I think my server may be posessed. I installed search unleashed, and the problem was that when I had the su search widget in my sidebar after activating it, it found nothing. when I deactivated it and just used the default search, it found nothing. but then by chance I installed su and put the default search widget in my sidebar and it works like a gem. I don't know why that work, all I know is that I needed to be able to search my users and the rest of my site and it does just that.
Go me, I think.