Category Archives: Content Created

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The Dickinson Bill Method, v. 2.0

In the fleeting memories of my childhood, there’s one moment that strikes me as weirdly formative.

It was a family reunion on my Dad’s side; I was maybe 12 years old. The collective – my parents, my Dad’s four siblings and their spouses, and an excessive number of my cousins – were grabbing breakfast at some forgettable restaurant.

As the meal ended, the adults got into a heated argument over who was going to pay the bill. There was a weird source of pride among the family about grabbing the bill, with an outright refusal to let anyone split it, to the point where it would nearly turn into a fist fight. Cards were drawn, cash was readied, fingers were pointed demanding others stand down. It was equal parts tense and hilarious.

The server came by, and someone asked for the check. And then, the punchline: my 80 year old grandmother had gotten up at the beginning of the meal and slipped the server her card, trumping everyone else.

This actually happened once in a Dickinson check battle.

If behavior has to be inherited from your family, there are worse ones to pick up than wanting to grab the check. As I rolled into adulthood, this became the ongoing game with my parents, for both me and Katie.  She once proudly blindsided my parents by grabbing the bill in the same way as my grandmother – forever after referred to as “pulling a Dickinson”.

This method has also proven somewhat useful when I’m out with friends, as years of being the Designated Bill Splitter when out in large groups has made me despise the practice. It’s easier/nicer to just pick up everything and tell everyone not to worry about it. (This goes doubly when I’ve picked the spot we’re hanging at, as sometimes my picks are not the most wallet conscious.)

There’s a roadblock, though: I’m not the only one who tries to do this. For the segment of my friends that want to do the same, or take offense at being told that everything’s cool, it can be considered an dick move. And so we start getting into battles about who’s grabbing the next check, or trying to keep a running total in the name of balance – and that sucks too.

So after some consideration and refinement, I’ve come up with what I will dub The Dickinson Bill Method 2.0. It greatly simplifies settling the bill, allows for acceptable contributions from those who want to contribute, and leaves everyone feeling reasonably good.

Life’s too short to fight with your friends over money.


The Dickinson Method 2.0

  1. One member of the party will pick up the bill, in full, including tip. We will refer to this person as the Payer.
  2. Other members of the party (The Party) are told that while the bill has been covered, they can contribute what they feel comfortable giving and/or what they think they owe to the Payer.
  3. Members of the Party are not allowed to look at the bill, either in sum or in detail, to try and crunch an exact amount they owe. Contributions must be made off gut feeling.
  4. Because contributions are optional and made off of gut feeling, the Payer may not indicate that a contribution is “too low” or “too high”. No grudges may be held by any person over the size of a contribution.
  5. Contributions can be made by whatever method is acceptable to the Payer. If using cash, $1 bills may not be exchanged. (No one wants a wallet full of singles.)
  6. If the outing consists of multiple locations with multiple bills, the same Payer should pay for all stops, with contributions being made when the last bill for the outing arrives.

Foursquare Lists, For Your Enjoyment

My love for the location-focused social network Foursquare (and it’s sibling check-in game, Swarm) is no secret. I’ve found it adept for finding new spots locally and when I travel. The community rating numbers tend to be very on the nose and trustworthy. And it’s also perfect for maintaining lists of places, as I just made heavy use of while in London to tick off places I had been recommended.

With that in mind: the two questions I get the most are “Where should I eat?” and “Where should I drink?”. Typically, my answers immediately start drilling into specifics (neighborhood? price? formality? noise level? occasion?). But I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’d rather just give people a broad list to start with – there’s too many good places to just keep them in my head.

So here are my core lists, “A Restaurant For Everywhere” and “A Cocktail Bar For Everywhere“. They’re not bound to one city (the cocktail list used to be NYC focused), so if you’re traveling places I’ve been, it should come in handy. Both lists run the gamut from quick and casual to super upscale. Take a look and I’m sure you’ll find something to love. (Lists are in no particular order.)

If you’d rather get location specific (and not just food/drink), three lists of loved spots in the cities I can be found most often: New York City, Jersey City, and Portland.

RemyWiki Lives On

I’m happy to announce that RemyWiki is back its temporary induced coma, and now living at a new easy-to-remember host. All the data, including accounts, have transferred over.

Many thanks to Corin Simpson-Bryars for taking over the hosting, as well as the plethora of other folks who reached out to offer assistance.

Links to the old site should redirect over to the new site with a 301 code, but if you see any weird behavior, let me know.

Open Wide For Some Sideblogging

Many months ago, some friend of mine in DC – Pablo, Seth, and Thomas – decided to start recording a DC United podcast. Named after a famous Simpsons bit, Open Wide For Some Soccer was born.

DC United’s season went to absolute shit, setting records for futility. Being the type who is always there to pile on with numbers, a segment developed entitled “Sad Stats”, where DC’s record was put in context with sad music playing in the background. I loved this segment so much that I started compiling Sad Stats, and making multiple appearances as the “official Sadistician”.

With the offseason starting, there was a general decision that maybe the OWFSS needed to dominate more media, so now there is a Tumblr.

We do Power Rankings for the league’s narratives.

We made fun of a Forbes article – and every team in the league.

We made fun of the league’s awards.

We give out an award for weekly excellence, named after an obscure Chinese player.

And so on. So if you’re looking for more wit from me, head on over there.

Clippings

Over the last few weeks, the writing stuff got a little hectic and surreal. I contributed to a piece in the Guardian, had another piece cited by the New York Times, and then had a NY State Assemblyman chase me down to correct a misquote in the Wall Street Journal.

In the spirit of making sure I keep tabs on all of this, I’ve thrown together a quick clippings page. It’s not every last thing I’ve written, just the posts of significance or things I liked.

It’s Safe To Stop Ignoring Me On Twitter

After fielding multiple complaints from multiple friends – along the lines of “Will you ever shut up about soccer?” – I have opted to split my Twitter account into soccer and non-soccer variants.

So: if you’re looking for occasional tweets of wit and whimsy from me, you can follow/re-follow/stop muting @Remy. If you instead want frequent updates about the Red Bulls/MLS/the soccer world in general, you should follow @GothamistDan.

Can’t promise I’m going to do the same on this blog, of course, but I get the feeling not a lot of people are stopping by here anymore.