I knew the instant I made certain assertions (in the post below which you should read first) they would be refuted by empirical evidence, and so they were.
It appears that the problem with my CD-ROM is either a function of the case I have it in or the CD-ROM itself. The Floppy may just be related to its current hookup, which was done after installation using the old motherboard.
The long log in time thing, however, is just something else that I've managed to fix.
What I guess I'll end up doing for a while is not using CDs. However, this sucks royally.
I'll figure out whether I should eat the cost of a new CD-ROM drive or whether the case itself is the problem soon enough, but this has been a stressful enough morning as is.
Gyargh. Way to waste an hour and a half of time I had set aside for RELAXING. Now the only things I have to look forward to today are lunch, two classes, and a paper due on my birthday.
I'd cry, but somewhere kids are starving.