And this is me now, 12 years later:
So what happened in between?
Well, after getting my degree in Computer Science, I ended up bouncing around between jobs. I've had--depending on how you count--6 to 8 jobs in the last twelve years. Most of them sucked. I got depressed from this, thinking it was my fault, that my work problems were because I didn't have the discipline to get out of bed in the morning. Turns out that there was a global conspiracy to give the middle class the shaft and I couldn't get out of bed in the morning because my bosses were universally assholes.
I flitted around the Mid-Atlantic region for a while. Living at home with my parents, renting a place with coworkers, living at home with my parents again, forcing myself out by moving to a completely different city, losing everything I owned in a flood, breaking up with almost all of my friends from childhood, getting fired for the first time from a job (for not looking like I was busy enough, despite the fact that my work provided most of the revenue to the company), living on friends couches and basements and spare rooms for a while, tusling with the decision of whether or not to become a fulltime alcaholic, experimenting with online dating--an experience that got too close to receiving violence on too many occasions for my liking--and just generally kissing the nose of complete destruction.
So I resolved I would always do things my own way and not have a boss ever again. I took about a 4 month sabbatical (and by that, I mean that is all the longer my unemployment benefits lasted, thus forcing me to find gainful employment) where I taught myself how to motivate myself for work. I sold t-shirts for a while. I made props for museums. I got some consulting gigs. I now have one major client who pays all my bills. I'm completely out of debt--no cars, no student loans, no credit cards.
And I got married to a woman who fills me with so much love and provides me with such an amazing base of rationality and sanity that it almost seems like the 10 years prior to her never even happened.
I now live with her just outside of our nation's capitol. I could be healthier, but overall, my life is really great now. I'm writing a lot lately, and I do a lot of photography and artwork when I'm not programming and actually finishing projects on a regular basis. I work from home, frequently not putting pants on all day. Most people in Northern Virginia either works for the government or works for a company that works for the government, people who I get to make extremely jealous with my beard, long hair, and carefree spirit. And that feels like winning.
So am I back? Sure, I guess you can call it something like that. Why am I here? I can't predict the future and know that I will post here regularly again. I only post this now because I see there are still some people here who would presumably remember my name and might have wondered what happened to me. I don't want to come in acting like "I'm an old, wisened master, bow before my wisening". I guess I'm here to learn again.
Here, this place, where I first learned.