reminder for myself: whenever the whole x server freezes and your harddrive makes funny noises, stand up and get your backup drive. the chances are high that you are experiencing a head crash.
at least that was happening to me a few days ago. fortunately i had a 10 days old backup, which saved my day. i am back now, if you tried to reach me last week, please re-send your message(s) if you did not have already done so.
ah, and be sure to have a working backup ready! ;)