After three days of installing, uninstalling and fighting with my OS I was finally able to build a silverlight app today. We'll it's not actually an app because it doesn't do anything yet. I found myself cheering when I refreshed my browser and the rounded rectangle showed up.
It's a little daunting to think that i'll be building an fully interactive experience in less than two months. So far, beyond my problems with installing the microsoft trial applications, putting all the pieces together seem pretty straightforward. Just using dreamweaver to write everything out by hand. Slow going, but everything works. Next I'm going to dig into blend and encoder, since i'll likely need them to complete my project. At least using dreamweaver lets me develope on a my mac laptop while I’m sitting here on the bus.