Things looking generally up today. For whatever reason, my new WRT54GL is now working fine. Dinner plans with friends fell through, so as nice as that would have been, I now have some extra hours for some bits and pieces I needed to work on.
Also, turns out this crazy hack (which is really a workaround to a deeper GStreamer problem with the oggmux element) was upstreamed in istanbul. That means a zero-day release will make istanbul operable with sound for F9 with a zero-day update, courtesy of Jef Spaleta.