After reading about re2c on the planet debian site, I read up on it a little, then today when I was thinking about modrewrite and mysql, I decided to try writing a little bit of c. Although I'm not totally familiar with python, the two share some similarities.
I've grasped the idea of main, but when it comes to pointers, I'm still a little foggy.
And I'm stuck trying to use stdin to supply a string for use with a mysql prepared statement. I've got to read some more C code to get comfortable with it.
UPDATE: I've made some progress with re2c - thanks to re2xs from Matts. It makes creating and using the regexes a little easier. I was trying to figure out how to handle back-references (aka backreferences), and it took me awhile because the re2c manpage calls them backtracks.
I've also made some progress with the C client I coded for use with mod_rewrite. Its pretty straightforward, I'd like to use prepared statements though.
Along the way, I found this which seems interesting: http://code.google.com/p/openvpn-auth-ldap/
I also found out about swig. I'd heard of it before but for some reason thought it had something to do with graphics.