"My superdrive started rejecting CD's, DVD's, and any other optical media i tried cramming in there.
Ten minutes later, the thing crashed, and i got this:
Apologies for the crappy cell phone pic.
What the hell just happened? It started back up fine, though the drive still won't work."
Go into the system profiler, and see if your system recognizes the optical drive.
If your running 10.3 panther or 10.4 tiger its under the blue apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen. When the window opens under hardware look for optical drive and see if your superdrive is still there. If its there power down your system and do an SMC reset for your model of powerbook as in this article
then if you still have your OS install discs you can try booting to them by holding the C key down when you boot it up. When you get a language selection screen select English and hit continue, if your next screen is a welcome to OS what ever installer the system booted to the disc.
You may want to run the AHT before calling them you can do that from usually disc 1 by holding the D key when you boot up. When you get a screen that says Apple Hardware Test you'll be given the option to run the test choose run test or short test, don't select the option for extended test as that will run forever and all you want to know is if there is there is anything wrong hardware wise that the system can detect.
IF your optical drive is not in system profiler, call apple or your local service provide as your drive or the connection is borked and it likely needs to be replaced.