After setting up some very normal things (turning on tap-to-click, etc.) I discovered something really problematic: it couldn't come out of suspend/hibernate, and once rebooted after such an incident, it couldn't turn wireless on. After a few days of periodic searching, I found these instructions, which also works in other distros like Linux Mint:
1. As root, edit /boot/grub/grub.conf (mine was .conf, theirs was .cfg) in your favorite text editor.However, wireless was still off! If I held down the function key and hit F3 to turn it back on, it didn't light up, even though all of the other function-F# keys were working just fine. After some searching and experimenting, I noticed that after hitting Fn-F3, "Enable Wireless" in the NetworkManager tray icon was alternately an option or grayed-out; if I clicked on it when I could, surprise surprise, I was suddenly back online! Turns out that the bleeping thing is toggling the wifi off & on just as it should, but due to some glitch, the light is only being turned on if NetworkManager also enables it.
2. Search for the word "quiet" and add these words after it, then save:
noacpi apm=on noapic
If only all of my problems were this easy to fix...