This week's book giveaway is in the OCMJEA forum. We're giving away four copies of OCM Java EE 6 Enterprise Architect Exam Guide and have Paul Allen & Joseph Bambara on-line! See this thread for details.
It is worth spending time on learning about regular expressions as they would become indispensable part of your toolset. The shorthand you have shown just means 'not an alphabetic character' but dig deep it is worthwhile.