Tag Archives: music

My Autism and Poetry speech in Marlboro and The Dirty Dottys win the New England Music Awards show

24 Oct

Me at the Autism and Poetry Summit in Marlboro

Last Saturday, I gave a speech to discuss how autism and poetry allow me to become my own best advocate for the autism community. It was held at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlboro. I was encouraged to participate in this event by my job coach, Orlando Torres, after seeing an email in my inbox detailing a conference for self-advocates with intellectual or developmental disabilities to participate in and choose the topic of their expertise. Since I have written at least 10 poems in my life, I figured that it would be good for me to join this event since I use my poetry to reach out to others in the autism community and among my neurotypical family and peers as well.

At around 11:30 AM, I gave my speech about autism and poetry entitled “Do It the Write Way!” In the presentation, I mentioned how I use my poems and songs to become a strong advocate for people with autism and how the creative process for my poetry works. I talked about my poetry helps to express my true inner emotions and that I would like my songs to help change people’s perspectives of people with autism. Songwriters like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have influenced my way of using expressive language to describe my personal feelings about the subjects in which I discuss in the poems. I also mentioned how I like to discuss the rough drafts of my poems with my family and friends to see if I’m going in the right direction with the rhythmic patterns of the poems. In between slides of the presentation, I did a question and answer question to get their reactions of wanting to know how my poetry works. I concluded the session by reciting two poems of mine called “Just a Normal Day” and “Acceptance of Autism” and then asked the audience to try to come up with poems of their own to get a feel of the creative process.

Later on that Saturday, I headed over to Boston to join my brother Brian and his girlfriend Amanda to attend The Dirty Dottys show at the Hard Rock Cafe for the Finals of the New England Music Awards show. The band is fronted by Julie DiOrio, a talented vocalist and guitarist of whom I attended high school with, along with Ellie Foster and Maura McGillicuddy on backing vocals, Austin Arroco on trombone, Jonathan Kessler on the drums, and Danny Teza on the bass. I have previously seen the Dottys at least 5 times, including at Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington, The Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville for their album release party around Christmas last year, and a few other locations in the Greater Boston area. They had previously won the Semifinals at Hard Rock on September 18th during a battle of the New England bands competition. After winning the Semifinals, I felt obligated to attend the Finals round to continue to show my support the band.

At around 9:30 PM, Brian, Amanda, and I arrived at the Hard Rock Cafe to get ready for the Dottys’ set to commence in the New England Music Awards Finals. We met up with Amanda’s friends Katie Phillips and Allie Miller in the main stage room. After listening to a few of the other runner up bands in the Finals, it was time for the Dottys to take the stage. We were very excited to see them perform and danced and sang along to their catchy soul, rock, and ska infused tunes. The band performed songs such as “Shaky House,” “Not to Call,” and a few other memorable songs. At around midnight, it was announced that the Dottys had won the Last Band Standing prize for bands in Massachusetts. I congratulated them on a job well done and made sure to spread the message to family and friends.

My 28th Birthday

23 Aug

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This last week, I turned 28. It was an eventful week of fun activities and memorable moments. I got to hang out with various family members and friends during the course of the week. Most importantly, I viewed my birthday as another new chapter in my life.

On Friday, August 14th, I attended the Bruce Hornsby concert at Boarding Housing Park in Lowell with my cousin Kaylene and her boyfriend Kent Taylor. Like me, Kent and Kaylene are both avid Bruce Hornsby fans and naturally, I accepted their invitation to the concert back in April. Kent and I were just a few feet from the legend himself. Bruce played an amazing combination of both his newer songs and classic hits such as “The Way It Is,” “Mandolin Rain,” and “The Valley Road.” He also had a great backing band to create the wonderful combination of musical versatility. Bruce himself is very adept at playing instruments, including the piano (his primary instrument) and the Appalachian  folk dulcimer. Hornsby also told amusing anecdotes about his personal life, including the fact that his son Russell doesn’t really like the school aspect of life. This inspired Hornsby to write a song about his son’s encounters in school. We all had a wonderful time at the concert and it was an experience I’ll never forget. On the way home from the concert, I introduced Kaylene and Kent to the music of The Lone Bellow, an alternative country/folk/roots rock band. I hope to see The Lone Bellow in concert someday.

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The next day, I had a birthday party at my summer home in Marshfield. I got to see many friends and family, including my brother Brian, Brian’s girlfriend Amanda Smith, cousins Matt, Luke, Pat, and Henry, Aunt Noreen and Uncle Chuck, Brian’s friend Rich Kei, and Rich’s girlfriend Meg Mahoney. I also got to meet a new female companion of Matt’s named Danielle, whom Matt met through week. She is a very nice person and got along really well with me and my relatives and friends. The beach weather was nice that day and it is always fun to socialize with company at the beach. The food  for my birthday consisted of chicken parm calzones, hamburgers, Chinese and chicken sausages, and a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. My birthday gifts consisted of items such as Ray-Ban sunglasses from Brian and Amanda, Shipyard Pumpkinhead beer and Nordstorm gift certificates from Matt and Danielle, Vineyard Vines clothes and a picture frame of me and Ollie, Meg’s white golden retriever, and birthday cards from Noreen, Aunt Kathy and Nana, and Uncles Larry and Kevin.

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Sunday morning was an interesting birthday week day for me. I got to see my cousins Luke, Chuck, and Henry, the three sons of Noreen and Chuck. That morning, I got to meet Chuck and his girlfriend Alice’s black Pomeranian, Gumshi. Gumshi means “black” in Korean. He is a very friendly dog and pretty easy to handle. Gumshi is not much of a barker and seems to like being held by me. I love meeting new dogs and I do hope to get a dog that is similar in temperament and size to Gumshi.

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Finally, my actual birthday arrived on Tuesday, August 18. I reached my 28th year in my life. I received plenty of well wishes on Facebook, in email, and in texts. My favorite birthday post on my Facebook wall came from a photo that Amanda posted of her golden retriever, Summer wishing me a happy birthday with a sign that was placed onto her front body. I went out to eat at Assaggio in the North End with my family. I had a great chicken parm dinner with salad on the side and white wine as my drink of my choice. My parents also got to visit Brian’s new apartment in the North End on Commercial Street and got to visit the rooftop of the apartment as well. The night concluded with my family singing “Happy Birthday” to me and I had a delicious birthday cake dessert of a chocolate mint cake from Lakota Bakery in Arlington. In my 28th year, I do look forward to gaining even more new friends and hope to pursue more career activities and opportunities.