Instead of me wracking my braing trying to remember the exact boot parameters to make my HP laptop not break when I update the kernel, I am posting it here. Hopefully someone else may find it useful as well. My specific laptop is the HP dv9000 series special edition I bought at Best Buy about a year ago and I am currently running Ubuntu 8.10 with the 2.27 kernel. The "magic" boot parameter seems to be pnpbios=off, so I end up with a grub entry something like:
root (hd0,0) kernel /vmlinuz root=UUID=<some giant UUID> ro quiet splash pnpbios=off initrd /initrd.img boot
Fixes most things including sleep, hibernate, USB hotplugging, and most noticeably my wireless card.