I've gotten pretty good with RegEx, I'm happy to say. I'm a little fuzzy on the Perl-style RegEx (which is obviously much more powerful than egrep or PHP's ereg), but I've got to start somewhere. I just sort of puttered along with it for a bit, never really using RegEx for what it's worth. It's nice to be getting some real mileage out of it.
I've also been moving along well on XML. Someday I'll step back and learn SGML, but I figure if I wait, I'll appreciate it all the more.
BTW, Tobias Ratschiller's Web Application Development With PHP is pretty good. I'm only a couple of chapters into it, so I'm not prepared to give a full review, but I'm definitely totally happy with it so far. It's nice to see that the way that I do things (at least 2 chapters in :) in PHP is pretty much the right way to do it. Not that I haven't learned anything; I've learned a lot. But a lot of it is just re-enforcing what I've taught myself.
I've been totally redoing nancies.org, a site that I and a few friends made a couple of years ago. It's structurally unchanged from its condition when it was first made, which makes aspects of it embarassing to me. I'm completely rewriting it in PHP and MySQL, and I'm *really* loving the work. I've written all of the systems that one would generally just grab from elsewhere -- intelligent content management, XML-based content syndication, polling, advertising management, some impressive text parsing and auto-linking of keywords, and (working on this) message boards. I was thinking about integrating Phorum, as I've done before, but that requires a new table for each discussion topic, which isn't cool. Too many tables for too few posts. If we get 50 posts after each story, I'd be happy. With a new story about once a day, that's just too many tables. So I've started on my own system. Nothing terribly fancy -- your basic threaded discussion board. If it's any good, I guess I'll GPL it. You know, since the world needs yet another threaded discussion board. ;)
I got the O'Reilly Firewall book in the mail from Fatbrain this week. It's about as big as the bat book, which is a little frightening. My experience with ipchains is limited, but I really need to get a firewall running at the office before we add some of the new systems that we'd like to get in there. I guess I'll get an emachine and hook up a couple of terminals to it and start testing. Maybe I'll have the energy in a few weeks.
On Saturday, I'm off to Emerald Isle, NC for a week at the beach with my girlfriend. We went there 2 years ago, too, at the same house. I'm not bringing a laptop or nothing. But the PCS and a stack of O'Reilly books are a must. After all, am I not a geek? <grin>