First off, I'd like to apologize for still not having gotten back to everyone who has written me. The flood of email has been a bit overwhelming, and I've only recently had the wherewithal to download the messages and compose replies offline (thanks again, Devin).
Among the messages have been proposals for independent contract work, possible positions in and around Toronto, and positions elsewhere. There has been an awful lot to consider, and not just in the philosophical, "you've given me a lot to think about" sense.
A big part of what I had to consider was the simple mechanics of getting back to work. As I mentioned before, my life had taken a bit of a downhill slide, and there is a point below which it becomes exceedingly difficult, if not quite impossible, to recover gracefully. I live in a dark, dank and moldy 90-square-foot basement room in a building (and neighborhood) populated primarily by the drug-addled and the insane. People who are self-medicating in extreme excess, and people who are failing to medicate adequately. The noise, the fights and the screaming can get to be a bit much. Working at home is difficult, but alternating doses of headphones and earplugs make it possible, and the occasional escape to the local intarweb cafeteria is welcome respite. Living a normal scheduled life, though, is pretty much out of the question. I sleep when I can, but I haven't had a stretch of time that would have allowed a full night's sleep in some time, and even then the time wasn't at night. So getting up at a normal time and reporting to work during normal office hours would be hit-and-miss at best. I haven't been particularly successful trying lately.
The fix is a simple one. I just need to move. But moving is expensive and disruptive, no matter how one looks at it. Staying in Toronto puts me in a chicken and egg situation -- I'd need to make a considerable amount of money relatively quickly in order to finance a move that would make a regular job possible, but until I move I won't be able to keep the regular hours that would let me keep a regular job.
My current circumstances, then, are not exactly conducive to a conventional approach. So I've decided on the nuclear option. Killing all of the birds in the vicinity with a single, powerful stone. Relocation. A fresh start in a new environment. New country, new surroundings, new type of work, the whole nine yards.
And so I follow friend Nathan to South Africa. Not to Joburg, though; I'll be heading for Cape Town. And not to the same kind of job, nor to the same sort of pay scale. Heck -- I ain't Nathan, and neither are most of you. But I couldn't ask for a better situation, really -- one foot firmly in the realm of the uber code monkey, and the other in the realm of education. That is, assuming I can manage to complete the seemingly trivial tasks of getting a passport and visa done without learning I'm PNG in a country I'm pretty sure I haven't visiteed before. Oh, and I have to hope that my criminal background check doesn't reveal any new and hitherto unknown details from my blackout days. (The hardest part of a return to consciousness was always hearing about my escapades for the first time. I'm pretty sure I know everything I should know now, but you never know, ya know?)
If all goes according to plan, I'll fill in the rest of the blanks for you soon. I'd still be doing the Notes and Domino thing, but I'd be spending a lot more time doing the things that I do best. And that's already coming too close to saying too much for now.