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Ubuntu was the first distro which I was pretty much satisfied with... At least until 9.04, after which new releases started breaking too much stuff for my taste and they went into that "let's rip-off Mac OS X and remove all customization options" design direction which I don't like.
Nowadays, I'm mostly using Fedora's Xfce spins, which work well enough even if I wouldn't recommend them to novice users since the graphical package management experience is quite unsatisfying. Also, I haven't tried it on other distros, but Fedora's in-place upgrades are a sure recipe to disaster. Always do a fresh install.
If Fedora went crazy too, my backup plan would probably be something stable and with few extra installation steps like OpenSUSE, but reviews of the latest releases have been fairly negative, which makes me hesitate to try it out for now. I could also relucantly get my hands more dirty with Gentoo or Debian, but I feel like I'm too old to spend hours after hours getting my computer to work. There should be enough distros which require few post-installation tweaks nowadays.
I have also tried Arch, but I'm still not ready to forgive that one time where they completely borked the package manager's database on my system with an update. Pardus Linux was excellent, but politics problem within the lab where it was developed have recently brutally killed it. Mint sounds nice in theory, but for some reason never worked really well on my systems. Edited 2012-10-22 07:31 UTC