Expert mode allowed me to see that it does detect the cdrom properly (returning the volume label) and scans the whole cd. It is at the 'Load Install from CD' portion that it chokes. I dropped to the built-in shell (ash), and I can navigate throughout the cd. So if the shell gives me access, why can it not load the installer? It seems that stage appears not to be looking where it defined the cdrom to be, since it doesn't even spin once I hit that stage...weird.

Tried the nodma thing but to no avail. I have no trouble with other distros....what has Debian done differently? Thanks for your reply.