Well after digging around on the forums and drooling while looking at other peoples ARs, I decided to take the plunge myself.
I walked into the store overflowing with internet knowledge and looking for some specifics: all of which they had nothing in stock. Having dealt with the place before and both my friend and I having received good service there, I talked through it with the guy and settled on the Rock River Arms LAR-15.
So far I love it. It's pretty bare save for iron sights, and that's enough for me for now. The only thing I don't like is the magazine. It's metal, but it feels cheap.
I have a few magpuls on the way, as well as a bipod.
This was somewhat of an impulse buy since I hadn't planned on buying it so soon, but I figured I has better get in on the action in case SHTF next Tuesday and I'm out of luck forever.
My list of definite things to get now are a sling, an optic and a flashlight, and to hit the information superhighway and start the mind-boggling research of what's out there for training and accessories. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to go with a holo or a scope, but I'm sure I'll find plenty of opinions one way or another.