problems using lcd with ra6963 graphics chip

I have a Newhaven 128x64 model nhd-12864wg-ftgh-vz# that uses the ra6963 chip. It's wired to my duelamilanove with 168 chip . I found a library for the LCD, mentioned here but I get nothing useful on screen when connected. Just contrast on the screen is all I get.

I have d0-d7 connected to the appropriate data pins a0 is wr a1 is rd a2 is ce a3 is c/d v0 is on variable resistor between +5 and -5, adjusted towards ~ -3v per manual (going to -5v does high contrast and screen goes full dark. going towards 0v the screen goes blank.)

Other pins I tried floating (Best results) or pulling high or low. No change on the code running. pulling hlt or reset low cause the contrast to disappear

If I open the serial monitor, I get TH: 0 GH: 168

and that's it. It doesn't seem to ever make it to the init screen. Anyone else came across this type of problem or used this screen before?