An Open letter to Bill Holbrook

Hi Bill,

My name is Brett Taylor. I’m a 24yo male from Wellington, New Zealand. I’m proud to be a geek.

I started reading your web comic Kevin and Kell on Monday 5th September after repeated recommendations from several sites around the internet. I finished reading it all last night (Monday 12th). I had never read any Kevin and Kell before that Monday.

I’m writing to tell you about how Kevin and Kell has changed my life. You see, I really shouldn’t have been reading this comic in the first place; I’m recovering from an addiction to pornography — my favorite stuff was the furry stuff, and anything furry-related (like Kevin and Kell) is a potential danger zone for me.

But I kept reading. I read all ten years of your comic in a week, taking up all my spare time. But I started getting depressed. I guess I grew kind of jealous of how the characters of Domain came together when they faced problems time and time again, and how they grew closer together, overcoming adversity as a team. For some reason, I really identified with Lindesfarne early on. At the time, I couldn’t work out why.

On Friday night, a friend of mine gave me some ribbing about how I should ask this girl that I had told him I fancied, like he normally does. Usually I can shrug his pestering off, but this time it stuck. And it hurt. The depression got worse. But I kept reading, longing to know more about the world of Kevin and Kell.

On Sunday night, at my church, after the evening service, I broke into tears, confused at what was going on inside of me. The pain that resulted inside of me from reading the comic that was full of happiness and joy was tearing me apart.

Pain is a good thing. It tells us that something is wrong and we need to take action to fix it.

Thankfully, a friend came over and looked after me. I thank God that she did. Over the course of what seemed like an eternity, I came to realise that while I am caring and loving to others, I do so without realising that there is a wall around my heart, making it difficult for others to care for me. I was lonely. I knew I was lonely, but I didn’t even know that it was this wall around me, but I now I know it’s there.

I guess that’s why I identified with Lindesfarne so much. She grew up with her quills as a wall that made it hard for others to get close to her without getting hurt. But somehow she made it through, even gaining a life-long companion. I long so much for family, friendships and relationships similar to the ones portrayed in your comic in my own life.

Is what I long for attainable? I know K&K is fiction, but I know that within the story of Domain there is truth for the whole human world, and that some of that truth is obtainable for my own life. I know the road in front of me is long — I have to figure out how to let people into my heart, and not scare them away. Am I scared? I’m scared out of my wits. I don’t know what I’m gonna have to do. I’m afraid of rejection; of putting my heart on the line, only to have it thrown back in my face.

But I guess I’m writing you to say Thank You. When I think about the world of K&K and Lindesfarne, I’m sad, but now I know what’s wrong with me, I’m going to do what needs to be done to let people into my life. I know that eventually goodness will come out of this. I know that the sadness will eventually pass and I will feel some of the joy that Lindesfarne must feel when she thinks of her friends and family.

Thanks Bill. Thanks for contributing towards this revelation in my life. I will continue to read every day. Please pray for me that I will be able to take down my walls and let those who are closest to me into my heart. If you don’t reply, that’s okay; you’re probably a busy man.

God Bless.

A huge fan,

Brett Taylor

Read the Bible vs Get fit and listen to Podcasts

So I’m busy working part time at Dev-Zone (my old job) and the other part of the part-time at 3months (new job). I’m doing some work for Chris while he’s in Australia, which is taking up a large portion of my spare time; but that’s fine. It’s the old job that’s stressing me out.

But hey, I’ve got some cool stuff to tell you about, so bear with me.

— — —

First of all, I bought me a small portable metal bible about two weeks ago. The cheesily entitled Battlezone Bible, Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it’s an ESV. I love it — best translation ever. Not to mention it fits in my trenchcoat inner chest pocket nicely. I would catch the bus just so I could read it. It reads so beautifully. And just carrying the bible with you everywhere is a constant reminder of the presence of God. I can read on my breaks, or any spare moment I get.

— — —

Secondly, the IRD love me right now, but it wasn’t so shiny-happy-people until Thursday. I hadn’t filed my taxes for about 3 years, and the IRD got pissed and basically made a default assessment of about NZD$10,000 and sent me bills. But they bounced (because I hadn’t changed my address with them), and so the IRD talked to my employer and forced them to take NZD~$250 a fortnight out of my paychecks. The payclerk told me what was going on and I was all “WTF!!?!”. So I got an accountant and told them to sort this damn crap out. And they did, for a nominal fee of course. So on Thursday night, I come home from Thursday Night Curry to find an envelope by my door. I open it up: “Hi we’re the IRD, here’s a cheque for ~$3400!” And I was all like SW00t! So I paid my accountant (about $1400 :P, but hey, better than $10,000), and paid my bills…

…and bought a BRAND NEW IPOD! W000000T!

A 60GB Color iPod. I tell you, I seriously missed having one. When you’ve got music and podcasts to listen to on the way, I’ve found that I actually WANT to walk places. Roll on summer! Dang, I need to get fit…

I’ve also missed Craig Patchett and Adam Curry in the morning. I’m re-subscribed my podcast catcher (iTunes now, was FeedDemon) to the Daily Source Code, the Radio Adventures of Dr Floyd, and several others, including many Godcast Network channels. I also started listening to Rachel’s Choice which is done by potentially the youngest podcaster in the world, Rachel Patchett of age 8, who chooses a track of christian music and a bible verse to share each week. (a side note: Wellington christian band The Lads were featured on Rachel’s Choice back in June. For those not in the know, The Lads are probably the most popular christian group in New Zealand)

— — —

So now I’m in this quandry: I can catch the bus and read my bible and listen to music, or I can listen to podcasts and walk to work. *shakes fist angrily at quandry!* Never mind, I will be going full time at 3months, which is only a five minute walk away from my house… at least I can still read on my breaks. Oh well.

— — —

Oh yeah, and now that I’m rich, I’ve bought flight tickets and am fully paid up for WE05! YAY! A very HUGE THANKS to all of you who gave your support, I really appreciate all the help you’ve gave!

The ESV Online Edition

Colour me impressed with the ESV Online Edition… I’m still geeking out about it… They have put a lot of effort into the web development of this site.

The site is valid XHTML, they provide various RSS interfaces, including Bible in One Year feeds and various other daily devotionals, a Web service (SOAP and REST/HTTP-GET) interface for doing verse fetches), favelets, A Firefox search plugin, integration with OpenSearch initiatives such as A9.com, Javascript syndication, and even search-by-email! Talk about spreading the Word of God!

I also really enjoyed reading the Technical Introduction to the ESV Online Edition, which included a report of a usability study of their own and other bible search engines, expected behaviour and implemented behaviour, caveats of search ambiguity, how their whole bible is in XML and is transformed into XHTML, what they did for older browsers, popular bible book query patterns, and strangely enough, MySQL database definitions and PHP source code for viewing (not borrowing) of how their search works. I learnt a lot.

Wow… It’s so geeky, it almost makes me proud to be a Christian ๐Ÿ˜€

Oh, and the translation itself is good too ๐Ÿ˜€ They even have the entire audio version available to listen to, and if you search on something, you can listen to the results too ๐Ÿ˜€