Archive | October 2015




No, it’s not some secret code or a chant in some unknown language. NoNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it runs every year in November. It’s a time when authors and would-be writers commit themselves to writing a novel in a month’s time.

Yes, I know—but writers are weird that way. Everyone participating in NaNoWriMo commits to starting a novel at midnight October 31, and having a 50,000-word book written by midnight on November 30. Of course, no one’s keeping score, so it’s not as if the Writing Police are going to beat your door down at 12:01 a.m. on December 1st if you haven’t finished it. As the web site says, “Even if you end the month 49,000 words short, that’s 1,000 words you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

And that’s pretty much it as far as rules go: write a novel.

Help And Inspiration

The organizers of NaNoWriMo know how hard it can be to keep motivated, and that’s why they have all kinds of creative ideas and links on the site to keep you going.

Just Do It!

I’ve finally decided that this is the year I will write my novel. All of the advice I’ve found so far seems to be saying the same thing: “Write. Don’t bother rereading what you’ve written, don’t edit it zs you go. Just write! You can go back later and edit when the book’s done.”

So that’s my plan: to write every day. If I write every day, that means I’ve got to get 1,666 words on the page each day. I know from experience (and another writing site) that I have no problem doing 750 words, so all I have to do is double that.

Wish me luck!

A New Toy!

I like rice. And my favorite rice is brown Basmati rice. I like it so much, I’ve been known to buy it in 20 pound (9 kg) bags. But I have a problem with rice, and that’s the fact that I can’t cook it! You see, I cook on a cheap gas range, and I can’t get the burner to set low enough to simmer the rice. And so I end up with rice that’s either a sticky mass, or overcooked rice that’s stuck to the bottom of the pot.

basmati bag

The other day, when I was craving rice, I remembered that many years ago I had been given a rice cooker as a birthday present, and that it cooked a perfect batch of rice. So I decided to research current models and see if it was feasible for me to buy one. I’m on a fixed income, so whenever I invest in a major purchase, I need to make sure I’m getting the biggest bang for the buck, as the actress promised the bishop.

What do I consider a major purchase? For me, it’s pretty much anything over $30. And the rice cooker I found weighed in at $29.95, on sale from a MSRP of $39.95.


The Test:

I didn’t get a chance to try it until today. After all, I still had most of a 9”x13” pan of baked ziti with Italian sausage and a homemade sauce, and I wanted to whittle that down before I put it away and tried something new.

The instructions were quite simple: Rinse the amount of rice you want to cook until the water runs clear (this washes away the extra starch), then add the rice and an equal amount of water to the cooker. Close the lid, turn on the machine, and select either White Rice or Brown Rice. That’s it! When the rice is done, the machine beeps to let you know it’s ready.

Naturally, I didn’t follow the instructions. I know a lot of people eat their rice plain, but I’m not one of them. So I figured that since I’m not going to eat it plain, neither am I going to cook it plain. So in addition to the rice and water, I added a can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes to liven things up a bit. And while that was cooking, I diced a small chicken breast and fried the pieces in my cast-iron skillet.

In about 25 minutes, the rice cooker beeped. I opened the lid and removed the inner cooking pot, dumping it into a serving bowl. I added the chicken, and feasted on the first perfectly-cooked bowl of rice I’ve cooked in years!

This weekend, I’ll head off to the Indian food store for another bag of brown Basmati rice, now that I know I can finally cook it properly!

The Details:

The rice cooker:  Aroma® Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, Model ARC-914SBD
Bought at: WalMart
Price: $29.85

And while I promised no ads, I will from time to time share with you products that I like.