I think I found my problem. I was using a SATA DVD drive which loaded the linux installer (stationary) or the shell (live). My solution: I put in a IDE drive I had laying around, miaking sure I took off the jumper, and ran my CD's from there. Hope this helps anyone who may be having the same problem.
Since the CD drive isn't really mine, I'll just have to get a cheap but reasonable functional drive off of Newegg.com
. Thanx, all, for trying to help.