Welcome to CS lots of things to read up. Beware of anti-data also. I'd like to read books and magazines; that's a good place to start (data is more certain if published than from any person whom you are not familiar with).
There are people in here whom I listen to carefully (to the point of stalking them :bsmilie and there are some whom I would gladly thank for their comments but take things in stride.
Great pictures? Once you get the basics, shoot loads. Memory is cheap nowadays so you can afford to spam and bracket like some crazy. That's what i did when i first started out. You're bound to get more keepers if you shoot a lot. Review all your images once in a while, see what went wrong and what you could have done better. That's what i did and still do. Also post your images here on cs for us to either 'oooh ahhh' or flame like hell. Ok just joking, post for us to give comments and give advice on how to improve. Also check out the photo galleries. There's some pretty good stuff there, although some crap does appear there once in a well. Nightmare's APAD (dreamscapes) is pretty good, one of my personal favs.