like I had to tell it twice, and it came back to life.
Thanks to this blog post and the comments that followed it. I was on the verge of opening up the iPod and tinkering with it and seeing if I could buy a new 1.8" hard drive when I read about the slap method. I took a shot as it's already out of warranty and BOOM, POW, SURPRISE! it's working.
Let's see how long this lasts....
...Apparently not long. I can navigate the menus, but it won't play anything. Reset Time.
And it works....for now. Let's see what happens when I take it home and sync it.