I also agree with all of the above. If you really want to see some turning techniques before you invest, go to youtube and search woodturning. You could spend a couple hours watching all the different videos of people turning all sorts of things. A lot of the videos are instructional and some are just demos for products; these demos are valuable for seeing techniques in action. When I was a lurker thinking about checking out turning, I wore google out. I read web sites, articles, watched videos. I learned about terms, tools, and techniques. By the time I was ready to buy a lathe, I knew what I was asking for and how to ask for it.
One of the biggest things that I've learned in the month and a half or so that I've been turning is that how your work piece is secured to the lathe is of paramount importance. Not only for safety, but for ease of turning. If it's not held securely, you are more likely to encounter all sorts of problems that can really become frustrating. Avoid the frustration and learn about chucks, mandrel, centers, etc.
Welcome and have fun!