To that end, I would like the Pi to have some way of displaying information to the outside world without the data tech needing to connect it to a monitor. Upon searching the web, Adafruit has a great post on how to drive a 16x2 LCD display with the GPIO pin on the Pi:
Here are the components I bought besides the Pi itself:
1. 16x2 LCD Screen $9.95
2. Cobbler breakout cable (optional but highly recommended) $7.95
3. Enclosure (optional) $14.95
Then following the instruction from the Adafruit post, here is a picture of my Pi with the LCD display. Obviously the cobbler is great for doing other developments, such as driving a LED bulb, such as indicating a network fault when the Pi is doing monitoring.