Unlike Olympus' versions, which flip out and twist around, or Sony's, which tilt up and down, the LCD on the D5000 flips down and 270 degrees around. This is nice for overhead and waist-high shooting, though not as useful for aiming sideways.
While the D5000 is packed with the traditional set of manual, semimanual, and program scene modes, Nikon doesn't (yet?) offer a "newbie" mode similar to Canon's Creative Auto in its entry-level models.
The multi selector is a typical four-way switch for navigating options. It also controls your focus-point selection when in single-point AF mode; unfortunately, you can't lock it. I frequently ended up accidentally moving my AF point because my face or finger hit the switch.