I know this may be a necro, but I don't see a justified reason to start a new thread.
I am big into electronics, and have been for a while now. Other sites besides HaD are hackedgadgets.com, Adafruit, makershed, i.hackedit
HaD has a new forum section too which could be good for beginners.
If you wanna get into the solid-state, fundamentals are a must. Learn about core components like resisters, capacitors, transformers, diodes, and transistors. With a big emphasise on transistors. Then move onto logic gates, OR, NOR, AND, NAND, Inverters and such. You just need to know how this stuff works, and again a big emphasise on transistors. RadioShack sells an "Electronics Learning Lab" which is an excellent start. I recommend it to anyone getting into hardware.
Once you have a working knowledge of the base stuff, its time to move into the really cool stuff. Microcontrollers are what will bring you the most enjoyment. Arduino has already been mentioned and is what I use. They are AVR based and can be coded using the Arduino IDE which is watered down C++. You can also skip the arduino bootloader and work with C, or ASM. I will mention a strong knowledge in C, memory management and bit wise operators is a must. Arduino isn't the only option though. You can start with PIC based microcontrollers like the BasicStamp family, or some 32bit boards like RaspberryPi and others. Can find most at robotshop.com, solarbotics.com, makershed, and a host of others.
If you want some examples of what arduinos can do, I have a few projects on my blog kbcarte.wordpress.com, I use the Arduino IDE. Also check out the arduino forums at arduino.cc
Again, sorry for the necro. I might start a tutorial series if you guys would be interested.