OS X: Am I Doing It Wrong?

All of my devices consist of Microsoft products, including phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. Starting back in the late 90's I was one of those kids who built computers to play PC games (Ultima Online and Everquest rep!) on and overclocked my video card to get get as much performance as possible.

I started school majoring in Studio Art 2 years ago, and the Mac usage was forced upon me. The main lab I have been working in is outfitted with 27" iMacs. There was some initial confusion by some of the differences between OS X and Windows that required some research on my part, which only took a few days to get my head around. However, I still dread using these computers because of a few reasons:

The Menubar

I'm totally fine with the menubar being present at the top of the screen and being home to icons for Wifi, the time, Finder and those things. What I really dislike however is that an application context menu's, you know, the File, View, Edit, etc. menu's are present based on which application is active. Not cool.

The dock

This is possibly my biggest concern. Including the absence of jump lists and hover over previews, I have a serious dislike for the dock. Programs' behavior changes based on that program, some stuff goes to the right but other stuff stays with the icon on the left and you must learn and retain which its going to be. Other times it gets crammed with so many items, and combine this with the reflective style of the graphics it becomes a visual distraction. This kind of brings me into...

This whole application then document thing

You can imagine my WTF moment when I realized that clicking the X on an application window usually doesnt cease the application from running, and you have actually just closed the last document of that application. I asked myself what the purpose of this was, and apparantly it's so that you can open several windows of any application. Kind of useful, I guess. I can generally open as many Excel books as I want in Windows, and would only ever want on Photoshop window present, with tabs for my different projects.

The close, minimize and maximize button

In addition to the fact that the three window control buttons are on the left, I have a few more qualms with how they work. I'd prefer the maximize button to behave similar to the way it does in Windows, utilizing the entire screen space if I press it. I like this, because if the specific program doesn't "need" all that space, my background image is exposed and any other windows behind it become visible. Once again, visual overload.

The minimize and X button bring up the application and document complaint, where its possible it could go to the right, or wait, wait, it could stay to the left with its launch icon....that and they are glossy like a lollipop. Paris Hilton called and said she wants her shiny textures back.

So am I just misinterpreting the intent? These are just some of my problems with the core navigation elements of the interface, there are quite a few others, and considering my disenchantment with the system, I have to ask myself what is all the rage about? I think the design of the machines themselves is quite pleasant, but that only lifts my spirits so far for me, so few people seem to be impacted by the drawbacks I am lamenting over.