Well, we kind of saw that coming, although it's also disappointing and kind of my fault. One of our friends --- the one who'd known bunny_hugger from back in grad school, and who's still in the area --- decided to drop out of the local pinball league. He said that he just wasn't enjoying it, because the league was too serious, and he didn't have the chance to hang out with the two of us that he was expecting.
I think he's overestimating how serious the league was, although the last couple times he was put in groups with some of the A-division players and that's disheartening when you are basically new to the hobby and aren't really aware there are rules to pinball machines. And since the playing groups are assigned by chance he wouldn't necessarily get matched up with me or bunny_hugger, or even in a group that's near to where we were playing. Add to that our distraction while actually playing and, yeah, it wasn't really giving him quite what he wanted.
Here's where I feel it's kind of my fault: the last league night he attended he was put in a group with me and with CST, who's the professional pinballer. It's hard to hold up your spirits when someone else is getting a hundred times your score every ball. And I have the habit of watching other people play, especially as they're doing well, for I think the obvious reason. I realized dimly that this was making our friend's night lonelier than it needed to be, but didn't do enough about it.
Trivia: ``Zaire'' was a Portugese corruption of the name Nzadi or Nzere, the local name for the Congo river. Nazdi means ``the river that swallows all rivers'', a reference to its many tributaries. Source: King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Adam Hochschild.
Currently Reading: Dimensional Methods and their Applications, Charles M Focken.