This week I'm in a Value Engineering (VE) training course offered by the National Highway Institute. My boss chose me to be the region's VE coordinator, so it was thought to be a good idea all around to send me off for some training. VE (also known as Value Analysis) is a systematic process of evaluating a project to determine if things can be done more efficiently or cost-effectively. However, as I've discovered, my role as VE coordinator deals more with trying to find an available conference room without pissing off the various factions of administrative assistants that it does with any actual analysis of an engineering project.
All in all, VE can be interesting but I think I'm going to die of boredom this week because the instructor is quite possibly the dullest person on the planet. He's also quite old, and possibly senile. I'm not joking. He tells random, rambling stories which sometime have something to do with VE and sometimes not. He started telling a story about a Japanese team doing a VE study on the common yellow pencil (this already sounds apocryphal to me), and then said "they determined that the Americans never used a pencil shorter than 3 inches. I don't know where they got their numbers. Probably the same place that Hillary Clinton's campaign team does." He also looks quite unhealthy, and he did say several times that he wasn't feeling well today. His facial color was actually gray.
Not only that, but the damn training is held in Lacey, so I have to drive there. At least the traffic isn't bad going that direction. On the plus side, it's held at St Placid's Priory which is a Benedictine nunnery and the grounds are just lovely. Hopefully tomorrow it won't be raining so I can take a walk on the grounds without getting drenched.
And did I mention that the nuns sell their own handspun yarn from their own flocks? And raw honey from their own bees? I wonder if the instructor will notice if I knit during the lectures...