Hilarious. I'm also just took up homebrewing and made basically exactly the same rookie mistakes (except the 5gal carboy - yikes), then read the same books (+ JZ's "Brewing Classic Styles), and procured much of the same equipment. I just opened my first beer last week. A very hoppy IPA covered many of my mistakes, but it is still pretty "meh".
In the last six weeks I've cooked up four more batches, including my first lager. Pounding out so many beers is definitely helping me to get my technique down. I only wish I could get the results quicker so I could learn more along the way.
If I only had a flux capacitor. Oh, the things I would tell six weeks ago me.