Just after the boot screen, the message "Press 'I' for interactive startup" appears briefly. If you press I at this point (you have to be quick) you will be able to specify what you want to start (Y = yes, N = no, C= continue without asking again). When you get the system started, you can uninstall CUPS until you have sorted out what is wrong.
Regarding which is the best distro for a newbie, I recommend Mandriva. Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) is also worth a try, as is SUSE. If you still have hardware problems, post back here.