ok so i came home after running some errands. i'm running mint 12 on an ibm x41 with no problems like this until today. when i went to log on, everything seemed slow to wake up, and i was unable to complete putting in my password. i ended up having to do a hard reset with the power button, and now it seems that i get through the boot process, but the display will not turn on. going through GRUB i can get to a root prompt after booting the recovery mode.
this happened to me long ago, on an old linux mandrake installation, and it had something to do with X windowing system (yeah, been a while since i ran linux) needing to have a series of terminal commands input in order to reset some setting i botched.
if i have left out anything useful, please let me know. i am at a root prompt now and just itching to input something to get this machine back in business.
i have done a search, but nothing seems to relate to my specific problem, seems something more sinister in most of the other threads i have found.
edit: ok i'm a dummy. deleted xorg.conf and all is well. botched it trying to get my tablet stylus to work properly. all is well now. hope that nasty bug gets fixed, lakitu.