apache http server permissions troubles...

hey all, i've been having some troubles with apache.  this is my first time running anything but windows, so i'm still a little new all things ubuntu.  I set up apache using $ sudo apt-get install apache2 (or something along those lines), and everything went smoothly.  i went in (to /var/www/) to try to edit the files being served, but i keep being told that i don't have permissions.  i'm a bit confused as to how the only person who uses the computer (and has administrative power everywhere) doesn't have permissions...plus, i can't even view the files.  going to http://localhost returns a 403 error.  any help would be greatly appreciated.thanks in advance!