What seems to be the easiest and fastest way to make a selection? I have always learned that using the magic wand and quickmask is the best way, but it never seems to make an even shape around what i am selecting, it is always jagged and messy looking, causing me to zoom in and "fix" all edges, somewhat doing the selection all over again. Is there a better way to do this? Is using the polygonial lasso a better way?
Faste & easiest is the magnetic lasso. CS3 will have a new tool you may like that you can check out the public beta.
Best quality is layer masks. You will use all techniques available (except magic wand selections) depending on the image. This usually includes copying a channel and doing a level adjustment to create professional quality layer density masks. I find the techniques utilized in the past by Crossfield and Hell operators give best results on the adobe platform, betetr than any mask pro or extract plug in.