Daktronics has a few displays at the new, famous CCTV building. I went to Beijing to give them software training. It would have been cool to be allowed on site, but the control room behind the display was the closest I got.

The curved HD display is on the left (turned off.)

Beijing Railway South

I went up to Beijing to help with the data part of the displays that are being installed now at the new Beijing Railway South Station. It was a huge construction site, and my “head-back-turn rate” dramatically increased. I don’t think many of the migrant worker men expected to see a foreign woman on the construction site.

The Chinese version of the Keyframe logo animation, created by Hugo.

The main hallway – it’s HUGE!

Another one of the 11 displays, in the main hall.

Unfortunately, my laptop crashed! I was working the next day and it crashed. Then repeatedly blue-screened before even getting to the login screen. I was pretty freaked out that all of my data would be lost! That day I flew back to Shanghai and our wonderful IT guys Aaron and Michael had a new laptop waiting for me AND got all of my data off my old one. Whew.

Hugo’s wedding

Hugo, one of the Keyframe animators, got married on Sunday.

Jasmine and Hugo

One of the cool things about a Chinese wedding is that the bride will change dresses at least three times. So she gets to wear a few of her favorite dresses, not just one.

David, Jimmy, Ryan, Sofia and Yvonne taking a shot of baijiu.

The Dak group with the beautiful, happy couple!

Summer in South Dakota

Last month, a few of my co-workers from Shanghai and Macao went to South Dakota. Judd took a some people from the A/P region to the lake and Andy Tai (from our Macao office) shared these photos with us. Seeing these actually made me homesick for the first time since moving to China. Thanks for letting me put these photos up, Andy!

Beautiful blue sky, blue water… this is what SD looks like at the lake in summer!

Typical SD farm

Andy (PM in Macao), Fred (head of Shanghai repair center), and Gina (process engineer)

Judd driving his boat

the work never ends…. Jon S.

Fred and Gina taking photos of Judd

Jon trying to do a flip

SDSU group

We had a group of students from SDSU visit last week. They were just finishing up a 2-week trip through China. Three of the students had or currently worked at Daktronics in Brookings. We spent a morning talking with them about Daktronics and business in China.


Here is another panorama made using Photomerge in CS3. It was taken at field with the canal running through it at Minors.

Here is a clip of tagging a new calf. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt them! It’s just like getting your ear pierced.

Center of the Nation

My mom and dad drove from Howard to see us one day. Mom had relatives around Belle so we went to the courthouse and looked up their property records. She found where they lived and will maybe go out there sometime.

When Hawaii and Alaska entered the United States, the geographic center changed to Belle Fourche.

We also drove through Spearfish canyon and through Deadwood. It was still cold! Bridal Veil falls was frozen over (above).

Geocaching in Belle Fourche

We took the family geocaching again. We found every cache we hadn’t found before in Belle. There were 10 of them.

Chance and Caleb

Some of the caches are very cleverly disguised. This one was in a golf ball!

Near the railroad tracks.

Belle has a huge bentonite plant. This was an old machine used to mine bentonite.

trip home

Jon’s grandmother passed away this week. We found out about midnight Tuesday and were on a plane Thursday. We’ll be in Nisland for about a week.

The plane from Denver to Rapid City was probably the smallest commercial plane I’ve been on – just 32 seats. Jon has taken an even smaller plane in Australia that was a really rough ride.

Leon has had four sets of twin calves already, and he’s only about halfway through calving! This is a twin who’s mother left her, so he’s been keeping her in the shop and feeding her with a bottle. All of the kids were pretty excited to feed and pet her.

I helped make a collage of photos of Grandma Sadie. The service was today and it was really nice. Jenni really made the service the way Sadie would have liked it – from the old country music to the chili pepper cloth and cactus on the coffin. She also wrote an eulogy that really showed Sadie’s character; she had family members smiling through their tears at some of the stories that captured the essence of her personality.

Everyone at the Asia-Pacific Regional planning meeting

We had four tables at the restaurant, on a rickety wooden deck. Here are all of our tables. (anyone who would like a high-res version, just email me.)

Jon’s Girlfriends and Boyfriend

Since Jon is the sales manager for China, he is often on the road with Linlin and on the phone with Judd and Aileen (PMs in the USA). Whenever he gets a phone call after 10 PM, I ask, “Is it your boyfriend or your girlfriend?” If he’s traveling, I’ll ask him if he’s going to have dinner with his girlfriend.

Jon and his girlfriends (Geoffrey wanted a kiss too!)

Jon is always on the phone with Judd – I guess Judd is a good boyfriend. :-) I think Judd’s wife feels the same way. Since we are 14 hours ahead, it is usually late at night for one of us when they are talking. Judd definitely is on the phone more with Jon than I am!

Judd and Aileen are both PMs in Brookings.

Macau trip

I spent almost a week in Macau and Zhuhai.

Wednesday Pete and I met a client for supper at the casino who she is the brand manager for. We ate the Japanese restaurant there, and it was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had! The chef gave us a starter that was a rose bowl covered with wax paper. We peeled the paper off and it started smoking, as if there were dry ice in it. It smelled like a very fragrant wood smoke, and in the bottom was smoked salmon with a special sauce.

The client loves sashimi (raw fish) even more than I do. We had a great platter that included blowfish and a fish with huge eyes (I can’t remember the name), plus the standard tuna and such. We also had Oumi beef, which is similar to Kobe, but even better according to the chef. (Yes, the chef cooked special dishes for us that weren’t even on the menu.) He also showed us the certificate that proved it was Oumi. He said many places may claim they have Kobe or Oumi, but they don’t have the proof. It was the most amazing beef I have EVER had. By far. (Sorry Dad!) The next morning she told us the bill was a bit more than expected – she implied that the beef alone was somewhere between $300 – $400 USD!! Of course she was way too polite to ever tell us what it actually was.

For more information on Oumi beef, click here. If you are in China, click here. (It’s the same site, but on Blogspot so it is blocked on the mainland.)

Friday night we went out for dinner with the Macau office.

Adam, Jon, Dan, Anthony, Carol, Rosa, Yvonne, Geoffrey and Pete at an Italian restaurant.

Pete, I and Dan at a bar in Taipei (another island in Macau.)

I somehow managed to lose my voice on Tuesday, and it was gone for an entire week! When we saw the “Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil, See no Evil” monkeys, we had to take a photo. Pete was tired of hearing the girls all week, and I couldn’t talk, so it was easy for us to be like the monkeys!

South Dakota

Jon and I left for the the US January 11th. We visited a few friends in Sioux Falls Friday night, stayed with my parents a couple days (mom took the above photo), went to Dak in Brookings for a day, and then went to Nisland to visit Jon’s family. Monday his grandmother was put in the hospital and got out a week later. We decided to extend our stay four days more. Then, our boss asked us to come back to Brookings for a few meetings so we are staying even longer. I’ll post some more photos when I have time.

Singapore Airport

Daktronics just put a new display in the Singapore Airport for EyeCorp. I was there to do training January 7-10. The display looks great.

We had to get special passes to get through security without boarding passes, and more security clearance to go up behind the display.

I wasn’t the only one taking photos of the display! It is always funny to me to see other people taking photos. I have the right since it is a Dak display, but I always thought people would wonder why anyone would want to take photos of a billboard.

Random info about Singapore

The one thing that I did close to site-seeing was go to a mall to eat supper one night. In the courtyard is the world’s largest fountain. I managed to catch the laser-light show. It was pretty lame. The fountain was just a light mist – I was expecting massive blasts of water shooting through the air!

Singapore was really hot and humid. One interesting thing is that gum is practically illegal. Yes, gum. As in the kind you chew. They want to keep the city pretty. (and it seemed to be working.) In 2004, they lifted the ban, so now you can chew gum IF you have a doctor prescribe it and you register to buy it at the pharmacy.

Singapore was the place where Michael Fay was caned for spray-painting cars in 1994.

Merry Christmas!

Jon cooked a delicous meal consisting of rack of lamb, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I made an apple pie for dessert. Yummy. (We started looking for a turkey to roast a little too late. The only one we found was too big to fit in our oven!)

Our mini-tree.

Mom, Dad and Jared opened their presents in front of the web cam while chatting on Skype. It is our tradition to open gifts before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It was that time for them, but Christmas Day for me.

My dad. He was just elected to the national Farm Credit Services of America board. His term starts January 1st and will last 3 years. Congratulations Dad!!

Bandung, Indonesia

These are older photos from my trip to Indonesia.

Ira, from MIB, took us to Bandung to see the newest Daktronics ProStar display there. It was a couple hours drive from Jakarta.

First she took up to a restaurant on the top of a hill.

It was what I imagine a rain forest to be like. Each one of the tables was in it’s own little shelter, with a low table and cushions. Very tropical. Yvonne or Perk – send me a photo of our group!

There are tons of little tiny shops everywhere, more and smaller than Shanghai. Much more run down and dirty too.

This is the new display! It is owned by Djarum, a cigarette company.

Google me

Ryan, one of the salespeople, told me that if you Google “Daktronics Shanghai” my blog came up. It is pretty funny. The first thing that comes up is a news release. My post about Abram Photoshopping Dan’s head onto Mao comes up 2nd, 3rd is a post of mine about Keyframe, then 4th is the official Daktronics Shanghai site, and 5th is my MySpace page.

Digital Content Training

On Monday, Yvonne and I flew to Jakarta, Indonesia to give digital content creation and management training. Perk and Victor from LEDtronics were also there. The local company is called MIB.

Ira, from MIB, like the training the first morning so much that she called a guy who works at this billboard magazine called B&B.

This photographer (who was also the editor-in-chief) actually took about a million photos of me for this magazine. He told me they would put me on the cover, but I’m not sure if he was joking or not. In one issue, they had a 4 page spread of a new LED billboard in Bandung (which happens to be a Dak ProStar.) 4 pages is a little excessive….. it wasn’t a very large or unique display. On Thursday, two journalists interviewed me.

Perk and I during V1500 training.

Gabriel (photographer) took 181 photos the first day, and 86 during the interview. I think that is a little excessive!!!

Gabriel gave me all of the photos too. I don’t have so many of me on the blog so I thought I would post a few.

the Blue Frog and crazy taxi drivers

Lonnie and Ed (from the customer service department at Daktronics corporate) were here for about a week. Friday night we were going to eat near our apartment. They got in a cab and called us to instruct the taxi driver how to get there. Jon’s phone locked up and he couldn’t answer, so the taxi driver kicked them out of his cab because they didn’t know where they were going. They walked to the Blue Frog and asked us to meet there. (The Blue Frog is an expat bar and grill. )

This shouldn’t have been a problem. Perk, an animator from LEDtronics, was visiting too. Perk, Jon and I grabbed a cab and told him to go to Da Ning Lu. After telling him the first several turns, he exited the elevated road. Suddenly we were going to Pudong (the way to the airport, WAY out of Shanghai.) Perk speaks Chinese so he was telling him where to go, along with us. However the guy didn’t have a clue. He kept speeding the wrong way.

He took us to Da Ming Lu, and next saw Da Lin Lu, but just kept going. We called Grace, one of the sales people, and told him exactly how to get there. He kept going in the same direction on the same street, the same wrong way. We started looking for another cab – we didn’t want to get out without another cab to get us out of that strange part of town. I was starting to get very creeped out with a very bad feeling about this guy.

Luckily, we were at a stoplight when I saw one on the other side of the street. I said get out now! and we all jumped out (yes, without paying) and jumped into the other cab as quick as we could.

We told the other cab driver to drive away quick and we’d give him a big tip. Perk explained the situation and told him where we started and where we were trying to go. The new driver thought the other driver was insane for taking us where we were. Then, the first driver started following us. He was pulling up next to us on the wrong side of the lane, shouting at us, honking, etc. Jon was just furious and told the new driver that if they other guy followed us all the way there, he’d take care of it.

Our new driver had to backtrack for a very long way before getting on the right track to Da Ning Lu. Ed and Lonnie had been waiting for us for over an hour, when we should have been there in about 15 to 20 minutes.

The Pearl TV Tower

The first part of the week, Dr. Al Kurtenbach (the founder of Daktronics) was here visiting. It was his first time in China. It was very interesting to be able to learn from the person who started the company! Judy, Ning and I took him to the Pearl TV Tower on Sunday. It was pretty cool and there was a museum of old Shanghai in the bottom, which was interesting.

This is the tallest building in Shanghai now. It’s the Shanghai World Financial Center, and should be finished in 2008.

Yee-haw – Shanghai, South Dakota

It’s a bit strange to see a stuffed steer here. It’s quite realistic. This is outside of a Japanese restaurant near the office. Abram, Sofia, Yvonne and I had sushi there for lunch once.

On the day before October holiday, Sofia wore these cowboy boots to the office. I pictured my dad wearing his cowboy boots with shorts….. first of all, farmers and cowboys never ever wear shorts. And they live in their boots. Of course, like any city, here they are just a fashion statement.

Party photos from Brad and Niki’s wedding

Taking a shot at the Saf (Safari Lounge) in Brookings Thursday night. The Saf is an old haunt – most of our friends worker there as bartenders, bouncers, the DJ or waitresses at some point! Alos, Brad and Niki met there. Our group of friends is scattered around now (Colorado, San Francisco, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hamsphire, and a couple still in various corners of South Dakota) so weddings are the only time everyone really can get together. So we pretend we’re young again and try to party like we did back in college! :-)

Niki and Brad. Congratulations!!!

A lot of the photos are from John and Megan Sievers – thanks guys! Megan has an iPhone – how cool is that?? Although she is kind of technology-impaired so many she should give it to me… (just kidding Megs!) Although – their camera really made me look like a ghost. I was going to tan before I left, but it costs about $10 a session here! Chinese love white skin (almost all of the face soap, body wash, etc. is labeled as whitening) so at least it is desirable here, even though it is not back in the US.

The red Oldsmobile used to be mine. I started driving it in 8th grade when I was 14 years old. Mom and Dad gave it to me at my high school graduation and I drove it until we moved to China and sold it to our friend Aaron. Someone hit the driver’s side mirror a few months ago so Jon (Mr. Fix-it) helped glue it back on.

Back in the USA

Jon and I were back in South Dakota for about a week. We managed to squeeze in a wedding (not ours!) and seeing both of our parents. Dad grilled juicy T-bone steaks for us – yummy!

It is starting to get cold there. What a change from Shanghai! I took quite a few photos of our family and farms specifically for our friends here in China. I made a separate page for them, as it would take a long time to upload here.

We found 13 Geocaches around Nisland and Belle Fourche too. That was really fun! A lot of them were micro caches that were very cleverly disguised. My best friends Chad and Kendra had their 3rd baby, a little girl named Emma Elizabeth, about a week ago. She was born four weeks early due to Kendra’s high blood pressure, but both mom and baby are doing great. It was a wonderful surprise for me! Emma has a full head of dark hair, just like her little brother Gavin did.


More photos from Macau

I am really playing catch up tonight. These were from about a month ago.

Dan, Geoffrey (Macau senior project manager), me in my qipao (traditional Chinese dress) which I had made at the fabric market, and Axel (sales guy that lives in Hong Kong.)

Rosa, an intern with a Japanese name (sorry I can’t remember) and Veronica.

Andy, Pete Egart (Keyframe manager from the USA) and Abram.

Mr. Ning’s Holiday

Abram likes to send out something fun each Friday. Last time it was Dan’s face on Mao. This time it is Ning, a head engineer, on Mr. Bean’s body.

Lane’s trip – July 15th

Lane Munson was at Dak Shanghai for about a week. On this day we took him to Yuyuan Gardens, which has lots of traditional architecture and tons of little shops selling mostly to tourists. We had some jiaozi for lunch. They have beer girls that walk around with a cart of beer too. The girl is always covered head to toe in that beer’s brand.

Unfortunately, about 3 days before he left, he got food poisoning. Really bad. After an IV and multiple shots and pills of antibiotics at the Worldlink clinic, he was doing a bit better. He is pretty sure it was from some chicken. I’ve noticed they don’t cook chicken here like we do at home. If you are eating a leg, there is almost always red meat by the bone. (I’ve stopped eating chicken if it is still on the bone.) Poor Lane. What a way to end his trip.

Jon and Dan could probably live on jiaozi. They are steamed dumplings and there are many different kinds. It’s the food that had the big story about how someone was making them from chemicals and cardboard in Beijing. The government jailed him for false reporting.

Dan thought we should attempt a Chairman Mao pose. I think we just look silly. But – Dan is the chairman, if you had forgotten. Scroll down to July 13th for that post!

Chinese guys playing a game, probably Mahjong. Very common. (photo credit belongs to Lane)

Macau Tower

This is the Macau Tower. Geoffrey used to work here, and the photo below was taken in a restaurant there. (on the first floor) You can bungee jump, skywalk, climb, and do all of these adventure things at the top. Geoffrey’s jumped off of the thing many times and a bunch of other Dak people have too!

I am in Macau right now. Abram and I arrived Monday evening and met Pete Egart, our manager from the USA. We are meeting with some casinos with our displays about content and will be sending proposals to them later. Yvonne (the other KF account exec) also flew in tonight. This is a photo from lunch. (photo from Axel’s camera) I think it is the entire office staff from Macau plus us and Dan from Shanghai.

Wynn Macau

Abram, I and Pete Egart (Keyframe Manager from the USA) went to Macau to visit some of our customers there.

Keyframe did this animation and Daktronics made the display, including the lighting effects around it. They aren’t just lighting effects but capable of video too.

The water show doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the one at the Bellagio in Vegas. It is really cool though.

Grand Lisboa

The Grand Lisboa is pretty sweet. It’s this giant egg that is covered in our ProPuck product. Abram did all of the original content and we created a proposal for more after we got back from Macau. Since it is a pretty low-res screen, we have create the content using certain guidelines.

A close up of the ProPucks. Each dot is the size of a hockey puck, and has about 20 LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) in it. It’s pretty cool that the whole building is a video screen.

Daktronics Shanghai

I thought it was appropriate to put a few pics of the Keyframe office up. We took some for the next edition of the Keyframe internal Daktronics newsletter.
Abram, one of our digital artists, has been here since October 2006.

Yvonne, who is an account executive like me.

Shelley works at the front desk and makes all of our travel arrangements.


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