In a nutshell --
macbook will not boot. Originally it was stuck on the gray screen with spinning wheel. Here is the course of action taken thus far (in order)
1. Reset SMC -- removed battery, pushed power button for 5-1 seconds. Rrestsarted. Nothing. Still with the gray screen etc.
2. Tried to restart in Safe Boot mode. -- Macbook will restart and after 25% on the status bar it hangs up. After a 5 minutes or so it shuts down (I assume form overheating as the fan is running wild.)
3. Wheneve I start it now it tires to go in safe mode so I tired to zap the PRAM (opt/command/p/r) No luck. Tried twice. Once after three chimes. Once after 2 chimes. Still tries to boot in safe mode.
4. Tried Recovery Mode (I am running Mountain Lion). Can boot into recovery mode. Ran disk repair and it said all was fine. Would not allow me to repair permissions but I could verify them. I ran verify. No messages came up at all -- thought this was strange. I also tried to re-install the OS but the first time the only disk available to me was the recovery partition. The second time I went into Recovery mode I saw the regular Hard Drive partition but it was grayed out and locked. Considered restarting to an external USB drive but then did not know what I would do then. Might try this tomorrow.
5. Ran Target disk mode with my iMac. The disk did not mount in the desktop but showed up in disk utility with the HD partition grayed out. Could verify and repair disk but nothing was allowed regarding permissions -- all options grayed out.
6. Restarted with Verbose mode. Ran for 5 - 10 minutes and shut down. Last line I saw was "checking extended attributes file" No error message. Again, maybe it was an overheating issue as the fans were going wild and it was about the same length of tome running as in safe mode when the macbook shut down.
OK. The hard drive is a few moths old. There was nothing strange going on with the hard drive prior to shut down. The only odd thing happening was the dvd drive was begining to make sounds upon restart (from sleep or full restart). Like it was checking/reading a disk in the drive. This was especially odd as the drive has been dead/unusable for a few years. (When you a dvd or cd in it could not read). This dvd drive sound happens even now upon each start up.
I do not want a new motherboard.......or laptop.