So what has happened in the past few days?
I've managed to get the courage to switch to Linux. Let's have a recap of what has transpired with my efforts to ditch Windows over the years:
2002: Installed Mandrake 8. Deleted it within hours.
2003: Installed Red Hat 9. Forgotten and eventually deleted in favour of more space.
2004, a few months ago: Installed Slackware 9.1. Permissions problems and lack of gaming support led to deletion.
Today: Gentoo Linux. Compiled everything from source. Used Portage to manage software. Uninstalled every non-essential app in Windows, repartitioned drive to make room for future Linux exploits. Gaming support, printing support, graphics and web design, OpenOffice for PowerPoint stuff. Life looks good on this side of Linux. There is no shortage of apps and whatever I can't find, I'll just use WINE or Cedega to handle those Windows apps. There are still some kinks in the system, but this is more stable/fast than anything Windows could ever scrape up. I believe I have truly switched.