I can't make up my mind between Debian Wheezy and Mint 14. The former is better for learning to live on the command line, the latter for just using out of the box until I'm comfortable with the command line. Switching back and forth between them doesn't appeal to me because I simply don't like shutting my tower down or restarting it. Does anyone have any input on whether I should stick to Wheezy and purchase a Stress Eliminator or stick to Mint and live with the crippled command line and overautomation?
Consider how you are describing your dilemma. With Wheezy the complication is you, and with Mint the complication is Mint. Which one do you have control over? Which one will improve over time to harmonise with what you need or want?
The command line is available in Mint by opening a terminal. There are several packages that provide a terminal to the text interface in a graphical window. I like Terminator, as it allows you to open multiple windows on one screen.