It's a great week for John Hodgman fans. Hodgman -- you know, "The Daily Show" expert, the guy who plays the PC in Mac ads. He is suddenly everywhere: back on Jon Stewart's show last night, talking to "Rachel Maddow" on Monday night, guest blogging on BoingBoing, Twittering about the presidential race, showing up in some new Mac/PC ads out, making appearances in New York, various blogs and podcasts. It's all about promoting his new book, "More Information Than You Require," officially released Tuesday. By the way, if we are heading for another Great Depression, we're going to need more than 700 hobo names.

There are just 24 side-by-side seats at the long communal table at Socarrat Paella Bar on 19th Street in Chelsea, as Frank Bruni noted last week in The Times, and they don't take reservations. So when our party of eight -- including four kids -- showed up on Sunday night, the math was against us, even though we were arriving before 6. We would have needed a third of the entire restaurant. The place was already jammed, but the owner had a soft spot for kids and saw our dilemma as we were about to wander off in search of a different place. It was a warm October night, an unseasonable 70 degrees. We were walked through the kitchen to a big table on a back, open-air patio. The kids ran around while we ate. The paella was as great as billed, according to one in our party, who grew up eating the home-made stuff. I doubt we would get this lucky again, but I definitely plan to go back (probably with just a party of 2 this time).

Posted
AuthorPatrick LaForge

The big one right now is "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson, a work of speculative fiction set on another planet (apparently), weighing in at more than a pound and 937 pages. For some reason I am a sucker for big books. I am also working my way through a stack of comix, graphic novels and illustrated memoirs, including:

Posted
AuthorPatrick LaForge
CategoriesPaper & Ink

Updated  Sept. 16, 2012.

When I started working on the metropolitan desk of The New York Times in 1997, the newsroom was using a publishing system known as Atex for text editing. Usernames were six characters long. The naming convention at the time was to take the first two letters of the staffer's given name and the first four letters of the surname. Patrick+LaForge=Palafo.

Not every Atex username had a mellifluous combination of consonants and vowels, but mine did. On a whim, I used it as a username on various sites in the early years of the Web and as an e-mail address with a succession of Internet service providers. The vaguely Italian-sounding but non-existent name was usually available, while my actual name was already being snapped up by my French-Canadian-Irish doppelgängers.

The Atex naming convention used by The Times was abandoned (along with Atex), but a few of us still use the naming convention in e-mail addresses.

I have been a computer nerd and geek since a time before there was a Web, and I was a bit of an early Web pioneer, but I did not use the name for a blog until I started the earliest version of this one in 2008. Here's hoping I don't besmirch it in the permanent record for all time.

Regarding the pronunciation: Some people have been known to say PAL-ah-foe, but I prefer to stress the syllable that is also the first syllable of my surname: puh-LAAF-oh. Sort of like palazzo.