Currently in day 3 of the "seeding" process required to get the thing running.
Nearly 30 hours straight and I'm as recent as 149 days ago in transaction seeding.
I like this.
yea, getting started can be slow. you are essentially verifying every transaction ever. this takes a while.
are you running the standard bitcoin client? if so, what version? the latest version, 0.8, dramatically speeds up that process (from taking like 3 days to taking around 3 hours)
as for mining software, what are you running? are you a member of a mining pool?
what kind of mining hardware do you have? if you are just using a CPU then you will just be wasting your time. If you are using GPU's or FPGA's then you make make a few coins but it still probably won't be worth your efforts. the new ASIC chips have started to become available and they are making mining with anything else obsolete.