After another visit to the Apple store, and another struggle with the Genius bar, I'm now in a state where iTunes blue-screens (BAD_POOL_CALLER) when I plug in my iPod.  If I uninstall iTunes, I can connect the iPod to my PC and it behaves like a nice normal FireWire drive.  But if iTunes, or the related iTunesService or IPodHelper services are running, I get the blue screen.

This is no fun at all.  If anyone has a contact at Apple who wants to diagnose the mini-dump of the blue-screen, let me know ;)  As it stands, I have a pretty worthless iPod right now.  I suppose I could uninstall iTunes, connect as a firewire drive, and just copy all my music across, but I bet it won't transfer licenses for the songs I bought from the store.

[update: I see I'm not the only person who's had these sort of problems -- this thread sounds like the behavior I was seeing before the Apple folks reset my iPod.]

[update #2: I finally got my iPod happy again by giving up on FireWire.  I brought my laptop and iPod into the Apple store and asked them to loan me an iPod USB cable (part number M9569G/A) to see if that worked.  It did.  $19 later, I had my own USB sync cable and was re-filling my pod with tunes.]

FWIW, the way I got my Genius bar appointment was to keep hitting the reservation page every 30min or so from work, starting at about noon.  The page tells you what timeslot it's going to give you.  At noon, it wanted to give me a 2pm timeslot (no good, since I couldn't leave work so early.)  By 3:30pm, it was handing out timeslots around 8pm, which worked out fine for me, so that's what I signed up for.  I got to the store 20 min early in case the line was moving fast, and had another poor customer service experience -- the Genius suggested I hang around the store since I'd be up in about 10 minutes.  30 minutes later, it was finally my turn.  The Genius spent half an hour doing some diagnostics on the iPod, flashed the firmware and reformatted the hard drive.  He concluded the iPod hardware was working fine, so there must be something wrong with my PC.  It didn't seem to occur to him that maybe it's something wrong with iTunes ;)