Yes I am me
No, the driver hasn't had a problem with separate source/build directories for a long time. In this case, also, they are not separate. I used to have an older patched kernel that worked, but I can't figure out who patched what and where I got it from since it was months and months ago. The error of not finding the source tree is an invalid error. Many times in the past I tried forcing it to exactly where everything was and it still came up with the same error.
edit: I'll check to see just *what* was patched in the one that did work... maybe it'll give me a hint.