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debian from scratch? no CDROM. How to?

For my own education, I would like to start with a minimal linux like 
CClinux.  Then add a terminal (like the old Win3.1 terminal) so I can dial to 

Then lynx to the Debian ftp site.   And then start to build a system that 
would include X, KDE, a dial-up networking connection, and finally Netscape.  

I know, your first thought is why doesn't the newbie get an easy install 
CDROM.  Well, I've done that on some desktops; but I want to do it now on a 
laptop where the ext PCMCIA CDROM keeps crashing the kernel.  At one time the 
external EXP CDROM was working, but recently there is some kind of packet 
error that hangs Debian Linux in the middle of boot from hard drive.  Is 
there a way to start boot from lilo with instruction NOT to try to mount the 
cdrom (i think it was treating it as /dev/hdc)?  Presently, I have 
reinstalled from rescue and root floppies, plus 3 module floppies, and 11 
base floppies.  But, even this system won't boot because of CDROM errors.  
Even if I pull PCMCIA card out, still hangs.  So, it looks like I've got to 
go back to booting a single floppy like CClinux.  That will work.  But, I 
can't figure out how to reach the file system that was installed with the 
Debian install.

Is there a step-by-step written for newbies about how to get started with 
recover operation??



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