So P and I went to MicroCenter to get the RAM and hard drive needed to upgrade Cowzilla, and after taking one look at the merchandise pickup area we agreed that it would make more sense (i.e. be orders of magnitude faster) to just get the parts off the shelf and go through the regular checkout lines rather than endure the glacial pace of the pickup area. This we then did, and returned to the Seastrom Lair to perform the upgrade...although since I misunderstood what was involved in copying/re-imaging my stock hard drive onto the new Seagate 160GB, we stopped at swapping the old RAM for the new 512MB RAM modules, which kicks the amount of onboard memory on this laptop up to a cool 1GB. Not bad for a machine going on 5 years old. With double the RAM, everything loads faster, runs faster - it's all good.
So I need to find the restore disk from Gateway, my copy of Office XP, and aside from that (and Civ3) everything on here is downloaded stuff like Firefox, Thunderbird and Semagic, so once I find those CDs we'll be ready to copy the files from the old 40GB drive that came with the system to the new Seagate previously referred to. At that point Cowzilla should really scream - the new drive runs cooler, eats fewer kilowatt/hours, and will have oceans of space for pornvirtual memory, not that I should need that with 1GB of RAM under the hood.
Oddly, my laptop didn't have any dust bunnies or dirt hiding inside. No idea how that happened, since I haven't cracked the case and cleaned this at any time sicne I bought it. Go figure.