when u see user@host# you are already logged in, but graphical user interface was not started. you can try to start it using command "xinit", and it should load Xorg (graphical interface).
you can try to open hidden file .xinitrc with a text editor (yes, you can do it from console) and see what desktom environment or window manager it loads.
to start Xorg you have to have properly configured .xinitrc (and an environment of course) and xorg config file which is located it /etc/X11/xorg.conf
but always have your xorg.conf backed up
there are some console applications which you can run without X, try "lynx" (browser) and "irssi" (chat) =)
<hope i did not made any mistakes on my 1st post>