all admire, and which we plan to develop into a theme once Princess runs for President, which now must happen.

143454496231422

On a separate note, we found someone reached our blog via a search for “when adventure trip on a ship. how can we do good manner.”  Cool!

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

DSC_0654

Princess Pricklepants gathered the council of cows et al. to pitch her latest idea in the living room.  Startups were supposed to be in garages, but she didn’t have a garage, so the living room would have to do.  “Princess Pricklepants-pedia – an online encyclopedia of all things related to me.”  Jane, the cow accountant and general downer, explained that this sounded like a really fun idea, but had the problem that there was no way to possibly ever make money.

“Well, what about a blog?”

“You’ve got a blog, and so far you’ve lost money.  Your blog is free so you don’t even get anything from the ads other people see.  It’s just a vanity project.”

“Mugs and Tee-shirts?”

“No”

Princess turned to google “polite web startup ideas,” but the first result was an article titled, “Polite, Purposeful People Create Startups That Fail.”  Clearly google was confused.

DSC_0611

Christine, the cow safety officer, had a warning, “Since we’re starting a business we should use Robert’s Rules of Order and keep minutes so that we have accountability.”

Boris made a motion, “I propose that we never ever use Robert’s Rules of Order.  All those in favor?”

The ayes had it.

DSC_0626

Boris stepped forth with a daring plan, “We start a comparative mythology as a service company.  We create a platform for employees on their mythic and heroic quests.”

This was not well accepted.

Princess pitched another idea, “MaPaaS, Manners and Politeness as a Service, we architect a dynamic cloud platform for delivering the infrastructure of manners, refinement, sophistication, and politeness to the enterprise.  We’ll target mobile advice.  Also, synergy.”

Nobody could think of an objection, or if they had one they couldn’t find a polite way to say it (since the software didn’t exist yet), so they started their plan.

Their plan had three parts.

1) Develop dynamic MaPaaS cloud platform.

2) …

3) Profit.

DSC_0634

Boris said, “Oh, we also need to name the business, this is an important part of the heroic  journey.”

Jane suggested, “Politetronic Logistics”

“No”

“Manner Cloud”

“No”

“Telstar Etiquettronics”

“Yes!”

They googled it to make sure nobody had already taken the name.  Clear.  They still needed to register telstaretiquettronics.com, but would get to that soon.

Boris said, “Princess, there’s an important point I think I need to make.  If we look at this situation in terms of a literary structure, there’s no antagonist, nor are we following a traditional comic form of three separate minor conflicts that intertwine until they are resolved in a denouement.”

Princess explained, “Boris, we aren’t in some fictional universe, we’re real hedgehogs and cows and bears doing work things.  Real life isn’t like fiction, there aren’t usually antagonists or neat little situations that get wrapped up nicely.  It’s just you and your friends and family and coworkers doing your things as best you can, and trying to not waste all your time watching amazing hedgehog videos on YouTube or reading wikipedia articles when you should be getting important things done.”

She then checked wikipedia to make sure this was correct and wound up reading about grizzly bears for a while, then salmon, then the Yukon river.  Then she watched an amazing hedgehog video.  Then she visited boingboing.net.

18658501738_ce897ffcfa_k

Eventually they got to working on part 1 of their plan.

DSC_0661

Part 1 was the fun and annoying part, since it meant they’d need to make a program.  They turned to Bessie, the generic cow, who was also a robotics programmer.  “Bessie, can you write the software tonight?”

“Um, well, you see, I, uh, write C for embedded systems, and for web things it’s all completely different.  We need to hire someone or learn these things.”

IMG_1475

Princess hit the books.  It was so boring, though.  All those letters and words that didn’t quite mean the right thing, and the jargon, that odd almost, but not quite English jargon.  Even with a montage this would be unbearable.  So they decided to find a programmer.

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While Mufiki, King of the Planet of the Baboons, might not have seemed like an immediately obvious choice, he had previous experience as a software engineer for a web company in the dot com days.  He was interested and would take low pay in exchange for equity.  Soon he had something running.  We’ll spare you the boring details of a code monkey.  He also wrote a module to measure how polite or impolite something was that was named polite-o-tron2000 that applied machine learning with vectorized Bayesean analysis on natural language processing, text analysis, and computational linguistics on the works of Emily Post on a Hadoop cluster (this obviously was a Big Data problem) to assign a score from 1 to 10, where 1 is something we couldn’t possibly say, and 10 is something really, really polite and appropriate.  Sorry, had to throw in boring details.

The software would send text messages to Princess’s iPhone where she would respond with helpful advice.  They ran their first test, sending an etiquette request:

“when adventure trip on a ship. how can we do good manner.”

Princess texted her reply, “When taking an adventure trip on a ship, always be sure to share treasure maps with any cows that want to go on the adventure with you.”  It went through the internet tubes and showed up in their software thing where it was supposed to.  polite-o-tron2000 ranked it a 10.  They were cooking with gas!

Many other things happened, but they were dull business things that nobody in their right mind would ever want to read about, let alone suffer through in real life, so we’ll skip to the interesting part – getting funding from venture capitalists.

They showed up at Yoyodynamic Capital to pitch their business. They did a great presentation on how Telstar Ettiquettronics was the premiere MaPaaS business in the industry, with exponential potential for growth, and presented their highly relevant buzzword catch-phrase – immersive big data and well-mannered disruption of advice columns through the mobile cloud, and also social media.  Negotiations were tense, but they were ultimately funded with a lot of money to start a business in ways that were complicated to explain, but which Jane, the cow chief financial officer thought were workable.

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Yoyodynamic Capital even forgave Princess for climbing on the table.

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Thus they were probable tech millionaires.  Maybe.  All they had to do was make an actual company with customers, a long term manageable strategy, and a way to make a profit – easy.

Next episode: Will they buy a foosball table, fancy espresso machines, and nerf guns with their startup capital?  Will the Yoyodynamic dinosaurs betray the company?  Will the platform do the right platform-related things?  Will Princess become a tech millionaire?  Will this whole episode be explained away a few sentences in the next preamble?  Will they ever get a decent lighting setup so the color temperature and shadows aren’t all over the map?  These questions and others may or may not be answered in our next installment:

Princess Pricklepants and the Dinosaur Denouement

Princess Pricklepants and the Surprising Set of Events


Dear Readers,

We have a few items before our story that we feel are important to express.

First, this is our eighty-seventh post, the first being 1 year, 6 months, 1 week, and 3 days ago. Happy 1 year, 6 month, 1 week, and 3 dayiversary! Princess would like you all to know you really are our very favorite readers, and we are glad you are reading these tales of hedgehog royalty. You’re the best, except Quentin. Sorry Quentin, you’re second best.

Second, while we’re a little sad to say it, the following story is yet another in the series relating to goings on at Princess Pricklepants’ farm. This is not because it took a bit of work to get that set going, and we’re milking it since we’re lazy. It is for some other reason, one that is very persuasive.

Third, an attentive reader mentioned that weblogs are these things where you post relevant items of note about your life, goings on in things you’re interested in, or other sorts of things that aren’t stories about pet prejudice, procrastinating, encountering anarchist Barbie blogs, etc.  That reader was Quentin, and he’s wrong.

Finally, the following story contains graphic scenes of toy violence and may not be appropriate for our younger readers or those who are shocked, horrified, or distressed by such scenes.  You have been advised. For those brave enough to press on, here’s the first picture followed by words.

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Princess was concerned. She had gotten back from dropping off Mufiki back at his planet, and returned to a surprising scene. Mittens, the evil cat, had somehow managed to escaped the poorly guarded dungeon (as it turns out, the window slid up surprisingly easily), and had managed to seize control of the farm again. This time she’d put in an ad on Craigslist, and hired an army of men-at-arts, armed with fearsome weapons. It was a surprising set of events. Also it was a huge distraction, as she’d hoped to write a blog post.

Mittens began a bitter monologue, “It is I, Mittens, who once again have the upper hand, and this time my artful warriors shall do my bidding in…” There was a lot more, but you get the idea. The robots had been banished, the bear was in the paddock again with no reading material, the crocodiles (who had a terrible fear of heights) were stuck on a roof, the cows were stuck in the pasture doing nothing, leaving Jane, the cow accountant, very distressed at the state of the farm’s finances. There was also a new wall that the cat apparently believed left the castle invulnerable to catapults. Cats don’t really understand catapults, apparently.

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Twenty minutes later, once the monologue was complete, Princess held council with the cows (and sheep). Bessie, the generic cow (and sad robotic engineer with no robots to program) suggested that they might want to also put an ad on Craiglist and hire some kind of backup. This didn’t seem practical, since the cat had their computer, and Princess forgot her iPhone back on the Planet of the Baboons. Jane suggested they wait a week for the farm to go bankrupt and then they could buy it back when it was foreclosed on. This involved patience, which wasn’t Princess’ way. Princess wished she could get to the computer, since she could visit hedgehogfarmercentral.com for advice, and also catch up on email, and maybe play a little Scrabble online, and then work on a blog post after reading wikipedia a little, but alas they were in a digital dark age. After more reflection she came up with a daring plan to be described after the next picture.

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“Mittens, I challenge you to put up one warrior in single combat against one of ours. The victor shall take the farm, the loser shall be banished,” said Princess. Mittens replied in a long drawn out agreement that we will spare you from reading, and selected Sir. Meow-Meow (the cat had given them their titles) as her representative.

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Princess chose Boris. The cat was annoyed, but had to let it pass. Boris was released, ambled forth to the field of battle, and said to the man-at-art, “You, good sir, will now pay for depriving me of my copy of War and Peace that I was in the middle of reading and really into.  It’s kind of long, but in a metaphorical sense Princes is our Catherine the Great, while your cat is Napoleon, who will suffer a stinging defeat today. Or perhaps Princess is like Natasha Rostova, while you are like Ippolit Vasilyevich, and the cat like…” The bear’s attempts are comparisons of the current situation to the Tolstoy novel became complex, detailed, and somewhat strained, so we’ll spare you.

The knight taunted the bear, “Foolish bear, you think you can defeat me!?” He then said many very unkind things about Tolstoy, Russian literature in general, bears, hedgehogs, cows, tea parties, and many other things. All were so impolite we can’t repeat them, but imagine something very rude, then imagine googling it (with SafeSearch on) and finding the worst thing in the results, something truly uncouth, impolite, poorly informed, and ill-mannered. Then imagine multiplying it by two (or if you are bad at math imagine doubling it). It was that bad. Please don’t actually do those google searches, though. Princess was shocked at the impropriety, and even the cat almost looked like it was blushing under its plushy fur.

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Several seconds later Sir Meow-Meow deeply regretted his words. Several more seconds later, Mittens, the treacherous cat, broke her agreement (as cats are wont to do) and called out for her warriors to attack.

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Unfortunately for the cat’s warriors, the crocodiles managed to find the elevator in the tower and joined the fray. As the battle escalated Princess went to retrieve The Secret Weapon. Christine, the cow safety officer, organized the cows into a safe orderly formation.

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The crocodile-laden hedgehog war tower (and orderly row of cows) struck fear in the heart of art model and cat alike. They fled in terror, never to return in all likelihood.

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Princess looked down on the tower and reflected with some melancholy at how her farm, intended to cultivate food and good things, had somehow brought so much chaos and despair to the world. She also had recently peed on part of the farm a bit to the left (tastefully obscured by the battle tower) so it was needing some extra cleaning. She realized it might be time to consider some new vocation, and began to think about retiring from the farm, filling out a resumé, finding some new line of work, and then she could check email, read some wikipedia, and maybe work on a blog post.

Note: No animals or toys were harmed in the production of this post, though there is still some cleaning to do.

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


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

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

Lesson 1: Catapults

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

-Big Trouble With A Little China

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Dear Big Trouble,

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

What do you do?

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

-Princess

Lesson 2: Cows on the Couch

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

-Flustered With The Cows

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Dear Flustered,

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

What do you do?

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

-Princess

Lesson 3: Passages to Secret Gardens

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

-Mom Of The Delusional

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Dear Delusional Mom,

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

What do you do?

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

-Princess

Lesson 4: Witch Accusations

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

-Frazzled

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Dear Fraggled,

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

What do you do?

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

-Princess

Lesson 5: Pirate Treasure Maps

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

-Dreading Pirates Robbing

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Dear Dread Pirate Roberts,

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

What do you do?

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

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

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

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

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

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Lesson 5.2: Pirate Treasure Negotiators Fainting

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

What do you do?

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

Lesson 6: Annoying Photographers

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Camera Man

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Dear Photography Male,

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

What do you do?

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

Lesson 6.1: Crying Photographers

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

What do you do?

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

Lesson 7: Pirate Maps

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

-Misunderstood

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

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

Lesson 7.1: Pirate Map Sharing

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

What do you do?

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

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Pals.  Good.

Lesson 7.2: Pirate Maps and Crocodiles

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

What do you do?

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

Lesson 8: Guests Crocodile Wrestling

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

What do you do?

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

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

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

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

-Points Widow

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Dear Window,

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

What do you do?

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

Lesson 10: The Call To Adventure

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

-Now Kind of Annoyed Mom Of The Delusional

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Dear Annoying Delusional Mom,

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

What do you do?

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

Manners - 20Adventure ho!

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