Go Ask Daddy About the Mighty Niners, Tiny Rappers and Tickers Under the Knife

photo credit: ShellyS via photopin cc
photo credit: ShellyS via photopin cc

Why blog?

GAD GRAPHICIt’s a fair question. Vanity? Narcissism? Book-deal dreams? Some bloggers speak of an end game we must have when we hit publish for the first time. For some, it’s their toy box, full of everything from LEGO to Barbie shoes to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

We write blogs to learn. And we blog to share.

It might take me a while, but I read blogs of every single person who comments on my posts. And, I pick out some of the people who commented on their blogs. It’s a referral of sorts. I’ve discovered all kinds of awesome that way.

The blog world is like this awesome literary pantry that people stuff with all kinds of outrageously good snacks.

And it never runs out. You just have to bring your best snacks, too. Hardly ever do the crappy snacks get in. I feed on that. So, what did the Pacheco girls ask about this week?

1.     What conference is UNC Charlotte in?

photo credit: EricUnLtd via photopin cc
photo credit: EricUnLtd via photopin cc

My alma mater plays in Conference USA.

When I was in school, the 49ers were in three conferences. This has as much to do with their transient nature as it does the fact I had two junior years.  The football team will join Conference USA, with East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, and Old Dominion, in 2015.

I’m sure East Carolina will emerge as our main rival eventually.

UNC Charlotte was the only school I applied to. It was that, or enlist in the Air Force. This was just before the first Gulf War. Many dudes I went to high school with fought in that war.

UNC Charlotte is one of those schools that will never win a national championship. But, they could possibly make some noise against someone who could. I like that sentiment. I kind of live it. So maybe UNCC was a good fit for your dad.

Conference USA’s geographic footprint looks like Shaquille O’Neal’s. It spans west to El Paso, Texas; east to Greenville, N.C.; north to Huntington, W.Va.; and south to Miami.

photo credit: Joe Parks via photopin cc
photo credit: Joe Parks via photopin cc

2.     Are any octopuses that big?

As big as Conference USA? Only in sci-fi!

The Pacific octopus is the world’s largest. The record specimen checked in at 30 feet long. It weighed more than 600 pounds. That’s a lot of calamari. I heard they like to eat children who swim in the ocean farther than their dad says they should.

There are no Octopuses as mascots in Conference USA, though.

But the Miami Marlins had a pitcher with six fingers on this throwing hand named Antonio Alfonseca. His nickname? El Pulpo, or “the octopus.”

3.     Isn’t “Jump On It” the song by those guys who wear their clothes backward?

So close. But that’s The Sugar Hill Gang.

You’re thinking of Kris Kross’ “Jump.”

Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith were so hot back in the day they even toured with Michael Jackson. Sugar Hill Gang’s song gets played during daddy/daughter dances and weddings. It’s called “Apache (Jump On It).”

Kris Kross’ song came out in 1992. That was while I was at UNC Charlotte. I did not wear anything backward, on purpose. Except for my baseball cap.

4.     If you’re writing a novel, and you get information from the Internet, do you have to cite it?

photo credit: bloohimwhom via photopin cc
photo credit: bloohimwhom via photopin cc

I’m the wrong dude to ask this about. I got it backward back in high school.

I wrote my 11th-grade term paper on Italian humanist Niccolo Machiavelli. It was brilliant, yet verbose. Not the stuff of a Hispanic kid from an under-performing East Charlotte high school. Not the stuff of anything believable, either. Mrs. Spence gave me a zero on it.

This was before you could check content against the Internet. There was no internet.

I hadn’t cited a bit of it. No notecards, no MLA handbook. She thought I’d copied it.

It was mine all mine, I promise.

So I had to take English in summer school. If I ever write a book, I’m going to dedicate it to Mrs. Spence, in related news.

Citing your research on a bibliography page is enough in a novel. It’s not a research paper, Mrs. Spence. I mean, Elise. When you chop through some good fiction, the last thing you want is those little floating numbers above things.

5.     Has anyone in our family had heart surgery?

photo credit: David Gaz via photopin cc
photo credit: David Gaz via photopin cc

I thought I would when I found out I got a zero on that English paper.

Your family tree has branched out both directions without a single scalpeled heart. We’ve had voice boxes and catheters installed. We’ve undergone chemo and emergency treatment for yellow-jacket stings. And we’ve had to have our lower leg set after fracturing it in a fall on an icy stairway.

And that was just my dad, those last three things!

Babies have heart surgery all the time. I can’t imagine. We had one kid come out blue and not breathing (Marie) and another who emerged in childbirth looking like she’d gone nine rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard (Grace). But a little oxygen turned Marie brilliant pink and a little time under a warmer that looked like the one that keeps Big Macs fresh at McDonald’s seemed to cook up Grace where she needed to be.

Heart surgery? I’d rather not have any of you go through that.

I’d even go to summer school at East Carolina with an octopus than do that.



# # #


  1. laurie27wsmith says:

    My first girlfriend thought she was dating an octopus, does that count? Seriously that big guy would make a lot of calamari, bit tough though. I’ve only cited one thing in a fiction novel and that’s a stanza from a poem by Tennyson. You definitely don’t want all those little roman numerals in the exciting bits of your book. Blue and undercooked, that’s brilliant Mate.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Just your first girlfriend, mate? And it’s probably a problem that I think of most animals in terms of food. I should have had you answer this question about citation.

      Who wants annotations to kill the mood, right?

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Yes Mate, first, I was 15 and eager. Could you imagine that octopus in a sea food mornay?? I can just imagine a fight scene interspaced with citations from Wikipedia or similar.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        There’s video of a death match in Florida between an alligator and python.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Bet the python won.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Actually, the guy with the harpoon, garlic butter sauce and really big skillet did.

      5. laurie27wsmith says:

        Oh Mate, that’s too funny.

  2. jennifermccullough says:

    So how’s your novel coming along, Eli? I can’t wait to read it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Slowly but surely – did I tell you I’m hand-writing it in a steno pad? Just feels like the right thing to do. Great to see you here again Jennifer!

  3. You always bring the best snacks to the bloggy party! Nothing pretentious or hard to pronounce. The good stuff that leaves your fingers sticky or coated with a fine dusting of awesome.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Snacks are serious business, Nicole. The Hemingway app tells me I wrote this post at the fourth-grade reading level, which is stellar.

      Love your description of the good stuff, too.

  4. NotAPunkRocker says:

    That’s a good way to describe UNC-C, just like Richmond 🙂

    Now I have “Apache” in my head, specifically the scene from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” when Will and Carleton are stuck at the casino. LOL

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d rather my school be scrappy than pretentious. The Spiders definitely qualify for that.

      Click the link on that section of the blog if you want to see that clip!

      1. NotAPunkRocker says:

        It was waaaaaay early when I wrote that, it was the only team I could think of at the moment (other than ODU LOL).

        Video isn’t playing on my computer, figures 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Try it again – I fixed it, I think!

  5. ksbeth says:

    i’ll bring the velveta and salsa dip if you bring the octopus

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      it’s a deal – but don’t y’all toss octopus on the hockey rink?

      1. ksbeth says:

        indeed we do, and nothing like an old octopus smuggled into the arena in someone’s pants to perk up a hockey game.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:


  6. I seriously cannot wait to read your novel and you summed up why we blog perfectly up top. Happy Friday Eli 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m going to try and finish it before we become grandparents, Janine. Or at least before Tara Reid wins an Oscar for Sharknado II.

      Happy Friday to you, too.

  7. Teri says:

    Kris Kross. Now there’s a blast from the past. Both Jump, Jump and Apache are on my iPod when I run. Probably not shocking, huh?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Teri B will make you jump. Did you ever wear stuff backwards? I mean, on purpose? Do you jump when you run and those songs come on? I want to see a jogger do that once.

      I’m not a bit shocked. What else is on that playlist?

      1. Teri says:

        My prized song on the playlist: Planet Rock by Afrikka Bombatta and the Soul Sonic Force. Also there: The Breaks by Curtis Blow, The Message by Grandmaster Flash, Flamethrower by The J. Giles Band and Hate Me by Blue October. Oh and Jump Around by House of Pain. Although when running, I never jump around. But I do head bang.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        J. Giles Band is the only one I knew on your list. But I’d listen to the whole shebang to get a glimpse of you head-bang jogging, just once.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Yes, I have “Apache” in my head, too. It’s replaced the “Walking on Sunshine” loop I’ve had going thanks to my youngest son this AM. There’s a lot to love about the post today but I’ll keep it brief – because this is the part that stopped my heart – my oldest arrived blue, not breathing and banged up. He didn’t cry for about, well, it felt like 10 minutes, but was probably less than a minute. But when you are anticipating a screaming baby and get nothing. That’s a pretty painful wait. Your statement brings it all rushing back. One last thing: I’m pissed for you at that teacher, I hope she reads your blog and realizes her mistake.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      “Apache” is fighting for head space with me with “Safe and Sound” right now. There’s a dude at work who has a beard like the dude from Capital Cities.

      I second your heart stop, Stephanie. I remember how beautiful Marie looked, finally seeing her face and all that curly black hair, but she wasn’t moving, and blue as a smurf.

      The nurse looked more than a little concerned. “Should I call the team?” she asked the doctor. “No, she’s fine,” he said, and after a bit of oxygen, she turned bright pink and let out a wail.


      I wonder how many people fail a class in high school and major in that same subject in college. What happened in her class kind of motivated me as a writer, anyway. I wonder if she’s still around.

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    A 600-pound octopus? Yet another reason why I don’t scuba dive…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      What does a 600-pound octopus eat? Anything it wants, apparently.

  10. Leanne says:

    “The blog world is like this awesome literary pantry that people stuff with all kinds of outrageously good snacks. And it never runs out.” Ha! Well said!

    And also, Kris Kross’ “Jump” is now nestled into my head for the rest of the day. Thanks. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked the snack reference, Leanne. I make the most sense when I relate things to snacks. Gift or curse?

      You’re welcome for putting “Jump” in your head – that high-pitched snake-charmer pipe sounding thing is especially nice to have ringing in your ears.

  11. Rabia Lieber says:

    My husband just finished a book and we were discussing it last night at dinner (aren’t we cool!) His biggest concern was with the firearms in the book. The author had apparently not done any research into how guns work and this was very jarring for my husband. He does this to movies too. The moral: Never read a book or watch a movie with Ken…I mean…DO YOUR RESEARCH! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’re so cool – reading books and talking about them! I think it’s natural to feel this way about a book you know something about.

      I hate when a sport is depicted wrongly in a book or movie. Kind of takes away the credibility. Unless it’s a zombie movie. But even then, aren’t there zombie experts out there who could call BS?

  12. tamaralikecamera says:

    Can I beat up Mrs. Spence, by the way? I’d certainly rather beat up Mrs. Spence, with an octopus, in summer school, than have any our kids have heart surgery.
    My grandfather had a quadruple bypass. Yeesh.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’d hit a teacher with glasses for me? Thanks Tamara.

      Yikes … that’s a lot of traffic on one heart.

  13. Is it just me or are your girls into the sea world? Rays, horseshoe crabs, octopus? Have you ever heard of Paul? He was an octopus who could predict the results at soccer WC 2010! He was really good at it, nailed it 12 out of 14 times.
    No heart surgery? Keep it that way, it’s no fun. My dad could tell you lots of unsettling details. So even if the Big Mac warmer is Grace’s natural habitat, don’t go back there too often.
    I didn’t know you are writing a novel. Will you post a teaser one day?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They like anything creepy-crawly. Or vicious. Didn’t they eat Paul? I think the Spaniards did it. I think he picked them to lose, so they wrapped him in a tortilla.

      To say I’m writing a novel is like saying the U.S. is a world power in soccer. Yes, I have some things jotted down, and a plan in my head … I just need to get it out.

  14. Kim says:

    I remember those days of writing pre-internet. A different time!! That teacher clearly was an idiot and needed to feel like she had power.
    Totally random but all through the post today I was looking at your last name – this is probably the dumbest question ever but do you happen to know a Tom Pacheco?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I had a huge word processor for my first job out of college. And that was the ultimate in technology. Summer school was quite an experience, though, so, thanks Mrs. Spence.

      No, the dumbest question ever was whether the hole in the ozone was the same on the space shuttle flies through.

      I don’t think I’m related to a Tom Pacheco. Only once in my life when someone asked me if someone Pacheco was related, did it actually turn out to be a relative.

  15. findingninee says:

    My “novels” are gathering cyber dust in my computer. One day, maybe when my son is in school for longer??? I hope to finish or at least have the balls to throw one of them away. I’m also intimidated by any research (but would be happy to hire somebody who is willing to do it if it comes to that hint hint) because hello boring!!

    Also, wanted to tell you I did NOT forget about the guest post. I’m just really sucky that way but WILL get it to you, and would love to have you write an Our Land too. Just saying.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I had the feeling that if I hand-wrote it, it wouldn’t get computer-dusty. What do you think? How would you feel about hand-writing yours, too?

      Perfect for working on in the pickup line at school.

      And the research? Seriously … send me an email. Today.

      You’re not at all sucky. Let me know what you’re thinking about for Our Land in that same email, even. I’d love to contribute.

      1. findingninee says:

        Hand writing hurts my hand. But I’ll be sending you an email soon. Promise.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Reading my handwriting makes my head hurt. Looking forward to it, Kristi. I’d love to talk about doing some research for you, too.

  16. Rorybore says:

    I wonder if your Ms Spence knows the professor that failed me because and I quote, “no student is smart enough to think that up on their own.” Gee thanks for the vote of confidence. I suspect you’re just upset that I am at least smarter than you. (well, technically I said: Thou villainous tickle-brained joithead! because the course was Shakespearean Literature.)

    My family is so blessed. No heart problems. No major diseases. No Cancer. My grandparents lived well into their 80s. I guess there is something to be said for good ole country living. You wouldn’t believe the food spread at one our family functions my friend. You’d think you died and went to buffet heaven!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thwarted by your own intelligence, eh Rore? Some teachers really know how to inspire. We perhaps should have cranked down our brainpower a bit in those classes.

      (Honestly, I didn’t cite a thing, so she was in a tough spot. Still, a zero? I could have showed her the books I read.)

      Don’t you Canadians appoint honorary members of your family? You should. If you do … I have a passport and everything, and I’ll bring a dish, too.

  17. You’ll soon be famous (and a possibly a millionaire) penning lines like this gem, Eli:

    “The blog world is like this awesome literary pantry that people stuff with all kinds of outrageously good snacks. And it never runs out. You just have to bring your best snacks, too. Hardly ever do the crappy snacks get in.”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      To quote familiar Queen lyrics, “I’m just a poor boy/from a poor family.”

      I’m passion about my blog. I’m passionate about snacks. Put the two together? Look out.

  18. Jessica says:

    That is so messed up about your teacher!! I hope you send her a complimentary copy of your novel when it’s finished! And I loved how you described the blogging community. Every so often I wonder what the heck I’m doing and what even IS the purpose of blogging and am I the only one still doing it for free???

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think at the time I used another -ed word to describe it, that wasn’t on any vocabulary test. I did always think she’d make it into the dedication part of the book if there ever is one.

      Isn’t it true about our clan here, Jessica? I try not to think about doing it for free, though. At one time, I used to coach club and rec soccer in the same seasons.

      Club soccer was ‘advanced’ and we got to play many places in tournaments. It was more precise than rec. But also, more political, and pressure-filled.

      When I’d hit the rec field with my team, it was all about soccer. No pretense. Just kids who want to play. There was a beauty in the ragtag nature of it, and once I was out there on the beat-up fields with weather-beaten soccer balls, it felt like a pure version of the sport.

      I write all day for pay. When I can crank out a post for my own blog, or as a guest poster, for no other reason but because I can, that feels pretty pure, too.

  19. radiochick74 says:

    I’m ashamed to admit it, but I did, indeed, wear my overalls backwards when it was “the thing to do” in high school. Gawd. What was I thinking? I was more a Bell Biv DeVoe fan than a Kris Kross fan though. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Where are the pictures, Shannon? I had long hair – a little tail thingy on the side. We were the cool kids, right? You must have been “Poison.”

      1. radiochick74 says:

        Ha!!! Thankfully no one took a picture of me that day at school! 😉 You had a tail in the side? Sounds interesting!! Yes, “Poison” was my jam! Funny. I even got my French teacher to let me pin up a poster of BBD on the side bulletin board in her classroom. (Small school, everyone knew everyone, same French teacher for every year.) I was ridiculous! I would love to see your old pics!!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        There are some old ones on a post I wrote before the Super Bowl, but none with my side tail!


      3. radiochick74 says:

        No fair! You look ADORABLE in every one!!

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think we need to see your Bel Biv Devoe look for comparison! How bad could it be? (I’m imagining you in corn rows at the moment, too.)

      5. radiochick74 says:

        Haaaaaa! Nope. Nothing special with my hair! Just the backwards overalls!!! I promise!!

      6. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think that’s still worth a post! Or a Wordless Wednesday. SOMETHING.

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