Thoughts about the World Cup so far

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Allow me to be honest when I say that most of the year, I am hardly an avid soccer fan. Don’t get me wrong, I support Toronto FC of the MLS a moderate amount, and I do enjoy watching a handful of games every so often, but I’m far from footy-obsessed as many of you likely are.

brazil fansHaving said that, every four years when the World Cup rolls around, my interest in the game skyrockets. Perhaps its national pride, or perhaps its simply what’s at stake, but the World Cup just feels different. There’s a constant sense of excitement and eager anticipation in the air all around me while the tournament plays itself out, and there are few sporting events more exciting to me.

Having lived in the United States for an extended period of time, naturally, I am supporting USMNT, or the United States Men’s National Team, for those unaware. Going into the tournament, I knew not what to expect. It’s no secret that the USA have the ability to compete with nearly any squad in the tournament, but after being placed in the infamous “Group of Death” (a term that has gotten legs here throughout the opening round) alongside Portugal, Germany, and Ghana, my expectations were admittedly rather low. Yet, here we are. The opening round has since concluded, and the USMNT are moving forward.

After a gutsy 2-1 win in the opening game against Ghana, a game in which the USA showed outstanding poise and ball control, they drew with Portugal 2-2. Scoring four goals and allowing only three through the opening two matches had put the USA in relatively decent shape heading into their final match against the German squad, but ultimately, their fate was in their own hands, or so they thought. Going into the match against Germany, many fans believed the USMNT required at worst a draw to advance into the remaining 16, but after suffering a gutsy 1-0 loss in a game where Germany controlled the bulk of the play, USA received a gift. On the strength of Ghana’s 2-1 loss to Portugal, in which superstar Cristiano Ronaldo scored the go ahead goal late, the USMNT had been informed they would be moving on to the next stage of the tournament despite having lost their final match. Ronaldo has seen been dubbed a “real American hero,” and for good reason I would say.

Next, the USMNT will face the club from Belgium, a feisty, but somewhat overrated squad that I fully believe the USA are capable of defeating. Will that game be as far as they go? Only time will tell, but if the action moving forward proves to be even half as exciting as what we were treated to in the group stage, us American soccer supporters are all in for a treat. Much like they were against the Germans and Portugese, I am certain the USMNT will be considered the underdog, but as we all know, in the World Cup, anything is possible. That’s right, I’m looking at you England, Spain, Michael Bradleyand Portugal all heading home before the second round. There is no doubt in my mind that with the right game plan, the right execution, the proper drive, and the proper determination, this United States men’s squad is one fully capable of not only playing great soccer, but entirely capable of playing spoiler to the big guns heading forward.

Getting through to the very end will most likely require defeating the likes of Argentina and the Dutch, but whatever the result, I will simply be thrilled to be along for the ride. Now if only Toronto FC’s beloved midfielder Michael Bradley who is representing the USMT could perform up to expectations a bit more, this would prove to be the perfect tournament experience for yours truly.

Creating sites for local businesses

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indonesian babeAside from blogging while I take a much deserved break at work, there is this thing called Local SEO that I’m working on outside of work and I really believe that it’s built to withstand the intimidating threats posed by Google and its daunting algorithm updates. That’s because the niches involved with Local SEO or local business websites are not exactly flooding with competition unless you gravitate towards the ones that are. Many people will make the mistake in thinking that low competition means low value.

To illustrate that argument, think about a first time home owner with a big back yard that and the perfect spot for a swimming pool. Most likely, when this home owner gets to the point of searching for “custom pool building” in his home town, they are very interested in moving forward with the purchase. To the service provider that builds swimming pools, every single lead is going to be valuable, so if a low competition website about custom swimming pools is “only” getting about 10 leads per day, that is actually a fantastic number in the eyes of the pool builder.

Now can you imagine how many businesses this would apply to? Just think about your own home town and all of the different small businesses and service providers that operate near your home. Each and every one of those could be some kind of Local SEO opportunity whether it is building websites to rank them against existing sites that are usually outdated and built by people that probably don’t know much about building a site. To me this presented a golden opportunity. I might not be an expert, but I do have a leg up in this case.

Enter the Rent-A-Serp WordPress theme which is an absolutely amazing tool that I feel blessed to have. Honestly, if Rent-A-Serp was a woman, I would marry her! This WordPress theme is specifically designed to create local business websites that are compatible with the latest algorithm updates on Google and keeping yourself up to date is one of the most important things you can do as an aspiring Internet Marketer.

Plus, the situation I have been describing is something that is not going to be a one time thing because if you are thinking in terms of going into business with Local SEO, you would build several websites, maybe even dozens if you wanted to. Therefore, it is essential to have a tool that brings efficiency without sacrificing quality and that’s what I found with this WordPress theme.

So what am I doing as I sit here at work? I feel as anxious as an eight year old in December. In this case, I am impatiently waiting to go home and design the next local business website that I will eventually lease to a local service provider in my area with the same sense of a pride that a father might experience when his son brings home a really hot date. Or… something like that.

The future of smoking

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Welcome to Sayblog.me! My name is Sam Hopkins and I enjoy writing when I am bored at work and if that isn’t a good reason to start a blog, I am not sure I would know what a good reason would be. Ah, but of course! To manipulate people and make money! Forgot that one. Anyway, as the late Kurt Cobain once famously sang: “Here we are now, entertain us”. And try, I will.

So I was sitting at my desk at work just hating my job as I am sure many of you can relate to and eventually that lead to my fantasizing about a “happy place”. For me, a happy place is anywhere that I’ve been to on a vacation (because I absolutely love vacations) or it could be somewhere that I’d really like to go on a vacation. On this day, I was fantasizing about my most recent vacation to Las Vegas with my girlfriend and we had a blast. The only thing I would change about the vacation is the girlfriend. Just kidding… I love her dearly… but you know… Vegas is better when you’re single.

ecig kit

Anyway, as I walked through the smoke infested casinos, I realized that we were in a new era. For the first time in my life, I watched as people blew smoke out of some cool looking metal device as opposed to a cigarette and as we walked past several kiosks at the Bally casino, we stumbled upon an electronic cigarette kiosk that sold eCigarette units, not to be confused with the disposable eCigarettes sold at 7-11. These are devices or units that consist of an Atomizer Body, Atomizer Head, Cartridge, and they all screw together to form the future of smoking devices. Since the device usually operates on a lithium ion battery, kits will also come with a USB charger so you can conveniently plug this smoking device into your computer, for example, and charge the battery. How gnarly is that!?

My favorite part would have to be the “e-juices”. Somewhere in this device there is an empty tank that gets filled with flavored liquid and – if desired – nicotine can be added as well. In the end, you are essentially left with a portable handheld hookah device. E-juices come in small bottles that generally look like this:

e-juice

With the super cool presentation combined with the trendy factor of these devices in Las Vegas, my girlfriend decided she had to have one, and I couldn’t blame her even though I knew full well that whatever we were going to be charged for one of these kits ($125) would be exponentially more expensive than we could find them for on eBay ($25) but honestly that didn’t matter because it was all part of the experience. And one could argue that even if you pay a premium for one of these kits, if this helps you quit smoking, the long term savings would be tremendous no matter what you paid to own one.

Another thing that blew me away was the fact that every single gas station in Las Vegas had e-juices in stock and as a resident of California (a state that is usually up to speed with these types of things) I had literally never seen a bottle of e-juices in any convenience store or gas station. I am willing to bet the local smoke shops had them in stock, but I haven’t been to one of those in at least a year.

Anyway, there you have it, the future of smoking! Do I think this will ever compete with cigarettes? Not really. But it’s still pretty cool to see how far e-cigarettes have come.