Geek It Happened to Me

My Appearance on CityNews

A Slow News Day

It must’ve been a slow news day, because CityNews aired the segment about me Googlebombing my deadbeat ex-housemate ten minutes into their broadcast! You can watch the video here.

My thanks to Amber MacArthur, who read my entry about my deadbeat ex-housemate and turned it into a news story, as well as the charming Kris Reyes and Mark the camera operator. (By the way, ladies: Mark’s a good-lookin’ fella with a cool job. Let me know if you’d like to get set up.)

Still frame from City News interview with Joey deVilla on Googlebombing.
Click the photo to see the video.

The Web Articles

Note the title of the web page corresponding to the news segment: Man Punishes Ex-Roommate with “Google Bomb”. All they’d need to do is change “Man” to “Area Man” and they’d have a title that would fit right in at The Onion.

The web article has another article partnered with it, titled How to Fight Back Against “Google Bombing”. The tips listed within are somewhat useful, but inapplicable in this case. While Googlebombing him is a bit harsh, I don’t just have the legal and moral high ground, I’m in legal and moral orbit, baby.

(Besides, they forgot the most important tip: Don’t welch on your media-savvy, high-whuffie roomate.)

Still frame from City News interview with Joey deVilla on Googlebombing.
Click the photo to see the video.

Cyberbullying? Nope.

Is this “cyberbullying”?


Bullying implies an attack by one party with considerably more power than the attacked party. My ex-roomate is a middle-class twenty-something white male computer consultant living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Simply put, he’s The Man. (Maybe Poor Impulse-Spending Control Man, but The Man nonetheless.)

From a socioeconomic standpoint, we’re in the same weight class. This isn’t David vs. Goliath, it’s Kenny vs. Spenny.

(From a fiscal responsibility standpoint, I’m Warren Buffet and he’s one of those people who wins the lottery and is broke the following year.)

Mission Accomplished? Will I Ever Get My Money Back?

My intent was merely to get his attention and get him to email me back. We’d had an agreement that’s he’d update me regularly about his financial situation — about once a week, even if only to tell me “Hey Joey, I can’t get you a cheque this month”. He’s been unresponsive for the past couple of months, and I got fed up.

I know that there’s a good chance that I may never get paid back. It’s been five years since he started defaulting on his rent, and I get the distinct impression that I’m not the only person to whom he owes money.

And Finally, a Joke…

To rephrase the old joke about professional musicians…

Q: What’s the difference between my deadbeat ex-housemate and an extra large pizza?

A: An extra-large pizza can feed a family of four.

I’ll keep at him continually. You never know, he could come through.

12 replies on “My Appearance on CityNews”

Of course if he’s in the tech industry it’s only a matter of time that potential employer is a loyal reader and it negatively impacts him or he gets the question in the middle of an interview “so did you ever payback Joey?”

Playing devil’s advocate here, and not at all suggesting he be absolved of his debt:

If you’re Warren Buffet and he’s the grasshopper who sang and danced the summer away, wouldn’t that make you The Man?

After all he’s just a starving twenty-something trying (and evidently not succeeding) to make it in the cutthroat world of a Big American City, and you’re a high-mojo mover in Accordion City who has absorbed his 6K hit to your wallet and not stumbled …

That’s the way I’d spin it if I were in his shoes or if I was working on an audition tape for Fox News.

I don’t see what Fox News has to do with it, but he’d be an idiot not to put some counterspin on it.

I have been in your shoes though, to the tune of 3 grand, and I knew the fellow had no chance of repaying it any time soon.

I made him go through the exercise of proving to me what expense adjustments were going to be made for repayment installments, just to see if he was trying to be serious (and he was, but he could barely afford 50 bucks a month). After that was done I chose to write it off, as I figured he didn’t need the additional stress. He was a real gentleman though and never forgot it.

I don’t know the whole history between you two fellas but your account suggests he wasn’t exactly playing straight with the repayment scheme.

Of course it is “Cyberbullying”. In cyber space you have a lot more power than him. If he would try to same thing with you, he wouldn’t be able to get the same results. You can do this because you have a high ranked blog.

So if I would use the same definition as you and add the cyberspace to it because you are talking about CYBERbullying, you can see it is cyberbullying:

“CyberBullying implies an attack by one party with considerably more power in cyber space than the attacked party.”

Doesn’t mean that I think this is a relatively funny variant of bullying 😉

Fox News has an… er, interesting way of interpreting facts; that’s what my remark was about.

There really wasn’t much of a repayment scheme, just a lot of vague “I’ll pay you back soon…I got money coming in!” promises. I’m beginning to understand why loansharks smash defaulters’ shins with crowbars — after a while, it seems to be the logical (and emotionally satisfying) response to such lame-o excuses.

Also implicit in the definition of bullying: bullies do it solely “because they can”, and usually as a first option. Neither is true in my case.

As for my internet clout over his: once upon a time, he was much better connected than I was. Blaming me for having more Googlejuice is like saying this about the class valedictorian: “Well of course he did well! He worked hard! What kind of fair competition is that?”

I tried to watch the video but when I clicked on the link, it took me to the page with the story, but the video there was about babies getting enough sleep. I wanna see the video! Where is it, tell me.

Kris here. First, thanks Joey for sharing your google bomb story.

Second, I hope that my weak paper bag bang is not at all a premonition for how your problem will resolve itself. Good luck!

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