Dude! Brooklyn taking over the forums! I'm at Flatbush and 4th ave.
In any case, I have the exact same card, and I'm running Debian unstable, with a 2.6.17-1 kernel. I don't have any of the problems you mention. Here is what happens when I drop in the card:
pccard: PCMCIA card inserted into slot 0
pcmcia: registering new device pcmcia0.0
orinoco 0.15rc3 (David Gibson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pavel Roskin <email@example.com>, et al)
orinoco_cs 0.15rc3 (David Gibson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pavel Roskin <email@example.com>, et al)
eth1: Hardware identity 0001:0001:0004:0002
eth1: Station identity 001f:0001:0008:000a
eth1: Firmware determined as Lucent/Agere 8.10
eth1: Ad-hoc demo mode supported
eth1: IEEE standard IBSS ad-hoc mode supported
eth1: WEP supported, 104-bit key
eth1: MAC address 00:02:2D:60:22:8F
eth1: Station name "HERMES I"
eth1: index 0x01: , irq 3, io 0x2100-0x213f
I see my firmware is 8.10. How did you get 8.73? The good thing about this card is it is soooooo old that it has been built into the kernel for a long, long time. You don't have to play with the ndiswrapper or anything like that.
If you really get stuck, remove the drivers and all that, and then reinsert the card, check out dmesg, and see if that corrects it. You may have better luck (since it is old/ancient hardware) changing your apt-repositories to debian stable or debian testing. Using ubuntu is debian unstable, and that only gives the latest and greatest, which is hurting you in this case.
The only modules you need to run the card are in my earlier dmesg output. You should be able to just modprobe orinoco and orinoco_cs, but just for the record, here are the modules I have loaded:
jim@worklap:~$ sudo modprobe -l|grep orinoco