I agree with Spufi. Read DWWS, as Mr. Zeldman explaines the current state of the web. It's a very good read, and Jeffrey Zeldman is an excellent writer, keeping the topic as light as possible. I'm sure Zeldman's work(s) is many people's first glimps into a world of design and programming that many have not even taken the time to consider.
BTW, where are you at in Wisconsin?