Well, c'mon--you can buy a DVD+/-R/RW/CD-R/RW/WTF drive for $20. This is a far cry from the $400 that CD-R drives cost in 1997, and it's to be expected that the cheap drives have just a bit less longevity.
...so all I had to do was find the replacement drive, pop it in, and see if I could burn a DVD.
Ha. "All I had to do"--I went downstairs and tried digging through the junk to see if I could find the drive, and came up empty. Returned to my room, and as I was thinking I'd borrow the SATA DVD drive from El-Hazard, it occurred to me that perhaps I actually did something SMART for once and kept the spare drive in my room.
There it was, on the shelf below El-Hazard. Holy shit.
It didn't take long for me to pull the old drive out and swap the bezels. The Gateway DX420B has a fancy curved faceplate. The 5.25" mounting bay has exactly one set of mounting holes, so you can't just put any old OEM DVD drive in there and have it look halfway decent. There'd be a big gap there if I couldn't swap the bezels...which is why I have a Lite-On DH-20A3P for a spare drive. It uses the same chassis as the DVD drive (read only) that came with the system, so all I have to do is pop the tray and wiggle the two bezel pieces off, do the same with the replacement, and then reassemble.
Got everything buttoned up and presto! The program didn't hang at "burning 1%"! It showed "16x" for the burn speed instead of "2.4x"! Progress!
...the disk got to about 90% and the program bluescreened.
Shut down the power again, and this time I pulled the RAM and dusted it off. It's been literal years since I had the RAM out of the system, and I've gotten a few other random bluescreens which looked like "memory errors" to my admittedly untrained frontal lobes.
Once everything was back together, I was able to back up all 26 eps of Hanasaku Iroha to two DVD+Rs without incident. (In fact, the latter 13 eps of it came over the network from El-Hazard.)
So I'm gonna have to see if I can't find an appropriate DVD drive to have on hand as a backup, since this one's probably no good.
But right now I think all I'm gonna do is go to bed, because I've been up since 8:30 and I haz a sleepy.