Anyhow. I finally got it downloaded, at which point, it ocurred to me that I inexplicably did not have any blank CDs - so I ran to town, and bought 20. Got home, burnt it, got it installed. OK, all good so far.... only I couldn't figure out how to get wvdial to configure for the life of me, so I figured I'd just reboot to windows... and realized that my bootloader had gotten changed, and I was thus locked out. So I started trying to figure Grub out, gave up after a bit an figured I'd just throw collegelinux back on, and all would be good, right? Wrong. Long story short, after (trying to) install various old linux flavors I realized I'd somehow accidentally formatted my Windows partition... So I re-installed Ubuntu. And after a bit more effort... figured out wvdial. And am currently loving Ubuntu.
Now, when I say that, I realy mean it. For the first time, I've succesfully gotten my modem working, my soundcard working... hell, even my iPod's up and running (I'm listening to it right now!!). In short, I really don't think I'll bother to re-install windows... I can't think what I need it for. Now, its always possible that at some point in the future I'll want/need it... but, for now, meh.
I think it all boils down to the fact that I've been living off of other people's computers for the past 1+ years. As a result, most everything I actually use on a day-to-day basis is online to one degree or another - pics (smugmug), email (gmail), documents (google docs), and of course all my mp3's are on my iPod, so not even they have been lost this time around (and even if they hadn't bene, my wonderful brother burned them all to CDs when I formatted THAT in spain!!)
Anyhow, its just a really strange feeling to be toatlly free of Windows for the first time, well, ever. And not the least bit worried/unhappy about it. As I think about it... my computer probably needed a good format anyhow - its been a good 4+ years afterall ;)