EDITED: Sorry, this "solution" is not for the "trailing garbage" of this thread, I was too quick in replying. I'll leave the original post for netllama anyway.
I have that problem too. This thread shows that it is related to locale settings http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=70939
I'm running the below script to call nvidia-settings. It just changes the dots that the program writes for the commas it needs when it reads the rc file.
# nvset: make happy nvidia-settings with commas
cat "$rcfile" | sed s/\\./,/ | sed s/,nvidia/\\.nvidia/ > "$rcfile"
nvidia-settings "$@" &