hpmount, du, and df
After trashing the HFS+ partition on my brand new (but loaded with important data, of course) LaCie USB hard disk by trying to mount it read/write in Ubuntu with hpmount so I could copy my music folder without having to go over the network (my advice: pretend hpmount doesn't exist), I was pleased to find that I could at least mount it read only in Ubuntu to save my data before reformatting the drive. This was after trying all of the OSX disk utility and fsck standard stuff to no avail.
To make a long story somewhat shorter, in the process of copying all the data off to my Ubuntu drive, I learned a few nice options of du and df, the unix disk usage and disk free space commands. The highlight for me is -h for human-readable. Here's the link to the rest.
Now I get to not only move the music folder over the network, but all the stuff that was originally on my removable drive. Fantastic.