#4. "RE: Very Basic Flash Question, please help" In response to In response to 3
If you could get the meter to zero-out without a very high ISO or very long shutter, you would not need flash.
As a start, pick a shutter speed (1/60 maybe) and an aperture that works with the flash using the guide number (if you really want to be 100% manual) and see what the result is -- its free! no film to use-up!
From there, think about the aperture (wide to get narrow depth-of-field etc). Then think about the shutter speed -- if its not midnight with no lights, you can use some of the ambient light to soften the flash, so if you have a wide aperture, then a reasonable shutter will have you using some of the ambient light.
My final thought? Take lots of shots with varying settings and see what you get and what you like, then try to remember how you got them