Update on the ginger ale offer: This stuff is harder to find than I realized, even down here. I ended up ordering a case directly from the bottlers. It's here now, and I hope to do the mailings in the next few days.
My computer problems persist, but I think I've found a solution that strikes the right balance between cost, risk, and inconvenience. I'm getting an external drive casing to put the drives in, then I'll access them from a working computer. This way I should be able to get at my files and back them up, but I don't risk messing up my working computer in the process.