On This Sunday: Picture Perfect Moment


A sampling of the photos taken during my Nov. 7 photo shoot in San Francisco

With the help of photographer Michelle Tsang, I took part in a photo shoot Nov. 7 around the Design District in San Francisco. It’s been five years since my last photo shoot so this was long overdue.

I’m impressed by how all of these turned out. Michelle did such a wonderful job that I still can’t stop looking at my own pictures.

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

On This Sunday: All Before the Turkey

This is already shaping up to be a very eventful month:

  • Yesterday, I wrapped up a short photo shoot in San Francisco with the help of a professional photographer. I’m long overdue for a refresh of headshots — five years since my last set. I hope to share some of those photos when they become available.
  • On Nov. 9, I’ll visit Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for a tour sponsored by a local transportation professionals organization. This is all in the run-up to Super Bowl 50 at this stadium on Feb. 7, 2016.
  • Last but not least, Thanksgiving in San Diego with the family. This time, I’ll be able to make it. Good thing my life turned around pretty quickly compared to this time last year.

Who knows? There could be more. We shall see.

Reflections and Expectations: Coasting Along

Not much to report this time around. Uneventful but peaceful is how I can best describe this past October. Let’s look back at the month that was in the latest Reflections and Expectations.


One year in the Bay Area – Oct. 11 marked my first full year in this region after a difficult couple of years in L.A. / Orange County and Philadelphia. I’m in a much better place now and it continues to get steadily better.

Yoga – Still at it every Wednesday nights in Downtown Campbell. My yoga instructor and the people practicing alongside me are all wonderful people. It’s a great respite from an otherwise hectic workweek.

Driving lessons – Even though it took place on Halloween afternoon, the experience itself was not nearly as scary as I expected. With the help of a certified driving instructor, I spent a couple of hours behind the wheel to learn how to drive. The highlight of that afternoon came when I managed to drive 11 miles from Campbell to Almaden Valley and back with little trouble — the farthest I’ve ever driven on my own. I still have a few more of these lessons to go before I hopefully obtain my license early next year. Regardless, I still prefer transit over driving even after obtaining a license.


  • Thanksgiving – Family time in San Diego expected later this month. My favorite place in the world with my most favorite people around. What more can you ask for?
  • Photo shoot – Five years since my last full-fledged photo shoot, I’m due for a refresh with the help of a professional photographer later this week. Last one was in Old Towne in Orange. This next one will be somewhere in San Francisco. Should be good.

How did your month go? What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

On This Sunday: Four in One Afternoon

Tuesday was an unusual day for Bay Area commuters.

All during afternoon rush hours Tuesday, four rail-related incidents played out where trains struck something or someone: Caltrain against a pedestrian in San Mateo, VTA light rail train against a pedestrian south of Fruitdale in San Jose, Amtrak against a car in Santa Clara and BART against a person at San Bruno station.

Individuals in the VTA and BART incidents died shortly after while no injuries were reported in the Amtrak incident. No word on the condition of the pedestrian involved with the Caltrain commuter rail train.

I was affected by the VTA incident. I left work in North San Jose at 4 p.m. — an hour earlier than usual — and was supposed to be home in Campbell by 5:30 p.m. Long story short, I ultimately arrived home at 8:10 p.m. There were a bunch of conflicting information about bus bridges that resulted in me getting home nearly three hours later than expected. Now, I already have a plan in place if something like this happens again.

I don’t believe there was a connection among the four incidents although it was certainly unusual as it all played out in the same region among similar modes within minutes or hours of each other. In all my years as a transit rider, this is one of the rare occasions where I’m affected by a major system disruption. Not fun at all for anyone to endure.

Caltrain has certainly been experiencing an uptick in fatalities on its tracks this year, surpassing records of previous years. More than a dozen have died this year, some of them ruled apparent suicides, after being struck by its commuter rail trains at mostly at-grade crossings. The agency in charge of operating Caltrain has taken measures to mitigate the number of deaths involving its trains including upgraded signage and signals and increased patrols along its crossings. Long term, grade separation throughout much of its route should greatly help although nothing will fully stop people from finding their way onto the tracks.

No matter where you live, committing suicide by trains isn’t the answer. Even if it doesn’t always seem like it, your potential actions also put others in danger as well. Talk to someone if you feel this way. Call 1 (800) 273-8255 or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. We really don’t need anything like Tuesday in the Bay Area again. None of us do, especially you.

On This Sunday: One Year Later

Scenes from my first day in the South Bay, one year ago today. (clockwise from top left) Downtown San Jose, Mineta San Jose International Airport, San Jose State University, San Jose City Hall

Scenes from my first day in the South Bay, one year ago today. (clockwise from top left) Downtown San Jose, Mineta San Jose International Airport, San Jose City Hall and San Jose State University

Never has a relocation to another city both lasted this long AND proved successful in the long run.

A year ago today, I made a very risky decision to move from L.A. to the Bay Area due to my prolonged difficulties in finding any kind of work. I had no job and no housing arrangements secured at the time I landed in San Jose that afternoon. Although many uncertainties lingered, I was fairly confident that the Bay Area is where my life and career held much better chances of improving than if I stayed in SoCal — where I spent most of my life.

Gradually, things really did pick up. I secured my current housing arrangements a day after I arrived, I found some temporary work through a temp agency during the winter months and I finally got my career back on track with my current job at MTCo in April. I would say what a difference a year makes but it was really the first six months that mattered most — the most crucial in establishing long-term survival and success.

I feel a lot better living in the Bay Area. I pretty much recovered from a three-year-long professional and personal slump in recent months although I have yet to be completely out of the woods just yet. Let’s see what the next 12 months have in store.