I ended up going with Xubuntu for now. It's solved all the issues in mint, the lappy wakes from standby properly, shuts down properly, prints all documents properly and works fine. Installed cairodock as well.
Only kicker is, I remembered to copy my home folder out, however I completely forgot about my bookmarks. Have a backup but only from a month back. Dang!
stuck this on a USB stick besides matriux,backbox,DEFT,slackopuppy,porteus- and am fairly certain one more...despite being a live boot; pear booted up/shutdown quickly on mine and seemed to work very well,was going to install it but wanted to have a specialist OS that fitted interests better [matriux].
fans of OSX will love it as its exactly how OSX shoud be-if it had never been dumbed down.
Debian Squeeze or Wheezy. Use the net install, uncheck all options except basic system utilities and go. Reboot. Now you have a stable Linux base that has nothing loaded except what it takes to be a live system. Now apt-get anything you want and only what you want.
You wind up with a clean and mean install that isn't fluffed up with what somebody else thinks should be loaded onto your machine.