Hey mschimd5 dude!
Hmm... i would recommend puppy linux if you need something light and easy to start with. It is run (usually) from a USB stick which yes it can be slow due to USB 2.0 speeds but for starting out it's great! You can run it from almost any machine in it's RAM that is capable of running it because it is so light! Also good idea if you don't want to partition and format your hard drive buddy! Just run from USB stick the whole thing!
Puppy Linux Community - Home
If you want serious eye candy then go for Mint Linux 9 (do not go for 10 because it is not long term support) it is based on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04):
Main Page - Linux Mint
If you want an all rounder which is a bit of a user friendly then try Ubuntu dude it's made by a South African (Mark Shuttleworth):
Ubuntu homepage | Ubuntu
Get 10.04 it is LTS (Long term support)
Hope this helps buddy!