I did end up installing Arch Linux on a VM using VirtualBox. Been playing around with it. VirtualBox has a cool "seamless" mode where I can have linux programs open on my windows desktop just like a normal windows program. The linux programs and windows programs are intermixed "seamlessly". It's really very cool.
Facilitating that was my latest installation of xorg-server, Openbox, and the VirtualBox guest tools on my Arch guest VM. Now that they are on and functioning the guest VM works as it should. I had strictly been using it for console sessions.
I'm am debating possibly creating a new VM with Fedora. I was inching toward dumping Arch Linux. But perhaps I will stick with it a bit longer. Now I realize... since all of my Linux stuff is happening in VMs, there is no reason I have to "dump" one to try the other. I can have a bunch of VMs and just continue to play with them all. I can try all sorts of things without having to nuke one to do the other. That's pretty nice.
It's still a little hard for me to see the point in all this. All this is running on a perfectly good Windows 8 machine. And Windows 8 will do anything/everything that I have configured Arch Linux to do. Sure I can IRC or browse the web using a Linux "machine". And I certainly could set up other things to run on it. For what purpose I am not sure. Maybe just to say I did.
There might be some benefit to doing IRC and web browsing via a Linux VM rather than doing those things in Windows. In theory, I'd have less vulnerability.