The following is a list of packages required to patch a 2.4.x series kernel. I am still working on the notes for a 2.6.x series install.
2.4.x series kernels
kernel source files
ACPI patch that exactly matches the kernel version
debian packages: make, bzip2, gcc, libc6-dev, tk8.3, libncurses5-dev, kernel-package
after you've patched the kernel add the debian packages: acpid, acpi (this last package is available in testing and unstable versions of Debian, but not stable)
We need to unpack the bz2 file (bzip2) and shuffle the directories around a bit. /usr/src/linux probably points to your current kernel. We need it to point to the new kernel, so we'll do that as well.
mkdir kernel-source-<version> (use an alternate name if you already have a version of this kernel installed)
cp linux.<version>.tar.bz2 /usr/src/kernel-source-<version>
tar xjfv linux.<version>.tar.bz2
mv linux.<version> /usr/src/linux-<version>
rm linux (assuming that's a link to your old kernel)
ln -s /usr/src/linux-<version> linux
If your kernel needs to be patched, do so now. Instructions are available from Appendix A.