My name is Marc, and I've been playing chess for almost 40 years, and still on the learning curve. You win some great games and you lose a whole bunch....
I've tried learning all the opening(a few moves) but my opponent knew the opening A To Z inside out and I would lose by not knowing the strategy, or the basic knowledge the why behind this opening... or the counter move or I would get behind in the development.
So I learned one opening for white and played it t'ill I knew the opening inside out, then did the same for black. Now I was confident in the abilities and played a strong game, I lost some and won some but all in all was satisfied with my play.
Pick up a good opening book (modern chess openings)
Go to a site and play live chess (yahoo, or any other) none rated games 10 minutes max.
Practice those openings you have learned
Learn from your mistakes, make sure all you're pieces are active...
Read chess books, and play a chess program on your computer most will point out your mistakes....
Good luck and don't give up
your friend in chess