I called my brother today, had him walk me through the whole "setting things up" with regard to gridcoin mining and, after a few false starts, I am now up and running.
That's right, I'm mining gridcoin (I think), helping science do science-y stuff and doing some killer procrastination with my marking. Hypothetically speaking, I'm on the fast track but realistically I am probably going to be calling my brother regularly to ask what the heck is going on with this thing.
So here's to being a gridcoin newbie. Let the games begin!