Yippie! I'm at the HP customer service center and I've just picked up my laptop. The optical drive was faulty and they've replaced it. For free! Yay for extended warranties. It would have cost me $269 otherwise, so I'm quite pleased.
I was also intending to get a new adapter for the laptop, because it was quite wonky before, but it's working now and I'm reluctant to fork out $63 for something I might not be using for long (am thinking of getting a new computer).
Anyway, I'm glad I've got my baby back. Time to go home!