Man walks into a doctors office and says: Doctor it hurts when I hold my arm like this. Doctor says, then don't hold your arm that way.
My call to Epson tech support was escalated to a real tech. I tell him the story of how my machine gets a General Protection Fault if I turn it on while the printer is on and he tells me he has seen this before. Solution is to turn the printer on after the PC is up and running.
However, he continues, he has seen this before and it might have something to do with the PC confusing the printer for a video card on bootup. It might have something to do with the IRQ assignments.
I thank him - and go off on an IRQ hunt. Win2K doesn't complain about any conflicts, but I do notice that the USB card is sharing an IRQ with the graphics adapter. So I make some changes in the BIOS setup and after many more reboots and blue screens I find a combination that the PC and the Printer can agree on and at least for now - everything is back up and running. There are like 16 IRQ (interupt request spaces) on a PC. This is left over from the earliest days of DOS (I think). They should make PCs with like 32 of these IRQs so everyone could have his own and not fight over them on boot-up.
Anyway - several orders have come in over the last few days - some for digital prints, so I think this is why I'm trying to get to some stable place.