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


Dear readers,

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

First, this is the third of a multipart series:

Part I is here

Part II is here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane said, “Item two – the pie…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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They arrived.

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

There was only one vote against.

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

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

“Fine.”

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

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Princess bravely attempted her natural defense maneuver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, you have a blog? So do I.”

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

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

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

Princess had a solution.

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

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

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Homeward Bound: The Incredibly Long Journey With a Hedgehog, a Puppet Giraffe, and a Famous Frog


Part I – New Years IHOP

Disclaimer: dear readers, we fully understand that as this is a hedgehog blog, and as such, content should feature and focus on hedgehogs, and in particular our favorite hedgehog.  Please note that the following post is only minimally hedgehog related, but serves as critical bridge into further posts that will highlight hedgehog related antics, hijinks, adventures, perils, peregrinations, and other words for the kinds of things these blog posts tend to include.  It primarily features a close personal friend to our hedgehog.

Disclaimer disclaimer: Please note that the previous disclaimer was very wordy for a disclaimer leading into a blog post.  If you aren’t interested in reading long disclaimers, feel free to skip the previous section.

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer: Its come to the editor’s attention that it’s unlikely a reader would encounter the disclaimer disclaimer until after encountering the disclaimer which would make it unlikely that the reader would actually be able to skip the passage in question.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Post disclaimer: There are numerous disclaimers that could be posted about previous disclaimers but in the interest of proceeding to content rather than discussions about content we will pause in our disclaiming for the time being.  If critical disclaiming is required, please rest assured that we will make sure to disclaim critical issues.

Post disclaimer disclaimer:  Sorry, this really was just gratuitous.

So anyway, we drove back.  It was rainy.  We past the Mississippi visitor center but it really seemed very cold, unwelcoming, and a generally bad scene for a hedgehog, a giraffe puppet, a stuffed frog, or humans.  We didn’t take a picture to allow the active imaginations of our readers the opportunity of building a more dramatic scene in the imagination.

So we drove non-stop to Pearl City Louisiana, which interestingly was before the Louisiana Visitor’s Center, as if the Visitor Center was trying to tell you something about just how interesting that place was.

Disclaimer: The Louisiana Visitor Center isn’t very honest, it’s actually a lovely gem of a town.

We pulled in, set up Princess’s home in our motel and then realized that it was New Years Eve and we needed to eat.  We went to find a place to eat working around the picky Princess Sophie’s demands we eventually went to IHOP.  We could not bring Princess P. P. due to the institutional pet prejudice that prevent pets participation in potlucks, restaurants, and most eating establishments.

Man, that’s a lot of words before a single photo.  We are violating a basic rule of our blog – “show, don’t tell.”

We have an IHOP tradition, started by the current author of this piece, that when we get to the table, we take spoons and pour spoons full of syrup as a kind of IHOP aperitif.

Disclaimer: We’d seen Saving Mr. Banks recently and since then I’ve constantly had Mary Poppins songs lilting through my head, so please mentally accompany the following images with “a spoon full of syrup” to get a full sense of the experience.

Mmmm, Fancy likes syrup.

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Not to be outdone, Kermit showed that he loved syrup.

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Really loved it.

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Delicious, delicious syrup.

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After getting all hopped up on syrup, Fancy rehearsed for Annoying Private Ryan, while Kermit hopped in to help.

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Kermit kept hopping into action.

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Food came, and mortified children were briefly relieved until Fancy got hungry.

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Princess Sophie kindly shared.

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Ryan rudely interfered with Annoying Private Ryan rehearsals.

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Briefly.

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As we left, Fancy wished the poor staff a happy new year.

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And with that, we were ready to go to bed for a very long drive, preparing for more blog posts that involved more hedgehogs and fewer disclaimers.

The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 3 – The Princess Strikes Back!


Previously Part 1, Part 2.

Now begins part 3 of our travelogue, heading on the final stretch, over the river and through the woods to Grandmothers’s house.  It was a long drive, so Fancy made good use of the time rehearsing for his role in Annoying Private Ryan:

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Still nailing it!

Alabama has a welcome center too, we are sensing a pattern.  The first thing we find is a phone booth, a strange relic from the lost past of telephony. Maybe it is a time machine!  Princess attempted to communicate with it, but found it strangly unresponsive. Fancy tried to help, but also found it unresponsive. Princess wanted to change into a superhero costume in the phone booth, but we didn’t bring any superhero costumes with us, so Princess and Fancy just played in the booth for a while instead.

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Next to the booth was a large concrete monolith with an inspirational saying on it.    Fancy thought it must have been placed there by a fellow pet’s rights activist – the persecution of pet’s rights and the sinister signage of institutionalized pet prejudice is an injustice Fancy hopes to overcome some day.  He has a dream. Fancy is sure that concrete block is meant to inspire pets everywhere to fight the peculiar and perversely pernicious idea of defending the idea that it’s a “right” to keep pets from visiting visitor centers.  Fight the power, hedgehogs, you have nothing to lose but your leashes!

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Princess bristled at Marxist undertones of Fancy’s proclamations.  As a member of the aristocracy she feels torn. Fancy thought it best to change the topic, since it was a bit of a prickly subject.

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“Cousin Phil?”

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There were some lovely holly bushes, so we posed Princess in front of them and got this super lucky photo of Princess waving!  Whoah!

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Once again we met our old nemesis.  Rather than explaining with complicated words and sentences why this is bad, we didn’t.

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Princess and Fancy were both appalled.

Fancy can be quite the activist…

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Is this what happens when a puppet has nothing left to lose?  Pushed to the edge, will Fancy, once a mild-mannered and law abiding puppet, become a rule-breaker?

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Clearly.

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Fancy even turned to handing out brochures he wasn’t authorized to dispense!

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And engaged in doing whatever it is that’s happening here.

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The breakdown into anarchy continued.  Princess turned from her mild mannered rigid authoritarianism to anarchy to the point that *she went past the NO PETS ALLOWED sign*!  At this point things were careening off.  Princess even tried to climb into that little buttoned down spot on my collar that there was no way she’d ever fit into.

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But with family intervention and care she settled down a bit – note she still was rebelliously sticking out her tongue here.

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With more time cooler heads prevailed, and we persuaded Fancy and Princess of the value of the social contract,  and that we had a Grandma to get to.

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On the way out, we decided that there must be a politically connected brother with a sign making business, because seriously.

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And later that day we got to Grandma’s

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And Great Grandma Gracie even got to see Princess Pricklepants:

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THE END

The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 2


Previously.

We made our way on the long drive from Louisiana to Mississippi, a state with constant and consistent consonant complications.

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Princess liked it since it had two Ps in the name.  Fancy had many opinions about Mississippi but nobody was interested in hearing them.  So he rehearsed for “Annoying Private Ryan”:

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Nailed it.

For various reasons Mississippi claims to be “The Birthplace of America’s Music,” which seems like a very grand claim.  We could have been pedantic quibblers, but hedgehogs don’t really promote pedantic quibbling so we tried to work with it:

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Once again we encountered the sinister signage of institutionalized pet prejudice.

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While we were taking photos of our hedgehog out front, various people noticed our hedgie, and we were showing her to them.  One of the workers at the visitor’s center noticed Princess and liked her, and wanted us to bring her in, though when he tried to get us in, security actually stopped us.  The Man Holding the Hedgehog Down. (Technically security was actually a lady, and she didn’t hold the hedgehog).  Here was the worker who liked Princess holding her:

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We sort of took our a stand for pet civil liberties, in a way, by taking pictures of our hedgehog near the sinister signage of institutionalized pet prejudice.

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Others kind of joined us, in a sense, by also taking pictures of our hedgehog near the sinister… the “No Pets” sign.

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Given the circumstances, we left Princess safely in the car and went inside the Mississippi Welcome Center with Fancy to take a stand.  Inside there was this painting of an American ship exploding, as if Mississippi wanted to say, “welcome, ships explode here sometimes, but not often.”

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Since the Visitor’s Center was under Pet Segregation, only Fancy was able to pose before the state seal, though he tried to appear hedgehog-like in solidarity.  Next time we plan to bring toothpicks to really show them.

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Fancy also met Miss. Mississippi, who he enjoyed meeting.  Luckily she wasn’t Mrs. Mississippi since that would have been far too difficult to say, and also Fancy might have been challenged to a duel.

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After talking to the nice people and forgetting to mention that they really shouldn’t be prejudiced against pets, we headed back to the car.  Princess was sleeping in her huffledome, so we let her be without further photographic documentation.

Next – The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part  3 – Alabama’s Revenge (and Land of Too Many Signs).

The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 1


On the day after Christmas we packed up a minivan and headed out on the road for a trip to go visit family in Alabama.  This was the first time we’ve traveled with Princess Pricklepants, so this was a learning opportunity for us.  So far we’ve learned that traveling with hedgehogs isn’t as bad as it might sound.  The kids have also learned that traveling with their parents is as bad as it sounds.

For this trip we took along another traveling companion, Fancy, who you probably remember from a previous post.  Fancy is our giraffe friend who was a costar in the theatrical release of the drama, “The Princess, the Dragon, and the Giraffe.”  Fancy has starred in many long car drive based dramas, including the early hit, “Ow!” as well as many other serial dramas like “Don’t Make Me Pull This Car Over,” “Does Anybody Need To Go To The Bathroom,” and the incredibly long running “No, We Just Got Food.”

After a long day’s drive, we pulled in for dinner at Cracker Barrel in Beaumont, Texas.  Fancy generously covered our dinner at Cracker Barrel.

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The Cracker Barrel cashier was quite surprised to be able to meet Fancy, we guessed that he had never met a giraffe actor of Fancy’s fame before.

Once we got checked in at the hotel Fancy called his agent.

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No new jobs, but a he did send over a script to look at called, “Annoying Private Ryan.”  Here’s a shot from one of the many, many rehearsals:

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The next day we made it to Louisiana.  The visitor’s center had a lot of construction work happening which created some tension between Princess and Fancy in the parking lot.

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Then we made a startling discovery.  The Louisiana Visitor’s Center was prejudiced against pets!

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Facing grave injustice, Princess and Fancy made up and joined together in solidarity.

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Together they laughed at danger:

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Unfortunately, Fancy had broken the law.  Princess was a strong law and order hedgehog, who felt she had no choice but to arrest him.

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Princess had stark plans for the scofflaw Fancy.

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Fortunately a very friendly and cooperative local construction worker stepped in and began the long needed process of bringing peace and healing between hedgehog and giraffe.

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(Side note, has anyone noticed that Christmas keeps coming earlier and earlier each year?  It’s not even January, and they already have these things up.)

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Coming after this, The Perils of Pet Prejudice Part 2.