first of all I'd like to point out that using "just Curses" ain't too bad because it is very well documented: all docs come as manpages with the distribution. OK, this is the C API but man Curses
(which is the perl documentation) tells you how to read them for perl.
Then you might be interested in reading the sources of
vshnu which is written in perl and uses Term::Screen for the display. Or take a look at this and this thread.
I've been into curses in C/C++ in the last weeks and besides the usual C-preprocesser screws and the fact that not all terminals work as well as good ol' xterm it's been easy and fun.
you begin bashing the string with a +42 regexp of confusion