I was running the latest update that included a os x combined update and a firmware update. All was going well, and then the laptop restarted with the firmware update progress screen. The computer restarted abruptly, and never started up correctly since. Here's where I am now: The boot process is very slow and takes much longer then usual. Eventually my desktop background loads, along with the desktop icons. The menubar on top loads too. The dock does not load, and I can't open anything through the desktop icons. I can use quick-preview (pressing spacebar), but can't open any application. None of the dropdown lists work on the menu bar. Occassionaly, the screen switched to black and blue and back to the usual desktop. Nothing works, opens, or can be accessed. Even the power button works, I need to shutdown with shift-control-option-power. I tried to reinstall osx, or at least access disk utilities to make some repairs. If I press option during the boot with the CD in, nothing happens, and I wind up the same position as described above. If I press C instead, I get a kernal panic during the boot process. I tried the CD on a different mac, and it worked fine. I'm stuck!!! Can't reinstall, can't fix, can't access!!! Any ideas or experiences with fixing this?