The Business Passive.

In business, ways of saying things catch on fast. One construction that used to bug me, but now just entertains me is “It would be great if…”. It used to grate on me. Now I joke with a couple coworkers about it, restating the meaningless to sound stronger: “Greatness would ensue if you could write up that report.” This is a form of the business passive, a grammatical construction that is part voice, part mood.

The telltale sign is trying to obscure the fact that you’re asking for something by declaring that a general greatness (or awesomeness, or even superfantasticness) would arrive if someone could simply perform a task you’d like done. It’s also key to not be too direct about it. Even “It would be great if you wrote the document” may too direct; to be safe, go with “It would be great if you could write the document”.

Now, sometimes someone gets really desperate for a task to be completed. They enter the stronger (weaker?) form of business passive. “It would be great if that report were written by end-of-quarter.” This works best when there are only two people involved in this conversation. It also leads to a wonderful reinterpretation. “Yes, I agree, greatness would truly have been achieved if that report were to show up right before the end of the quarter, fully written!”

The leap I take at this point (and it is a leap) is that this may not simply be a problem of brevity, clarity, and sensibility. I think it’s a problem of confidence. People tend towards this voice when asking to do things that really aren’t important. They themselves don’t even truly want to see a task done, so they feel uncomfortable asking for it, so they rationalize, assuming that someone somewhere wants this enough that “it would be great” to do.

I can’t be sure of that, but there is one thing that I can be sure of. If you’re not actually willing to “own” the fact that you’re asking someone to act, you shouldn’t be asking them to. Do it yourself, or define the task to a point where you know its valuable enough for you to delegate.

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To cool your body

Put cold water all over your arms and swing them back and forth. Let gravity do most of the work.

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Lifehack: Use Gmail search to look up dollar amounts on your statements.

Whatever you use to track your expenditures, categorizing purchases can be a pain, especially if you buy many types of thing from a single retailer, like Amazon.

The easiest way I’ve found to remember what a particular purchase was is to look at my credit card statement (or, etc), and search for the prices in my Gmail account. Simple, but it can really save time.


My Iced Coffee Recipe

(Adapted from my previous post: My Coffee Recipe)

To start you’ll need an Aeropress, and a grinder equivalent to Capresso’s Infinity conical burr grinder. A normal burr grinder or even a decent blade grinder would probably do just fine, but you might end up with a smokier taste.

You’ll also need a way to boil water, a twelve ounce dishwasher safe glass, and of course, some coffee beans (probably at least 1/8 lb to be on the safe side). I don’t recommend trying a glass that is not dishwasher safe, because even with ice, it will get hot.

  1. Fill the glass with ice cubes to half an inch below he rim.
  2. Add skim or 1% milk to the ice-filled glass until it is up a third of the way
  3. Set up the Aeropress on your glass
  4. Now, bring the water to boil. You’ll only need about 6oz at the most
  5. Once it begins boiling, turn off the heat. If you leave it boiling, the water will be to hot when you brew.
  6. Grind on the finest “fine” setting on the infinity (not extra fine) for 25-30 seconds (#5 on the infinity), and pour grounds into the Aeropress.
  7. Now, fill the Aeropress the measuring cup/plunger to between 2 and 3 cups.
  8. Trickle some water into the grounds, and then follow with a full pour
  9. Work Aeropress’s magic. (you know, stir for 10 seconds and then plunge for ~20)
  10. If there is space left over in the glass, just add cool water
  11. Wash Aeropress
  12. Enjoy!

I suggest not adding any sugar, so you can get the taste of the bean. Trust me, give it a couple tries if you’re used to sugar. In fact, I don’t think this method would work well with sugar, since it’s best to add sugar before icing the coffee, and this ices it right away. You could try agave syrup instead.
But, if you use this method your coffee will not be very bitter—only the natural bitterness of the bean which is much less than you’d expect.

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Signatures on comments.

What is up with signatures on comments? Are there people out there who like reading them? This is definitely a noise/ego problem on many websites. You can learn to ignore them to some degree, but you inevitably end up glancing at them. They’re distracting, they’re devoid of content, they’re often only funny or meaningful to the commenter.

Anyways, if you’re a blogger, forum administrator, web developer, don’t allow signatures in comments, you know that’s the right thing to do.


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