So, one day after I was messing around after installing some fonts and iptables, I shut down my computer and turned it back on, and the gnome-panel was acting funny. Sometimes, it just doesn't appear; sometimes, it's there, but nothing's on it, and sometimes, some things appear, but others don't (the panel still isn't functional, though). Once and a while, it would give me errors as though it couldn't find the icons for the applets. When I log in as root, it's fine-- so I must have messed up a config file somewhere.
Taking that tack, I backed up and then deleted the .gnome, .gnome2, .gnome2_private, .gconf, and .gconfd folders, as well as \tmp\gconfd-[username], and none of this improved the situation. I don't want to create a new user because I think I'm running low on disk space. Is there somewhere else that the configuration related to the gnome-panel could be stored?