do like the netbook optimised screen layout
I don't use it, from the log in screen, there is an option at the bottom ( Session Button ) to log in to a standard Gnome desktop. For me that is the answer.
I had a bunch of problems with the clicker also. I have a synaptics touch pad, there is a package I installed that allowed me to configure the settings to my liking. I think it was called 'gpointing-device-settings'. That gave me a lot more control and made the touch pad manageable. I still use an external 3 button usb mouse on the desktop though.
Hope this helps.