Two days of ignoring the laptop is all it took. I noticed that it wasn't responsive over the network, so I went to look at it. It was on, but not alive (vegetative) and the cpu fan was pumping out much heat. Apparently, my relatively new hard drive had failed. It'll start to boot, but do crazy whacky things and make a horrendous noise (I guess a bearing went out or something).
Now, I wonder: was it jealousy? Was emotional neglect in any way connected with my laptop's demise? I've had machines do strange things in the wake of me bringing in new hardware, but this is the strangest.
I even half offerred it to ekeppich, as his computer was having "issues". Wouldn't that have been fun! Two dead machines.
I guess you could say that I was fortnate to have one die right after it was replaced, but I didn't get a backup of it before it went, and don't really know what all was lost. Certainly lots of email, music and (ahem) other things. Maybe I can recover some of the data, but I won't have time to dig at it for a while.