First there isn't any "x" in Espresso... even though most of us pronounce it EXpresso :)
Making "good" espresso is somewhat of an "art" but you first need the right equipment.. the biggest mistake a "newbie" makes is NOT buying a good grinder... those whirly bird spice grinders and even the moderately expensive burr grinders just won't give you the uniform grind you need for good espresso.
Plan on spending about $275 or so on a grinder... I use the Rancilio "Rocky". I also use the Rancilio "Silvia" espresso machine... you can see both of them in a package deal at http://aabreecoffee.com/rabarpaststr.html
There are of course other machines in the same class that perform equally as well. See http://www.coffeegeek.com
for some reviews of the various machines. It's probably the BEST side around for that information.. far as I know anyway.
And, NO, I don't have anything to do with aabreecoffee. I have bought from them before because in Washington state I have an 8.9% sales tax and aabree doesn't charge sales tax.. and they have free shipping too... but there are several other fine espresso dealers on the net... do a google search on "espresso machine" etc... I can't remember the others "wholelottalove" or something like that and "firstline", etc... you'll find them I'm sure.
Here's an excellent source of reading IF you really want to get serious about espresso...
I'm a relative "newbie" to cooking but in the field of espresso I bring a fair amount of expertise, born of years of frustration and trial and error, so perhaps I can answer some of your questions if/when you have some after reading the above...
Be careful, the search for making the "perfect" shot of espresso can be addictive and one can easily become compulsive (as I am :)...