Athena is fscked.
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, fsck (which stands for File System Check) is a utility used to check a file system for problems and fix them if they're not too serious. Athena started freezing up, which is highly unusual for a Linux system. I checked the logs, and it appeared to be having trouble with /dev/sda3, which is my /usr partition. That's a bad thing. Basically, /usr is the repository of software, so there's no way to run normally without accessing it all the time. I disabled the cron jobs that automatically update my software (which is what I think was triggering the crashes) but it still doesn't stop it from happening, just delays it a little.
So, my Hard Drive is toast. It came with a 5-year warranty from Seagate, so I'll have to see about the details of that. The other partitions are still good (at least for now, and as far as I can tell), so I didn't lose any data. I still have the other drive from Western Digital, but so far it doesn't have anything on it. I think what I'm going to do is start over with a 64-bit installation. It's what I've been intending to do all along, and now I think I have enough expertise that I can handle any problems that come up instead of just reverting to 32-bit like I did last time.
Another advantage of this tack is that if I go with the latest vanilla kernel I can easily include drivers for my HDTV tuner card. Yay!