Well the Gentoo 2.6.3 kernel finished compiling sometime around midday. I'm now installing xfree, and then onto kde. I'm told this is the longest part (20 hours of compilation time?) I can see why its more convenient to have someone else compile it (ie the package system, RPM, DEB, etc). But I always ran into trouble... either I couldn't install the package because of invalid dependancies, or the package wasn't available for my distribution. But everyone at least provides the source code.
While it is much slower I do admire Gentoo's Portage system. It takes care of updating dependencies, get all the source, and compiling everything, all in one command. Now hopefully at the end of all this I will have a working system. Since I am installing this on my laptop, there are special hardware things to deal with (like the touchpad for instance). But thankfully, the system is setup so I can just compile the kernel again with the right drivers, and hopefully things will eventually work.