It looks like I'm the only one having this problem, and I think I know the reason why--my graphics card is very much below the minimum required to play this game.
So what does this mean for me? Yep, it's time to save on a new graphics card. Unfortunately, that means no more gametime loading until then.
I'll be leaving the world of Ether a second time, but hopefully I can come back to it as soon as possible.
In the meantime, I'll be going here.