Hello, I'm handheldcar. I use SimplyMEPIS because I like and fear Debian. I also like KDE. Its look used to repulse me, but changing it only takes a few clicks and a couple minutes. It is definitely better than GNOME, and GNOME definitely holds users back in the interest of protecting newbies from themselves.
On my notebook, I use antiX. I'm still setting up both of these because I'm hitting on every detail. I'm not too new to GNU/Linux; I tried out Knoppix and then Ubuntu for several months a few years ago, but didn't get as far as I did last year thanks to a class and a couple of experienced users. I was using Debian w/ Xfce last year but found Ubuntu to be so much easier that I switched back. I moved to Kubuntu and then heard about MEPIS and was attracted to it by its more Debian basis. It has Debian repos, and antiX uses the Iceape suite. Irssi also starts up pointing to the Debian IRC channel for help. You can't just use sudo after a fresh install, and the default GParted partitioner does a good job of setting up home and root partitions. The IRC channels are totally sketchy though -- 1st time I've seen that on Freenode.