im giving up on the router for now, too frustrating, i think i have the weirdest case there is.
after the last post i sat there and tried to think of every possible way to bring up a telnet/ssh prompt, and the only way i could do that was by establishing a real connection to the router. i reset it a couple more times, attempted to tftp a few more times, and upon finding no solution, let it sit. after about 20 minutes i plugged it back in to find my desktop had found its connection to the router, and low and behold telnet was working (although i had already disabled telnet last night). in telnet i revamped some of the nvram settings (just making sure wan/lan were set to dhcp, and that they were on seperate bridges, etc..), and then i saved it to ram (nvram commit), and rebooted. thinking it worked as i logged into SSH, i ran downstairs, plugged it into the network through the modem, and began tinkering again, only to find that not only was ssh not working, it wouldn't even go to telnet. after resetting it again, it went into telnet, but then started giving me input/output errors (this was after i attempted to fix the partition using firstboot). i then rebooted the router again, only to find that once again it was only available through ssh, which had now set a password (i didn't set one this time). and this brings me to my current predicament, locked out of my own router. luckily there's another g router downstairs (a d-link). i don't have *nix currently, but i'm thinking the next step is to attempt to find connectivity to the router with my desktop again, and then use the graphical installer for linksys' firmware. thanks for the help, if you can think of anything else feel free to add!