I'm a guitar noodler. See definition 3, and I'll emphasize the haphazard part. Although I started playing when I was 8, my big problem is I never played with a band (sorry Eric + Mark, biohaz doesn't really count). And I take frequent, multi-month breaks from guitar. But I'm back in one of my phases, and I've got a pretty good set up, so I thought I'd mention it.
I should first mention I was hoping to run everything through my MacBook, but when I tried that, the amount of set up I had to go through every time I wanted to play was just too much, plus, I don't really have room for everything in front of me, plus the chair I live out of doesn't lend itself to comfortable guitar playing.
So, I resigned myself to setting up on my wife's desktop. I bought a Line 6 TonePort UX1 about a year ago. This is a fun box, as it's basically like a traditional Line 6 Pod in it's functionality, only it's really just a USB-based D/A box; all the tone rendering is done on the computer it's connected to, but it doesn't use much CPU. The USB is nice, instead of having to rely on the line-in ports of my sound card; I'll take a USB connector over a 1/8" stereo connector any day. And the latency is basically nil. The UX1, when connected, adds another 'sound device' to windows, but only Ableton Live is listening to that device; luckily, Live actually let's you select audio devices to use instead of just using the system default, like every other program in the universe. I have some headphones always attached to the UX1 also, and the line outs of the UX1 go to an old receiver on that desk, so I can play through stereo speakers, if I'm willing to embarass myself in front of my family.
So, to play, I pull out my guitar, the guitar stand, and the cord. Then, I attach cord to guitar and then to the UX1, and either put on headphones or turn on the receiver. Then start trying to play. Probably less than a minute total. Nice.