After having several fruitless meanderings through low sec in search of reasonable targets, I decided on a new plan. I'll go out ratting and let the targets come to me. It worked.
I was in Gratesier flying the mighty SS Moe Howard and bounced around the belts shooting some Serpentis ships. Mostly frigates and a couple cruisers. Then I did a scan and found an anomaly called, "Serpentis Yard" and I headed over there for some new targets. A Serpentis frigate and a cruiser. So I kited away from that warp in spot with them following me and then proceeded to kill them. That spawned 3 more cruisers. I sat and waited for them to arrive.
In the meantime I had noticed a few people coming and going through the system (Gratesier doesn't have much to offer and most people are just passing through). But there was one person staying around ("Vornmal") and on the d-scan there was a rifter. At least it was in the realm of possible 1v1 combat - not like the gangs of battle cruisers I usually come across...
As the Serpentis cruisers were getting closer (they had already targeted me) the rifter arrived. He was a ways off, but I didn't think I wanted to worry about the three cruisers adding dps to his attack on me - so I bookmarked a wreck and warped off to the sun. My intention was to then immediately warp back to the wreck and hopefully find him in the position I had been in - targeted by the Serpentis cruisers.
It didn' t work.
A couple seconds later he was also at the sun and the short battle commenced. Or, at least, I think it commenced. By warping to zero at the sun I was blinded by a huge burning orb. Like a WWI biplane pilot, Vornmal's rifter came out of the sun and I didn't have a chance. Details here.
OK, OK, maybe the sun played a very minor part in the battle and I'm just grabbing at any available excuse. I did do better in a couple ways. I managed to turn on (and overheat) my armor repper. And I managed to find a 1v1 opponent (something that I'm finding to be much more difficult than I thought it would be!). So I count those as successes.
After the fight I chatted with Vornmal and another player in Gretesier. Vornmal pointed out that I should use T2 equipment (obviously my wreckage is sub-standard to my victors because the last guy said the same thing...) and the other player pointed out how a 2009 player attacking a one month old player isn't a fair fight. I was fine with both comments - I'm still glad I'm using cheap junk just to get the mechanics of combat learned, and where am I going to find another 1 month old baby to fight? I expect that I'll be fighting more experienced players and am happy to do so.
In the end the most important lesson learned was not to warp to zero to the sun (or maybe I'll go back and see how I can avoid being blinded by the light when close to the sun - possibly pull my view back a ways...). And also that those rifters are tough little ships. After losing twice to rifters, maybe I should find something else to try to destroy...