Whew. I came home today to find that my drives had finished fighting and that my new 500gb WesternDigital hard drive has everything stored on it just like it should. The computer recognized it as a bootable disk, booted from it and has been running like a charm since. My only issue was Aperture (I'm still running the original) realized that although I changed the name on the new HDD to be the same as the old, it was a new drive. Thus, it didn't know where to look for my files. Luckily for me I only had room for 2 months of photos on my old drive, so going through and "managing referenced files" was fairly quick.
My current workflow is in need of a desperate overhaul. I'm taking a class this semester called "Into to digital imaging workflow" so I will likely learn oodles about that and then refine my process along the way. I expect to start shooting in RAW on occasion (I know, I still shoot JPG because I'm a caveman or whatever). We shall see.
Upgrades coming my way include Aperture2, Snow Leopard, and iPod Touch OS3.0.
It looks like I'm done upgrading hardware for now, with my new 500gb internal drive and a 500gb external to mirror it (via Time Machine). I also received my 4gb Lexar Media CompactFlash card today... so it is time to get out and get shooting.
That's all for now!