I would love to join the recently started confession fest.

I've got a similar problem as Jay, but in a totally different domain.  
Having started as a script kiddo - what kind of book can introduce me  
in the beautiful but-oh-so-scary world of things like bit shifts,  
number representations, registers and that 0xF of them all, so that I  
can (not too urgently) start in C with at least some level of self- 
confidence and understanding?

Is there some kind of book like "Everything you should know about the  
Von Neumann machine to get by unscathed without brain damage" or so?  
Except Donald Knuth because I also have a day job to fulfill :-)