Yep, it looks like the hard drive is toast, so it's going to be a while until I'm back up and running. I'm going to buy a new hard drive, install it, put on the basic software, then slave the old hard drive to it and see if I can pull off any of my data. My address book, eight years of digital photos, my 2/3rds finished Great American Novel, bizillions of e-mails and e-mail addresses.
And let's ask again: Who's really, really learned her lesson about regular back ups?
Sure as hell hope it's me.