Thursday 10 January 2008

Dark Arts & Free Rice

Here we are at Post No 5 and I've discovered something strange about the dark art of blogging: with the exception of the first post, which I started writing the day before I began this blog (yes, calendar buffs, that does indeed mean on New Year’s Eve, which, as a partying opportunity, I generally dislike almost as much as I love Christmas), it turns out that every time I've sat down to write a blog entry, I have ended up talking about something entirely different to whatever it was that I originally had planned.

Take Monday’s post, for example. I thought I'd be sitting down to write about my day's work at the library on Sunday - the exploits of Angry Man, the 'My Newspaper!' 'No, Mine!' twins, and the 'Why Does Your Printer Hate Me So?' and 'You’ll Prise That 30p From My Cold Dead Hands, I Tell You!' women. Instead, the one time that I was really ready for them and poised to take notes, Attenborough-style, as the various Mentalists (affectionately nicknamed – though obviously not to their faces, since neither I nor my colleagues have any kind of death wish) went about their library-related business/madness, they decided, en masse, to behave.

For the first time in several weeks, all was quiet on the library front, leaving me with little to write about (c’mon, people, you’re killing me here – just do something!) when I got home. What I did have at that point, however, was the chance to finally sit down with my copy of Writers' News. I leafed through the pages as usual, taking note of all the useful articles and website addresses that I might wish to return to later, and what should appear on page 21? An article about NaNoWriMo. An idea stirred, memories were sparked, and a post – a very different post – was born.

Before leaving you once more in peace, allow me to point you in the direction of a site that is likely to be of particular interest to any a) Procrastinators, b) Collectors of Vocabulary, c) Rice Enthusiasts, or, d) people interested in making a contribution, however small, towards the easing of world hunger.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Free Rice, the site where, for each (often rather tricky) word that you can correctly define, 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations to help end world hunger. That may sound like a ludicrously small number of grains, but (provided that your vocabulary and/or guessing skills are up to the task) it really isn't long before you can amass quite a substantial sum.

"Every grain of rice is essential in the fight against hunger... Free Rice really hits home how the Web can be harnessed to raise awareness and funds for the world’s number one emergency."
UN World Food Program

The site has two stated goals: 'to provide English vocabulary to everyone for free' and 'to help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free'. I doubt that anyone could find much to argue with in either of these aims, so, please, whether you’ve got only a few moments to spare, or acres of free time spread out before you, do consider spending at least a little of it at

(Where else could you learn that a 'donnybrook' was a brawl, a 'nudibranch' a type of sea slug and that 'gnathic' meant 'pertaining to the jaw'? And all this while experiencing a warm glow inspired by the happy knowledge that you are, though procrastinating with extreme vigour, also doing a Rather Good Thing.)


Nik Perring said...

Goodness! I was addicted to that game. Fantastic idea and really good fun.

Nik x

E.G. said...

Completely agree about the dark art of blogging. I also have about twenty unfinished posts that never quite made it past an unformed thought and a quirky title.

I like the rice game, too! Perfect procrastinating tool.

Emma K-F said...

Thanks for reading, guys - I'm really glad that you both got a good amount of fun and full procrastinatory (is that an actual word?) value from Free Rice!

Also very glad to learn that I'm not the only one to abandon posts at the first sign of trouble! ;-)

Emma x

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