so i think i got my computer fixed (though i said that last time...)
it was as easy as booting from the cd, loading the recovery console, and typing fixmbr. it even warned me that my mbr (master boot record) looked really funky: was i sure i wanted to rewrite it?
literally a 5-minute fix. and i could have done it days ago if not for the fact that usb keyboards don't work during the boot process. which is fundamentally stupid.
some of you might recall that i had to buy this new keyboard because my old one is full of dried vomit. it said on the box that it has both ps/2 and usb connectors. but what that actually means is that it has a usb connector, and it comes with a ps/2-to-usb adapter. the adapter was so clumsy and awkward that i took the damn thing off and lost it. lovely.¶