OK So the VB thing went away finally. It's funny re-reading that entry after what feels like so long.
I've been ejoying clocking up a couple more years hands on J2EE. There's a mountain of APIs and knowing them really does help. If only the simple matter of knowing the principles was enough to see you through.
Knowing what you don't need to build can be such a time saver when you've got an objective in mind. Although sometimes I just like the zen practice of gardening in code and don't mind if it's a little aimless. So I'm getting over my frustrated amazement at the amount of rework being done in open source. Yes it's wasteful but it may be a healthy primeordial soup out of which not just the best software can emerge, but the strongest and most dedicated teams as well.