ok, i solved my kernel panic woes by building gentoo from stage 1. it boots fine but now i need to configure my network card
i have set it up to connect to the internet automatically when it boots, but has an error:
eth0 does not exist
so i'm guessing that i may have missed something in the configuration of the kernel. tbh i skipped the manual a little, but i went back and configured all the necessary support into the kernel, including my network adaptor (on my mobo) Rhine II. my SuSE installation recognises it as: VT6102 [Rhine II] and the driver is: via-rhine. (lspci recognises it as this as well, except for the driver). i need to make my computer see the eth0 so that i can access my ethernet modem (which can do all the work from there).

EDIT: i fixed it. i think it was removing the realtek support that did it
now onto my problems with configuring X