Just when I think I got it, I throw a few crap casts. I make some good casts but I am not consistent.
Join the club! I sometimes get complacent or lazy too, and toss out a real dying quail that I hope nobody else sees. BUT, it sounds like you're very astute and attentive, and able to critique your own casts, which is admirable (and not easy to do). I'm getting better at that too.
I'm now paying more attention to each cast, being very deliberate in my motions and presentation, so that when I see a beauty sail out there, I know exactly what I did to make that happen so I can repeat it. Soon, muscle memory will take over, and it will become second nature. At least, I hope so.
I agree 100% with Yoda1 in that there's not a big value in trying to rescue a cast - in fact, I'd say the more you try to do that, the more likely you'll use that as a crutch, and rely on your skills in rescuing, instead of focusing on the moves that result in good casts. In the winter, when I'm throwing bigger, heavier flies, there's the back of my head that's at stake too, and although I can be pretty hard-headed at times, I know the outcome will not be pretty.
By the way, and somewhat related, I learned something as a result of reading JD's posts, and watching him the other day. I'm right handed (right hand up), and casting a snap T on river left, once you perform the snap, the fly is upstream, floating down towards you. When I pull the trigger, I'm not likely to blow the anchor because the line is moving back towards me. My problem is on river right with my DS. After I make the first move (think windshield wiper), and the fly is just below me, the line is flowing AWAY from me, and I'm very likely to pull the anchor. JD lets his line settle after the windshield move, causing it to dig in a bit, making his anchor more likely to stay put.
I spent time this morning doing just that on both sides, and it (being patient and slow) worked very well indeed. Thanks JD!