I did the system reinstall, and immediately after, duing the welcome/new user set-up, the screen problem happened again! Luckily, with the apple care support agreement, you get on-site service for hardware problems. I figured I'd make them do some work for me after all I dealt with. Made the call to apple last night, a guy from local tech support outfit (oddly enough the same company who used to do tech support for the company I once worked for, so I know they are good) called me this morning, he expects a new motherboard by tomorrow or Monday, and can set-up the appointment to come over within 2 or 3 days after that! And it only takes about an hour of his time. So totally cool! It'll be that fast! and in the mean time, I just keep working in safety mode and all is well with the world as long as I can send email and surf the web.