So, Tis fixed!
Due to the procrastinating nature I succumb to sometimes, it actually took me longer to post this follow up about fixing the laptop than it did to actually fix it. Fixing it was the easy part anyway, Gateway customer service was the hard part.
The rant begins. Since accidental damage isn't covered under the Gateway warranty either, I figured I'd ask them to sell me the LCD screen itself. They replied "we do not ship replacement part since it is not a customer replaceable part." They offered repair my $500 laptop's screen for $199 + shipping one way. This was unacceptable to me. Entire monitors this size cost about $150 new with much more hardware in them then a laptop LCD screen. I continued to insist for them to just sell me the part (hopefully at a discounted rate, being a customer of their primary product- whole computing devices). They eventually sent me to two different websites- none of which even sold the LCD screen.
I found a similar monitor for under $100 bucks at 247laptoplcd.com, which was by far the cheapest I could find. Admittedly, this screen is not as good as the one that came with the laptop (mostly due to viewing angles), but for over $100 less, it was worth it. I also preferred the glossy screen that was with the original LCD screen.
I'm sure 247laptoplcd had room in their $70 sale for profit, leading me to believe that a better screen probably costs Gateway around $100, which of course means they're charging around $100.00 for the LCD pop-n-swap service. Literally, if you know what you're doing and have the right tools, it's as easy as pop-n-swap. A 10 minute process for $100. That's $10 a minute or $600 an hour they wanted to charge me. Wow Gateway, wow. You've disappointed me. Your laptop impressed me, your customer service failed me. I have your new product so you could have cut me a break on the repair charges #1 and #2 you should have just sold me the part.
As it turned out, the hard drive was broken too. Replaced that and luckily had made a back-up set of DVDs of the hard drive before driving over it. The rest is history. 1 replaced LCD screen, 1 replaced hard-drve, $150 total repair spent, estimated $180 saved by not letting Gateway help, 1 working laptop.
PS. I also want to put a word in for the actual support teams of Gateway. I'm sure you guys are real knowledgeable and you responded fast to my queries, but it appears a company policy of not letting customers fix their own merchandise gets in the way of you being able to help some (new) customers. I don't blame you, I blame those who make and keep that policy. I feel rather sheepish about telling numerous friends and family how impressed I was with Gateway regarding this laptop, then to deal with bad customer service capabilities. I would still recommend the product for the price, but not for customer service policy.