A good post. It definitely made me chuckle.
I'm just gonna suggest the obvious i.e. that if you're still at the early stage of climbing the linux learning mountain, then maybe one of the commercial main stream distros would suit better (initially).
For instance, mandriva, if you get a "paid for" version, it usually has the nvidia driver already included/setup/configured - though you'd have to remember that as soon as they release a new kernel for whatever reason, then you have to remember to get the kernel, the kernel sources (yes they are seperate packages) and the nvidia driver (suprisingly from the nvidia site). The read the readme and it's reasonably straight forward from there, because once you've follow the instructions installing the driver, you only have the one file to make a somewhat minor edit too and you're away (you know if you've got it right, because you don't get any idiotically indecypherable errors and you see the nvidia splash screen).
the only downside of mandriva, that used to annoy me, was that if some new version of something was released (kde, gnome and the like) it could be a bit of a bugger to install the newer version - which often meant not installing it until it was included with the next version of mandrake/mandriva.
Whereas I've now moved to SuSE - which at the moment, seems to be more up to date. Plus, as far as the graphics driver for nvidia cards etc, can be installed from the YaST management/configuration tool. I had a bit of help to suss it out, as a mate of mine who has been into SuSE for ages, was explaining a couple of things like why SuSE(Novell) won't "do" mp3's by default and was helping me configure my multimedia.
SuSE does seem to do a few things differently than other distros, but thats not necessarily a bad thing. Once you get your head round these small differences, it seems excellent. It seems to do a reasonable job of hardware detection etc and just about everything worked fine from default.
As far as wireless stuff is concerned, I've noticed a lot of threads about people fighting it to make it work. I don't know if there are any wireless cards that actually have linux support natively. I suppose if you got something that will act as modem and router for adsl, but does wireless and wired, then you still have the option to play i.e. while you're learning/fighting to get the wireless working, you could always plug the machine into one of the wired ports (I've noticed lots have both). Then when you have sussed out wireless, just remove the cables.
I've also heard that it's a good suggestion to stay away from BT badged kit. Personally, I've had plenty of networking success with kit from http://www.solwise.co.uk/modems.htm
so I've no reason to doubt its ability.
Plus some of the "chaps" from my LUG are using kit from http://www1.linksys.com/international/productlist.asp?coid=6
. Ethernet kit of course, not that plebby rubbish that the "billy and stevie show" seem to like so much (usb).
If you really wanted to "kick the arse out of it", then back at the solwise site, they even seem to sell kit that will network over your mains electricty circuits and I think that thats an absolutely "spangley" idea.
Just my 2 pence worth
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away". Tom Waits