So, we had a small titter of celebration here at Humpy Towers when my facebook friend count hit 800.  A bit later when it hit 900, I was further surprised but quite chuffed: it’s nice to know there’s so many people around from years gone by who, if they don’t currently keep in regular contact, are at least receptive to the idea, and who can remember you from the sea of faces that pass in a lifetime.

The obvious question, however, arose about how best to celebrate hitting the milestone of 1,000.  Not that it’s an important milestone, after all – it only looks impressive because we’ve adopted base-10 as our default counting system.  In hex it’s 3E8, and if we used that system (thankfully we don’t) then there’d be no arbirtrary celebration due until hitting 4,096.

Still, counter rollover’s something we’re trained to get excited about, no matter how thinly justified it is (take the year 2000 for example – after starting the numbering system retrospectively following the adoption of a new calendar measure, and then skipping a few increments due to religious predilection, we all went batshit for 2000, which was really if anything a year early owing to their being no year zero) – when our family was driving around New South Wales in 1988 we tittered expectantly because the car’s odometer became completely full of 9’s.  And there was a special roadside photographing ceremony next to a shopping centre carpark in Byron Bay when it clocked over to all 0’s.

So you can imagine how my pulse raced when I peeped at my Friends box to see this:

(by way of description: Josh I went to primary school with, Dave's in a band I love, Rudy & Mich are from Gang Show, Julie's an old & close friend, Susan's a friend's housemate who comes to the pub with us, and Shannon went to my high school)

The day was near!  My learned colleague Doc Brown also spotted this, and made a public assertion that when I hit 1,000 the only proper way to celebrate would be to fly the people not already here to London, and carry on in epic fashion.  Notwithstanding the fact that many of them I haven’t seen in years – even the ones who live not too far away (not pointing any fingers… Paula… Connie… Ellie…) – it’s a fairly big-budget project.

Still, the day crept closer…

(Wes was a Gang Show lad, Jason I met through old schoolmates, Anne is involved in morris dancing, Jamie I used to work with, Ali's from Gang Show, and Maris used to run a theatre group I did backstage for)

On the eve of victory however – as I accepted an invitation from number 1,000 – I looked at the box to see the following:

(Daniel was my PL in Scouts, Steve's a mate from ages back, Benji was highschool, Ben's a morris man, Prashant's a friend of my brother's, and Fraser's also a morris man)

Could it be?!  In the time that I’d found a new recruit, 2 existing ones had cut loose from the herd!

It’s easy to get a bit paranoid about this sort of thing: Facebook doesn’t provide you with any sort of feedback when one of your friends drops off the surface.  You often hear of people having “list culls”, where they start to apply some sort of minimum standard to their criteria and separate from the people who don’t make the grade.  But with nearly 1000 it’s hard to know who’s popped off, much less be able to pin them down as to why…

There could be any number of other reasons – maybe they’ve just left Facebook for productivity maximising reasons, or they found it too intrusive, or they just got bored of it.  Perhaps they were someone you met at a party who you found interesting at the time and resolved to keep in touch with, and then left uncontacted for so long that neither of you really have any recollection of how you got on the other person’s list.

The Facebook platform providers seem to have made it fairly difficult to keep track of this sort of thing, as well.  And so being a fundamentally lazy person (as many programmers are), I figured that it wasn’t worth worrying about, and carried on adding people from my past whose names floated past in the stream of ether.

Still, it wasn’t very long before this happened:

(Trish I met through a friend & housemate, Gordon's an old Rover bloke, Rob's an ex-workmate, Kellie's married to an OLD friend, Sarah used to date a mate of mine, and... I have no idea who James is! Uh oh...)

I looked nervously at my bank account, and reasoned that there’s no way I can afford to even buy everyone in the list a pint, let alone fly them here.  As Doc Brown seemed to be the only one who’d noticed instead I thought that it’d be fun to see how far past 1000 I could get before she busted me for not throwing a massive party.  Anticlimactic, but cheap.

And soon enough…

(Matt's a morris man, Mark is a Gang Show dude from Melbourne, Dom's a London mate, Dave's one of my oldschool buddies, Tate used to date a housemate, and Russell's from Comedy Capers!)

Being a fairly sharp operator she busted be when I got to about 1,003.  However really there ought to be some sort of commemoration or celebration here, and so I thought we’d do what comes naturally here at Humpy Towers – yes, it’s an excellent and realistic picture of an octopus wearing a party hat.

Rock on.