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Ok, so I tried being bold and not using Gentoo's graphical live CD and went with the minimal CD. When I rebooted after installing lilo I get this error:
Kernel Panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block
I searched around and found that I could have made a typo in lilo.conf or didn't include support for ext3 in the kernel, so I triple-checked that and recompiled the kernel. It still didn't work. I've tried putting root=/dev/hdb3 in append instead of on its own as I've seen in a solution, and that still doesn't work.
I'm not totally new to linux, but I'm new enough that I wish people would share the epilogue of their troubling stories so others could gather possibly helpful information that might aide them in their own open source endeavors.
How does it end? Was it a happy ending?
I wish old stuff like this that doesn't have a resolution, would get pruned so people do not waste their time reading search results that do not contain an outcome.