With some help from a friend, I finally got the inks loaded, the paper holder assembled, firmware updated, and everything hooked up. Last night my first 8.5 x 11 print came off the printer. Of course I forgot to set the color profile and paper type correctly and it looked like crap. Panic! By paying attention to what you are doing some things work themselves out. The print was awesome. Which goes to show the importance of monitor calibration and proper printer profiles in your workflow. There are lots of articles and workshops on these topics. In fact books are written on this. There IS a way to get your screen and print to match. But remember, you are viewing on screen images through a backlit monitor, you are viewing prints through front lit lighting, big difference. So in some respects, you will never get things to look "exact".
If you need some good test prints to run through your printer, go to Bill Atkinson's Download page and grab the Profile Test Image. This covers both color and B&W situations and will give you a good idea of how your printer is doing. If your monitor is properly calibrated, the image should look good right out of the box. A print with the proper paper settings and profile should give you an idea of what is off. You can also run the Grays Test Image which is a B&W gradient at different settings in the Epson Advanced B&W Mode. This will give you a good preview at various tonal ranges.