On Monday we took a little trip to see Barack Obama speak in Chester Pennsylvania. It was an 8-hour drive from Kitchener to New Jersey (where we stayed the night) then we stood in the rain/snow for two hours waiting for him but it was totally worth it. The speech/rally was amazing.

Below are some of the best pics from the rally and the drive (sorry about the quality of some of the photos).

Barack Obama-Change Rally

We were very lucky to be this close.

Barack Obama-Change Rally; we were lucky to be this close.
Stood in the rain/snow for a total of three hours but I’d do it again.

Barack Obama-Change Rally; Despite the weather there were some 9,000 people!

One of a couple camera banks (yea I'm a camera nerd).

The car this morning.

The car this morning.
Stopped at a hotel last night and this morning our car was pretty much covered.

A wonderful trip, despite the less than amiable weather (which was beautiful but frigid), we saw some friends and family but Barack Obama’s speech was the absolute highlight.

Today is Blog Action Day. For those of you who don’t know Blog Action Day occurs every October 15th each year with a new global cause for bloggers to discuss and hopefully raise awareness about. This is something that I support because I think it helps to raise awareness in a way that would be impossible otherwise. With thousands of blogs, the message can be spread to groups who may not usually focus on that particular issue, or even know much about it.

This is the second this year and as you may have guessed the theme this year is Poverty. I don’t pretend to be an expert on poverty or the issues associated with it, however, I have made it a point to educate myself on this topic as best as I can over the years. So while I speak with no real authority on this subject my opinions are carefully constructed by what I’ve seen, read and been involved with. So please read my opinions then do your own research find out what experts are saying.

There are two things I wish to focus on more than anything else, Water and Education. (Both these fit in with the first two points on Millennium Promise’s list for global goals to achieve by 2015.)

Firstly water, it is essential that we get clean drinking water to those who do not have it. It is a fact that dirty water kills over 4,000 children a day*, yes you read that right. So it is vital that clean drinking water is made available for everybody. How much would this cost? I’ve read estimates as low as 9 billion dollars to estimates as high as 11.3 billion. Both figures may sound like a lot to some however when I first read this a few months ago I was astounded at how inexpensive it really is. For example, let’s take the current population of the United States (source) if every single person in the United States and only the United States donated $37 there would be enough money to eradicate the water shortage. With more wells being drilled, more clean water flowing to those who do not have it; there will be less disease, more water to grow food with, more water (of a lesser quality) for sanitation and more time for children to spend in school instead of walking an hour or two hours each way for the day’s water.

Education is what makes us tick. I once heard a representative of “One Laptop Per Child” say something to the effect of “education is the difference between developed and undeveloped”. I believe that to be true. The more we learn and higher the quality of our education the more likely we are to become members of a thriving society. With proper education, those who live in the shadow of poverty can create better lives for themselves. As well educated farmers growing food to feed themselves and for other or as valuable employees in growing cities. The best thing for a developing nation (assuming it already has the basic needs of food and water taken care of) is education.

I provided a simple solution to the complex problem of a water shortage, I know that. But think about it, think how little it would cost to fix something with such a great price. Both the water shortage and education are complex and multi-sided there is no easy fix, but there is one and  enough great minds with enough funding is a powerful combination. I am not an expert but I can raise awareness, research issues, research charities and donate to the ones I wish to support.

Thanks for reading,
Travis Fantina.

Some more facts on water and education from a 2006 UNICEF report: http://www.unicef.org/wes/files/Progress_for_Children_No._5_-_English.pdf

* http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34927 this is the most recent article I found.
** http://www.religioustolerance.org/childeath.htm

Just a quick post to let everybody know I set up Lightbox on the blog. Basically Lightbox allows you to view full size images without ever leaving the page.

Click on one of the images below for a demo;
5:00 Poster Travis 'Big Eyes' Man comic book

Now it’s your turn, in the comments section tell me if Lightbox is awesome and I should keep it. Or lame and I should get rid of it. Or if you don’t care either way tell me anyway (I’ll listen).

I have finally and officially finished the website!  On Friday I finished all the design elements but it was just tonight I installed this blog on the server and transferred all of my old posts from [oldsite].

So now that the design, layout, and navigation are up working and nobody’s reported any bugs.  I will have to add some content.  I have a short film ready to go up in the ‘movies’ page, and I am going to be converting the rest of those films from Youtube to a generic player provided by Dreamhost.

In other news, I had a corporate shoot a few miles from Niagara today.  It was about an 8-hour shoot but we were fed very well and despite the fact that I was busy filming I still was able to watch the speakers (that’s why they give cameras eye pieces).

You may notice that my blog is no longer what it once was, I have removed most of the irrelevant posts in favour of content that some people may actually want to read. (Bold and italics for an extra dose of emphasis). Don’t worry I’ve kept all my hard written posts on my server in hopes that some day I will have a use for them, not sure when though.

You also may have noticed that the main page of the website has undergone a big redesign, the old design was tired and worn, so I reworked it, in essence, the layout is still the same but it’s sleeker, less clunky and some other words that people only use to describe cars.

As of right now, 6:55 on October third, I have not given the blog the full redesign it deserves, however, trust me that is coming SOON. I like the way it is now even less than you do! So check back over the coming days and weeks for a nicer cleaner template with hopefully lots of fun plugins.