I chose the Raspbian image from the following link.
There is a great guide at the following link that I used to flash the SD card and get the Os running.
After flashing the SD card with the utility, I connected a USB mouse and keybaord, and a monitor with a HDMI-to-DVI connector. Powered the board and it booted up on the first try.
In all, pretty painless. I then plugged the Pi into my router directly with an Ethernet cable.
After some initial exploring, I wanted to be able to remote into the Raspberry Pi over my network. Also, because I don't have a dedicated workspace right now, and the monitor was taking up living room space. It wasn't appreciated much connecting the Pi to the television.
Going through the tutorial at the following link allowed me to SSH into my Pi using its IP address.
The SSH only gets you to a terminal, but I wanted to view the desktop.
From here I read some of the Getting Started with Raspberry Pi book, and found a good passage on page 31.
There it says to use TightVNC to get a desktop, and recommended the following link.
I followed all the instructions and was able to get a vncserver up and running as far as I could tell.
I downloaded TightVNC for my Windows 7 desktop and tried connecting with the Pi's IP address as suggested in the instruction, but received an error about the device actively rejecting the connection.
Error in TightVNC Viewer: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it.
The following IP address ports were tried with no luck.
Through some searching I found the following tutorial, saying much the same as the original link I followed.
Then I tried the TightVNC viewer again, instead using the Raspberry Pi's network name, raspberrypi, with the port, and it worked!
Some of the tutorials explained how to write a script so the vncserver starts up at boot time, but for now, I'm still ok to SSH in and start one manually.