Re: Rim shot-broken sticks
I hit hard, do lots of rimshots, and almost never break sticks. I wear them out because they chip away at the shoulder (mostly from the hi-hat), but only break one or two pairs a year.
I think it's an issue of holding the stick too tightly, maybe. I don't know without watching you play. Try to let the stick "breathe" and rebound naturally, and don't try to play through the head. You get more volume and a better quality sound playing more loosely - volume comes from the velocity of the stick, not from pushing it into the head.
Also, you need decent sticks to start with. If you buy them out of the bargain bin, they'll almost surely break more quickly than a good quality oak or hickory stick.
Hope this helps. Good luck!