Hurrah! Guess it's good SysAdmin practice...
20 mins finding my Debian cds. 5 mins finding an IDE cable. 5 minutes wrangling the dog out of the way, 25 mins futzing with the machine. Not even the CD installer will boot properly on it now.
Next step, hard drive extraction and try to diagnose from my BSD machine.
moved the drive over and re-built the MBR. Moved the drive back, and I couldn't even get the machine to make the monitor or keyboard active.
Swapped components. vid card, keyboard, power supply, monitors, power cable, processors, motherboards, ram... tried without the suspect drive... nothing.
Either some short somewhere [and the exact wrong order] just fried 2 sets of components, and/or someone upstairs hates me.
Going to try to move the drive back to the BSD machine and at least get my homedir off of it. At least then I can pack everything up and just use my windows machine for stuff [until God kills that too of course].
No ext3 support on that BSD machine. More fiddling yields identical results. Non-responsive keyboard, non-responsive monitor. The machine doesn't seem to be booting fully anyways, as the network isn't brought up.
Whatever. I am no longer in any mood to even throw things.
My paladin character retrieved Septim's Armor.
Afterwhich I set back to work on the Linux box. The floppy drive was somehow preventing video display. Remove the floppy data cable, and it booted properly. Or at least it tried to boot properly, and ran into MBR issues. MBR issues were resolved via hacks to get grub mounted and to recognize necissary libraries.
Unfortunately the Debian install/recovery CD reset a few things on the system. I think it was just the network and startup scripts which are now fixed. Anyways, the machine is back to enough of a state for me to scp the source and various other homedir data to my windows machine for backups; which is all I really cared about. Most of the source was already backed up, but it's always nice to get a complete set.