Thursday, March 08, 2007

Craziest week in a long time

Last Friday, my friends' baby Olivia died. She had congenital heart defects and it finally got to the point where she couldn't recover from either her defects or the operations to fix them. She was four and a half months old. Sarah and I visited her a few weeks ago when she had come home (still on oxygen) and Sarah took some lovely pictures of her.

On Monday, we went to the private viewing for Olivia in a mortuary in Ogden. We saw some friends, which is a strange thing about funerals. For Sarah's father's parents' funerals, there was an air of happiness and togetherness that would have been altogether out of place at Olivia's. I talked to Aaron, her father, and he was taking it about as well as anyone could.

On Tuesday, we went to the funeral and saw more friends. The coffin was tiny and white, with fake handles. The pallbearers wheeled it on a little cart like you might use for an overhead projector. Aaron gave a very moving tribute to her life.

At times like these, I think you wonder, "Where is God?" The platitudes that we share at funerals are unconvincing. It reminds me of The Brothers Karamazov, where Ivan says, suppose we could build heaven on earth, and all we required was the unredeemed suffering of an innocent child. We were with the family at the gravesite too.

On Wednesday, there was a career fair. I dropped off about 15 resumes. The employers seemed impressed with my record. On Thursday I had an interview for a tax software place and on Friday I had an interview with National Instruments. They both seemed like good companies. On Thursday, the HR lady said they'd probably be flying me to Denver for a last interview.

On Friday they said less, but it was still interesting. I did some Electrical Engineering 101 in a question on hardware. What devices would be necessary to measure the temperature of a room? I said you could train a camera on a mercury thermometer, then use image processing techniques to find out where the break is between the mercury and the empty glass. My interviewer said later that no one had ever done it that way before. That's because it would be stupid, he didn't say. But I learned a little bit about how an electrical engineer would think through the problem, measuring voltage and converting the analog signal to digital. It all felt very familiar, object-oriented design like data flow diagrams in UML, just with physical devices I hadn't used before. Even though I sucked at it for my first time, it was actually kind of fun. They also gave me a copy of their flagship software, LabView, and that was fun to mess around with too.

I have a lot of job stuff to do, but mostly I am just tired, tired, tired.

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