The next time we met, Erisa came to me, she showed me some Perl tutorials (Taylor was right!) and started instructing me on how to program. As homework she gave me a pageful of exercises.

One exercise, that involved a lot of text-processing and the so called "regular expressions", turned out to have a bug, but I could not find it. I thought about calling Taylor, but then thought that maybe the IRC would be helpful.

So I logged on to Freenode, and joined the #perl channel. Here's what happened:

                -->  You are now talking on #perl
                ---  Topic for #perl is Welcome to #perl :: Do not flood, use
            to show us code.  This is a
                     Perl help channel, please ask your question. :: Latest
                     perl golf can be found at ::
                     Latest perl is 5.8.5
                ---  Topic for #perl set by qualoo
          <jennray>  Hi all!
          <rindolf>  So like I was saying, I did not had a serious experience
                     with the BSDs, so I could not say.
          <rindolf>  jennray: hi!
          <jennray>  Can you help me with debugging some code? I'm trying
                     to learn Perl.
          <rindolf>  Sure. Just don't paste it here. Use the pastebot.
          <rindolf>  perlbot: nopaste
          <perlbot>  Paste your code here and #perl will be able to view it:
          <jennray>  Okey dokey.
          <rindolf>  jennray: I see on your /whois that your name is "Jennifer
          <rindolf>  So you're a girl?
          <jennray>  Yes, I am.
          <rindolf>  jennray: nice. We could always use more girl perlers.
          <rindolf>  We have another female regular here called "beth". She,
                     on the other hand, knows her stuff pretty well.
          <jennray>  :-)
          <rindolf>  Also, guys flirt with her all the time here. (and she
                     flirts back).
          <jennray>  Well, I have a boyfriend.
          <rindolf>  So does beth.
                -->  beth has joined #perl
          <rindolf>  jennray: talk about the devil!
          <rindolf>  BETH!
             <beth>  RINDOLF! HOW ARE YOU?
          <rindolf>  jennray: something you need to know about beth is that
                     you must always greet her with ALL-CAPS.
          <jennray>  Heh heh.
          <rindolf>  beth: jennray is trying to learn Perl and she has a
                     problematic code. jennray: will you please post it to the
                     pastebot now?
          <jennray>  Yeah, OK.
        <pasteling>  "jennray" at pasted "Problematic Code"
                     (16 lines) at
             <beth>  hmmm… jennray, are you sure you want to use a '*' in the
                     regex on the last character and not on the whole string?
          <jennray>  Oh! It affects just the last character?
          <rindolf>  Yes. You need to cluster it by using (?:mystring) or
                     capture it using (mystring).
          <jennray>  Trying…
          <jennray>  It works!
          <jennray>  Thanks beth and rindolf!
             <beth>  no problem. i'm here to serve.
          <rindolf>  beth++
          <rindolf>  jennray: whenever someone helps you you must increase
                     their karma by plus-plusing them.
          <jennray>  rindolf: ah, OK.
          <jennray>  beth++
                  *  beth hugs jennray