Those look like very useful links and I learned quite a bit just skimming them. Considering what was mentioned there, I should probably clarify what I'm trying to backup.
Later on I'll consider doing partial backups of things like /etc so that if something gets accidentally deleted or I need to look at past copies of a file they will be available. However, what I'd like to do now is create an image of the entire system so that, theoretically, I could experience a hardware failure in this drive, get a new one, partition it as I did before, and restore these images to get a running system again.
The main reason I want to do this now is because I'm going to try to upgrade from Slack 9.1 to 10, and I don't trust myself upgrading so many individual packages, changing config files, dealing with new things like Xorg, etc. without the chance to go back to a previous snapshot if I end up trashing the system. I might be a little overly paranoid or retaining a windows mindset (if you mess it up, wipe it all out and start over), but it's always good to be extra cautious I think.
So let's restrict the question a bit... how can I make a ghost/image of entire partitions (I assume onto multiple CDs) in my current situation?