That was quite a response! Thanks, you three.
First, I'm located in Dayton, OH. I discovered that North Dayton Garden Center apparently acquired a bonsai wholesaler, so I can safely assume I now have a good source within a reasonable drive.
I would definitely prefer something younger. I feel I would learn more if I committed to more responsibility and made a few mistakes, than if I were to buy an already-developed specimen. And, Hort, you're definitely right -- I think I would get much more enjoyment out of it as well, it being my first one. I've found some info on starting from scratch, and but I think that may be a bit over my head at this point.
I sort of got the short end of the window stick. I live in an apartment with two windows, both facing the same direction (northwest), and a deep overhang in the roof. Thus, I anticipated that I might have to resort to artificial lighting. Hort, good call on www.bonsaihunk.us. He had a lot of useful information, especially pertaining to lighting. Would a one- or two-bulb fluorescent fixture be enough for a tree or two? I don't have much expendable income to speak of, but I am able to purchase some measure of artificial light fixture if it doesn't set me back too much.
I like the Ficus option, especially after reading through sections of Bonsai Hunk. I looked into Portulacaria, and that definitely interests me as well.
The setup baffles me. I think, though it sounds silly to say, I might be having a perspective issue, as trees to me were always considerably taller.
Obviously technique is something that has to be learned over time, but how does the actual planting work? Is it similar to a houseplant?
GardenerX - I've actually had a bag of that same Repti Bark for over two years with nothing to use it for.
Great idea! Thanks for the tip!