The second story was more interesting to me than the first in some ways. I wound up deconstructing the author's first paragraph in excruciating detail in order to identify why it threw me out of the story rather than inviting me in. If they take it well during live critique next weekend, I may ask for permission to repost that one bit, without attribution. (Or with, I suppose, if they want to be cited that way on this blog.)
It was an interesting exercise, to say the least, and it made me realize how much I really have learned in the past six or seven years. There are so many little trips and triggers which are largely invisible to a casual perusal, and we file them out of our prose over time without ever quite realizing they are there.
More to the point, it makes me wonder how much else lurks invisible in my current prose, to be discovered by my future self.
Note to universe: Could I be accomplished now, please? It would save ever so much trouble.