So, I unscrewed every single screw I could get to and shook. Out fell two weird shaped screws from the inside - one from the CPU area and the other from the fan.
I screwed my laptop back together, and pressed the power button.
Thus, bringing you this blog post.
My battery status is now fubar to all get out. My system eternally thinks the battery is empty. I guess it's either time for a new battery or time for a new computer.
Somehow, I doubt the issue is the battery as it reports the correct status momentarily.
I borrowed a screwdriver from littleblueduck and completely opened my computer up. I found another screw loose and re-screwed them all three back into their appropriate positions. I then checked the others of that type - they were all loose.
Q-tips and rubbing alcohol were the name of the game, as I cleaned up the internal disaster from back when someone spilled coffee on my laptop. My left speaker still doesn't work, but as I use headphones and a stereo system all the time this isn't so bad.
I closed it all up, powered it back on, and lo-and-behold everything is working properly again.
I love this laptop - it's such a trooper.
I take it back. There is an intermittent problem someplace. If I power off the whole system, and re-seat the battery, then everything works fine.
However, after a bit of use, the entire system will flicker and the battery status is messed up again.