You are right about being Nikon centric, beyond that you'll learn a lot.
I got it first at the library too then bought it.
Yes it does take some work but not as much as you might imagine. Once you see how bounce affects the shot and that the camera and strobe will actually expose the shot well as long as there is a good surface to bounce off regardless of where the head is pointed you'll relax.
Bouncing the strobes light is in my head a lot like shooting bounce/bank shots in pool. In the beginning "bank shots" are not as reliable at lighting the subject as head on shots so I would recommend is that you shoot two or three shots where you think you need one and change the head for each shot a bit. After a while you'll get to the point where the bank shots are your main tools.
The other thing I do is look through the strobist group on Flickr and when I see a shot I like I'll try and figure out how I would do it.
Couple other things to remember.
The strobe is fast, typically 1/1000 duration is "slow" for the actual flash of light. In auto mode strobes regulate exposure by shortening the duration of the flash. A gentle fill pop may only be 1/20,000 of a second long.
The larger the aperture you use the easier it is for the flash to do it's work, for me flash photography is an "f/2.8 and be there" thing unless I'm in full sun and just filling the dark side.
The camera's shutter speed is how you control your background effects. Long shutter times allow a brighter background and more blur. This is an artistic choice, balance it to your taste.
Nikon calls it rear curtain sync when the strobe fires at the end of the shot, this puts the ambient light "trail" behind the subject. I use that setting for everything.