Monday, December 31, 2012

Standing Guard

Pedro Glyph stands guard.
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Click on the pic and you can see Venus. Pedro's spear points the way.

Posted by Dave.

Underground Temperatures

Record cold temps. In the 6 years we've been here in this God-forsaken Hellhole, this is the lowest I've seen temps go, both inside and out.

Mrs. UC: "I'm cold."

UC: "Put on a sweater."
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Math time. Lowest temp: 32 degrees, Highest temp: 128 degrees. 128-32=96. 96/2=48. 32+48=80. So it stands to reason, even though I haven't measured, that the mean temperature of the dirt is 80 degrees. I have measured the temperature of our well water, which comes from a depth of 547 feet. It's 92 degrees.

Quick stats on the UC Mega-Complex:

  • Roof: 12" thick concrete, 6" styrofoam insulation, 3' dirt.
  • Back Walls: 12" thick concrete, 3" styrofoam insulation, dirt-bermed.
  • Front Walls: 12" thick concrete, inside 3-5/8" steel studs/fiberglass insulation, outside 6" steel studs/fiberglass insulation under Densglass/1-1/2" stryrofoam insulation/stucco.
  • Floor: 5" thick concrete poured over 1-1/2" styrofoam insulation.


In 5 years of living underground, we've never used the heat. 74 degrees is as low as I've seen the inside temp go. In the summer we use air-conditioning, of course, because the flywheel slowly creeps up from the mean temp of 80 without it.

Two things affect comfort in a home, air temp and structure temp. If the air temp is just right but the walls are cold, you will feel cold. If the air temp is just right but the walls are hot, you feel hot. So most people crank the A/C one way or another to feel comfortable. Here, we keep the A/C set to 78 degrees in the hot months. Trying to chase the perfect air temp is futile in an underground home. I can open the windows at night and drop the air temperature a few degrees, but the second I close the windows the temperature goes back to what it was. The flywheel just won't budge easily.

Posted by Dave.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset, And Security

Yup, I've got too much time on my hands when all I seem to do is look at pretty sunrises and sunsets.
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Above pic is photo-bombed by a Raven.
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Sunrise, after the color. It was probably gorgeous and red while I was brushing my teeth.
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Charlie, our director of security. He's telling me that he needs to check the perimeter for boogers and would I please come with him.
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One of these days the clouds will leave the sky long enough for me to take pictures of the stars again.

Posted by Dave

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Reason To Wake Up

This:

Morphed into this:

Almost makes up for trashing my view of the stars last night.

Posted by Dave

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Waning Crescent Conjunction With Venus

The moon was just coming up. I had a quick bowl of oats, mounted my camera on a tripod, changed all the settings to manual, and went to the AstroSlab. Here's a 5% waning crescent moon and Venus:
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I took over 70 pictures, playing with a large range of exposures and futzing constantly with the focus. When the clouds rolled in, I had to stop.

This pic was taken with a Nikon D5100, a 55-300mm lens maxed out to 300mm at f/5.6, ISO at 1600, 1-second exposure.

Posted by Dave

Just Another Pretty Sunset

It was time to check the perimeter. I started out the door with Charlie, our director of security here at the Underground Carpenter Mega-Complex, when BAM! SUNSET! hit me. There was no time to lose. Mrs. UC, as always, was ready with her pocket snappy.
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This sunset took up more than half the sky. This is just the most intense part of it.

Photo by Deanne.
Posted by Dave.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Silver Creek Road

Thursday, my next-door neighbor took me on his 4-wheely to the nearby hills. We crawled around some mines and gawked at the scenery.
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This mine shaft goes down at least a hundred feet, at an angle. We determined this by dropping rocks in and listening to them bounce and echo back.
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Saturday, Mrs. UC and I took a drive on Silver Creek Road, which goes from Bullhead City to Oatman. It was freshly graded, so even with the dust it was a nice drive.
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Lots of out-the-window shots. Photo by Deanne.
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Every hill and mountain around here has a name. I don't know what this one's name is, but I'm going to call it Can Opener Hill.
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I wish I had some of these rocks in my front yard.
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Rest in peace, Thumper.
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Thumper probably died working one of these mines.
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This one is for my sister who takes the coolest foreground/background pictures. 
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These guys are wild. They were very wary of me, so this is a long-range, tele-photo shot.
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This is the quaint little town of Oatman, and these guys are very tame. They beg for handouts.
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When Mrs UC didn't roll down her window, this guy tried to, I swear, open the door. Photo by Deanne.
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Cute little burros.
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Obligatory shot of dilapidated shack. It was either this or the restored conestoga wagon. The shack won.
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Shark's Tooth in Oatman.


Posted by Dave