Quick question:

SHOULD I be able to see the bow in a guitar neck, because when I look down my neck I see the smallest, miniscule level of curve in the neck.

Should I be able to see it that easily?
Yep. I can see it on every guitar I've ever looked at. You really need to put a capo at the first fret and fret the last fret then measure how high the string is off the fretwire in the middle, around the 12th fret area. Check the spec for your guitar and see if the relief measurement is correct.
Yeah, that sounds normal. As long as its only a small bow.

You can usually tell from playing a guitar how the action is sitting, but yeah, poppameths method would work fine.

Theres also a setup thread sticky in this forum that jenny did I think, have a look in there, good info.
Gibson 58 RI VOS Custombuckers
Mesa Lonestar Special 2x12