thanks for the help guys. i tried FileSalvage but I don't think it's what I hoped for. I used it but I couldn't locate the .xml, .data, .iphoto, etc... files that were essential in preserving my previous iPhoto library. I need the entire "Pictures" folder intact is what I'm trying to say. That's the folder that magically vanished from my computer and caused this great pain. FileSalvage found a lot of picture files though, but I already have the originals backed up to another external. I only needed the files that would tell iPhoto how I've organized and tagged those pictures, else I have to import every picture I have (in the thousands) and add those tags and comments and categorization fields to every one of them again, which is how it's starting to look like now.I like Data Rescue II. It's a bit pricey, though.
And what the person above said. Shut down NOW and get on another computer, or AT LEAST on another boot drive/partition (and immediately eject the partition/drive with the deleted data on it).