July 14th, 2013

Books

LJ Idol Exhibit B: "No Half-Measures"

No Half-Measures
LJ Idol Exhibit B |week 8, 1 | 1381 words
Design flaw

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A few months ago, my father related some anecdote from when I was twelve. He'd been about to take the car into the shop to have the doors cleaned out, but first showed me the clogged hole in each one.

"Look at how they made this," I apparently had said. "This groove outside the window sends rainwater and dirt into the holes and plugs them up, instead of sending them toward the ground."

"That's when I knew you were going to be an engineer," he concluded (completely forgetting about my entire first-career detour through music).

"It's true," my mother said.

I don't remember the incident he talked about at all, but I have to admit, it sounds exactly like something I would say.

The way things are made is ridiculously interesting to me. The parts that don't work as they should can bother me for years on end. And yes, I can hold a grudge!

Automobiles are a never-ending source of not-quite-right features, where designers often go overboard in counteracting previous issues. My current car has fantastic, expandable cup-holders that can accommodate things other than soda cans… but are located so that the beverages block the AC and heating vents. Nice! The visors that keep sun from coming through the front windshield have a gap around the rearview mirror, a gap which helpfully lets in enough sunlight to blind you if you're going the wrong direction at the wrong time of day. Why isn't that little area completely dark? Is it so we can be prepared in the event of a helicopter suddenly approaching from above?

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Books

Lj Idol Exhibit B: "Empty Spaces"

Empty Spaces
LJ Idol Exhibit B | week eight, 2 | 790 words
When I Was Young (a story set in the S.A.T.E.D. universe)

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Jimmy asked me about Daddy again today. I still don't know what to say.

Jimmy thinks I must know a whole lot about Daddy, since I was two when he disappeared and Jimmy wasn't even born yet. But you can't remember stuff from when you were two, unless it's your favorite toy or something. I think Daddy maybe had a deep voice and was kind of tall like Uncle Pete. I remember being sad when he didn't come home, and feeling kind of scared. Then Jimmy was born, and I guess the Remaking started then too. A lot of people didn't come home after that, and nobody talks about why. It's like they've forgotten.

Maybe Ma doesn't remember Daddy either. I asked her once if she thought he was dead, and she looked like she was going to cry so I never asked again. All we have is a few pictures, like "John and Charlie" with me riding on his shoulders, or one of him and Ma getting married. I don’t know how pictures work—they're from Before. We have one of Jimmy as a baby, but that's about it. Pictures were taken by machines, so maybe they're not allowed anymore. I don't really understand why machines are bad, except what they tell us in school. I'm not supposed to ask about them, even where they all went. We still have a few machines left in our houses and our town, but Ma says those are the important ones. Who decides what's important? Maybe I'd rather have pictures instead of a refrigerator.

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