Speaking as a fellow blasphemer, I gamely tried to install Red Hat like 8 times. This must have been in 1999. Harrowing, indeed. I used their enigmatic "Disk Druid" (don't get me started) but in the end, I never could get the CD player to work, so that pretty much ended my install from CDs. Perhaps I too needed the mysterious xmms. I really wanted to dive into geekdom - it was most crushing to fail so completely and have to go slinking back to Windows with my tail between my legs, berating myself - "You lowly end user! You'll never be a real geek."
I am now thinking I am going to try debian on one of my non-crucial boxes.