The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind


By Source, Fair Use

Here’s another one by Terry Goodkind. I’ve realized (or realised) I have a love-hate relationship with these books…

The Omen Machine takes place about twenty minutes after The Sword of Truth series finishes. Richard finds that the leaders of the Providences under the D’Haran Empire want to know more about what prophecy says to do, but he, Zedd, Nathan, and Nicci know too well that prophecy isn’t always as straight forward as it seems. Previously, Nicci was asked to use subtractive magic  to remove memories from Richard’s mind to fulfill prophecy — a request that would have cost Richard his life. Being a very dangerous and complex topic, Richard refuses to reveal prophecy even as locals with minor powers begin to reveal tellings that come true as fast as they appear. Richard must figure out how to beat these tellings and suppress an uprising against his rule.

Like some of his other books, The Omen Machine begins slow but eventually picks up. There are several more books to read after this and my desire to find out what happens to these characters outweighs the sometimes monotonous writing.

Family visits at Christmas

Last March, I told my mother I wasn’t coming home for Christmas. As the look of devastation begun to appear, I told her that she would have to come visit if she wanted to see me at Christmas. This gave me two benefits: (1) I didn’t have to worry about making plans to travel home and (2) my mother would focus on planning a trip and not me leaving all summer.  And it finally happened!  They arrived at the Heathrow airport last week!

We got to spend a few days in London. Our airbnb was out just a few metro stations away from the middle of all the tourist attractions, so it was a nice place to be, but the building with the windows knocked out across the road from the metro stop was a little unnerving.

Some of the best experiences we had in London we had was seeing Wicked and visiting the ArcelorMittal Orbit slide. James booked us tickets to see Wicked, which I got to see in NYC. I really enjoyed seeing it a second time because it was like rewatching a movie or book — you got to catch all the foreshadowing. I was able to recall some of the clues after watching it the first time, but it was amazing to see how much I missed the first time.

The slide was 80m tall and takes 40 seconds to slide down, and Alex was able to convince James to do it. Here they are admiring their challenge, and conquering their challenge.

James was a little less enthusiastic about enduring the slide than Alex was. He’s lowered the amount of time he’s willing to endure anything from 40s to 30s…

After venturing around London, we headed to Cambridge to spend time there. Alex had  to leave the day after Christmas and I got to spend a couple of days with my parents, hanging out, and visiting the Ely Cathedral before they headed home.

End of my first term

Well, I cannot believe that the first term is over. Like the rest of my time here, it has flown by.  The term was filled with lots of new friends, reading textbooks, compiling software (LOTS of unsuccessful attempts), tea times with the group, lunch with the first years in the department, lectures on new topics, enough alcohol to drown a fish, enough formal halls and good food to keep me satisfied, and about three department holiday parties.

Out of all of that, I think the three holiday parties was the biggest surprise. I’ll raise my glass to the next one.

Fairbairn’s Rowing!

As the term came to a close, so did the 2016 crew season. For me, it was the end of first term of rowing, one of many to come. Robinson’s boat club holds a formal dinner to celebrate this achievement. We all got together and thank all of those who made this term possible and enjoyable — all the coaches, captains, coxes, and leadership within the boat club. This award ceremony was filled with gifts of beer for the captains and pillows for the coxswain’s uncomfortable seat.  As someone who only filled in as a cox a couple times, I wasn’t named as being a cox, to no disappointment to me, but the other novice cox wanted to make sure I felt appreciated and gave me one of the beers he received. The thought was super sweet, thanks Hearst.

Dinner was filled with wonderful food, lots of alcohol, and lots of fines. Fines are given out for stupid things that were done or said throughout the term. I was fined for falling off the erg at Queen’s ergs, for it being my first term, and for being a novice. Other people were fined for oddly euphemistic phrases, which were, of course, shamefully claimed by the culprits. When fined, the culprit must stand up and drink.

After dinner, we all went to the bar and the JCR common room and hung out.

One week later, it was time to ROW!

It was a 2.7km time trial race with a rolling start. They sent us off in order of last years’ winners, we let off 29th. We finished the race in 10:54, 12th place, the 5th most ‘improved’ boat. The same logic that went behind why they let us off in that order and saying that our boat ‘improved’ is kinda ironic — It kind assumes that one year’s NOVICE boat performance affects or predicts the next year’s boat… The man kneeling, the one who outweighs us by about 4 kg, he was our cox, the man who commands us and does not provide propulsion to the boat. But he was a great commander from the back of the boat!

Robinson NM1, 2016

These boys were one some of the best boys to row with. I look forward to working with these guys next term. Till next year!