The BIOS is too old to boot from USB.
The CD-ROM drive won't open on its own, and doesn't seem to recognize the contents of the Debian install CD, even after booting Windows.
None of the usual methods to boot Linux from a Windows partition are working for me. Take one last stab at getting grub4win to work for me, then reboot the machine, exasperated.
The CD-ROM drive suddenly decides to clue into Debian install CD that's been sitting in it all the while, for like the last dozen reboots. O_o ... woot!
I was damn sure that I was heading for PXE territory for a while there! :D