About Hal Stern

Where are you?

This is my online home for sports, music, reading, writing, tinkering, thinking and eating thoughts where I can be as opinionated, loud and fan-like as I wish. I started blogging in 2004 as an employee of Sun Microsystems, and have moved relevant portions of those six years of online attitude here because Sun offered its employees co-ownership of their blog material copyrights. This is also the consolidation of my previous attempts at a sports-only blog and a food-oriented blog. It didn’t make sense to separate the audiences, and I was doing a bad job of separating my writing efforts, so it’s all back in one big online buffet. Enjoy, if you can.

Who is this guy?

During the day, I’m the Executive Director of Advanced Technology and IT planning for a major healthcare company, where I think about big data problems, security, privacy, security, socialization of technology, and various applications of those technical disruptions to our daily health. That’s work. By night, I am a blogger, parent, husband, left wing (bad) on my adult ice hockey team, budding USA Hockey coach, fan of the NJ Devils, Yankees, NY Giants, a few adopted teams (due to work, kids’ college locations and the like), Jewish professional athletes, and anything having to do with Princeton University. I spend way too much time on eBay, adding to my mantle of Willie Stargell bobbleheads, rock band memorabilia, and other things that I don’t need. I’ve started buying up broken guitar pedals with the intent of applying the EE half of my degree to repairing and reselling them, but for now they’re just one more pile collecting more dust than interest.

I suck at golf, but aim to improve. My aim, that is. And the safety of ground-based wildlife on courses in NJ. My goal is to go from “helmets required” to “license to excavate” to perhaps hitting my weight in a year’s time.

At the same time, I’m an overweight guy from New Jersey who likes to eat. “Likes to eat” is something of a misnomer, because I love food, and not just high-end, trendy, linen napkin required kind of food. If it involves good local color, a great story, things that are bad for you but acceptable in small quantities, or spiciness best measured in scientific notation on the Scoville scale, I like it. Work sometimes takes me on the road where I can experience new sights, smells, and culinary delights.

What’s here?

You’re not going to find glossy, air brushed, nicely set up pictures of food or athletes here. Some of these I took with my phone’s camera, because it captured the essence while my other hand was gripping protein wrapped in wonderful bread at the moment. Some of the stories are more about travel and culture than food, but that really is how we build strong associations. Those of us who grew up in Freehold, NJ in the 1970s remember when the wind and humidity were just right, and you could smell the Nescafe plant across town. To this day, that smell makes me think of early morning band camp, a day at the YMCA pool, and hearing my first Yes song on the radio.

You will, however, smell a decidedly Jersey flavor here. I can’t refer to the state meat product without a slightly raised chin (a Jersey nod, that is) to the Garden State – home of diners, real bagels (not what passes for one west of the Mississippi), Italian delis, Jewish delis, and some of the best bread you’ll find on this entire coast. You’re going to find a lot of references to brothers here — from the Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh to Formica Brothers in Atlantic City to why a big brother sometimes has to send Easter candy to his little sister to Travis Zajac’s younger brother.

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