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Making My Network Work, or Why the Hell Are They Blinking!

Hi all.. well it's that time again.. here I am in
front of a computer (a few of them, actually)
trying to configure my network settings. ahh
well, all I can say is a week ago I installed the
base system off of floppies and the install
configured itself, lastnight I install off of CD
and all my network files are empty!
ahh well..  I guess this is what they mean by

anyways, I found this snippet of info (see below)
somewhere on debian.org. I have found numerous
info such as this.. helpful.. yes, but the
answer? not at all. you see, I have empty files,
and tho the snippet of info below tells me what
kind of info goes into the files, it does not
tell me what format the info should be in. syntax
is everything. without syntax, all the info in
the world won't help. Now, I hate asking for
answers, sincerely.. I don't learn anything by
getting answers from people.. but show me where
to get answers? ahh.. there's a learning
experience I could spend all night with.
so, finally to my question. HELP!!!  
oh sorry, that wasn't the question..  
Where can I find the format of these files?(see
below) Also, I need to know how to set up
/etc/gateways. again, I know what kind of info
goes in there, but I haven't a clue about format.
I will be right here digging away at this
mountain of info on debian hoping to find my

welp, that's my rant for the evening... if I have
blabbed too much I do appologize... it must be
that new coffee they have at work.

/****** snippet of info I was telling you all
about ******/

Another popular way to connect to the Internet is
via a LAN that uses Ethernet. This gives you a
high-speed local network in addition to Internet
access. Fortunately, though, you should have
already configured Ethernet networking during
installation so there isn't much you need to do
   /* sorry, I must interject here.. "fortunately
I should have already configured netowrking
during installation"????  AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!  */

If you ever need to modify your configuration,
here are the files that you will be interested

     /etc/init.d/network has things such as your
IP address, netmask, and default route. 
     /etc/hostname records your hostname. 
     /etc/hosts also records your hostname and IP


thanks all!!!!

in reading my email over I see that the tone of
this letter could be misconstrued as
bad-tempered. really, I am not one to fuss and
bicker. I'm actually in pretty good spirits, and
to show this fact I will supply a healthy dose of
emoticons. But, rather than go back and spread
them about the letter, I'll just give them all to
you right here..
=]:-)>  /*this is my abe lincoln emoticon.. "four
score and seven hours ago, I set fourth to bring
upon my puter a new operating system..."*/

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