Welcome to sockii's world
Who is sockii? If you're asking yourself that question, let me introduce myself a little better in my "Wizzography".
Hello and welcome to my little corner of the wizzley world. I'm relatively new here at wizzley, but in fact I've been creating websites and writing online for a very, very long time. In fact, I launched my very first website all the way back in 1995, while I was still in graduate school. However, since that time my life has certainly taken me in very different and unexpected directions.
What follows is a bit more about me, presented in the format of 10 hopefully interesting facts about my life and my interests. You'll also find links to my articles here on wizzley and elsewhere on the web.
10 (Hopefully?) Interesting Facts about sockii
Things you might find interesting to know about me, by way of introduction.
1. I was born in Ancona, Italy
...but never returned to Italy until I was 34 years old.
It's a long, complicated and personal story. Suffice to say that my mother is American (of mixed Polish-Dutch heritage), my father is Italian (from the Tuscany region), and although I was born in Italy I grew up in rural New York State with my mother's family. I did not end up visiting Italy until I was 34 and took my first trip to Florence with my sweetie, David.
Since then we have been back almost every year and Italy has become a country I love with a passion. I've written a lot about my travels to various regions of the country and cities including Venice (my favorite), Rome, Milan, Florence, Naples, Salerno, Siena and elsewhere.
General Italy Travel Guides
Information and Tips on Traveling All Around Italy
Naples and Southern Italy
Exploring Calabria and Beyond
Venice and the Veneto: My favorite place in the world...
Other Italian Destinations
Italian Cocktails and Spirits
2. I have a Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering
Education pays off - even if not in the planned ways...
I have a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and I then attended the University of Pennsylvania to complete my doctoral studies in the same field. (My thesis? "Asymmetric miscibility in random copolymer/homopolymer blends". Yes, I know that's quite the mouthful...) Many people look at me funny when I tell them about my background, based on what I've done since in my life: How could I "waste" all of that higher education in the sciences and go into the arts and writing instead?
Well, that's a story I've written about already. I don't believe any education is wasted as it's the experience that matters in the long run, not the textbooks nor classroom learning. The experiences I had in undergraduate and graduate school played a huge part in shaping who I am today, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
Other artists whose work I enjoy
3. I created my first website in 1995
"Sockii's A-Team Homepage"...and it's still out there today!
I've been on the internet a long, long time. I remember the early days of Usenet while I was at M.I.T., and by the mid-90s I was active in many different on-line communities and mailing lists - most of them fannish in nature. All students at U. Penn were given a certain amount of web storage space on the university network, so using that I created Sockii's A-Team Homepage (now archived on my personal hosting instead.) I was running a newsletter/email list for A-Team fans and also would publish several fanzines based around the series and fandom.
At the time, fannish websites were still a bit of a novelty and so I actually got a fair amount of attention for the site. It was mentioned in several national newspapers and magazines, shown on the FX network when they were airing The A-Team in syndication, and I even was contacted directly by several former writers and actors on the show because of it! Marla Heasley participated in an exclusive interview for me, for the website/newsletter in 1997.
The photo here was me "in costume" as Murdock from The A-Team back around that time.
Posing with my two "action heroes" from The A-Team, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz
Web tips, tricks and how-tos
My articles related to writing online
4. I am proud to be called a "Fan Girl"
I've done some crazy things in the name of fandom...and I don't regret it!
I think I was born with fangirl blood running through my veins.
I remember being obsessed with The Beatles since I was only a few years old; I loved listening to my mother's old Beatles LPs and their photos were already up on my bedroom wall before I was even out of kindergarten. From there it was a long line of fannish loves: musically Duran Duran, then The Police, then Pink Floyd... While in graduate school I discovered media fandom online and fell into several TV and film fandoms. I was running websites, publishing fanzines, creating fan art and going to (and vending at) conventions within a few years time.
Fandom has brought a lot of joy to my life and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I've met some of my best friends through fandom and done some crazy things through the years thanks to it. Some of my greatest fannish memories to date are tied to The Police Reunion Tour in 2007 and 2008, where I spent most of two years getting into insane adventures with friends new and old, being there from the band's announcement performance in Los Angeles to their final farewell in New York City. I've also had the opportunity to get to know one of my favorite actors, John Glover, and run his official website all thanks to being part of fandom.
(The photo here is me "caught on camera" in 2007 at the Police Reunion Tour announcement at the Whiskey A Go Go.)
Wizzles about The Police
My favorite band of all time
Other media and "fan" topics
5. I "Heart" Drummers
There's just something about a guy who really knows how to bang things...
It's true. I've always loved drums, drumming and drummers since I was a little kid. My childhood crush was Ringo Starr, and then there was Roger Taylor of Duran Duran...but it was really when I discovered Stewart Copeland of The Police that my love and appreciation for talented drummers really went into full effect. When I listen to music, I always have an ear on the drums and rhythms - and when I go to a concert, I always want to find a seat or place by the stage where I can really watch the drummer at work.
Besides the above mentioned drummers I'm also a huge fan of Neil Peart (who isn't?), the late Keith Moon, Roger Taylor of Queen, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters. I even have taught myself to play the drums (very badly), which has given me even more admiration for the playing skills and abilities of these great drummers.
(Image above: One of my photos of Stewart Copeland in performance, Denver 2008.)
sockii with...Taylor Hawkins!
6. I'll eat just about anything...except raw garlic
Bizarre foods don't freak me out - but garlic will do a number on my stomach
As a self-proclaimed "foodie", I'll try eating just about anything at least once. There are very few foods I outright dislike the taste of (namely cucumbers and melons, unless very heavily disguised or used in complex dishes), but I just cannot abide by raw garlic. Mostly because I've discovered I suffer from an actual garlic intolerance, which is a real pain literally and figuratively! I'm fortunate that garlic which is well-cooked at high temperatures does not bother me, but there is something in the oils of uncooked garlic that will leave me in terrible distress for days.
It's a shame and frustrating to deal with because so many chefs think nothing of using raw garlic in sauces, dips, salad dressings and it's not always easy to spot (or taste). I also hear it from people who go, "You're Italian, how can you not love garlic?" But then, you don't want to get me started on the difference between how native Italians judiciously use garlic in cooking vs. how Italian-American chefs seem to think the more garlic, the better...
My Food Blog, South Jersey Foodie
Check out my latest posts there for recipes, restaurant reviews, food-related travelogs and much more
My food and cooking articles at wizzley
7. I've auditioned to be a contestant on a reality TV show
Could sockii be the next "MasterChef"?
I confess, I love watching cooking competition shows on TV - everything from Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen to Top Chef and The Taste. My absolute favorite cooking competition series, however, is MasterChef. I always enjoy playing along at home, trying to figure out what I would prepare for each of the different challenges the home chefs are faced with on the series. So in November 2012, just for kicks I went to the MasterChef Season 4 auditions/casting call in New York City, an experience I've written about elsewhere. The next year I also went to the Season 5 tryouts in Philadelphia, which was another fun adventure.
Will I make it on the show at some point in the future? Who knows...but in the meantime I enjoy writing episode recaps and reviews, as well as other articles related to the show, most of which you can find under the MasterChef tag at Spacial Anomaly.
8. I was terrified of driving until I was nearly 40 years old
Then I moved to New Jersey, where only the strong survive
I've regretted for most of my life not getting my driver's license when I was in high school, like almost all of my friends did. I didn't get my license until I was 25 and needed it in graduate school, but living in a big city and not having a car of my own? I never had much chance to practice driving and never got comfortable doing so.
That all changed out of necessity when I moved out of Philadelphia to Southern New Jersey. There's simply no way to survive in a rural area without a car, so in 2011 I got my beloved Honda CR-V (perfect for hauling merch to craftshows and conventions). At first I had to suck it up and get over my fear, but after a couple long hauls on the road to Michigan and Georgia - and having to deal with the New Jersey Turnpike on a regular basis - I've turned into quite the road warrior. I now actually look forward to going on road trips, although I'll confess that I still haven't mastered the mysterious art of parallel parking...
Travels on the road with sockii
New York City area attractions
New Jersey: My home state!
Philadelphia area attractions
Having some fun in the London "underground"...
9. I'll never stop being a "tomboy"
You can save the make-up and high heel shoes for someone else...
I've never been a "girly girl", nor do I have any desire to become one. At 40+, I'm still perfectly happy to live in my jeans, sneakers and rock 'n roll t-shirts. I'll dress up when I have to, for a special occasion or dinner at a fancy restaurant, but that's about the only time you'll see me in a dress or make-up (and no, I won't wear heels no matter what!)
As a child my Barbie dolls all had their long hair cut short and went into battle with my GI Joe's. I'd rather be out working in my garden than shopping. I prefer Jackie Chan movies to chick flicks and have never been able to make it through an entire episode of "Sex and the City" (those characters all seem like alien beings to me!) It's not that I think there's anything wrong with liking those kinds of things, they've just never done anything for me personally. So it's very, very rare that you'll find me writing about subjects like fashion, make-up or other stereotyped "female" interests. (The only exception to that is jewelry, which I love to make, even if I wear very little of it myself...)
Spotlighting some of my favorite gemstones and jewelry
On Jewelry-Making and Crafting
10. I'm not - and may never be - "Married with Children"
Partly by choice, partly otherwise
My sweetie and I recently celebrated 7 years together, and have a wonderful home we share now for the past almost three of those years. Yet neither of us are in any particular rush to "tie the knot"...things have gone so well so far, why risk messing with success? I've never been one of those girls who dreamed or planned out her "fantasy wedding". Perhaps a simple ceremony in Italy with very close family is all we'd ever choose to do.
As for the children part, it's not from lack of desire nor trying. That's part of why I'm a strong advocate today for infertility awareness and write about the subject a great deal. Infertility is a tough disease to deal with, whether you are actively pursuing treatment or trying to come to terms with a likely childless future. It also makes me feel sometimes like the "odd girl out" in the content writing field, as so many of the other writers I know are stay-at-home-moms. Then again, I suppose it gives me a different perspective on life, which is often a good thing, too.
Articles on infertility and being childless or childfree
My other articles here at Wizzley
Other topics I've enjoyed writing about
Flowers and Gardening at Home
Diet, Exercise and Health
Christmas Holidays and Decorations
Where else to find me online
A link list of my other websites and writer profiles
I'm an active contributor to a number of different writing platforms, as well as running my own websites as mentioned above.
- Spacial Anomaly: This is my own multi-author blog/article site which focuses on entertainment, culture and topics related to fan culture. We are a growing site with several great authors, and new contributors are currently welcome! I invite you to check it out if you're looking for a new way to earn via advertising revenue and affiliate sales/links.
- Nicole Pellegrini at HubPages: This is my original HubPages account
- sockii at HubPages: Here you'll find what used to be my Squidoo account - at least for the moment. Many of those articles I've now taken down and republished elsewhere, or plan to do so in the future.
- sockii at Whyrll: I have only recently joined Whyrll and am looking to primarily post cookbook reviews and other random product reviews in the future.
- sockii at Bubblews: Again, I am no longer actively writing here and moving some of my longer pieces to other sites.
Other Websites and Projects:
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