I want to thank you guys for your help.
Ive been able to successfully upgrade to the kernel 2.6.24.
As a reminder, if you use nVidia video drivers, download the latest version and be ready to install it after booting the new kernel.
There were a few other drivers I had to reinstall including Madwifi and the hsfmodem driver.
FYI I found a FREE
driver for my Conexant hsf modem here.
Instead of paying $19.99 to linuxant.
To sum it up, Ive learned alot from the following links:
Bruce Hill's instructions on compiling a new kernel.
evilDagmar was very informative on the compiling commands.
and last but not least,Linux Kernel in a Nutshell
These are all a must read prior to compiling a new kernel.