OK, I killed two birds with one stone after all. See:http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-networking-3/wpa-configuration-for-ubuntu-7.10-600289/
Anyway, flashing my Linksys WRT54G v.5 with the was going great until the last step.http://www.scorpiontek.org/portal/content/view/27/36/1/3/
It never rebooted by itself after at least 30 minutes, so I power cycled. After that it stopped responding altogether. Now I have an expensive 4-port switch. :-(
So, thinking that I'll get myself a a WRT54GL at some point later, I needed something to keep me going for a while. I got the cheapest wireless router I could find today, Trendnet TEW-452BRP, will cost $10 after when the rebates come in in a few months. It of course was a pain to set up, you HAVE to use the Windows installation CD and move cables and power cycle stuff in exact order and exactly when the stupid software tells you to... BUT
I nmapped a few addresses connected directly to the router, then did the same ones connected to the router... and the results were exactly the same! Not to mention this new "cheap piece of crap" router solved my Linux wireless problems too... the signal even carries up two floors in my house very well!