Thursday, December 29, 2005

A look at predictions past

Mrs. SFC B brought out an email I had written back in 2003. I figured I'd share it because, well, if I don't learn from my mistakes I'll be doomed to repeat them. My updates and retorts to my own stupid are in italics.

From 2003:

Since it's New Year's Eve I find myself in a prognosticating mood (I can spell prognostigating right on the first try, but I need Word to correct me on January, go figure).

Dennis Kuncinch and Al Sharpton combine their quests for the Democratic Party's nomination. The result will be called the Inane and Insane ticket.
When I say "Inane and Insane" in my mind, I hear
Cypress Hill playing.

The UN will issue another resolution call for Saddam to allow weapons inspectors or face "really really severe consequences".
I think I got that one right.

In August, when, now Secretary of WAR!!! (2 predictions in 1, how lucky [you have to yell when saying the WAR!!! part]) Rumsfeld holds a press conference to announce the capture of Osama bin Laden's severed, crushed leg the NY Times will be unable to provide on-the-spot coverage because their entire news gathering team was in Augusta, GA to cover the "Story of the Year": a bunch of lesbians protesting the Masters golf tournament.
I might still be proven right on this one.

George Stienbrenner will announce that the Yankees have spent the past 25 years creating clones of the greatest ball players ever. With his announcement the Yankees 2004 starting line-up will include Babe Ruth, Willie Mays (a young version since the real one isn't dead yet), Walter Johnson, and Honus Wagner. With these new-improved versions of baseball's greatest players the Yankees will cruise to a 130-32 record and an easy berth in the playoffs, then World Series. They will be swept by the Sheboygan Men's Slo-Pitch Softball League All-stars. This waste of a quarter century in research and development, as well as billions of dollars, will cause Stienbrenner to launch an inter-stellar starship in the hopes of finding the galaxy's greatest baseball players for the 2005 season.
I might have been wrong on this one. But when Brian Cashman announces the signing of Xerkplit Fligglyspat, the second baseglip of the Reulon-12 Hannananaas, remember I called first.

The Bush-Dean debate will be cut short after, in an effort to prove how tough he is, Howard Dean attempts to physically attack Bush. "Secret Service Ass-Whooping.mpg" becomes the most Googled phrase the next day; however it goes to number 2 the day after when "Paris Hilton-Britney Spears.mpg" resumes top honors.
Remember when Howard Dean had a hope of winning a national election? It really was that long ago. "Paris Hilton-Britney Spears.mpg" makes me laugh out loud.

[My sister's name] will finish her final semester by deciding to do "something that helps the world... like join Greenpeace". An intervention is planned by the rest of the family.
My super-awesomely smart sister is currently in NYC helping British people get laid. Mrs. SFC B said I shouldn't describe it like that because it sounds dirty, but I'm not going to change it. I'm assuming my readers (Hi mom!) will know that she's actually doing something very fine and upstanding.

A court will order Michael Jackson to either stop "being a complete and total whack-job" or go to jail. When attempting to enter his plea Jackson's ear will fall off. The judge will order the bailiff to "smack him out of principle" and then confine him to the Prison for the Terminally Creepy.
Who do I need to mail a donation to to start the Prison for the Terminally Creepy?

Vladimir Putin will declare himself Ruler of All Russians, and have J.K. Rowling kidnapped, tortured, and executed for the whole "Dobby looks like Putin" thing. The International Criminal Court will then issue its most stern punishment by making Putin write a sincere apology to Rowling's family after he learns that the director of the movie was a bit more responsible for making Dobby look like him.
I'm going to claim a 66% success rate on this one. I think Putin has declared himself Ruler of all Russians, and if the ICC ever actually did anything it would require someone to write an apology. To my knowledge JKR hasn't been executed, but if Book 7 isn't out in about a year someone might want to see if there's freshly turned Earth in the Kremlin's back yard... just sayin'.

France will whine about something George W. Bush does.
I threw that one out there as a gimmie. Making a prediction France will whine about something is like the newspaper horoscopes saying "You will meet someone today." So general it will apply to anyone.

Michael Moore will eat a cheesburger and become so massive that he collapses upon himself forming a black hole. Fortunately this will happen during a book signing at the Barnes and Noble near Berkeley. The combination of the super-massive black hole, and the substance-less rantings of Berkeley will cancel each other out.
I'm not sure this didn't happen. The creation of the black hole and it's immediate plugging by the rantings could have happened faster than the human eye could record. If it did I believe that the only recordable event from the collision would be a tectonic shift. Were there any earthquakes felt in CA this year? If so, has Michael Moore's presence been accounted for during each one? Hummmmmm...

Israel will be condemned by the UN for assassinating a terrorist leader in retaliation for the bombing of a bus filled with children taking puppies to entertain a nursing home. The day the resolution if passed China will execute a dozen college students for accessing USA Today from a web cafe.
I fear that one might be a bit too close to truth to be funny.

Anyway... that is what I was thinking back in the back end of 2003. With 2006 looming over like one big misdated check I might revisit the predictions game. It's a cheap way to make a blog entry. Yay easy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Found this on Strategy Page.

Can't wait to see what comes down the pipe that I can use.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas everyone. After 6 years in New England, Arizona doesn't feel very Christmas-y. However it is home and that's all that matters.

There are a ton of people who are very important to me who cannot be home with their loved ones because the liberty and security of the country is more important, in a macro sense, than them. They volunteered for it, and I hold them in nothing but the highest regard. Although I'm sure it's meaningless for me to say it, I wish I was overseas with my fellow Soldiers.

But since I cannot be, all I can do is wish that they and their loved ones are reunited soon and safely.

*UPDATE* Corrected some fat-finger mistakes. Oh, and I got a portable XM receiver and Mrs SFC B and I got TiVo.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

There they are

Well, I was found by the Recruiting Gods I know and love. My cockiness of last month has earned their ire. The two contracts I had set up have fallen by the wayside. One to a sizable traffic fine, another to an employer who doesn't respect the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act. So now I'm in a bit of a bind. I do have people who are willing to join, but none of them is ready at this second. If I could find a virgin I'd probably sacrifice them for an IRR-TPU to walk in right about now.


Didn't work.


I'd hoped to have a projection for tomorrow, but the guy's employer is insinuating that if he joins the Army he'll lose his job. I'm 95% sure that it wouldn't happen that way. He works for a major car dealership in the area. One which is a corporation. One with a Human Resources and Legal department. The possible adverse publicity of firing someone for serving during a time of war is something I'm sure they don't want. I'm thinking my first step is to call the local command's JAG office and ask for a clarification on the SSRA for people who enlist. I've never been as clear on the SSRA as I should be. Now would be a good time to bone up.

There is also a prior service who I've been talking to for months now. He's a nice guy and is very active in his church in a small town north of Phoenix. He's been unwilling to commit because of his commitment to the church. With Christmas coming up, and his eligibility to enlist running out (he's old) he's making noises like the time is coming up. I called him last night to wish him a Merry Christmas and, after we'd talked for a while, he asked if I could call him back after the New Year because he said he'll be ready then. So I'm holding on to a sliver of hope.

I think I know what part of my problem is. I'm too willing to let someone move at their own pace. I'll push and work to get someone to enlist "now", but if they don't, they need a waiver, they're not fully committed, or whatever, I'm too willing to just let them be, and follow up a week or so later. I'm thinking that the more successful recruiters will keep someone pushing towards that goal, but I cannot bring myself to force myself to do that. I despise it when I'm pushed to do something, even if it's something I want to do, and I don't like to do that to someone else. I trace my dislike of a hard-push tactic to my first SC.

One of the first people I'd met, conducted, and tested stopped returning my calls. The SC at the time had me calling the guy constantly, going to his house and work, leaving my business card at his door, so on and so forth. Never once did those attempts result in something positive. The guy wound up joining another service a couple months later. I'd stopped trying to contact him well before he enlisted so he was less... unliking... of me when I saw him walking around the mall. We talked for a bit and I asked him why he joined another service. His answer was because I was too pushy. If I'd just given him a bit of space he would have joined the Army Reserve, but his experience with me soured him on it. I was a new recruiter and I didn't know any better at the time. I still misjudge when I should push and when I should pull back, but I'm getting better, and I will err on the side of not being a "pushy" recruiter.

Now though, I'm in a position where I need to make some calls and rattle some cages. See if anything good drops out. I've got seven days to do so or else I'm pretty positive that SFC SC2 will see just how flammable the ACUs are.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Hiya, I'm John and I'm a blogging recruiter.

I've been doing this blogging thing for a couple months now, and I started by going anonymous. Figured that if I said anything wrong or stupid I could always claim "wasn't me". Well, the "anon" bit was done for before I even really got into it. One of my co-workers figured it out and shared it with the station, and soon enough another person in the company had solved the mystery. So I'm known to the people I wanted to remain unknown to, and unknown by those who read what I write. That, for some reason, doesn't sit well with me.

So, anyway. Here I am. SFC John Bradshaw. I'm 27 years old and have been in the Army Reserve since I was 17. Joined as a HS Junior and it was probably the best choice I've ever made (it's a close run off between joining the Army, asking my wife to marry me, and getting a motorcycle). I'm approaching my one year in USAREC and have been writing about it for most of it. The other recruiters in the station know I do this, as does my SC. Sometimes it makes for some... interesting... commentary during the day. Most of it is in good fun.

I'm based out of the Phoenix area and do most of my recruiting in the western part of Arizona. If you live in the West Valley and someone called you about the Army Reserve in the past year it was probably me.

I'm not sure what effect, if any, revealing myself will have. I'm probably being a bit too egotistical to think it will have any effect, but eh... I don't care.

I just got back from Vegas. I came back with my shirt, my wife, and no unidentified rash so it was a good time. I'm back in the office tomorrow so who knows how that will go down. But I do know that my fantasy team went nuts (Tiki Barber > Larry Johnson) so I'm not buying lunch.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Where are they?

When doing a school set-up at our local community college ("Best community college in the world") we get a couple of people who like to come around and talk to us. Most of them are supportive, or at least not combatitive. People who used to be in the military, married to the military, so on and so forth. Nice enough folks, and I'll usually entertain them for a minute or two before giving them a pen and wishing them a nice day. But one guy is different. He's a professional student, always wears a boonie cap, and he likes to come to the table and harass the recruiters. It's something we're used to, and it would take a very special type of person to actually say something insightful and intelligent enough to make us pause. This guy is not that special person. His taunts run the gamut of "Stupid Army people", "Bush lied and you're fools to go along with it", "Recruiters are frauds", and his closing line before security arrives and escorts him off campus, again, is "Where are the WMDs?

A good question, and one that really deserves a better answer than I can deliver. I'm not a professional researcher or reporter. I'm a recruiter on leave who has Google. It's not a combination destined to survive peer review. That being said I think the crux of the "No WMDs have been found" camp is that, by the strict definition of the UN and the Iraqi Survey Group that searched for WMDs in Iraq, they have found none. Despite field units detecting the presence of blister and nerve agents in bunkers and depots across Iraq none of the field positives tested positive in the official lab.

I'm going to assume that it's well known that after the Gulf War Saddam decided he was going to have access to WMDs. But the inspection regime made it difficult to do so. France was probably not going to help build another Iraqi nuclear reactor, and it's freaking hard to make nuclear weapons. Especially if you don't want a mess of inspectors to find it. Biological weapons are easily hidden and very potent, but if discovered by the inspectors there is no recourse. You can't claim you were making anthrax for any reason but to use it as a weapon. It has no other use. Chemical weapons are a very different beast though.

The WMD claim made by the administration (I'm not an official source, running by memory here) is that Iraq had "stockpiles" of WMDs. To me stockpile means a whole freaking mess of them. But it's a subjective matter. One cell of anthrax or smallpox isn't going to cause any problems. One nuclear device will ruin your day in a hurry. This is where Saddam's... brilliance... comes into play.

Saddam realized that the presence of nuclear or biological weapons would be a dead giveaway. There is no hiding of them. You can't build a clandestine nuclear reactor and claim it's not for blowing stuff up. You can't grow lab-quality biological agents and claim they're for anything but killing people. You can, though, create as many chemical weapons that you want, but claim they have another use.

A quick Google search on chemical weapons reveals some wicked sinister stuff. The sort of stuff that Bond villains would do. But it also reveals that, at the base of the pyramid, it's some easy stuff to do. A trip down the household cleaner aisle at Target and a 10th grade chemistry class are all you need to close down a building because of a chemical attack. They're easy to make and easy to disguise. The earliest chemical weapons were just industrial chemicals like chlorine and phosgene. In WWI the German's just took vats of chlorine, opened them, and let the wind do its thing. The French then loaded phosgene into artillery shells and fired them on the Germans. The lesson is that chemical weapons would be a perfect weapon for a clandestine WMD program.

It's a lesson that Iraq learned well. I remember there being several reports of American forces finding stockpiles of chemical weapons. 55 gallon drums of liquids causing positive results for blister and nerve agents. The contents of those drums? Pesticides. Agricultural pesticides. Now, why these pesticides were being stored in underground bunkers, with artillery shells and missiles, and military chemical protection equipment are beyond me. I'm sure there is an explanation of why those pesticides weren't being stored on... I don't know... a farm. But I never heard it. It seems that the ISG decided that if the container didn't say "Sarin" it wasn't a WMD. Even though everyone exposed to the container came down with the symptoms of Sarin. That the administration seems to have went along with this is... depressing (my opinion, not an official statement).

At their core pesticides use an organophosphate chemical to cause their pest-killing. Basically the OP goes about shutting down some bodily function. Ceasing nerve function, breathing, muscle control, whatever. As near as I can tell most chemical weapons are highly refined OP chemicals. So, having a massive stockpile of pesticides would be a really good way to have a less massive, but still sizable, stockpile of chemical weapons just waiting for refinement and delivery to an unsuspecting invading army or dissident village.

A cake is made of flour. There are a whole lot of other ingredients that go into the cake, for sure. But without the flour you're not even going to make something that even remotely resembles a cake. Flour is a very versatile material. It can become cookies, tortillas, pancakes, waffles, and a whole host of other delicious treats. Organophosphates are the flour of the chemical weapon world. There are a whole host of legitimate reasons for a country to have a stockpile of pesticides. When those pesticides are stored in a military bunker, with military equipment to handle them, and the only delivery system present is military in nature (mortar and artillery shells, and missiles) one should make the assumption that the chemicals are for a military use. That doesn't seem to have been the decision made by the ISG.

The ISG seems to have looked at a drum of pesticides and a crate of mortar rounds and said that the two are unrelated. Sure, they could be used together, but they aren't at this second so it's totally innocent. Sure, Saddam has a history of using rounds filled with chemical weapons against own his people, but he hasn't done it in a long time so stop bringing up old stuff. This is like saying a gun isn't a gun until the bullet has been loaded, or a knife isn't a knife while it's still in the sheathe. It's insane.

It's our own fault really. We didn't move fast enough to counter the "no WMD claim". It's taken hold and now accepted as fact. That President Bush joked about it during a speech doesn't help. Instead of saying "We'll find them in the next bunker" when the ISG results came back negative for a pure CW, we should have said "Well, why the hell did an innocent pesticide trigger the alarms, and why are they being stored by the Iraqi military with weapons capable of delivering it?" Oh well, worms are out of the can, horses out of the barn, Pandora has left that box.

I can't control things on a national scale, except when I'm playing Civilization 4. But the next time that the professional student comes by I'll have more to say to him. And that makes me happy.

Hope everyone enjoys their week. Sorry that this was such a poor post. I had a much grander thing in mind, but my plans never survive contact with reality. I'm off to conquer Sid Meier's world.

A reprieve

I'm on leave for the week. Mrs. SFC B and I will be making a trip to see a couple of our friends so not sure how busy I'll be. The post I'd been working on should be ready by the evening, so if anyone actually waits to read my inane ramblings, it will be there eventually.

Today I saw that I had my very first troll. I have no problems with people who disagree with me. Hell, how am I supposed to learn anything if people don't tell me when they think I'm wrong? But this dude doesn't just disagree, he's insulting about it, and wishes me to die. So, I'm curious what the etiquette is for such a situation? I've always known you're not supposed to feed the trolls, but I don't like ignoring crazy people. Frank J. at IMAO is famous for how he handles his trolls. But I'm not funny enough to take that route. I don't feel like just deleting the comments would work either, too DU I think. Any ideas, comments, concerns, suggestions, complaints?

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I hurt in so many places right now. When I was in college I played rugby and I loved it. Great fun and I even didn't totally suck at it. After college I always wanted to continue playing, but I wasn't able to combine the motivation with the availability. Well... tonight I went out and practiced with the local club. Oh my GOD I missed that. It took me a couple of reps to get back into the swing of things, and there is no way I'm in good enough shape right now to play 160 minutes (80 minute A&B side games), but I'll get there.

I didn't actually do to bad. I've always had decent hands, and rarely made a bad pass. I still have the hands, and the knowledge when to not toss will come with repetition. Although there was a new development from when I played in college. In college I was an inch or two shorter than I am now (I now weigh-in around 76 inches) and I tip the scales around 250 now. I was 190 in college. What that means, aside from the fact I'm fatter, is I'm able to put a lot more drive into the scrum. When the coach put me in at lock I drove the hell out of the sled. I have no illusions of starting any time soon, but I can see if happening one day.

Anyway, had a great time, but man, I got tore up. Knees are shredded, back is sore, shoulder is... hurting, soul is soaring. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Going to add some stuff to the 'blog over the weekend. Or, at least I'm hoping to. Might not go as planned. I've been doing some mulling over a topic and should have it done soon. I can't say it will be good (I never think anything I write is), but it will be... something.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Recruiter over at Recruiter Confessions does some of the work that the media seems to be too lazy (?), disinterested (?), opposed (?) to doing. He pulls together a lot of the progress made in Iraq and places it into one post. It's some good stuff, and I've added the post to my links to use during an Army Interview.

I am... disturbed... by how little attention is paid by the media to the successes that have happened. The deaths of Soldiers in the War on Terror are not happening in a vacuum. They are not being blown up randomly as they're driving tankers full of sweet sweet Iraqi crude to the gas tanks of Evil Bushitler Halliburton SUVs. They aren't sitting in the open just waiting for the next poorly-aimed mortar to land in their midst, or for a suicide bomber to get lucky and live long enough to blow up a Stryker or Humvee. They're out there conducting counter-insurgent operations and trying to provide security and stability where they can.

There are places where the insurgency has been defeated, or has never taken root. Every time I hear about another insurgent attack, VBED, suicide bomber, etc I'm always curious where it occurred. How is it that a freaking personnel sergeant on recruiting duty can notice that the attacks happen in the same three places every freaking time, yet that is never discussed by the talking heads?

We have a pattern of success in Iraq. For over 10 years the Kurds in the north have been safe and protected. They have a secure territory that they patrol (under the protection of US aircraft and with US support). If we weren't more interested in preserving the 1800's construct of Iraqi borders they'd have probably seceded from Iraq and be an automous nation right now. Granted, they'd be an autonomous nation at war with Turkey because Turkey loathes the thought of a free Kurdistan, but that's an alternate univserse.

We're going to be successful in Iraq. We have been successful in Iraq already. I guess it all depends on your definition of success. Me, myself, I... I would be thrilled to see a free, democratic, liberal Iraq. A country serving as a beacon of hope in a land that hasn't produced a single, original thought in about 400 years. That would have to be the ultimate success. However, this isn't a world of two extremes where either Iraq will be a wonderful land of freedom and happiness or a cesspool of terrorist training and exporting which will lead to the crippling of the Western world.

I am... content... with the thought that there is one fewer place on Earth where people can be plucked off the streets, forced to watch their family tortured, brutalized, raped, or murdered before being executed themselves. Every time that special operators take down a cell of insurgents those are people who will not be providing muscle for the next plane hi-jacking. Every time an illiterate straps on an exploding vest and blows themself up accidentally by brushing the trigger going out the door that's one fewer crackpot trying to sneak across the Mexico-US border.

I had a poor week for PMS so I have to work today. I'm outta here.

*UPDATE* Fixed some spelling and grammatical errors. Hate when I make those mistakes.

Slight change

Maybe someone noticed a slight change to the website. Maybe not. Either way, I'm very glad to have made the change.

Friday, December 02, 2005

If you have the time

I added to my puny list of links. It's a pretty cool place that gathers Mil-Blogs together and tries to get some rankings and such. It's neat. It lists me. It strokes my ego to see lil' ol' me listed on a list. If anyone who reads this has the time (and I must face it, if you're reading this you might have too much time on your hands) check them out. People more interesting, and better spoken, written, or... whatever, can be found there.

If anyone is feeling charitable though, maybe tossing a vote to your favorite detailed Army Reserve recruiter would be appreciated.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Feeding the masses

The cluelessness. That's what makes me chuckle the most. The sheer and utter cluelessness of the people with whom I usually work. Not my co-workers, although they are all capable of moments of cluelessness (I'll confess, I'm probably the worst). I mean the people outside the office.

Earlier this week SSG Rage and I had a meeting with the senior assistant principal of one of our local high schools. This was a meeting that was called by the school to discuss their rules regarding recruiting activities. A perfectly reasonable request. One SSG Rage and I were happy to attend. Well, I wouldn't say happy. More like not violently angered. But still it was a reasonable meeting. At least we thought it would be, but then the school had to get stupid. They were the ones who had called the meeting. They. Them. They were the ones. It was their idea. The next day I got a call from their secretary saying that they wouldn't be able to make the appointment because they didn't know they had another commitment.

Yeah. Whatever.

Anyway, meeting delayed for a week. Week's up and Rage and I are off. This school is one of the worst in the state. They do poorly on the state standardized testing. Poor graduation rates, few students go on to college. Whole nine yards of bad education stories. This high school is what makes people call for the public education system to be torn down. In a sane world the administrators of this school would be begging the military to come in and give their students a chance at a future that didn't involve jail, serving fries, or some other less-than-awesome life. As I'm constantly reminded though this is not a sane world.

Anyway. To the meeting. Army, USAR, National Guard, Marines, and the Navy show up. Air Force blows them off. That should have been their first hint. This school cannot produce an Alpha, and the AF just doesn't seem to be interested in the Bravo/ Cat IV Factory that this school represents. As the meeting started I wished I had that option.

There are two things which will make it tolerable for me to sit through a meeting. One is that it's a useful meeting where important information is discussed. Yeah. Not going to happen. The other is food. Ply me with bagels, donuts, or cocktail shrimp and I'll sit through just about anything. Yeah. No food either.

So there I was, sitting next to SSG Rage who is a human anger machine, and listening as the assistant principal explained why the school didn't conduct an ASVAB. The previous year they'd conducted the ASVAB and had gotten complaints from some parents that the three hours devoted to the ASVAB were going to make their students fail. If three hours out of an entire school year are the difference between D and F... well... sorry Mr. and Mrs. Parent-of-a-Dumbass, but your kid is doomed. I refuse to believe that there isn't three hours of jacking-around time spread through the entire year that could be better served having their kids take the ASVAB. This school has like 12 half days. I'm going to make a stupid observation that going to 11 half days and having the ASVAB might be in the child's best interest.

During the meeting it was brought up to the head counselor that the time for students to apply for a ROTC scholarship was approaching. Now, these are wicked awesome scholarships. It's basically an 80-100,000 dollar scholarship followed by sering as a commissioned officer. They are hard to get. You need excellent grades, SAT/ACT scores, demonstrated leadership in community and school organizations, and athletic accomplishment. The counselor couldn't think of anyone who could meet the minimum SAT score of 1050 on Math and Verbal (ROTC isn't considering the written portion of the test right now). In a school with several hundred juniors and seniors they can't produce one, 1, uno, un, ONE freaking student who can meet the MINIMUM requirements for one of the best scholarships available. Pathetic.

My suggestion for this facility is as follows:

Burn it.
Wrecking ball the standing structures.
Plow the remains into the dirt.
Salt the earth.
Put a drop-out's head on a pike as a warning to others.

It's going to be a bad day tomorrow so I'm getting the bitter out of my system now.

Everyone have a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Watch those goal posts

Well, wrote my second volume contract for the month yesterday. And with Volume still equalling box it means that my part of the mission is done. With half a month left I feel gooooooood. Or at least I did. Now I just need to make sure I'm good for next month too. Ugh.

As it stands right this second I should be okay. I've got two GAs who are penciled in good. They're not guaranteed at this moment because they have open traffic that will, hopefully, be resolved in about 10 days. By some strange quirk of fate their traffic hearings are on back-to-back days. So as long as fines are paid, insurance information is provided, and nothing else goes wrong, I might be able to write at least one of them in week 1.

Until then though I get to "enjoy" that strange thing in recruiting where I must now prospect harder. Even though I'd accomplished my mission, and I have something vaguely resembling a funnel, I must have more. I have thick skin, having SFC SC2 give me a hard time about my motorcycle, my hair or lack thereof, or whatever other superficial thing isn't a problem. However, if I stop having people in the Army he'll start to get on my case about work, and that would be a problem. I like not being effed with too much to allow it to stop.

My nine-month evaluation is coming up soon, and supposedly the CSM will be dropping by the station some time this week. And by me typing that it pretty much means he'll come by unexpectedly and it will be painful.

To everyone in the office: I'm sorry for inviting the pain on us.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was a good time. A very good time. A tender and juicy turkey and a ham bathed in honey both gave their lives so the SSG B clan could feast in near Roman excess. There is no way a day that involves green bean casserole and touch football can be a bad day.

Monday should be a good day too. If the recruiting gods are feeling less spiteful, or if there attention is focused elsewhere, I should write my second contract this month. That will be good. It will still leave my station short for the quarter, but it will at least check one of the required boxes for monthly boxing. It beats not meeting that requirement.

Mrs. SSG B has a birthday coming up, so I'm going to commit ritual suicide rather than shop the day after Thanksgiving.

Oh, she told me I'm NOT going to commit suicide. Instead I'm going to go to the jewelry store and buy her something obscenely expensive and very shiny.


Hope everyone has had an excellent holiday season thus far. May it continue in all sorts of extravagant bliss!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

For a select few

This is just for a handful of people.

Can't wait until next Friday so I can make one of you two buy me a steak lunch from Applebees.


Yeah... the moment I wrote that Mike Anderson decided to make me pay. My hopes rely on Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, and Mike Vanderjagt being involved in some dibilating pre-game warm-up accident.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One down

One week down. Dropped my guy last week so now I'm working on another. As it stands I think I'll be good. I've got an IRR-TPU who should sign the 4187 on Monday. That'll tick another block. Then I've got a couple of GAs waiting for court dates to pay tickets (don't ask why they insisted on going to court for a traffic ticket, it's painful enough as is). Between those three one should shake out and box the company's reserve mission. Yay.

There are some rumors about a new station being opened in the area. Kinda hoping I might be able to get shifted there. It wouldn't be a permenant one because it'd only be a satellite station. But it would be a chance to get out to a different area a couple times a week. Here's hopin'

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Better Days

I've had better days.

Early morning. Life sucked. Had some mandatory briefings today. An EO questionaire which asked me how I felt about things. Things like the Battalion, Company, Station, etc. Whether I'd been sexually harassed recently. Those sorts of things.

I gave the battalion a pretty middle of the road rating. For the most part I don't interact with them very often. Thankfully. Dear God thankfully I don't interact with the battalion very often. However if I'd been allowed to add ratings to the question about the S1 I would have went into negative numbers on the 1-5 scale. I wish to set fire the to one of the S1 people.

The company came in much stronger. I'd heard a lot of horror stories about recruiting company commanders and first sergeants. Yet to see any of the rumors in the CO and 1SG I've been under. They're sane. They treat us like adults and NCOs. Can't ask for much more.

Despite my occasional rantings to the contrary I do like my station. The mission sucks (who in recruiting doesn't think their mission is too high?). The population is a source of never ending pain and suffering. But the people I work with, and the SC I work for make it tolerable.

Went and saw Goblet of Fire last night with Mrs. SSG B. In the books GoF was a turning point. It was nearly twice the size of the previous installations and covered so much more. A movie made from a book usually has to give up a lot fo the depth present in the novel. GoF was no different. It was an awesome movie, and we were both very entertained (and that is what matters), but I can't help but feel like there is a let down coming when Order of the Phoenix comes around to movie time. Although they nailed how I thought Lord Voldemort would look fully grown. Nailed it. Noseless Ralph Finnes is creepy looking.

I need the Bengals to end the Colt's perfect season to have a good fantasy football weekend. Hope everyone has a great Sunday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Drug Deal Goes Well

Got my first guy for the month in today. Yay! 12 years in the Guard as an MP and he got tired of being a grunt with a badge. He came to me, asked me if I could get him into the CID unit in my area. Told him I'd see what I could do.

While he was busy protecting innocents from harm, harming those who weren't innocent, and providing comfort where needed in New Orleans as part of Katrina relief I was busy making phone calls to the unit setting up an interview. Interview went well and they wanted him. Getting him out of the Guard was the next challenge. I don't know how it is in the rest of the US, but in my state getting people out of the Guard to join the Reserve is difficult at best, painfully fruitless at worst. However, Mr. Jr's was due to ETS a couple weeks after returning from LA so, although it wasn't a perfect, or even a good solution, we agreed to just wait it out, get his NGB 22, and put him into the Reserve.

Today it happened. The Army has a new 31D, and I have another contract in the first week. Gotta love it. Christmas hasn't been cancelled yet.


I had wrote a new post this morning, but it seems to have disappeared into the ether. When I get a moment or two this evening I'll write again. Sorry for the lack of posting, but my muse has been distracted lately, and when I was inspired the computer ate my homework.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Back to suck

Well... first day of the RCM and I'm back to sucking. The first day of the month is such a bittersweet moment. It's bitter if you had a good month because, well, today you suck. But if you had a poor month the Recruiting calendar rolling over is a wonderful occasion because all your sins are washed away. A new month is like... a... new... something... my poetic mind is gone now.

Hopefully it won't be a painful month for me. I've got some people lined up who are pretty solid. Even if I only get two of the three I'll make my monthly mission. With a little bit of luck I might be able to make up a shortfall from last month to make it overall for the quarter. That would be nice. Unlikely but nice.

I plan to spend a little bit of time preying on the young, so to say. It's School ASVAB time so lots of juniors are going to be finding out if they're qualified or not. As the Reserve guy I'm actually able to write HS juniors, so I'm hoping of the several hundred ASVAB scores I'll be tracking one or two will shake out into a contract this year (Volume is box!) or next year when they're seniors. I'm not too keen on having a DEP who is 10 years younger than me, but such is life.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Curtain starts to fall

I'm essentially done for the month. The month actually ends on Monday, but my chances of getting the Reserve to 50% gross died when I failed to make contact with a PS who's NGB 22 was received yesterday. Unless a miracle occurs over the weekend he won't be joining on Monday.

Oh well.

He will be joining though, so as it stands I should be able to recove from this shortfall next month. Quarter boxing is unlikely unless a lot of things go well, but it's at least possible and provides me something to shoot for.

Mrs. SSG B made some Mexican Lagasna last night (Yes SSG George, it had to be mexican). It was delicious and I'll be feasting on the leftovers tonight. I don't know what everyone has planned for this weekend, but I shall be spending some time watching "Firefly" on DVD. And on that subject let me make a poor appeal to anyone who reads this. If you get the chance go see "Serenity" or try and catch an episode of "Firefly". Fox and Universal should be taken out back and shot for the hack job they did in promoting what really is one of the most awesome things I've ever seen on TV or the big screen.

Anyway, don't know if I'll post again this weekend. Recruiting-related activites are going to be on a mini-down turn with the holidays approaching. I've got leave, a wedding, and some other things coming up over the last month of the year. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, and I hope that people take some time over the holiday to remember those who have come before us to make our country what it is today.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I had a serious E2 moment yesterday. At 730 I had this feeling that I'd forgotten something. Usually the only thing that prompts that fear in me is when I have an applicant on the floor and fear I've forgotten about them. I didn't have any shippers so I chaulked the feeling up to just being stupid.

I get to the office the same as SSG George, 810. We stand there and bull for a minute or two about the weekend, etc. As we walk to the door SFC SC2 asks us "What was supposed to happen at 800?"

George and I each remember at the exact same moment. Production meeting.

Totally forgot. Had it in my planner. Didn't remember it.

George, myself, and SGT G-U (the new jack), had to report in to the office at 600 for a production meeting. Oh well. Had it coming. It was a stupid mistake on our part, one that we shouldn't have made. C'est la vie. La Vee.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Too bad

One of the least pleasing moments of recruiter (for me at least), is when someone has the desire to become a Soldier, but not the ability. Today I had an applicant who wants to get into the Army. His uncle is encouraging him to do so, his GF thinks it would be awesome, and he realized that his life is not where he wants it to be.

15 AFQT.

Of course.

To compound my frustration his had gotten a 40 on the CAST so I was kinda figuring he'd be a Bravo, but have an outside shot at an Alpha. Nope. Not even eligible to enlist.

I returned his SS card and HS Diploma, and sent him on his way with a flyer to March 2 Success.

Friday, November 04, 2005

It's the little things

I wasn't able to take my usual route to work this morning because of construction, so I took a detour through the local community college (aka 13th grade). As I was waiting to make the left into the parking lot I saw that the license plate on the car in front of me read "ANTIWAR". Well, I hadn't been on the CC set-up group lately, so I was jonesin' for a chance to be friendly. I figured this driver was as good as any.

As luck would have it the driver, a young lady, stayed in front of me for a minute or two before pulling in to park. I rode up next to her (I'm a motorcycle rider) and said, in my friendliest voice.
"Hey, are you from Antiw, AR too?!". I pronounced it An-tee-wah.
She looks at me kinda confused and says "no, I'm from here."
"Oh, I'm sorry, it's just your license plate says Antiw, AR so I kinda figured."
"No, it says Antiwar. I'm against the war."
"I see now. You know, I never noticed that about Antiw. I guess it kinda makes sense though," she looks at me quizzically. "Our high school's mascot was the Running Chicken."

It takes her a second to get on track with what I said, and when she does she didn't take it well. I got to spend a couple minutes having it explained to me how horrible Bush was, how it's just a war for oil, and that the rest of the world hates America. I responded with my usual response to such a tirade. I thanked her for her time, said she was entitled to her opinion, and I offered her an Army of One pencil.

It wasn't my shiningest moment, and I wasn't terribly proud to have done it. For whatever reason seeing the license plate, at a moment I was frustrated by my delay due to the construction, made me go out of my way. It wasn't all in vain though. As the woman was walking off to class a guy walked up to me. We have a semi-large population of Sudanese refugees in our area. This gentleman was one of them. He'd heard me talking with the lady, and heard her comment about the world hating America. He had to tell me he didn't agree. He and his friends and family who made it to the US loved it here. They'd been welcomed with open arms. He also wanted my card and gave me his info. He's applied for his 551 and once he gets it he plans to enlist so he can give back.

It made me smile behind my helmet.

FSR2S training to done for me, and the rest of the office will finish it up tomorrow. I've got a couple applicants in mind who I'll be using it with to secure their commitment. Oh, and I a guy on the floor yesterday. DQ for hearing. He's dead in the water. 42 years old (17 years PS) and works with road-paving equipment. Oh well. He's wicked pro-Army and a community leader in his small town. I think they call that a COI.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I'm curious if McDonald's offers McNuggets with the Chicken Little Happy Meals.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I spent yesterday out of the present of recruiting and, instead, learning about the near future of recruiting.

Currently the role of the recruiter has been to make sure an applicant is qualified and then get the applicant downtown to see the guidance counselor. It's the job of the counselor to actually get the Soldier an MOS, incentives, etc. As of Wednesday that will no longer, exclusivly, be the case. On Wednesday I'll be allowed to use the FSR2S (don't ask me for what the acronym means, I didn't take good notes).

FSR2S allows the recruiter to access the REQUEST system. REQUEST is the application the GC uses to view all jobs for which an applicant is qualified, as well as authorized incentives like College Fund, Bonuses, Loan repayment, and GI Bill Kickers. With this I, as the lil ol recruiter, will be able to sit down with Skippy or Skippette, their parents or any other influencers, and be able to say "Skippy, if you go to MEPS in the next three days (they're actually allowed seven, but I usually want this stuff done faster) you will receive this MOS, a 7k cash bonus, 10k in student loan repayment, and a $200 GI Bill kicker. The Army Reserve will guarantee this job and those incentives to you, right now, if you agree to go downtown and enlist sometime in the next few days. Are you ready to join?" If they say "yes" I'm able to print out a temporary reservation, hand it to them, and they're locked in to that plan. It's their's.

I haven't actually worked on what my closing statement will be, but it will probably be something similar to that.

For those not in recruiting you can't grasp just how awesome the ability for an Army Recruiter to guarantee training, training dates, and incentives is. I can't speak for everyone, but I've lost potential enlistees because I'm just not able to guarantee things when I'm sitting there. Usually it's not the prospect themself that is lost, but the influencer, parents, spouse, etc. Properly used this will be a serious advantage for a recruiter going in to an interview.

I've got another day nd a half of training; we're doing a lot of hands on today. According to the schedule it's going to be a long day so I don't know if I'll have more innane commentary tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What does the future hold?

I figured I'd take a minute and try to do a bit of baseball analysis. I make no bones of my being a huge Houston Astros fan. Have been since '89 when I moved to the Houston area with my family. Glenn Davis was the first player I ever idolized and followed. I was distraught when he was traded to the Orioles, but it was for the best as Jeff Bagwell was only a couple years away.

Anyway, I figured I'd take a look at what the future might hold for the Astros. Where my ignorant opinion thinks they can improve, what players I think they should hold on to, so on and so forth. I'm not an expert, I barely qualify as an ignorant outsider. But I like baseball, and I love the Astros, and I have a medium which allows me to write about them. Yay.


Brad Ausmus: The Astros long-time catcher. He's done two tours with the 'Stros and is a good friend of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. He's got a reputation as a good defensive catcher and as someone who works very well with pitchers. He also entered the season 35 years old and deep into the decline phase of his career. So what does he do? He might have just had the best year of his career. His OBP was the fourth best of his career, and his best since 2000. His power was down though with only 3 HRs, but he walked more than he struck out (48/51 K/BB) and he wasn't the GIDP machine he's been in years past.

Going forward Ausmus is a potential free agent. He earn $3m from the Astros last season and will probably command a similar annual salary on the market. There are not a lot of top-tier catchers hitting the market this season. Although I'd like to see the Astros make a play for Eli Marrero if he files for free agency they'll probably stick with Ausmus. And then be stuck when he goes pumpkin for the rest of his career. Dear God let the Astros sign him to an incentive-heavy contract, not big guaranteed money.

Jeff Bagwell: With Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell is the face of the Astros. There are children in Houston who's first phrase was "Biggio to Bagwell for the double play". He's my all-time favorite Astro. I've got dozens of his baseball cards, several with his signature. All of them are precious and treasured and will be passed on to any future SSG B Jrs. He's also the albatross around the Astros neck.

His $18m salary, and the $17m he'll receive next year, make up a sizable portion of the team's budget. Paying that much for an aging hitter not named Bonds is a gross overspending. If Bagwell was able to be 50% of the player he once was his contract would still be bloated, but at least it'd be acceptable. As it stands though there is serious doubt if he'll ever be more than a PH or DH. His right shoulder is shot, and it makes him a serious liability on the field.

Going forward the Astros do not really have a whole lot of options with Bags. He's expensive and it's not clear if he'll even be able to hit (it was painful to watch him pinch hit and DH during the WS. It hurt me to see such a great player overmatched by Bobby Hill, I mean Jenks). His performance and contract make him immovable. The Astros will probably get to spend next season saddled by a sizable resource drain.

Lance Berkman: Every Astro with a last name that starts with "B" gets roped into the "Killer B's". Berkman is the latest one to deserve such high praise. He's probably one of the five best hitters in the game. Although he's going to be 30 this coming season he should remain a valuable hitter for years to come (and hopefully so, his contract is a biggun). Although he probably won't return to CF again (He was the Astros' CF in 2002, and doing an adequate job for a guy drafted as a first baseman) he plays LF in MMP very well and has the arm for RF. His only weakness is against left handed pitchers. He's actually a slightly better hitter from the right side (.294 avg and .419 obp vs. .292 and .409 from the left) but he loses over 100 points of slugging when facing a southpaw (.558 down to .429). He's improved over his career but his power just disappears when he switches sides.

Going forward if Bagwell can't play the field next year Berkman is the natural replacement for him. If Bagwell does play the field Lance will return to the OF with occasional forays to 1B to spell Bags. Hopefully he'll do it all while healthy and sending 40 some odd balls into the stands.

Craig Biggio: Opening Day 2006 will mark Craig Biggio's 19th year with the Astros. He's been an Astro for about 6 months longer than I've been a Texan. At age 39 he set a new career high for home runs at 26. His previous high of 24 was set last year. He's well removed from his peak, but at his peak he was an MVP-caliber talent, even far removed he's still a valuable player. He signed a new contract that will make him an Astro for next year, at a very reasonable $4m. He remains one of the best 2b in the game, even as one of the oldest players on the team. However all is not rosey. He's a liability in the field. His range is very limited now, and his arm has never been that great. There were many slow rollers through the right side that an average defender would have gotten to that Biggio didn't.

Going forward Biggio is in the twilight, and I sincerely hope that he'll ride off into the sunset wearing the star. Having Biggio on the Astros is something emotional to me. I like him on this team. He's overcome some personal demons to become the Houston icon he's become. He's a genuinely nice guy who's earned the chance to to finish his career with the team he helped build. Sure, his presence at 2b blocks the development of Chris Burke, or some other future prospect, and will hurt the team in the long run. But you know what? Biggio bats and throws right handed, but writes left-handed. That's something in short supply in the world.

Eric Bruntlett: Jose Vizcaino's heir apparent. He plays all infield positions well and hits for nothing. Despite a couple of big, huge, game winning homeruns it's not something he's going to do with any consistency. But he's young, cheap, and has a year until he's eligible for FA. Going forward he'll remain a glove off the bench in the late innings to keep slow rollers from getting by Biggio.

Chris Burke: Drafted as a SS, groomed to play 2B, moved to the OF to have a place to play. His sub .400 slg was probably the lowest by a corner OF ever. Despite some rookie miscues in the OF he's got the speed and arm to make it, but he can't hit enough to play there. He's a 2B playing in the open spaces because the Astros don't think he'll outperform Biggio at this point in time.

Going forward the Astros are going to jerk Burke around this coming season. He's got too much potential to let go in a trade, and they know they're going to need him when Biggio finally hangs it up. Hopefully he can rediscover his batting eye (.396 obp in AAA last year) and force the issue of why he isn't playing. The Astros will be better in the long term if he does.

Raul Chavez: Why? When Brad Ausmus is your catcher why have a back-up who has Ausmus' offensive skill set, but worse? His OBP flirts with sub-.200 and his slg is .268. Going forward the Astros picked up Humberto Quintero during the season in a trade w/ San Diego. Quintero is similar to Chavez in that he's a catcher who can't hit. Be he's 6 years younger and earns less money. At least Quintero has the potential to possibly not totally suck.

Morgan Ensberg: The Astros savior. This was the sort of season predicted for Ensberg after his break-out 2003. Instead he spent 2004 as one of the most disappointing players in baseball, and jerked around by Jimy Williams until his well-earned departure. Ensberg played 2005 like 2004 never happened. He hit more homeruns (36) than in 2003 and 4 combined (25 and 10). He set career marks in obp and slg. He made the All-Star team and without him the Astros don't make the playoffs, let alone their first WS. He also plays plus defense at 3b, with a solid glove and a strong arm. He's a smart hitter who only gets better when the game is on the line. His poor performance in the playoffs can be attributed to a broken hand he suffered when he was HBP in September. He wasn't the same after that, but with surgery to repair the bone, and an offseason to recover, I think it's a legit chance that he'll retain his gains from this season.

Going forward Ensberg gives the Astros a big advantage. He is past his prime in that he's now 30, and will turn 31 before the end of the season. But he's gotten a late start and his skill set, obp and power, tend to age well. He also provides good offense from a position, 3b, which is pretty weak in the NL. Ensberg is a smart player who should be an Astro for a while to come.

Adam Everett: All-glove, no stick poster boy. He somehow poked a career high 11 HRs, but 7 of them were hit at home by poking them into the inviting Crawfish Boxes in MMP. On a team without Brad Ausmus (or Chris Burke playing an outfield corner) Adam Everett would be the 8-hitter, increasing his obp as teams mysteriously walk him to face the pitcher who is only a marginally worse hitter than Everett. Instead the Astros spent the year essentially giving the pitcher a free inning when Everett-Ausmus-pitcher went down quickly and quietly. He's a defensive whiz though. In a world before A-Rod, Jeter, Nomar, Tejada, or Renteria his lack of offense wouldn't be noticed. Everett has good range, smooth hands, a strong arm, and he turns the double play well. Defensive statistics are not well-developed, but when looking at Everett's numbers he's always on the good die of them. Plus he's one of Mrs. SSG B's favorite players.

Going forward the problem the Astros have with Adam Everett isn't Adam Everett. It that the Astros basically punted offense from three positions with Ausmus, Burke when he was in the OF, and Everett. That might not have been a problem with a full year of a healthy Bagwell and Berkman. But they didn't get that. Everett is a good enough defender to allow his glove to carry his bat, but as long as he's on the Astros they cannot afford to sacrifice a corner outfield position the way they did with Burke this year. As fond as I am of Everett I'd almost like to see what would happen if the Astros can get Nomar for a cheap, incentive heavy contract. I feel dirty for saying that.

Mike Lamb: Lamb had a career year at the plate last season when he his 14 HR, with a .288/.356/.511 batting line. 2005 wasn't as good, but that was due to a big drop in his walk rate. He's a career .329 obp so his .284 this year is out of line. Hopefully it's a fluke because if it is the Astros are a better team. Lamb is a left hander with some pop who can fill in at the corner infield positions. Although he's a poor defender at 1b and 3b, he's not totally lost and the Astros don't suffer horribly if they need to give Ensberg or Bagwell/Berkman a day off.

Going forward Lamb will probably become the Astros number on leftie off the bench if Orlando Palmerio is allowed to move on. Either way he'll continue to be a valuable member of the brick and tan.

Jason Lane: Last year was a lost season for Lane. He spent most of the year miscast as a PH. This year, given the starting RF job, he rewarded some of the faith the organization had in him. He's not perfect. His k/bb this year was 105/32, and he had some pretty hellacious droughts during the year where he wasn't putting the ball into play. But he also jacked 26 HR, 34 doubles and 4 triples for a .499 slg. He's got power. He just needs to use it more. Batting behind Ensberg he provided him with the protection that a clean-up hitter normally needs. I'm curious if Lane would improve marginally if he had someone more threatening than Adam Everett batting behind him.

Going forward Lane should remain in the Astros outfield until either free agency/ arbitration make him expensive, or a better options comes through the system. In the mean time the Astros have a RF capable of getting on base occasionally with 30 HR power. It's a nice thing to have.

Orland Palmerio: OP is a free agent this year. He's a PH specialist who excels when he plays ~100 games a year w/ about 200 ABs. Anytime a manager has gotten too entranced with Palmerio's success it's turned out badly. He's a quality player off the bench. He can draw a walk if needed, has some doubles power too. He's also an acceptable defender in any outfield position, but better in LF or CF because he doesn't have a strong arm.

Going forward I hope the Astros resign OP. They paid more money for a poorer hitter in Jose Vizcaino. That being said, if he's seeking over $1m per year left him go. There are other players out there with his skill set. Maybe $1m is a bit high even

Humberto Quintero: A younger Raul Chavez. Like The original Quintero is a catch-and-throw receiver who doesn't have a lot of pop or get on base.

Going forward he'll be cheaper than Chavez, and there is a chance he might become useful.

Luke Scott: Scott had a red hot spring training and played his way into the Opening Day roster. His lack of April production, total lack of production, resulted in him being sent down in May. While at Round Rock he set fire to AAA pitching hitting .286/.360/.603 with 31 HRs and 60 extra base hits. He earned a call-up in late August and was put on the NLDS roster. He can hit, but he'll have to do so at the ML level to avoid being branded as a AAAA player and doomed to a life of mid-season injury replacements.

Going forward if Scott can somehow catch lightening in a bottle and hit in the majors like he did in the minors the Astros could find themselves in a nice situation.

Willy Taveras: Willy T. Speedy. His two doubles in Game 2 of the WS went farther than 90% of Willy's other hits combined. He don't have power. Every time I saw him bat all I could think of was the scene in the movie Major League where the manager would make Wesley Snipe's Willy Mays Hayes do push-ups for every ball not hit on the ground. Willy T's entire game plan is to hit the ball on the ground and try to beat the throw. There is nothing wrong with that gameplan, but it will make for a very short career if he can't figure out how to hit the ball out of the infield. Once defenses figured out that Taveras couldn't hit the ball past a drawn-in infield his season declined. Willy needs to learn the strike zone too. His k/bb ratio is 4/1. And his 529 ABs as the Astros lead off hitter were painful since his obp is only .325. Taveras does make good use of his speed. He swiped 34 bases while getting caught only 11 times, keeping his percentage over the magic breakeven point for SBs. If he learns to study tape and gets better at identifying pitcher's moves he'll become a better thief. The Astros may be willing to live with his poor hitting though because, like Everett, he's a good enough defender to make it palatable. Despite taking some funky routes to fly balls and occasionally making rookie mistakes he's a plus defender in CF, and uses his speed to make up for some bad jumps and reads. An up-the-middle defense of Burke, Everett, and Taveras would probably make the Astros pitchers very happy. At least on defense, when they lose 3-1 it might get a bit annoying.

Going forward Taveras is still young enough to make a step forward, but will he? I'm not alone in hoping that some team, somewhere, decides to pair Rickey Henderson up with some young, over eager speedster. I'd like for it to be the Astros with Taveras. Who knows if it would work, but Rickey has too much knowledge to waste it in Independent League teams in Arizona. Taveras is young, two years from arbitration, and he had an acceptable rookie year. If he takes a step forward this year the Astros will be in good shape, if he doesn't at least they were the NL champions in 2005.

Jose Vizcaino: He's been an Astro since 2001 when he came over as a free agent from the World Champion Yankees. As a free-swinging contact switch hitter he's had some value off the bench. Although he's got a good glove at both SS and 2b his range is lacking for both. Like many older role players Vizcaino's problem isn't himself, but what is being spent to have him around. His two year, $3m contract was a lot of money for production that can easily be gotten from a younger player for the league minimum. Although part of Viz's value is tied to the fact he's taken several young Spanish-speaking players under his wing, giving them some help and guidance at adapting to the major league level. I do hope he'll find Ozzie Guillen-like success as if he decided to move on to coaching.

Going forward the Astros are not likely to resign Vizcaino. Bruntlett is viewed as a better gloveman who provides a similar batting eye with a little more power, for about $1m less per year. There are always decent hitting bench players available on the FA market or through the minors. The Astros will do well to search for someone at the league minimum to replace the uber-pinch hitter role that Vizcaino has filled.


Ezequiel Astacio: One of the three pitchers received from Philly in the Billy Wagner trade. Brandon Duckworth has been the worst pitcher the Astros have had for the past two years. Astacio wasn't much better in his rookie year. Unlike Duckworth though there is hope for Zeke. He's still young (he'll turn 26 next week) and he strikes out more than 6 batters per 9 (6.8k/9IP). He allows too many baserunners though (WHIP 1.54) by giving up a lot of hits and walks (10H/9 and 2.4BB/9). But the real bane of his existence has been the long ball. Astacio is tater-riffic, giving up 2 per 9 innings.

Going forward Astacio will be given every shot at earning a spot in the rotation next season. He has the stuff, he just needs to learn to control it a bit better and not allow so many long flies. Playing in MMP a pitcher cannot afford to allow a lot of homeruns. If everything about Astacio remains the same, but he cuts his HR rate next season it will be a big step forward.

Brandon Backe I'll admit to a bias about Backe. I like him. He's excitable, always moving, always hanging on the railing cheering for his teammates, and to top it all off he's got some good stuff. He's a converted outfielder who's only been pitching for the past four years. It's starting to look like the conversion is going to work out very well. His strike out rate dipped a bit this year (from 6.3 to 5.3 per 9), but he had an injured muscle in his abdomen which was affecting his play. When he returned to the team in early September he struggled a bit before kicking it up a notch in the playoffs. The postseason is where Backe shines. He's got a career ERA of 4.95 from April to September, but when the calendar switches to October and he gets into the post season his ERA is 2.95. It is a small sample size at a little over 36 innings in 7 games, but his control improves significantly when he's pitching in October. Joe Sheehan from Baseball Prospectus thinks there is a slight chance that Backe's October success is tied to his concentration. If so, and Jim Hickey can get him to pay attention, 2006 could be a huge year.

Going forward Backe will be the Astros third or fourth starter, depending on what Clemens does. There are many poorer 4th starters out there, but if he begins the year as the number 3 the Astros might be in trouble. Then again Backe has some good stuff, and he would surprise some people, if he hadn't showcased his stuff in the WS and NLCS.

Roger Clemens: Best. Pitcher. In. Baseball. When Chris Carpenter or Dontrelle Willis have their Cy Young award dinners they need to invite the Astros offense to the banquet, because they wouldn't have won it if the Astros hadn't been shut out in 9 of Clemens' starts. His 1.87 ERA was the lowest of his 21 year career. He was at or near his career averages for hits, walks, home runs, and strike outs per 9 innings. And he did it all in a season where he turned 43. In a world where the baseball writers looked beyond W-L record for deciding pitching awards this wouldn't even be a debate: Clemens would win his 8th Cy Young.

Going forward Clemens was only signed for one season. He's a free agent again. He pitches at his leisure. He has nothing left to prove. Unless he's on a quest to join Nolan Ryan as baseball's only 5,000 strike out pitchers if he comes back again he'll do it on his terms. The only darkside to Clemens could be his hamstring. It started to bother him late in the year and he noticeably struggled in his last few starts in the regular and post season. But even limited by injury he'll still be the leading candidate to be the best pitcher in baseball in 2006, if he comes back. And if he does I hope it's in the Astros pinstripes again.

Mike Gallo: In 36 games Gallo pitched a total of 20.1 innings facing 28 batters. He's a total one-trick pony, and he's not even good at the trick. Lefthanders hit .268/.340/.439 against him. Although Gallo did better against righties, holding them to a lower average and slugging percentage, it was a small sample size though and, over his career, he's been very flammable when exposed to righties.

Going forward the Astros will decide to continue to "need" a southpaw for the marginal value that such a one-trick pony as the lefty specialist represents. They will do well to find one that is actually good against left handed hitters. Oh, and going WAY forward I've already told Mrs. SSG B when we have a son I'm tying his right arm behind his back and teaching him to throw left-handed so he can have a long, well-paid career as a one-batter lefty specialist.

Brad Lidge: It's a shame that Lidge's 2005 is going to break down to three highlights: Albert Pujols' sending a homerun into low orbit in Game 5 of the NLCS. Scott Podsednik hitting a walk-off shot in Game 2 of the WS. Jermaine Dye driving in the winning run in Game 4 of the WS. Lidge spent most of the season being one of the most dominant closers in the game. His fastball is dangerous, coming in at 97-99 mph, and almost unhittable when he's putting it on the corners. But his slider is the out pitch. He can throw it at will and when his fastball is on, his slider is unhittable. When Lidge is not on it's because his fastball isn't going where he wants it to. If his fastball isn't on hitters can just wait for him to miss badly enough with the heat, or see if he'll hang a slider. And Pujols showed what can happen when the slider hangs.

Going forward Lidge gives the Astros a real advantage at the end of games. Phil Gardner has become too traditional with him though. Lidge can throw multiple inning appearances. He might even be a bit more effective going 1+ because he's able to adjust when something isn't right. Between Lidge, Dan Wheeler, and Chad Qualls the Astros have a trio of durable, quality relievers who can make a game 7 innings long. Phil Gardner just needs to be "scrap iron" enough to take the heat of the media when he uses his best relievers in the most important points in the game.

Roy Oswalt: The future of the franchise. Roy is a gritty competitor who came to the Astros in the 23rd round of the draft in 1996. He's a short right-hander who throws hard, soft, and everything in between. His fastball can reach 97 and his 12-6 curveball will travel at less than 70. He mixes in a good slider and will change speeds on his fastball. He also has a change-up that he can use to keep hitters off balance. Despite playing in the offense-friendly MMP Roy is better at home than on the road, holding batters to a .248/.278/.388 line at home. He's spent his entire career in MMP and he's never given up 20 HRs in a season. In a world without Clemens Oswalt is in the Cy Young discussion.

Going forward Roy Oswalt is the ace of the Astros staff. Although Clemens and Pettitte had better numbers, Oswalt will be the one wearing Brick and Tan for the next 10 years. He appears over his groin problems of a few years ago, and he hasn't missed a start in two years. As long as he remains healthy, and the Astros score more than 1 run for him in his starts, Oswalt should probably be considered a Cy Young candidate until he shows he's not.

Andy Pettitte: The Astros were hoping for something better than the injury-plagued 2004 that they got from their big free agent signee Andy Pettitte. Boy did they get it. When Roger Clemens went from UNGODLY to merely superhuman late in the season Pettitte kicked it up a notch. He went 11-2 after the All-Star break with an ERA of 1.69. He held opposing hitters to a .201 avg and was a big reason the Astros were able to charge into the Wild Card. He is lethal to left handed hitters.

Going forward Pettitte is under contract for one more year. It's a doosey though. He'll be earning about $17m in 2006. He'll be untradable, and if he performs the way he did this year, they won't want to trade him. An Oswalt-Pettitte 1-2 punch should make for one of the better top-of-the-rotations in baseball.

Chad Qualls: Another young right hander out of the 'pen, another quality reliever to end a game. Qualls got some seasoning last year, but was still a rookie going into this season. He performed up to expectations. He was able to bridge any gap between the starter and Wheeler/Lidge. He actually has a reverse split being more effective against lefties than righties. A fact that might be useful to remember when it comes time to replace Gallo.

Going forward the Astros seem to have an assembly line of relievers. They started with Lidge-Octavio Dotel-Wagner. Moved on to Wheeler-Lidge-Dotel. Now to Qualls-Wheeler-Lidge. They parted ways with Wagner and Dotel because Wagner WAS expensive, and Dotel was going to be expensive soon. Lidge still has time before he enters the vastly overpaid part of his career, so whether he'll be used as the next trading chit for a Beltran-esque deal is iffy. But if he does go, or goes down to injury the Astros don't have much to worry about because the relief-pitching line remains strong.

Wandy Rodriguez: Ugh. Between Astacio and Wandy Rodriguez I would have been happy to see the Astros resurrect the four-man rotation. But that is unfair. Where Astacio's weakness was in allowing too many homeruns, Rodriguez allowed too many people to be on base when he'd give up a HR. Although his k/9 rate was an acceptable 5.1/9, Wandy allowed 3.4bb per 9 innings. He needs to gain some control before he can become an acceptable starter. It doesn't help that he allowed more HR in fewer innings than any of the Astros Big 3 starters. But that's a unfair comparison.

Going forward Wandy is going to be competing with Astacio, Carlos Hernandez, Taylor Buchholz, and who knows who else for the 5th starter spot. Wandy throws left handed and he breathes. He'll be around for a long time, just probably not very effective.

Russ Springer: He's 36, will be 37 in a little over a week. He's the prototypical middle reliever. He's good enough to usually not cost his team the game, but dangerous enough that you don't want him to be used too often. With three studs like Qualls, Wheeler, and Lidge Springer tended to be used in blow-outs, games where the starter got shelled, or when he just hadn't pitched in too many days. Chad Qualls mentioned that he enjoyed having Springer around to teach him some of the more important points of relief pitching, and he credits Springer with showing him a good warm-up program for getting ready to pitch. Teams need 25 players and there are worse ways to spend a roster spot.

Going forward there's been talk that this would be Springer's last year. He's got his 10 year of ML service so he's got his pension. If he stays, fine, if he doesn't, the waiver wire will hold his replacement.

Dan Wheeler: Dave Matthews, I mean Dan Wheeler, made a name for himself in last years NLCS when he baffled the St. Louis Cardinals. He built on his excellent 2004 with an amazing 2005. Although Lidge is the closer, and thus nominally the best reliever, by some stats Wheeler was really the Astros relief ace. Wheeler is hard on righties, tough at home, and does it all by relying on pin point control. Watching Wheeler pitch reminds me of Maddux (he's no where near as good of course). Everything he throws looks SO hittable, but he sets down hitter after hitter after hitter.

Going forward Wheeler to Lidge to end the game works. In a saner world the Astros would be using Wheeler and Lidge in alternating two-inning appearances to end games. They're both that good. He'll probably be an Astro until arbitration make him too expensive. As long as other teams are willing to overpay for relief the Astros really should be able to enjoy some quality innings after the starter ices his arm for the evening.


There is simply no way to accurately predict what could happen for Houston next year. Their success was completely reliant upon Clemens, Oswalt, and Pettitte turning in the second best performance by a trio of starting pitchers in history. That's the sort of thing you can't rely on. Oswalt will remain excellent, but Pettitte and Clemens were so far to the extreme of performance that even a slight drop off next season will seem like a huge loss. If Backe can remain healthy and pitch like he is capable of pitching that will go a long way to replacing the loss that Clemens and Pettitte could have.

But no matter what the mound provides the Astros need hitting. They were shut-out 16 times during the year, 6 of them were 1-0 losses. They were one of the poorest hitting teams in the majors, and the poorest in the playoffs. A full year of Berkman will help that, but they're still well-below league average every day at three positions. My dream transaction, one that would solve a lot of their production issues, involves the big Texas lefthander in Cincinnati, Adam Dunn. But I'm dreaming on that. The Reds would be foolish to part with their best hitter, particularly to their division rivals.

Oh well. I'll remain an Astros fan no matter what. 2005 has been a magical year, one that I've been thankful to ride along with. They came up 5 runs short over 4 games. It doesn't get much closer than that. Flags fly forever and Spring Training starts in 109 days. Can't wait.


Got my guy in today. Second volume GA this month with three more contracts lined up for the rest of the RCM. I'm happy so I popped smoke early today.

Just to upset IRR Soldier, the guy has a 4-year degree and is working on his masters. What is he going to be now? A 63B. BUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

No,I'm not happy that a well qualified applicant didn't become an officer. I'd have loved to do an OCS packet and get the nice points. But the guy wanted to leave now and he didn't have the patience for an OCS packet. He doesn't want to do it, I'm not going to make him. He's a GA and a hi-grad, worth almost as many points. Yay.

Well... it's a weekend. I've got it off.

Fantasy football for this weekend is pretty complex for me. My RB situation is in a bit of a flux. Shuan Alexander has been my stud, but he's off this weekend so I'm in a less than optimal situation. I usually have four RBs on my team, two starters two on the bench. My starters have been Alexander and Tiki Barber with Clinton Portis on the bench. I've been through Warrick Dunn and Deuce McCallister as my fourth. And it's worked out for me pretty well. This weekend is looking interesting though.

You see, I really don't believe that Portis is going to be able to score or run well on the Giants. Because of that I picked up Ronnie Brown of the Dolphins. They're playing the Saints who have been pretty weak against the run, and Brown has been playing pretty well so far. But I've adopted a plan lately where I try and start someone playing against the 49ers or the Texans. Carnell Williams from TB has been injured and questionable for the weekend and Michael Pittman has been very good in his stead. Pittman was available so I picked him up. I'mplanning to hold Brown as the starter, but if Williams isn't going to start for TB, I'll swap him out for Brown. Am I trying to be too smart here? It feels like I am, but even if Pittman doesn't make the start I'm not going to be hurt roster-wise for next week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I apologize for the lack of recruiting-related stuff. I've just been very involved in the Astros and their recent failures have absorbed most of the energy I normally use to post.

I'm still on my net zero, but with the kindness of the powerful, mighty, evil gods of recruiting I should be +1 again soon. Another DUI waiver came back for me and the guy should join Friday. Since he's out-of-area he takes the shuttle and stays in the hotel, so I get to avoid the early-morning run to MEPS. Yay.

If he gets in that means I just need to come up with five more contracts in three weeks to box the station and company. Needless to say I'm hoping to get to four-of-six for the month so I have a reasonable chance of quarter boxing. Eh... we'll see. Please be kind Recruiting Gods. Surely there is another infidel you can punish since the gods of Baseball and Fantasy Football have been taking turns tea-bagging me this week.

Oh Come ON!

Home team. Tie game. Runner on third, less than two outs. Twice. The Astros lost.

This was not a game the White Sox won. This was a game the Astros lost. They choked. They choked bad. The Houston Chronicle should probably consider dusting off the old Choke City headlines from the mid 90's.

It's like the Astros keep finding new and better ways to drive me to drink.

I don't think I have ever been more upset about something as ultimatly meaningless as a freaking game.

I'm hoping the baseball gods will at least be kind enough to let the Astros win a game and avoid the indignity of a sweep.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


It's another early morning. Gotta take a shipper downtown. Needless to say I've also got an appointment scheduled for freaking 1700 in a town about 90 minutes from where I work. This is going to be a long day, and I'll probably miss the Astros game tonight. Odds are though missing the game will be in my best interests. I'll explain that later.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Horror

Humanity is doomed.

I was looking at the top downloads on iTunes today and I realized that My Hump by the Black Eyes Peas was number 3.

Number 3.

The third most popular download.

It is the stupidest song ever.

Listening to it lowers your IQ by 5 points.

The first time I'd heard it I forgot how to calculate batting average.

There is no way for me to overstate just how innane the song is. But let me try.

It is a 4 minute song where "Fergie", the hot chick in the group, sings about her butt and breasts for 3:30 of the song. I'm all for songs glorifying Fergie's butt and boobs. I'm a guy. But she does not do so by referring to them as "butt" or "breasts". Or any of the other many ways to refer to those parts of a woman's anatomy. Instead she refers to them as... her hump... and her lumps.

When I first realized that I was equal parts horrified, distainful, and depressed, with a little bit of amusement thrown in.

It is a simply stupid song. It repeats "My hump, my hump my hump my hump my hump, my lovely lady lumps, in the back and in the front," over and over and over again. Just writing that made me forget how to drive a standard.

Ugh... if that is actually a popular song humanity is doomed.

I'm feeling old.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

And the was much rejoicing

Astros win 4-3 and take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS against the Cards.


(happy dance)

*20051016 UPDATE*

Astros win 2-1 to take a 3-1 lead in the NLCS against the Cards.

What a game! Mrs. SSG B and were jumping around the living room when the Astros turned that game-ending double play! I didn't think they had a chance the turn it with how close to the first base side Bruntlett was. But they did!

(happier dance)

*20051016 UPDATE II*

Yes. This is being played REPEATEDLY on my iPod.

I really hope I get to spend the next 10 days or so making my pathetic blog into an Astros-only zone. My mom and Mrs. SSG B would be cool with it, so at least 10% on my readers will approve.

*20051017 UPDATE III*

And that hurt. I shall be on suicide watch for the next couple days.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Who to start?

Tom Brady or Carson Palmer as QB on my fantasy team for this weekend? Palmer has been MONEY so far this season, but Brady hasn't been far behind him. Palmer is matching up with the Titans who can be scored upon, while Brady is going against the Bronc's who have a very inexperienced secondary that Brady and Bill can probably exploit to great effect.

I'm thinking coin-flip but I'm open to suggestions.

*UPDATE 20051016*

I went with the horse that brought me and started Palmer. 272 Yards, 2 TDs (one to Chad Johnson who is one of my receivers (ka-ching!)) and worth 39 points in my league's fantasy format. Brady was 299 for 1 TD and 12 yards on the ground for 36 points. So Palmer comes through for me again.

I'm already looking ahead to week 7 when my choice is easy. Brady is off.

For anyone who might be curious about how my team did (not even my mom would actually be interested, but it's my blog, I'll write what I want to) I should be able to hold on for my second league-best finish in a row, and fifth week in a row without having to buy lunch. I'm up for 40 on SSG Rage, but he's got a WR and RB playing. Luckily they're on different teams so he'd need a VERY high scoring game for both of his guys to over take me. Although I'm almost 80 points up on SSG George, he's got Mannging, Harrison, and Vanderjagt playing. If Manning has a big game going to Harrison a few times I might be in trouble.

To answer your question...

Sorry it took so long for me to get around to this. I wish I could blame it on traffic, or work, or something other than my lack of motivation to give an answer.

A while ago Russ at Boxing Alcibiades asked me a question about recruiting. It seems that Russ has been talking with a recruiter about joining and he wanted to know why they were "selling" him on a job for which he didn't think he was suited.

Reserves is something where most RA recruiters, particulary the detailed ones who only focus on the RA side get themselves strung-up. Anyone in recruiting knows the facts. The money, the benefits, the incentives, they're all in writing. Where RA recruiters get themselves in trouble though when crossing components is how the Reserves "works".

Russ, I can't know where you are or what units are in your area. But that is a very important fact to know for a reserve recruiter. You see, the Regular Army can assign you to any vacancy around the world. If you want to be a 96B or whatever, and there is a slot open for one in Germany, you can be assigned there. It doesn't work that way for the Reserve. The Reserve is local. You might be the most qualified CI Agent the world would ever know, but if you're enlisting in the Reserve, and there isn't a CI position within 200 miles of where you live, they won't assign you to one. With the Reserve you need to choose what is available in the area in which you live.

That's one reason they could be "pushing" 37F.

Recruiters also try and become friends with the people who work in the units. I've gotten a couple of quality referrals from the FTUS at my local reserve centers. And I try very hard to repay their kindness by getting prospects and applicants into their units. It doesn't always (ever?) work. Recruiters have no control over what a NPS applicant will get for a job. None. Nada. Nil. But just because we have no control doesn't mean we won't tell you that we may to get you in for an appointment, or to commit to test, or phys, or even enlist.

As for some of the comments about why they might not be talking toyou about becoming an officer. More paperwork and it takes more time to do get an OCS packet done. Plus there is the whole board process. It's a lot of work for someone who only counts as a single GA. Recruiters can be like water: we'll take the path of least resistance.

Anyway, wish you the best of luck man and hope to see you in boots some time.


My previous post angered the recruiting gods greatly. Very very very greatly

I got an email the next day, THE NEXT DAY, saying I'd had a positive match.


Quick phone call to the DEP in question. The phone call went something like this.

"Hey, this is SSG B. I need you to tell me what sort of trouble with thw law you've had."
"Well, I had that traffic ticket."
"No, what else have you had?"
(silence) "Nothing."
"What did you do?"
"What did you do?"
"I'm not a felon."
(a little bit of SSG B dies) "That's good. But there is a whole lot of other things you could be. So now you need to tell me what you did."
"Well, I was busted for possession of pot."
(a little bit more) "When and where?"
"Uhhh... I was like 17 and I was in Seattle."
"Okay. Okay. The damage is being done. The only way to possibly keep this from getting worse is for you to tell me everything. What else have you done?"
"No SSG B. That was it."
"Is that all?"
"Yes, that is all."
"A possession of pot charge as a juve in Seattle. That is the extent of your history with law enforcement?"
"Okay. We'll be in touch. You'll need to come to (our town) on Monday for an interview to see if you'll be able to stay in the Army."
"Okay. I'll be there."
"Talk to you soon man."

I get the police checks and court checks back.

No possession of pot.

Nope. Not on there.

Although he DID get arrested for theft and for failure to appear/bail jumping.

Oh well. First DEP loss. Won't be that last I'm sure. He's lying to me and it's going to get him put out for the Army. I feel nothing.

Oh, and SSG George, quit bitching about having to buy lunch because your fantasy football team sucks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I've never taken a DEP loss. The recruiting gods will punish me for that arrogant statement soon I'm sure. But I haven't. When you don't put a lot of people into the Army it's hard for them to not ship. Being a zero roller does have its benefits.

Our station is preparing to take a DEP loss. It is my ignorant opinion that USAREC as an entity hates recruiters. I reached that opinion based on a couple of different things, one of those being the DEP loss policy.

When a recruiter enlists an individual they can receive recruiter incentive points for the enlistment. I need to emphasize the fact that points for a contract are a possibility, not a guarantee. Unless there is a special incentive in effect a recruiter needs to enlist 2 quality contracts in a month to receive points for the enlisting. Two. First one is a freebie, all after that are 30 points. Reserve recruiters, like me, can get 15 points for a prior service enlistee, and there are incentives for special programs like OCS, WOFT, college level, etc. But the basic incentive qualification is two quality contracts.

The points nowadays are based on someone shipping. When a DEP, regardless of category, ships out BAM 30 points.

Now, this is where the "hate" comes in.

If someone fails to ship the recruiter's station loses 10 to 35 incentive points. Every recruiter loses those points. The recruiter is even worse off since they lose the 10-35 points, AND they won't get the 30 points for a shipper. So, they're out 40-65 points. The reason for the point spread is part of the hate as well. You see, if a station successfully ships all DEPs scheduled during a month the recruiters receive a 25 point bonus. So that first DEP loss costs every recruiter 35 points, then 10 for each additional one that month.

Of course we're given alllllll sorts of explainations for these policies. "DEP management is a station function," seems to be a popular theory. My problem with that theory is that successful DEP management doesn't receive a similar reward. I get pounded for every loss from the station, yet I get nothing for every success. And it is every DEP loss too. If a recruiter jacks up by not maintaining their DEP and the kid gets fat. Or is a fail-to-grad that they didn't see coming. Or even DEP losses for a DUI or something like that I can uderstand punishing the recruiter and the station. But my station has two cases which, in a sane, caring command, reason would have prevailed.

One of our recruiters had a prior service Soldier enlist into the RA. He had been a 31B in the USAR and MEPS got him a job as a 31B. It worked out well. It was what he wanted to do. Problem was the guy wasn't qualified for the job! Since he didn't want to do anything else the guy was put out of the RA and back into the USAR, becoming a DEP loss for the recruiter and the station. He was a loss because the guidance shop put him into a job for which he wasn't qualified. Not the recruiter's fault. The recruiter and his fellow NCO's took the blame.

Case two. Another recruiter has a DEP who started to feel ill. It wasn't serious at first, but the DEP got worse. Had to go see a doctor and the results weren't good. This DEP had some sort of heart condition. I never really found out what because I didn't feel like prying. The girl as physically qualified by the doc's at MEPS, yet she had some sort of heart condition which caused rapidly deteriorating health. Not the recruiter's fault the DEP was really ill. cost us 35 points each since it was the only DEP loss that month.

About the only way a recruiter isn't punished for a DEP loss is if the kid dies. I would never kill a person just to avoid losing some incentive points, but I'd have a hard time convicting a recruiter who did.

Anyway, my guy from yesterday got in (yay!). Now I just need to find 5 more (boo).

Back to suck

Well, last month rocked. Three GAs, one PS, and a red circle on my tin badge because the station and company boxed. I ruled.

Past tense.

Today marks the start of RCM November and I'm back on suck.

If the recruiting gods do not hate me though I shall not be on suck for long.

Mr. Robb is ready to join. He was a serious misconduct waiver and the waiver came back approved over the weekend. With some begging we managed to get him set-up for a walk-on enlistment this morning. He's already test (75 QT!) and phys qualified so the waiver was all that remained.

I drove him downtown this morning, dropped him off, and headed back to the office. As I'm driving to the office the recruiting gods decided to toy with me.

Mr. Robb calls me to say that the guidance counselor doesn't have his approved waiver.


I double time it to my lap top and find the email with the approved waiver. Lo and behold, the counselor is ON THE "TO:" LINE!!!!


No matter. I just call MEPS, tell the counselor to check his email and he'll find the approval. I also suggest that he checks his email before saying that he doesn't have something. The counselor agrees with me and thanks me for not making a big deal out of his mistake.

Sorry. I was in a fantasy world where MEPS actually likes recruiters and tries to make our lives a bit easier.

In reality I spend 10 minutes searching for the email with the approved waiver, then rapidly email it to the counselor and pray that he checks his email before he tells my guy to call me for a pick-up because he won't be enlisting today since the counselor didn't check his email in the first place.

Oh well. Email has been sent, I haven't heard anything back and I'm a firm believer in no news being good news when it comes to people on the floor. Nothing good ever comes from a 7am call from MEPS.