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Web site lets you in on 'boring' movie parts
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Editor’s note: This will be the final weekly installment of Tim Thompson’s Tips, Tools and Tricks column. After five years of providing helpful hints and lots of ways to use duct tape, he is retiring his tip hat, reserving it for occasional special guest columns.

I recently saw the movie “Avatar.” Great movie but incredibly long. The problem with watching long movies in a movie theater is you usually have to step out to take care of bodily functions. Well, there’s a new Web site that can help with this situation. It’s called (I swear I’m not making this up). This interesting Web site lists all of the movies currently in theaters and lets you know when are the best times to sneak out and take care of your business. There’s something else I really like about this Web site — it lets you know if the movie has any “extras” after the credits finish rolling. It can save you from hanging around and then being disappointed. You can also download this as an application to your smart phone.

Every once in a while you’ll need to write a letter or e-mail and it will be important that the document doesn’t have any grammatical or spelling errors. It’s a really good idea to give it a day after writing the document and then come back and review it. You’ll be amazed at the number of mistakes you find. For whatever reason we just don’t seem to catch our errors right after we write something. A tip I really like is to read a document “backwards” when proofing it.  It’s a great way to catch misspelled words.

One of my favorite tips is the “flue stick” (and it’s not just because I invented it). If you’re not familiar with the flue stick, it’s basically a device that reminds you to close your fireplace damper after a fire has completely died out. Most people forget to do this and they waste energy dollars with heat going up their flue. You can make your stick out of any wood dowel. Just paint it black and screw a “cup hook” onto the end of it. When the fireplace damper is closed, hang your flue stick from the damper handle. When you get ready to start a fire, the hanging stick will remind you to open the damper. When you’ve started your fire, place the flue stick on your breakfast table. The next morning the stick will remind you to go over and close your flue. This little device can save you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs. You’re welcome!

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.
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