Spending time with friends

This past weekend was a long weekend (Victoria Day), so my wife and I headed out of town to meet up with my best friends. We all got together in London, Ontario for the weekend to laugh and have a good time. It was great getting some face to face time as that is now rare with some of my friends due to geographic distance.

London is also where Abbie’s foster family is, so we met up with them for lunch before we left town. They are great people, so it’s always nice to spend time with them. I was also able to give them a present that I had made them:

 

Hopefully they enjoy their new cutting board 🙂

On the holiday Monday, I spent most of the day working on opening our pool. The pool cover had fallen into the pool half way through the winter. This meant that all of the crud that built up on the cover was now in our pool. Because of this, it took about 6hours of work to get our pool from Brown/Black, back to a normal pool colour 😛  I’ll spend this week getting the water’s levels right and then we should be able to start swimming in another week (weather permitting).

Logan – Go see it. ‘Nuff said

Logan – Go see it. ‘Nuff said

I went and saw Logan last night.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m about as big of a Marvel fanboy as you can be – so it’s no surprise that I was anxiously awaiting this movies release.

There were a couple reasons I was excited for this movie though, aside from just the “OMG MARVEL MOVIE” factor:

Rated R:

Like Deadpool, Logan is rated R. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is. The “Old Man Logan” story line wasn’t made for children. It’s dark, violent and gritty. It deals with death, depression, suicide, rage, and more. Making this movie PG-13 would have meant gutting the story and it’s dark undertones.

Disney has already put a firm “No Never” message out that they will not be making any rated R comic movies. Thankfully this franchise is still under the rights of Fox and even though they were reluctant, after Hugh Jackman agreed to take a pay cut – they made it happen

Retirement:

This movie marks the end of the Wolverine franchise. Fox will not be making additional Wolverine movies (though I’m sure X-23 will get her own story line) and Hugh Jackman said he wouldn’t do another.

Hugh Jackman has always been perfect for the Wolverine role. He does a great job bringing the character to life, and if he felt this movie did the character’s retirment justice… I needed to see it

The Story:

Just like any book, Comic Movies never truly follow the comic book story lines. They can’t. Sometimes it’s because in the comics they can kill everyone off and simply “reboot” the whole universe like it never happened. Othertimes, it’s because the Marvel character rights are split among several studios, meaning that even if they wanted to follow the comics they might not have the rights to feature certain characters. So going into Logan, I knew it was only going to very loosely follow the comic story line.

That was good enough for me

I knew if the movie was 1/4 as good as the comics, it would be amazing.

After now seeing it, I can thankfully report that I was right. Logan is an incredible masterpeice. It goes beyond the Comic genre and holds it’s own with great mainstream movies. Hugh Jackman was incredible and brought feeling to a character whom viewers could never connect in previous films. Patrick Stewart was finally given the opportunity to show how brilliant an actor he is. Lastly, Dafne Keen is an excellent new addition and welcomed new face to the story.

Logan is now one of my favourite movies of all time

Thank you Hugh Jackman, Patrick Steward, and James Mangold. I couldn’t have asked for a better send off for this character.

Don’t let anger divide you

Don’t let anger divide you

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know there is a lot of tension regarding Donald Trump and his now confirmed seat as the President of the United States. Even here in Canada, everyone has a strong opinion on the subject and that’s ok. Truthfully, we should all have opinions on matters that will impact our country and day-to-day lives. Despite living in Canada, the President of the United States has a big impact on my life. As our largest trade partner and a huge contributor to the Canadian economy, changes in U.S-Canada relations can have a massive impact on my country.

In the US, this mentality is only further echoed on a much large and stronger scale and that’s ok.

It’s alright to be passionate about your Country. It’s alright to have opinions on your government. It’s alright to challenge your government and ask questions. But don’t let it divide you!

Now more than ever in my generation’s time, do people need to stand together. You may think that Donald Trump will be the best president ever or the worst. You may agree with his thoughts and policies, or think they are insane. What matters most now, is uniting the people of your country and working together to continue to build a better future.

Allowing yourself to dislike or dismiss someone, based simply on if they voted Democrat or Republican is not only limiting, but also dangerous to your country.

At the very core of Democracy is the idea of compromise and without compromise, democracy can never flourish.

Regardless of which party you voted for, you should challenge your government. Make them work for you, the people, in order to earn your vote. Never be complacent. If they fail to deliver, take your vote elsewhere. That is how people retain power in a democratic system. Don’t vote blindly for a party because they won your vote in the past.

The second part of this is on your government. Political parties need to work together in order to best serve the people. It does no good if neither party is willing to compromise with one another and work toward solutions. They need to work together in order to build a better country based on the blueprints that voters have created.

So next time you meet someone that voted differently from you, try to listen to them. Understand their viewpoints and why they see things differently than you. Use the lens of their mindset to understand why they think, “I am right and you are wrong“.

Don’t hate. Don’t dismiss or marginalize. Don’t lash out and don’t give up. An election isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of a new four-year journey. Your ship may have a new course, but the more each and every one of you challenges the parties that you vote for – the more control you have over that ship.

To finish, I want to leave a quote from a Canadian politician named Jack Layton. Some loved him, some hated him. Regardless of his political views and actions, his parting words to the world were that of love and unity.

 

My friends,

Love is better than anger.

Hope is better than fear.

Optimism is better than despair.

So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.

And we’ll change the world.

 

Why my 2016 didn’t suck…

Why my 2016 didn’t suck…

I know. 2016 was a rough year for a lot of people. Some shitty things happened and a lot of celebrities passed away.

If I’m being honest though, 2016 was a great year for both myself and my family.

In 2016:

The Thompson family got a new member:

Less picture taking.. more head scratching!

If you haven’t already, meet Abbie! My wife and I rescued Abbie in February 2016. Abbie, like her brother Rascal, was a stray on a native reserve in Southern Ontario. They were both rescued by the wonderful people at ARF Ontario. Unlike her brother, Abbie spent far longer out there on her own. While Rascal was picked up when he was only a few weeks old, Abbie wasn’t picked up until she was already a year old with a litter of 10 puppies.

When Abbie joined our family, she was just like a 3month old pup. You could tell that she hadn’t received the socialization and life experiences needed to develop her mentally and emotionally. That didn’t stop her from fitting right in 🙂

Rascal and Abbie were inseparable from the moment they met. We actually had to force them to stop playing the first night otherwise, they would have been wrestling until the sun came up.

She was the perfect match for our playful and energetic Rascal, she was also the perfect match for me and my wife.

Rascal, our first dog – has never been much of a “People” dog. He cares about treats, other dogs, and toys that squeak (in that order). He’s never been a fan of getting pet, or cuddling up with you.

Abbie comes from a different school of thought 😛

Abbie, while also loving dogs and treats, absolutely LOVES getting pet and cuddles. She will sit and get pet all day and night. If you have the nerve to stop, she has no problem letting you know that your job isn’t finished. She was the perfect Ying & Yang match to Rascal and we couldn’t possibly imagine our family without her!

 

New Jobs lead to new Adventures!

10 points if you can find me!

2016 also saw some job changes for my Family. My wife received a promotion that she had been working towards for a long time. While she was busy with that, I changed companies!

After four years, I made a very difficult decision to leave FreshBooks. A year ago, if someone asked me where I’d be working in ten years – I would have said FreshBooks. I have nothing but great things to say about that company and it’s people. I looked forward to the work that I did at FreshBooks and made several best friends in the process. Being able to say that after four years with a company is an incredible feeling and speaks volumes to the company culture. FreshBooks was the greatest example I had seen, of how much an awesome company culture can impact your work.

“I looked forward to the work that I did at FreshBooks and made several best friends in the process.”

 I had the opportunity to not only pursue my passion in custom service, but to learn and develop as our team grew. When I joined FreshBooks in 2012, the company consisted of 70 people, with a 10 person customer support team. When I left FreshBooks, the customer support team alone was over 60 people and the company nearing 300! It was an amazing opportunity to see and learn from that much growth. The surprises, the problems, the creative solutions.. Every day was a new lesson in development and learning.

So why did I leave?

When I made the decision to leave FreshBooks, it was the hardest I had made in my working life. I however, felt the opportunity that I was presented with was too good to pass up. My new role at Automattic gives me room to continue my pursuit of growing a career in customer service. I have the chance to work with a large team (more than double the size), covering both; a much larger customer base, as well as several different product lines (instead of a singular offering). It also meant working in a completely remote environment of over 500 employees, which is something I had never done before.

Six months later, I’m happy to report that I’ve made the right decision. My time so far with Automattic & the WordPressWooCommerce teams has been amazing. We have the strongest company culture that I’ve seen in a remote company. I truly feel part of a team, despite being hundreds (or even thousands) of kilometers from my coworkers. As well, working for a company with multiple product offers has been a really insightful journey. Learning how to support users that have very different questions and needs, across various offerings is a great way to speed up the learning process. Every day is a challenge and that is very welcomed.

Oh the place you’ll go…

Somewhere above Banff

With my new job came the opportunity for more travelling, both for work and for pleasure (thanks to an unlimited vacation policy). A month after joining Automattic, I flew to Whistler, British Columbia for our companies yearly Grand Meetup. Each year our entire company gets together for a whole week to mingle, learn, team build, have fun, and get valuable face to face time.

During the rest of the year, individual teams have their own meet-ups. I just booked the airfare for my first team meetup, which will be in Lisbon, Portugal. Thanks to our unlimited vacation policy, after I’m done my week with the team, my wife is flying over so that we can vacation in Portugal and then Italy.

There will be no shortage of travelling in my future and that’s very exciting 🙂

Settling into our new Hometown!

This is less than 5 minutes from my house…

September of 2015 we sold our place in Toronto and moved to Newmarket, Ontario. In 2016 we spent as might time as we could outside, taking in everything our new neighbourhood has to offer!

We spend most of our free time hiking through the local York Regional forests with the dogs. Despite spending an entire year exploring, we always find a new path or trail. I’m constantly amazed at the beauty that is so close to our home.
I look forward to expanding our adventures to new areas in 2017!
There you have it, I hope your year was as good as mine. If not, then all the best from my family to yours in 2017!!!

Welcome everyone!

Welcome everyone!

Welcome to my new home, phil.blog!

I’ve had a lot of websites in my life, however they have always been very specialized. This meant that it didn’t always feel right posting some of the content that I wanted to share, as it wouldn’t be relevant.

I am aiming to fix that with this site!

This site is now going to be my primary presence on the internet. I will be using it to share random thoughts and memories, articles and opinions on customer service, and of course pictures of my pets… LOTS of pictures of my pets 🙂

Eventually, I’ll migrate all my online content here (including my email). For now, the mission is to get back in the habbit of sharing on a regular basis.

In the meantime, if you’d like, please feel free to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin (the later of which, I hardly use).

Here’s to a long and healthy life to Phil.blog

 

p.s – if you want your own .blog domain, check out https://get.blog