Thank you for the help! Using the full physical path helped conecting to the database and also the METADATA include. It still didn't seem to find the file when I used the virtual path, but maybe there is something configured different on my web server.
I am still having trouble with the '#include' line, but I have a couple workarounds I'm going to try with that. All I want that for is to write write snippets that will be used on several pages.
A web site that helped me with my last problem of connecting to a db with userlevel security was www.connectionstrings.com
They have example connection strings for a ton of databases and for each one it has most if not all of the possible different configuarations. A VERY handy website.