For someone who claims to work in a visual medium...
...I sure as hell wouldn't hire you to design user interfaces. Windows 7 is, to be fair, a much better stab at ripping off OS X than Vista was, (and I do like some of the little features Microsoft added), but their inconsistent, laissez-faire attitude towards UI design and enforcing their own guidelines has produced some godawful applications.
I particularly hate the seemingly constant stream of requests for updates and restarts, not to mention the stupid, stupid apps that insist on grabbing focus for some trivial question just when you're about to type a space in another app. (OS X still isn't quite as good as it could be in this area, but it's still a vast improvement over Windows.)
Grrr! Froth! Foam! (Etc.)
The Dock can be trivially resized, relocated and auto-hidden, with magnification turned off too. (How the hell is it taking up so much space on your laptop anyway? It takes up *less* space than the Win7 dock that appears when I'm running that under Parallels. And that's using Coherence with Aero *disabled*.)
The firewall was on by default in my recent install of OS X 10.6, so I'm guessing you've only played with an older version of the OS. NOTHING was enabled by default—not even the Apache web service. Basic (LAN) networking is enabled, but not much else. (And the FTP and Samba sharing options are smothered in warnings and caveats, so you'd have to be blind, stupid, or both, not to realise that there are security risks.)
Stability? I've never had a kernel panic. I've seen it run a bit slow when the hard drive is being hammered, but that's probably because I prefer capacity over raw speed in my hard drives. (I'm a technical author by trade.)
I have Age of Empires III installed and that runs fine. Granted, I'm not an avid FPS enthusiast, but then, consoles are the gaming platform of choice now, not PCs. The games which sell the most on the latter are either the usual MMORPG genres, or casual games... and the latter are well-represented on Macs too.
I *have* seen Safari fall over once or twice. In both cases, it was entirely the fault of Adobe—those well-known purveyors of overpriced, bloated bugware—and their Flash plugin. (Hell's bells, even Apple's own Preview app is a leaner, meaner Adobe Reader than Adobe Reader, and that's saying something.)
I have no issue with running Windows 7 in both a VM and as a dual-boot option—my work requires it anyway, but I've seen OSes come and go since the early '80s and I'm well aware there's only a "least worst" OS. Apple has to compromise rather less than Microsoft do in producing a general-purpose operating system, so they have inherent advantages there. That Windows runs *at all* given the sorry state of some of the applications and drivers I've had to use on it is a f*cking miracle of engineering.
Don't blame Apple or Microsoft developers for the faults of others. Most of the stability problems in any of the major OSes—Windows, OS X, Linux, whatever—are attributable to *third-party* applications. The correct solution isn't to wail and moan at Microsoft or Apple, but to moan at the bloody incompetents who wrote the bug-ridden, ill-designed software that caused the problem.