So I started install linux today, and while installing it would somtimes read the CD and sometimes not. Now maybe this is a problem with the burner not doigna good job in the machine I burned them in, or maybe this indicates nothing wrong with my HD, but some sort of power issue (which someone suggested to me might be the problem.) So far, during the install, there have been no hard drive errors, so 1) it's a good thing I didn't just buy a new disk. 2) I should start trying to save for a new laptop, since this one feels like it's crumbling in my hands. Given that i'm already trying to save for Christmas presents, taiko and trips I would like to take, this will be rather tricky. I will likely have to use greg's icky think pad brick or go with out for a while if this one continues to degrade.
EDIT: hmm. that install was relatively painless, except forthe disk failure.