I started out almost exactly the same. Former kinda-sorta hacker who fell in love with the Perl way of solving problems so got back into programming. Funny thing is, this place has slowly but surely turned me from an admitted drive-by hacker to one much more serious about writing code seriously and not just for kicks. I owe a lot of the fine folks here a big lunch with drinks for that b/c every time I start to take it a little more seriously I seem to get a pay bump soon after the fact. I'd start with BrowserUk but I suppose there's an ocean in the way.