Regular expressions may seem awkward at first, but keep at it! Your efforts will pay off in the long run. Perl is a far more powerful language for having them, and you'll be able to do many more things, easier, for being able to use them.
The Camel (Programming Perl, Wall/Christiansen/Orwant) has a good chapter on Pattern Matching; you can also use 'perldoc perlre' to get an overview. Neither one is probably ideal for a total regexp newbie, however. I learned RE syntax from years of using sed, awk, and vi, so I can't recommend any specific introductory books (although many exist).
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