Nov 12, 2019 3:03 AM
Jaime in Fabulous
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When everybody's in and it's time to start the Thaumaturge closes the doors with a dramatic thud and the choir files out of their hiding place behind the statue and starts singing.

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Jaime isn’t particularly impressed.

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The choir sings anyway. When they've finished their song, the thaumaturge sweeps up to the pulpit and begins her sermon. This week's is about swarms and how they are bad. There's another song and then group prayer mostly focused on someone known to some of the congregation who died to a monster while hiking.

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Jaime resists the urge to go out in the middle of the service and return with popcorn. Look at how restrained she is.

She spends the duration of the group prayer quietly deciding how much of her eventual stable income she wants to donate to deworming efforts, and determines that 16.666 is a nice round number.

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The choir sings again, and then there's a Quakerish period where people can stand up to say things they want to say. The first to stand is a woman who's just found out she's pregnant and would like to talk about that.

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Jaime has opinions about declining birth rates in developed countries! She does not really have opinions on individual pregnancies. Good for you, random pregnant woman, nice job on the procreative sex, here’s hoping you aren’t emotionally abusive or otherwise an unfit parent?

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If she is it doesn't come up while she's talking! Everyone says "amen" after she's done and then there's a forty-second pause and then a five year old stands up and says that he's worried about his friend who missed school on Friday because he was sick.

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This is moderately cute.

Jaime mostly tunes out everyone else in favor of contemplating various miscellanea; she makes a vague effort to look attentive.

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Sometimes the silence stretches on for as long as five minutes, but more people stand up and comment on things - some of them have political opinions, or amateur philosophy, in addition to or instead of life problems.

Eventually time runs out and the thaumaturge signals the choir for one last song.

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And then Jaime can leave! She’s glad that she tried that out at least once, but she doesn’t feel any particular need to do it again.

She tries getting darkness to appear with a built in delay, so that it appears three seconds after she takes the associated mental action, during her flight home.

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She can do that.

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She flies back home.

She stares at a stopwatch, goes temporarily back to her non-darkness-based gradient scheme (after taking video of what she has presently), does a few dry runs, and tries installing rose gold-gold-silver gradients in about the same fashion she tried yesterday - except this time she times it as precisely as possible, with a delay on the actual appearance of each section of tinted darkness, so that they all appear very-close-to-simultaneously, with as little time between their mass appearance and the dismissal of her base gradients as she can manage. 

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That works pretty well.

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Jaime is annoyed at herself for failing to think of this strategy yesterday, and glad that it actually works. 

She tries out a few dozen different tweaks on the exact nature of her animated gradients - different speeds, different color balances, different colors or shades underlying them, different directions of perceived color-flow - since she now has the luxury of testing things out without worrying about catastrophic cascades.

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Slow is good. More silver seems good, maybe just because the darkness-based gradient works a little bit better in grayscale. Flow outward from flower petals is better than inward or across the whole flower.

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She takes some video of how her current outfit works, writes down the time interval that worked best, and decides that she’s had enough fashion redesign for the night.

 

... you know, come to think of it, there are probably magical girl internet forums - ones which contain anything of value, even. She searches around for them.

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There are some! There's elementsofstyle.com and swarmwatch.com and pairwise.com and inskirts.com, which are respectively "costuming tips" and "a community for swarm-hunting magical girls" and "magical girl dating site" and "magical girl fan and networking forum".

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Giving other people fashion advice and getting it in return sounds like it could be both mildly entertaining and productive.

She reads around on elementsofstyle.com, and makes an account and an introductory post.

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She gets some hi messages and one "remember you need to post a pic to get tips!" reply from a moderator called BohoRojo.

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What a charming name.

She posts a few different pictures, from different angles, alongside a short video that demonstrates how her animated gradients work and a concise written explanation of her outfit.

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She gets a lot of compliments on the gradients, and some ideas, some of which she hasn't tried before and some she has. The most helpful idea to appear quickly is that she could do extreme contouring with shadows over her face; it's accompanied by a link to the poster's own critique thread with a demand for return tips.

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She doesn’t approve of this forum’s culture - there has to be some more elegant way to align incentives, here - but she’ll tolerate it.

For now.

The compliments are... surprisingly nice. She tries various implementations of extreme contouring over her face, and peers at that poster’s critique thread and outfit.

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The poster's going with a stormcloud theme. The thread is marked "look in progress" and "gentle critique only".

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Jaime adds in a link to her outfit’s associated forum post to her signature, and writes up a post.

She divides it into three sections - ‘minor changes’, ‘major changes’, and ‘overhauls’ - and fills it up with about five hundred words worth of thoughtful suggestions. She can’t manage ‘gentle’; she settles for framing everything in concise ‘you may want to’ statements.

She also fiddles with her snazzy new shadow contouring until the magic seems as pleased as it’s going to get, and double-checks how much of a total difference it makes.

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It's a small total difference, but at this point most differences are small. It's unambiguously positive once she's fiddled with it, assuming fiddling with it involves watching at least one (1) video tutorial on contouring.

Her comments on the other girl's look get "wow wall of text" and "mods is this gentle?" from bystanders.

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