lucy24 - 10:15 am on Aug 4, 2013 (gmt 0)
What I learned is that a given request is matched against a RewriteRule before the associated RewriteCond conditions are checked.
Oh, oops, I think everyone assumed you already knew that, even though you explicitly said you haven't read the docs. Yes, mod_rewrite works on a system of two steps forward, one step back. If a requested URL doesn't fit the pattern of the rule, then the conditions aren't evaluated at all.
Horse's Mouth source:
Replace 2.2 with 2.4 in the URL if necessary. (Yes, you are allowed to use literal periods in URLs. But unless your name is Apache dot org, it is better not to.)