I was able to make a recovery DVD — woo hoo!
Perhaps that means that the drive in the last one was a lemon. Of course, the fact that it couldn’t recover from the recovery image may mean that the image used to recover and build the DVDs was bad — dunno.
In any case, I’m farther, although I still don’t trust it. I need to do some further burning of the photos I was burning last night to see if I’m in cow-heaven or not!