But that's not the big problem, so please don't address it in the comments.
The live CD wouldn't let me access my hard drives. It gave me a response that was something like "UID 99 Not Recognized".
I shrugged, and installed anyway.
It wouldn't let me access my old 80GB -- which, you'll recall, is where I stash pretty much everything.
Making it useless to me.
Please note that the drive was MOUNTED. It just would not allow me ACCESS.
Soooo... now I've got a fresh, shiny Ubuntu-with-Gnome Live CD running.
And it doesn't recognize EITHER hard drive, at ALL. They don't show up in the file manager. Trying to "mount hda0" or "sudo mount hda0" yields "mount: can't find hda0 in /etc/fstab or /etc/mtab".
This sounds like a hardware problem. Especially considering all the times I had boots that didn't quite work, and a least one instance where the system simply would not START. Not not-boot -- the power button did NOTHING. No lights. Nothing.
I'm gonna see if it's something stupid-simple, like loose cables.
Otherwise, I have to conduct my whole life through this little tiny low-rez laptop screen.