I haven't played with Gentoo much since I installed it. I am typing this out from my Gentoo install. ;D Still using my Red Hat install most of the time.
Portage is pretty cool. Still trying to get used to what it can do. Seems to be very easy to use. Everytime I boot it I usually do an "emerge rysnc" to update my portage tree. Then I check for any updates with "emerge --pretend --update world" This checks for updates to any of the packages I have installed.
It is easy to install new packages just use "emerge <packagename>"Iit will .automatically downloads and installs any dependancies there might be first.
If you are going to do a stage 1 install I hope you have a FAST box. I have a pretty fast box and a DSL connection so it didn't really take that long to get a basic install done. You might want to print out the installation instructions on Gentoo's website before you start. They are really eay to follow. I didn't install grub, I already had it installed from Red Hat, I just edited it so I could boot Gentoo. After you get a basic install done you will want to grab XFree86 then either GNOME or KDE. Unless you use something else. They have quite a few window manager available. I installed Gnome only. I might give KDE a try later, but I am only using a small 8.4GB hard drive for Gentoo.
Gnome2 is available, but I haven't been daring enough to try it out yet. When you get it installed let us know what you think. ;D