Sunday, February 26, 2006
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed myself. It was a day of Friday, a morning of talking on Saturday, followed by hours gambling in the afternoon, and then an evening of more talking and dinner, and then a night of more gambling. This morning featured a 20 minutes safety brief and then more gambling before driving home. However, I'd much rather have had to work Friday, then get Saturday and Sunday off at home. Time at home is always better than time spent in recruiting.
My issue with the ATC is that it is such a... 79R thing. It's a way for all the of the career recruiters to get together, talk shop, drink some (and by "some" I mean "some obscene amount that would kill a normal human"), and basically enjoy some time is the company of their friends. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm just not all that keen on getting dragged to some sort of 79R masturbatory festival where I'm forced to stuff myself into my ill-fitting dress blues (Mrs. SFC B joined a gym this week, I think I shall be going with her). The best part of the evening was being told the banquet would start in 15 minutes... twice... 15 minutes apart.
Oh well, it was still a good time. Got to have some fun. Got to lose some money. And now I get to return to the business of putting people into the Army.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Earlier this month something I wrote prompted a commenter named Salmino to write something that prompted a response from one of my six readers. I figured that Sal was simply someone who followed a link from another blog, read a post, commented, and moved on with his life. Maybe he did, but he came back. And luckily for me he caught me in a good mood.
We have 53 members in our family. We all live within 17 miles of each other. Our ranks are filled with eight military age youths under 25 and two 17 year olds.
We have convinced all of them that you are the devil incarnate. They will not be doing military service. We pitched in to pay their education bills and/or set up accounts to pay.
We are better organized than you and our incentive is love, not career.
Just thought you'd like to know.
Sal, I appreciate the notice. I'll go ahead and take your eight or ten relatives off my Lead Refinement List. I'm curious though? Do you have eight relatives under 25 INCLUDING the two 17 year olds, or are they separate? I'm going to assume you actually meant you have eight relatives under 25, including two who are 17, for a total of eight.
Why the hell have y'all not moved away? Afraid of that big scary world out there? Afraid to venture too far from the apron's hem? I'll let you in on a little secret. The world is a lot less scary than it could be thanks to the sacrifices made by men and women who chose to make a commitment to the defense of the nation. Without those men and women standing ready to do harm in your defense, your world would be far more dangerous place.
I like how your family groupthink has conspired to deny your own flesh and blood the freedom of choice. What would you do if one of your nephews came up to you and said that he wanted to serve? That, somehow, someway, I showed him that military service was a right, honorable, just thing to do. That it had nothing to do with money, but honor and being an American. I showed him how his service to his country would be representing the other 52 members of his family. That his service would be his family's way of giving back to the country that made it possible for them to have the resources to put 8 to 10 people through college. What would you do then? Would you let him make that choice? Would you accept that your mature, grown-up family member had made a mature, responsible decision? Or would you rant and rave? Cut him off from the family fortune, and disavow connection with someone who would be so... unfaithful to the family?
The stance of you and your family is disappointing. It's your right to do so. If you don't want someone you care about to serve, fine. Your opinion, and if they listen to it, their choice. It, quite honestly, doesn't bother me one way or another. Hell, you're probably not even in my area so your refusal to serve, literally, doesn't affect me. But even if you were in my territory I wouldn't care. You know why?
Of the 8 to 10 people who think I'm the devil quite of few of them won't even be eligible for service. It might pain you to realize this, but someone in that group is overweight, someone is a criminal, someone has an inhaler in their pocket, and someone won't crack a 20 on the ASVAB. A few of your family members might as well go and see a recruiter because they'll be handed a March 2 Success flyer and told to come back after studying for a couple weeks. It's sad but true.
Your family's commitment to not serving effects recruiters not one bit. Because luckily there are families out there who consider the military a good thing.
If someone were to say you're more organized than I they'd be damning you with faint praise. And I highly doubt your 53 member family would be able to organize the resources necessary to fund the GI Bill for the 2,000,000 people currently serving. You're welcome to try though.
Serving in the military, serving in the Army is an act of love. To be in the uniform is to give of yourself. To give a part of you to everyone. Sure, we do it for the money. Gotta get paid afterall. We do it for the benefits. Free health care rocks! We do it for the fact that chicks dig a guy in uniform. My pick-up line was "Hey baby, you wanna do the hamstring stretch standing while I do a few hip rotations?" (I said chicks dig the uniform, not that I was good at taking advantage of it). But you know what? There are plenty of jobs that offer equal or better pay for the same skill. You can find equal benefits. Women might dig a Soldier, but the UPS guys apparently get mad trim too. However those other jobs don't come with the honor and tradition that wearing the uniform does.
To serve in the Army is to put your life into the hands of others, for the purpose of defending everything precious to everyone. It is an act of love. It is an act of love for the country. Love for your family. Love for your comrades-in-arms. The lump that forms in our throats as Taps plays over a flag-draped coffin forms because of the bond we shared with that fallen brother or sister. Whether they fell on the streets of Iraq, or quietly in their bed 60 years after their service had ended, they were someone with whom we shared a precious bond, and their passing makes us poorer for their loss, but richer for having had them with us. It's not something I'd expect you to understand Salmino.
I really do regret having had to bring this up on the main page. It's just been one of those days and I needed something to make me have a bit of a brain dump. That comment provided that "something". Thanks.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
This is getting annoying. I'm just thankful that USAREC changed the FS loss policy to no longer punish the points of the entire station.
There are two types of FS losses that recruiting has no one to blame for but themselves. Positive Matches and Positive DATs. A Positive Match is someone who is popped for a concealed record of law violations. Positive DATs are someone popping hot from drugs or alcohol.
How I think it works at MEPS when it comes to a positive match is, when a Soldier enlists MEPS takes their fingerprints, and runs their identifying data, prints, name, SSN, birthdate, etc through the FBI database. Whatever comes up on that report is balanced against what was revealed on the SF86 and waived, if necessary. Anything which wasn't listed is considered a positive match and I, as the recruiter, now have to rerun all checks for where they lived, worked, went to school, etc. Basically I need to find the charge and figure it out. Here's my problem with this system.
It's a "gotcha!" thing for recruiting, at least in my opinion. I watch enough Law and Order to know that the FBI's database is pretty open to those who they want to allow to use it. On TV any police officer can sit down at any computer and log right into the FBI records and see what's out there. In real life it seems that MEPS can do the same thing and have recruiter-hurting information back in about 3-4 days. Why do recruiters not have that same ability?
Why is it impossible for that sort of access to not be powered-down to the recruiter level? Is it a resource thing? Does the FBI not have enough bandwidth to deal with recruiters requesting these checks? Is it a power thing? Does does recruiting just want to make sure there is a way to catch someone trying to be "sneaky" by telling a kid to "just shut-up" about something? Phoenix Municipal court makes their records available online. Just a quick by-name search has saved me countless phone calls trying to track down minor issues. Why can that not be done on the national level? It seems to me that USAREC does itself a huge disservice by punishing recruiters for something that USAREC could eliminate. Providing recruiters with the opportunity to see what an applicant has seems like something that would reduce FS losses, and improve recruiter's work; we won't waste time preparing a guy who didn't tell us he went on a crime spree in Seattle.
As for the positive DAT that ruined SSG George's day? We enlist people without their physical being complete. It takes up to a week to get a drug test back. I'm sure there is a smart reason for it, I can actually think of a couple, but why do we allow someone to fully join when there is still a chance they'll come back hot for something? I'd be curious how many people are losses due to positive DATs.
Anyway, I think recruiting would do itself a HUGE favor by allowing recruiters to see what the MEPS sees in regards to police records. And I think recruiting would do itself a smaller favor by not allowing credit until the DAT came back. My $0.02.
The RT prompted something of a discussion between himself, SSG George, and yours truely. The topic was P4, Internet Prospecting.
I know I've been missing the boat on the 'net. I've done some work in cyber space that has led to some production and even a contract. It's easy and it works, and I haven't done a lot of work on it to my detriment. I'm going to see what I can do to change that.
However, it's also my belief that we're restricted from using one of the more useful tools of the internet.
Every kid today has some form of instant messenger. Between AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and whatever else they have a continous presence online. A presence online where they're in the mood to talk. We recruiters are not allowed tap into that.
It seems there is an Army policy against using instant messengaing service. I suppose maybe that's a useful policy for the mainstream Army, where you don't want people to "waste" their time chatting online when they should be working. However, for recruiters, it's a way to tap into our freaking market. It's our JOB to talk to these kids any way possible. I'm curious how cold IMing some kid is less productive than cold-calling.
It just seems to me that a smart recruiter could develop an online presence, and use it to their advantage. Not something like me where I just use this as a forum to whine, but more of a recruiting-centric website devoted to the local area.
Here in the Phoenix area everyone wants to be a firefighter. I swear, it's like a grade school class when you ask grown men what they want to be out here. "I wanna be a policeman!", "I wanna be a astronaut!" (because children don't know the difference between "a" and "an"), "I wanna be a firefighter!". Everyone wants to fight fires, and everyone thinks they have the in to do so. You see, firefighting in Phoenix is very competitive. Lots of people want to do it, very few people get to. All the same people chase the scant few positions available in local departments, and when they're not taking Fire Science classes at The World's Best Community College, they're serving on the auxillary fire departments, which as near as I can tell is just a dude running around with a garden hose.
In the Recruiting website I'd design it would be all fire fighter all the time. For the local departments, and maybe this applies nationwide, military service is a "net good" for the fire departments. On the entry exams given military service is worth an additional five points. Since most of the applicants taking the exams average in the high 80s, low 90s, and the cut off scores tend to be in the high 90s, adding five points can amek-or-break you. I doubt these kids know that, and it's hard to get that information out one crackhead at a time.
My website would explain how fire departments consider prior military as a good thing. I'd show how so many jobs in the Army can mesh with a career in fire fighting. I'd have that one Army commercial of the guy who just got out riding in a fire truck on his first run. I'd show how 74D, 31B, 68W, 92F, and whatever MOS I can connect to some aspect of firefighting will help a young man or woman fulfill their dream of being a firefighter in Phoenix. Then I'd do whatever it took so that someone Googling "Firefighter" and "Peoria" would find SFC B as the top listing.
Anyway, Top's calling for DPR, and I need to go. Filet my theory, show me where it's wrong, and then send me a name and number of someone willing and able to join the Army next week. I needs it!
Saturday, February 18, 2006
They're stupid. They're funny. They are really quite heavy. I enjoy them a lot. I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to see them live. They're not everyone's cup of tea, but check them out if you feel like it.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Spent this whole week being tormented by the Production Monster. What does everyone have? Who are they testing? What is joining? I suppose if the answers I gave were something other than "Nothing", "Idiots", and "No one" things would have been better, but those were the honest answers so I gave them. Fighting a cold this week has done nothing to enhance my mood.
One of the recruiters in the station, SGT Tree (Note to self, figure out the pseudonyms for everyone and write them down, losing track) hasn't written someone in two months. The number one priority for the station has been putting people into the Army. Number two has been to find someone ready to join to for SGT Tree. SGT W^3 found someone who wanted to RA and was ready to go. Yay! SGT Tree goes to him, gets his info, builds him, and gets him ready to join on Tuesday.
Today comes, and the kid comes in to hot seat.
Reckless driving as a juvenile.
People outside of recruiting might not get what a big deal Reckless Driving is. By itself it isn't, however courts often plead DUI cases down to reckless driving. Because of this I treat Reckless Driving as a DUI until I see the report saying otherwise. Now, prior to this kid all the reckless driving cases I'd seen were just that, nothing else. This kid changed it.
Driving under the influence of marijuana as a minor. D'oh. Pull the emergency break. Stop right there.
He's not joining Tuesday. Nope. Might not join next week. He's ready to join though so we'll get the waiver done, and get him in boots. Unfortunatly in the span of about 30 minutes I went from telling Top that the station was putting someone in the Army to telling Top that I'd failed to properly ensure the recruiter had gotten everything possible from the kid. I hate having to do that.
Oh well. It's far better that this sort of thing gets discovered now then on Thursday when the kid is a positive match for a DUI, and SGT Tree is under investigation. It's still an enlistment and it means that SGT Tree will be off his nut. Just means it takes an extra week.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
When I call them the Most Unprofessional Morning News Team Ever I don't mean to be insulting. They're the news program I watch in the morning because although they're unprofessional they're funny about it. And I'd rather be entertained. That and I think Jen Burgess is a total hottie and I'd be all about watching her and Mrs. SFC B have a lingerie tickle-fight for my affections.
I'm going to get hit hard for putting that out in public. I realize that, and I accept the consquences of my actions.
Day 3 of my second stint as the Station Commander progresses with little progress. The makes and conducts are there, and even some testers are happening, but little is actually passing the test. It's frustrating to have you hopes repeatedly dashed on the rocky shores of Cape Twenty Nine Que Tee. Only thing worse is when an applicant washes up on the Horn of Dee Uwe Eye the day before they hit the floor.
The adventures with MEPS continue. Does anyone know of a blog done by someone who works at a MEPS? Cause the heavens know I'd love to read about what they think of the recruiters.
Hunting, of any sort, just isn't my thing. I'm not against is by any stretch of the imagination. You want to go hunting something, have fun. I just don't consider the actual activity of hunting to be all that fun. Getting up early, going out when it's still freezing cold out, having to stay still for hours and hours waiting for the random chance to shoot something, the whole while covered in deer pee, and fearing a possible attack by a member of the executive branch.
Now, I don't want to squash anyone's fondest childhood memories, but something in the frog gigging article made me question the writer's life choices.
"Nothing is more fun than trudging around the banks of your local pond with flashlight in one hand and gig in the other, searching for the iridescent pink reflection of frog eyes."
Without even thinking I can come up with 10 things more fun that trudging around the banks of my local pond with a flashlight in one hand and a gig in the other.
1. Killing the person who convinced me to go frog gigging.
2. Playing with boobies.
3. A four hour DPR session.
4. Watching Firefly.
5. Playing Civilization 4.
6. Listening to Psychostick.
7. Going shopping with Mrs. SFC B.
8. Proctoring a SASVAB.
9. Visiting a hospital.
10. Walking through a cemetary at night.
I would rather do any of those things than hunt a frog. Some I'd choose to do over others, but all 10 are a better fate than spearing Kermit.
I do hope that the writer doesn't read this. I fear that seeing his happiest moment ever lampooned in such a way will send him over the edge. And a man who was so abused as a child that hunting frogs with a stick rates as A Number One Fun is not a man who society needs going over the edge. He'd probably go to the top of a bell tower and try to snipe people with a gigging stick. Hummmmm...
11. Watching a man try to kill people from the top of a bell tower with a frog gigging stick.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
SFC SC2 is out of the loop until the 24th, and I'm basically fiddling while Rome burns. Without SFC SC2 here to run interferene I fear that the CLT is going to come sticking their nose down here. We need for something to drop, and we need for it to drop now.
My head is filled with goo. Every time I sneeze I'm amazed at how much... stuff... my head can hold. Some people would feel that is too much info to know, however Chelsea feels the need to share the most intimate of piercing stories so my sneezing shouldn't faze her.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The station wound up finishing two RA contracts short of box. Three FS losses during the month was painful. We could have put one more in, but why? One short is still one short.
SFC SC2 is on leave for next two weeks. I just don't have the energy to lead a bloody coup this time. I'm sure the multitudes of peasants will appreciate the lack of harsh campaigns designed to break their spirits.
With the new month rolling over my need to reload is very present. I've got the usual assortment of people who will join if certain things happen, fines get paid, MEPS gets their head out of their ass, etc, etc. What I could really use though is a quality with minimal issues. I don't need perfection, but a GSA with a battalion level waiver would be a good thing. Yes, I want a GSA walk-in... and a pony.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
International law has no such organization. My humble opinion is that "international law" only exists in such situations as where nations agree that something needs to be done. Maritime law is huge. Rules about hijacking, piracy, registration, boarding, inspections, and everything related to the waterways between nations is covered. There are set procedures and policies.
When a twit tells me they don't want to enlist because the US broke international law I know that I'm dealing with someone who has no clue how the world works. I'm not going to delude myself into thinking I have clue one how anything works. But I know I don't know. The dimwit denouncing Bush for violating "international law" thinks he knows something, when he doesn't. Proof that ignorance can be bliss.
Anyway, looks like we're going to fall one short of the station boxing. Taking 4 FS losses is painful. If anyone knows someone in the Phoenix area who wants to join the regular Army on Monday, let me know. :-)
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Mrs. SFC B used to watch W&G occasionally. I always thought a really funny episode of Will and Grace would feature Will and his flamboyantly gay friend Jack going to someplace like, Indiana or another "right wing" state. They go there with the expectation that their outlandish gayness will offend the small-minded religious nutjobs they figure to be rampant in a mid-western, Bible Belt state. They're horrified to discover that, quite honestly, the people there just don't care. That they have bigger, and better things to do than be offended by a couple of guys holding hands, or even kissing in public. Aside from a couple of queer looks from passers-by, then whole adventure is a total bust because it's just not as big of a deal as they thought it would be.
I'm a pretty conservative guy. I want the government out of my business and to pay low taxes for only essential services that are best delivered by a small government. Government out of my business includes things like gayness. Two guys want to go at it, fine by me. Don't do it in front of me, and don't involve any kids. Two ladies want to go at it, fine by me. Don't involve any kids. Gay people want to be married? Fine. Have at it. If gay people are allowed to marry I think the worst effect for society will be removing the "cheerful and light-hearted excitement" part of the word "gay"'s definition. I'm kidding Mrs. SFC B. Being married is the best thing on Earth. Yay married life!
I think gay culture and gay chic are fine. If it wasn't for it Bravo would be forced to air 12 hours of Law and Order Criminal Intent and 12 hours of infomercials. I can't take that much of Vincent D'Onofrio emoting. Okay, well, maybe 12 of Law and Order and 10 of Infomercials. The other two hours would have James Lipton. I'd only willingly watch Lipton if it was the episode where his skull finally pops out of his skin.
No one I know is a raging homophobic. I'm in the Army so I know my fair share of people who are creeped out by gay people, but the image that the Army is filled with people who will take a baseball bat to a guy for believing that not all Striesand movies are trash isn't true. I think that the belief the more... "enlightened"... people have that most of America is scared/ not ready for/ want to stone gay people is sadly mistaken. I also think that the vast, vast, vast majority of America simply doesn't care. In the grand scale of things to worry us the fact that people are burning embassies because of cartoons (and sadly, it wasn't something like this cartoon) rates slightly higher to me than the fact that both partners in a lesbian couple need work that provides healthcare since one can't add the other to her health plan. Jerry Falwell might disagree with me that gay sex isn't the worst thing happening in the world, but I think he's a douche so I honestly don't care.
Off to work.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Babe Ruth 224.7 17.0The first column of numbers represents the player's Career WARP3. WARP3 represents the number of wins that a player was worth over a replacement player (WARP= Wins Above Replacement Player). WARP3 is adjusted for all-time and for schedule length. I owe all this information, as well as how much more I've appreciated the game of baseball for the past five years, to Baseball Prospectus. If you're a fan of baseball, and you don't read BP, you're missing out.
Honus Wagner 185.6 14.9
Barry Bonds 211.1 15.1
Willie Mays 207.8 14.5
Ty Cobb 194.5 13.8
Ted Williams 170.2 14.9
Joe Morgan 156.8 13.8
Mike Schmidt 148.4 11.6
Cal Ripken Jr. 158.6 14.9
Rickey Henderson 164.9 12.2
The second column is the peak WARP for the player's career. Their best season. Now, I must confess I changed the list a bit when I made it. I originally had Mickey Mantle on there, but I noticed that the list was pretty heavy on outfielders so I thought for an extra second and remembered that Baltimore had a pretty good shortstop before Miguel Tejada.
Now to demonstrate a point I'd made earlier in the evening to my those in my office. I apologize to everyone else who reads this because I'm using my soap box right now.
Pete Rose 151.3 10.2I'll admit. It was a bit closer than I thought it was going to be. But compared to Bonds, Pete Rose was worth 50 wins less over his career, than Bonds has been worth. And it's important to note that Rose's career was longer than Bonds' has been so far. The gap is going to widen. Even the pre-BALCO Bonds, back when he was with the Pirates in the early 90's, is worth 2-3 wins per year more than Rose was at his best. Bonds is a signifigantly better player in all aspects of the game.
As for the 'Roids vs. Gambling part of the debate we had, let me direct them to Sean Lahman.
6) Why is betting on baseball a bad thing? Guys who take drugs or beat their wives don't get such harsh punishment. Lots of them are in the Hall of Fame.
Gambling is the worst thing a ballplayer can do, because it undermines the integrity of the game. Since the goals of the gambler are different than the normal goals of a baseball team, fan's trust in the game is shaken.
The use of drugs or other offenses are sometimes punished by baseball. While these may be crimes against society, they are not necessarily crimes against baseball.
It's late, I'm tired, and Mrs. SFC B is waiting for me. Let me just finish by saying that I was right, and they were wrong. This has been a very me centric day for my posting. I apologize for that.
My post from yesterday generated some comments, and I like it when that happens. It makes it seem like there is someone who reads what I write (Hi mom!). I'm not going to moderate my comments, except for the occasional purges of comment spam or anything that is just patently offensive (I'll be taking the Supreme Court definition of obscene here: I know it when I see it). All I ask though is don't insult the commenter. Insult the ideas, poke holes in the logic, whatever. Just don't go after the person themself. For example: "I think your idea is idiotic" is okay for me. "I think you are an idiot," is not. Some people might disagree with my feeling, or might not see a difference, but I do.
I firmly believe that a person can be a complete and total moron. However I don't think a judgement like that can be made based on a comment on a blog. At least not someone's first comment. I guess what I'm saying is give Salimino time to show he's really an idiot before castrating him for being so. Golden Rule and all that.
I promise in the future to keep stupid, moralizing posts to a minimum.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
We're going to get to hear how recruiting is so simple. That if we just follow our plans we'll put three in a month. We'll be reminded that we're right next door to the World's Best Community College in History, and if we can't make mission, well, we're just horrible human beings who want democracy to fail. This should be a fun day.
Monday, February 06, 2006
The last week of the RCM is upon us and life just keeps on plugging away. SGT W^3 and I are still waiting for that last one to write. We've now had an IRR-TPU transfer sitting at MEPS/OPS for a week. This is a simple personnel action. It's like all the hands that are involved in the transfer are trying hard to make SFC SC2 lose his mind. It will get written, just a matter of when.
I've got a couple of prior service folks waiting on the med section to clear them. One just needs a simple ortho waiver and the other needs a med read for a hysterectomy. If the ortho waiver comes back he'll probably write this month to get the AR to a +1 for the month and make up the shortfall from last month. Among the names and numbers on my ARISS are a trio of potential 09Ls. They have the usual assortment of issues. The one who wants to join is OW, and the one who meets the standards isn't ready to commit. Oh well, gives me something to work on.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
A police report.
My motorcycle was stolen last night. I've been looking on eBay for any familiar looking pieces of plastic. To paraphrase Vincent Vega it would be worth it to me for the bike to be stolen if I could know who the hell stole it.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Someone with a failing EST score passed the ASVAB! Two of them!
It was amazing. These two applicants had never cracked 27 on the EST. One of them even got worse when he retook the EST. It's the exact same test he had taken before, yet he scored lower. Well, they were both willing to enlist if they could pass, so the recruiters kinda figured that they'd send them downtown and see what happens. Maybe one would get lucky. They were nearly Alphas. A 45 and a 43.
It was just amazing. I'm used to seeing someone scored 20 points lower. Not 20 points higher. No one believed it until a recruiter verified the scoresheet. Afraid they had read their GT score or something. But nope, they passed. Heck, a couple of better guesses and they were going to be Alphas. That would have ignaled the end of the world though.
Anyways, my RA compatriots have not had a good month so far. For every step forward one step back is taken. Those testers were a good thing though, should result in a couple of good numbers on the board. With a bit of luck SGT W^3 should close out the AR mission for the station today. Between the two of us we still have some enlistments left to try and cover the shortfall from last month. I know I hate counting anything before it hatches, or walks through the door with a bag over the shoulder, but it's fun.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
"He is a spoon in the knife drawer of life."
I feel a bit of joy in my every time I say it.