Have you looked into finding a local homebrew club? I learn best by watching and doing. My club often does a "teach a friend to brew day"...
If that's not an option, then buy a good starter kit from your local shop, buy an extract ingrdient kit, follow those directions and you'll get a good beer. Once you've done that once or twice, start reading and asking question to refine your process.
Brewing is fairly forgiving as a whole but there is ALWAYS room for improvement...
Things you'll want to focus on are:
- sanitation... Once you're done boiling the wort (the stuff you're gonna ferment), you have to be careful to not introduce anything that'll grow and infect your beer (spores, wild yeast and bacteria). I clean my stuff with PBW and then sanitize with StarSan (follow the directions for both). Just clean and sanitize anything that is gonna touch the wort/beer.
- fermentation... Try to keep your temperatures ~68 degrees and stable. If you're in San Fran and don't use a/c to cool your house, then consider putting the fermenter in a second bathtub (if you have one) because the water mass changes temp slower than the day/night temp fluctuations there. You can add a bit of ice or warm water if needed.
Those two things, if done correctly will produce good beer. If you've bought an ingredient kit, then it's a proven recipe that'll probably be good.
If you want a good starter read, look here: http://www.howtobrew.com/
no need to read the whole thing now, just read about the beginner stuff.
If you want to listen to some good podcasts, go here: http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong
and listen to as many as you can... I just downloaded ALL of them and listen to them on my commute too and from work. I've learned a bunch and it's easier for me to digest than simply reading about it.