Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blog news and a video to share - 07/29/12


It's been a little over 18 months since I last posted to this blog, so I thought I best post a status update:

First off, I am still looking for collaborators who might be willing to post to the blog or even take over the website and domain.  If you are interested then drop me a line via email.

Secondly I must apologize to a couple of reporters who have written to me asking for interviews regarding urbanspelunking and urbanexploration. There is no good reason I can give you for not replying other than I forgot and screwed up.  For the record I am no longer active in urbanspelunking except for this blog and the website. Also I have always lived in the Seattle area, so I could not provide any insight into the urbanspelunking scene in your respective cities.

Finally for those of you who use Google+ you might be interested in knowing that there is now a page on Google+ for this blog and the site. Feel free to add the page to your circles.

And now here's the video UNDERCITY by :

Monday, January 17, 2011

Video: Urban Spelunking in tunnels below the Las Vegas Strip

As this video points out two of the most important things to consider when engaging in urban spelunking are making certain you have spare batteries for your flashlight, and stealthiness:



It's been a long time since I updated this blog, and it's a sign that my interest in urban spelunking is waning. Actually my urban spelunking days are long gone, and I am wondering if anyone is interested in taking over this blog and the web site. If you are then drop me a line.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

NYC film students producing documentary on urban spelunking.

I recently received an email from a teacher who is helping a group of high school students from the Tribeca Film Institute, Summer Arts Program make a documentary on "off limits" new york.

Their general topic is Change and Environment and within that they decided to focus on Urban Spelunking, to show that there are areas in NYC that are off limits, and while NYC is constantly changing, there are all these interesting places that the average New Yorker can't see.

They are looking for NYC area urban spelunkers, and explorers to interview for the documentary.

Right now I do not have permission from the teacher to post contact information, but I will gladly forward any emails from interested parties.

I will update this post as soon as I get an official notice from the teacher to list contact info.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

So what is behind the wall?

I just caught the CNN story about a tunnel beneath New York City that may contain the missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's diary, and a locomotive from the early 1800's.


Here are a couple of links that relate to the story:
I am throwing this post up quick and dirty. I will clean it up and add to it later. If you have any thoughts about this story, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. ~ Jim

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Brotherhood 2.0: March 19th: Urban Exploration

Well it's definitely been a while since I have posted here. Sorry about that. I have some articles in the works, but I have had to back burner them due to other priorities (like finding a new job)

Any ways, I thought I would throw up this video I came across on YouTube. Due to some mild profanity I would advise wearing headphones if you watch this at work.

I hope you enjoy the video, and if you have some news for me to post about, or links to add to the sidebar, just drop me a line. Cheers ~ Jim

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One last post about Monster Road - So what's in a name?

Just a quick post today. I did some digging around and came across a Seattle Times article titled "A Monster Of A Road In Renton" which explains how Monster Road got it's name.

According to the article Monster Road was named Charles A. Monster who long ago had a farm along the road.

Well so much for the legend of Sludgequatch!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Urban'exing in Montreal

Recently someone sent me an email suggesting that I might want to post about urban exploring in Montreal Quebec, and they included this link: MadeinMTL tourism | Visit Montreal's Urban Operator.

While the link is to a tourist site (and a pretty good one at that), and not about urban exploration, it did pique my curiosity and I decided to to a little searching about urbanex'ing in Montreal and came up with these links for urban exploring in Montreal:
Given Montreal's age, and the fact it is the only walled city in North America, it should be a great place for urban exploring and spelunking. I've never been there, so I'd like to hear back from anyone who's done a little urban'exing there.

I would also like hear from others out there about their suggestions for great places to go urban exploring, so feel free to drop me a line if you want.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Back to Monster Road

Now this post has more to do with just cruising around, and finding unusual sites than it does with pure urban exploration, but since I previously posted about Monster Road and said I would follow up with some pictures I thought I better post them, so here they are:


There it is folks, the proof that there is a road called "Monster Road".


The intersection of Monster Rd. SW and Oakesdale Ave. SW.


A nice view of the hill on Monster Road, and of the ding in my windshield.


One of the gates to the Metro facilities. I thought I had a close up of the "No Trespassing" sign, but I munged it up. You'll have to take my word on it, there's no trespassing there folks.


The sign at the entrance of the Black River Riparian Forest, and possibly home to Sludgequatch!


A possible photo of Sludgequatch? Stare at it it long enough and you just may see the outline of Sludgequatch. Either that or you'll get a headache staring at all those plants. (Yes, Sludgequatch is the figment of an overactive and warped imagination)


Here's a map to Monster Road. If you are in the area you should check it out and maybe visit the Black River Riparian Forest. Feel free to leave a comment if you want!




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And speaking of converting a mall into a data center.

In the previous post I wrote about converting vacant malls into data centers, and as luck would have it my friend Chuck Goolsbee pointed me to an article where someone is doing just that. According to the Netcraft article "$100 Million Expansion for Rackspace" it turns out that Rack Space plans to lease the Windsor Park Mall in Windcrest TX. which is a uburb of San Antonio. Now the article is over a year old, but a quick search for "Windsor Park Mall in Windcrest" came up with some more recent articles (here and here) as well as a Wikipedia article. Looks like it's going to be a big project, sort of a company tech town.

Chuck also pointed me to one of his posts where he shares his thoughts about using bunkers for data centers. Sure bunkers have a certain coolness factor to them, but as Chuck points out there are some practical concerns about using old bunkers for data centers. Age of the facility, and cost of renovation are just two factors to consider. Also another thing to consider is that many Cold War era bunkers are usually located in remote locations. Malls on the other hand are relatively modern, easier to renovate than a bunker, and easier to get to. Let's face it, bunkers usually aren't on most mass transit routes, and don't have the parking lots that most mall do.

I just did another search for "mall, data center" and came up with this article about the Eastgate Mall in Indianapolis. Looks like old bunkers aren't the only places that data centers are popping up in these days.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yet even more bunkers turned data center

After the previous post about Bastionhost's plan for a bunker in Nova Scotia I did a search for the phrase "underground data centers" and came up with some really good hits. I have listed a few of the choice hits below:

The slickest looking site that I came across was "StrataSpace – An Underground Data Center Facility" From what I gather this facility is just getting started, but it looks pretty damn slick.

Data Center Knowledge has several good articles including "Iron Mountain’s Natural Cooling Advantage" about Iron Mountain now leasing data center space in it's facility outside Pittsburgh. The other article "Huge Data Bunker Planned in Louisville" is primarily about the StataSpace data center, but it also lists The Bunker, the Iron Mountain facility (with a link to a Computerworld article), The Westlin Corporation, and lastly Titan One which is my home state of Washington. Hmmm, maybe I should send my resume to Titan One.

Computerworld had another article about Sun's plans to set up an underground data center: "Sun to set up underground data center to save on power" I wonder how many Hollow Earthers have stumbled upon this article after catching only part of the headline, and then had their beliefs dashed to bits once they realized what the article was about.

Of course I got a few hits on Pionen's new data center under Stockholm (here, here, and here).

There's also a underground data center at the Frankfurt airport: "German Airport Digs Deep With Underground Data Center"

Then there is the PHNS facility, along this article from Systems Management News which discusses several of the projects or facilities already listed.

Of all the sites I came across during my search the one that really turned my crank, and the underground data center that I would really like to work in, is the one that CoreNode and Mana Ikaika have plans for on the Windward side of Oahu. Let's face it, what computer geek with an interest urban spelunking wouldn't enjoy working in an old Cold War era bunker on the island of Oahu? I'm now wondering if I should I send my resume to Titan One in Mose Lake Washington, or to CoreNode/Mana Ikaika in Hawaii? Maybe I should play it safe and send my resume to both.

Like me you may have wondered why all the interest is in moving data centers underground? Well apparently climate control and security are the two main reasons. Also there really isn't much need for Cold War era bunkers these days, at least for the governments that built them, so in those cases where bunkers are being purchased to be turned into data centers they can be had for a relatively cheap price.

Now what about above ground facilities? I am quite certain there are lots of places out there that are above ground that would make good data centers as well as be of interest to urbanex'ers. What about abandoned malls? If you cruise on over to deadmalls DOT com, and take a look at all the abandoned malls out there, you might think just as I do that some enterprising individual with access to cash could turn some of those abandoned malls into pretty decent data centers.

Granted climate control will be more of an issue than in a underground facility, but if the price is right then why not? Most of the infrastructure needed would already be in place, and any extra space could be used for offices, or even restaurants and stores to help keep employees on site. Of course that idea about restaurants and stores assumes that there will be a large workforce present, but if that's the case then employee parking shouldn't be a problem, right?

I do wonder if some of the people who have built or are building data centers haven't considered economically depressed areas as possibly good sites due to low realestate prices, and cost of living. Also for people like myself who are considering a change of scene, moving to a place where the pace is a little slower might be an incentive to work at a facility located elsewhere. Anyways would it be cool to work at a place that used to be a mall and has an escalator?

Underground or on the surface, there are lots of interesting places out there that would make great data centers, as well as be of interest to urban explorers, or at least geeks like me who are armchair urban explorers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another nuke bunker goes digital.

From Slashdot comes the story "Canadian Nuke Bunker To Be Converted Into Data Fortress" about Bastionhost's plan to convert a 60's era bunker in Nova Scotia in to a data center. The Slashdot article references another article from Data Center Knowledge titled "Bastionhost Buys Nova Scotia Data Bunker" which provides more details. The CEO of Bastionhost makes a good case for his choice of location, and to be honest a bunker such as this makes for a very secure location which is an important consideration for all data centers.

The bunker is one of seven built in Canada during the height of the Cuban Missle Crisis, and are called Diefenbunkers in reference to then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

As someone who has worked in data centers and who has an interest in urbanspelunking, I love this new trend of moving data centers in to old Cold War bunkers. Hmm, maybe I could get a job in one?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Spotlight - Weburbanist.com

If I were to recommend just one site to anyone new to urban exploration/spelunking it would have to be Weburbanist.com. Though Weburbanist isn't just about urban exploration/spelunking, the information presented there on the subject is more than enough to to give a good start to anyone interested in exploring their urban environment.

Take a look at some of the articles that have been posted on Weburbanist recently:
You can spend days tripping around Weburbanist.com, so get started now by hopping on over there and givng them a look.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Urban Explorations: Monster Road, Renton, WA.

I first heard of Monster Road in Renton Washington close to 30 years ago, and I had to check it out just because of the name. Though there really isn't much to Monster Road I thought it might make an interesting place for Seattle area urban explorers to check out, hence this post.

For some reason when I think of Monster Road, I think it would be a great setting for a B-Movie, and given that the King County South Treatment Plant is located on Monster Road, I can just imagine a movie called "Revenge of Sludgesqautch" or something like that. OK, I went a little overboard there, but you get my drift. If you're in the area take a drive on Monster Road, and keep an eye out for any monsters.


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