my riding season officially ends once the first major snowstorm of the winter season arrives and that is scheduled for tomorrow saturday. a dusting i can handle, but we're supposed to get anywhere from 4-7 inches of snow - enough to plow - so it's a good idea to put the bike away. besides, i hardly ride it that much anyway, just commuting back and forth between belmont. not having the motorcycle outside leaves me one less thing to worry about, and allows me to get back into bicycling, which in turn will give me some exercise as i've seemed to have put on some pounds going into the winter.

i called my father to let him what i planned on doing since i'd need his help. i got dressed and went outside to start the motorcycle. the temperature had dropped to freezing overnight and there was a risk that the engine wouldn't start, but i've had good luck the past few weeks despite the temperature dropping. unfortunately my luck ran out this morning as the bike sputtered and i knew immediately the battery was dead. i managed to wheel the motorcycle across the street so it was right outside my house before i cracked open the seat to get to the battery. i brought it inside to trickle charge, not knowing when it'd be ready, but i figured it'd be at least a few hours.

while i waited, i had time to call lucas for united solar to ask him for an update. the call went to voicemail, i left a message. i wrote him e-mail last night, he'd yet to respond to that either. i put the bicycles away (including paul's which had sat outside underneath the tarp since spring with flat tires) then brought out the shovels on standby. i also swept the leaves from the front steps and the sidewalk.

around 1:30pm the LED on the trickle charger had changed from steady red to blinking green. it wasn't fully charged yet but i was hoping there was enough juice to at least start the engine. i reinstalled the battery and the bike started just fine. i left it to warm up a few minutes with the choke on before finally leaving.

first stop: gas station to fill the tank. because i removed the battery, the fuel gauge had reset, but i remember i was close to empty anyway. i decided to fill the tank with unleaded plus ($2.739/gal for 2.213 gallons). second stop: my parents' garage to get the stabilizer to add to the fuel for winter storage. i also wiped clean the bike since i wouldn't be washing it. i accidentally brushed my hand on the hot tailpipe and burned it a little bit, but luckily it was cold enough outside that it naturally iced the wound. final stop: the cafe, where i'd be storing the bike in my grand uncle's backyard shed.

my father spotted as i slowly rode the motorcycle into the backyard. that was the easy part. hard part was turning the bike around so it'd go into the shed tail first, and then once inside the shed, to move it the side of the shed where it'd be out of the way. i couldn't 3-point turn the bike around so i ended up just riding in a tight circle in an open area until i had the bike positioned correctly. once in the shed, we discovered there wasn't enough space to maneuver the bike. we jacked it up so we could push it perpendicular for a few feet. we then moved out some old bicycles, which finally gave me enough space to maneuver. once close to the side, we jacked up the bike once more before gently pushing it closer to the wall.

i turned turned the fuel to off and ran the engine until dry, to empty the carburetor while in storage. the engine took a long time to sputter to death, and i had to stand outside the shed for fear of carbon monoxide poisoning. when the engine finally seized, i opened up the choke and restarted the engine a few more times to make sure there was no more fuel left. as the bike was hot, i didn't put the cover on it. i figured i'd come back on monday to do that, and to also remove the battery.

my sister ended up giving me a ride home because she was going to the dollar store.

in the evening i finally had time to test the two garlic presses i got, the x-chef and the zyliss. the zyliss looks more industrial and looks like it could press more than one cloves at a time, but it's big. the zyliss is more streamline but can it press as well as the x-chef?

first i tried an unpeeled garlic clove, skin attached. because the zyliss has a studded press that matches the holes, there doesn't seem to be as much waste compared to the x-chef, where it just has a flat-faced press. the x-chef also seems to have a lot more pressed garlic elsewhere in the press than actually out the holes. when i removed the skin, that's when i saw there was still a lot of garlic bits left over, on both the zyliss and the x-chef. it seems like in order to avoid waste, the best method is to press peeled garlics.

so next i tried it with peeled cloves. the zyliss pressed the garlic so it looked like there was nothing left. with the x-chef, there a some skin. i thought i made a mistake and tried it again with another peeled clove and it still did the same thing. i checked the zyliss, and there was a very thin peel layer as well, but pressed so thinly it was nearly invisible.

zyliss garlic press with peeled clove:

x-chef garlic press with peeled clove:

x-chef garlic press with peeled clove (2nd try):

so in the end, which one is better? i think they work equally well. the amount of garlic squeezed out seems to be about the same, although definitely the zyliss pushes out more because of the studded press. the x-chef is easier to squeeze because of its industrial size, but it's also a lot bigger. the x-chef also came with a rubber garlic peeler (which i didn't use). i was going to return the x-chef press, but i'm going to see if my sister wants it.

so with all the garlic i pressed i used it to make a dip with olive oil and some salt. later i made myself a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for dinner.

i tried to get in touch with lucas from united solar all day, calling in the early and late afternoon. both times no answers, went to voicemail. out of options, i tried calling their main office, but nobody answered as well, but i left a message anyway. i'm really worried at this point. come monday it's going to be the 11th, and if we don't get the solar installed this year, we may never get it installed.

i installed some video add-ons to my OSMC: covenant (XvBMC repository) and neptune rising (Blamo repository) to name just a few. i had to use the default kodi skin to enter the repositories as the OSMC skin doesn't seem to have that function (at least i couldn't find it). the interface for these add-ons are okay, but not as slick as netflix, and using my wireless mouse the response can be frustrating, often times landing on the wrong selection. as for the video catalog it's quite substantial, but whether or not it will play back the selected video is a different story. i tried covenant first. i selected an episode of happy endings. instant of directly playing the video, it first scanned the web for streams, then presented me with a list of possible choices. i picked one, the video played back, but the quality was very poor, less than SD with pixelation. i tried a few other videos and my only options were SD or less. next i tried the neptune rising add-on. this one did give me higher resolution options (1080p, 720p) but did take longer to load the videos, and at one point crashed, forcing me to manually restart the pi. i watched a bit of the tom cruise movie made in america, quality was very good. though i didn't have any problems with this movie, i wonder if the stream quality and speed can be increased if i used a wired ethernet connection instead of wifi. i also wonder if the performance is better on a dedicated android tv box versus the raspberry pi cpu.