Your gonna hate this I'm afraid,
I noticed during install that there was a bit flashed up during the initial stages that it said monitor unprobed. My monitor came with an emachine I bought from PCworld (big mistake) so I had no idea what make modle or specs it was. I thought as it was a display related problem that the two may be conected.
I'm lucky in that I had a spare monitor knocking around. I tried that one and it all loaded perfectly
I guess what I am saying is make sure all your hardware is compatible with linux (use the h.c.l here) or, conversly, not compatible (use google to get some incompatibility lists) If you really want to get up to speed with linux it is sometimes worth laying down a few quid to get some decent hardware.
Prolly not the response you wanted but I hope you get it sorted. And please don't give up with linux, for all it's newbie scaryness it gets a bit easier every day