Nov 12, 2019 11:53 PM
Jaime in Fabulous
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She can do that too.

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Jaime has an idea.

She applies a layer of tinted darkness over everything she has that currently has possesses a gradient. She sets the tint of each layer so that it matches the underlying color of whatever it’s covering; it should initially be almost unnoticeable, although she might get some fuzz.

She reverts all of the gradients - the curlicues, the feathers, the flowers, the shiny tattoos - that are underneath her tinted darkness.

And then, after five seconds, the layers of darkness don’t actually move, but the gradients on them start shifting - as smoothly as she can make them - so that each gradient seems like it’s flowing across the surface of whatever it happens to be covering. She preprograms them so that they ought to go on doing this indefinitely, unless interrupted.

She doesn’t expect to get this quite right on her first try, and she might have to do it piecemeal and bootstrap her way up into doing it precisely, but she has time.

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Her magic levels fluctuate pretty wildly while the first attempt is in progress, and at a low ebb some of the blobs wink out of existence and then that makes it worse and some of the gradient motions stop working and then another blob disappears.

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She’s willing to persevere in spite of this complication! This seems like a really promising avenue of exploration.

She reinstates her original non-tinted-darkness-derived gradients, and tries the original process again in a different order; if that order also doesn’t work she’s willing to stay up for another six hours or so trying different approaches.

What if she does it in this order or that order or that order, what if she makes the gradient-movement faster or slower, what if she refrains from removing each base gradient and just adds moving tinted darkness on top, what if she only partially removes each base gradient, what if she progressively adds on layers of really faint tinted darkness instead of applying it all at once, what if she tries dancing prettily and adding on gradients simultaneously even though doing that is astonishingly difficult...

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Most of her clever ideas just don't work. One thing that does work, while she's trying things, is to have gradients be either silver-gold or rosegold-gold with both applied on a gold background - silver rendered as darkness that blocks the golden color from shining through, and the rose-gold as a pink-orange filter over the gold. Once she has that programmed nicely and moving very languidly it's a net improvement.

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A stylist could presumably figure out how to implement something more elaborate, but she’s already in debt for today’s appointment. She’ll spit on the figurative face of feedback loops in due time.

And then stab the figurative kidney of feedback loops until it dies a slow and painful death, mewling in agony until the last drop of figurative blood flees from its figurative corpse.

And then dance on the figurative grave of feedback loops and - you get the picture.

She goes to bed. She wakes up, the next day, and arrives at swarm response headquarters at an appropriate time, stardarters wreathed in darkness and in tow - she got them in the mail on Thursday, and tentative tests while shooting at trees haven’t shown any issues.

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"Hiya," says Betty. "How was your week?"

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“I had a neat idea yesterday and it mostly didn’t work out, it was frustrating. My week was otherwise decent; I went to a stylist, busked, listened to public school teachers drone on, fed pigeons, that sort of thing.”

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"You do look a little dressier," Betty says. "Who was your stylist?"

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“Tanya McCord.”

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"Don't know her," says Betty.

"You could stand to have more respect for your teachers," says Lauren.

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“I have some issues with how public education is structured, but you’re right that saying that was unfair and unproductive. Teachers are stuck in very difficult positions and they often handle those positions badly, but that isn’t their fault, and criticizing them as a group doesn’t accomplish anything.”

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The truck trundles along. Pam gives Betty baking tips for how to jazz up box mix cake.

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Jaime has opinions on jazzing up box mix cake! She shares them once Pam seems finished and there’s a decent moment, avoiding any points of overlap - here’s how you incoporate fruit purée without a ton of hassle, here’s why sour cream works well, here’s why you should almost always avoid using plain water...

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Betty thinks this is all real interesting and wants to know how she'd do an almond flavored one.

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Betty continues to be the most likable person in this squad, although that isn’t saying that much,

Jaime informs her about the existence of almond extract! And about frosting topped with crushed almonds. And about almonds turned into crumbs via food processor and added directly to the batter just so.

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"Is that like almond flour? My grandma said almond flour."

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“They’re mostly interchanagble, but the kind you make at home is going to be more coarse, and more fresh. I wouldn’t rely on it to make an entire cake almond flavored; almond extract is still your best best. It might just be a good finishing touch.”

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"Grandma said just add a quarter cup to the batter."

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“Some of it depends on how strongly flavored you want your cake to be.”

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"I want it pretty almondy."

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“Then I recommend using almond extract, like I described.”

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"Yeah but how much of the flour?"

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Jaime only has herself to blame for her involvement in this tedious conversation. 

“A quarter cup should still work.”

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"Okay."

Lauren has been on her phone and repeats a joke her friend sent her and the conversation riffs from there.

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