Wow... at long last, I am online!
I don't want to go into the whole icky story, but I've been having an awful time getting my wireless adapter working properly. I finally decided that it (the Netgear WG311) just wasn't going to work in Linux, so I RMA'd it back to NewEgg and picked up an Asus WL-176G. I was 90% of the way to making it work (it would connect to the router and get an IP address, but couldn't actually, y'know, send or receive any data). Then Space Age failed me yet again and I lost my home Internet connection for a freaking week. It was finally back up after work today (for which I give them some credit - means someone was working on a federal holiday), and after less than an hour of digging online, I was up and running. The culprit ended up being IPv6, which I thought I had disabled a week ago, but it turns out that it's insufficient to disable it in /etc/modprobe.d/aliases: that turned it off for eth0 but not wlan0. Instead, I had to add it to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist. Poof! Instant connectage!
So that makes me happy. Last item left will be installing Vista (and making it actually work). It's supposed to rain for this entire week; guess I know what I'll be doing!