HEY ! Thanks to jsebean .... tried the Fn down/up thing on the login screen and it worked !
Still can't get the brightness to behave but I also noticed that when I go thru all the settings from blank to bright it seems to go from dark to bright and back to darker .... odd.
Can't get the setpci command to work anymore either but this helps! It's the intel driver at 00.02.0 but thanks again!