Did you try a SMC reset, Could it be a problme with your DVD drive, it sounds like you are starting the computer correctly by holding down the C key, Take a look at this link, http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-boot-snow-leopard-from-a-dvdrom.htm l
1. Tried booting with C and disc inserted
2. Tried booting with OPTION and then selecting disc
3. Created a bootable USB with lion and did both steps
The machine comes on, screen white with logo, then spinning grey wheel, then screen flashes to blue for a few seconds, then goes white and mouse arrow cursor in upper corner (left)
If I move mouse - it leaves one in corner while other moves.
Wait long enough, press key on keyboard and 4-5 tiny spots appear near center of screen. Just odd.
Then I waited longer - and a small 1" long by about 1/2" tall box appears near bottom center half that was mosty black on left side and white on other.
I have booted over, and over, and over - and using the USB to boot from it is more consistent in what it is doing - but just not getting past the white screen after flashing blue....??
What am I missing?
What can I do to simplify getting this thing going?
You have a hardware problem. I betting that your graphic card uses the nvidia chip, and it has failed. You can buy a replacement video card on ebay or you can remove the video and send it to ebay sellers who offer services to repair the card. The cost is about $250 for replacement and $90 for repair, but in either case you will have to remove the video card, and before any other forum members chime in and say that the video is part of the logic board and can not be replace, the replace part number is 661-4664 (google the number and you will see).