axis labeling question

Hi everyone. Hope you don't mind mail out of the blue,
but I've just discovered matplotlib, and am hoping
to use it to plot some time series data (progress
of our project over time). One thing I can't seem
to find is a way to control the format and content
of the tick labels on the X and Y axes. The data I
have is monthly from 1999 to the present, so I'd like
to set X tick labels to be "1999-Jan", "-Feb", and so
on. I tried following the link in the tutorial to
"figure.html#Axes", but it 404'd, and my experiments
using "set(gca(), 'xticklabels', [...stuff...])" are
not doing what I'd hoped.

Similarly, the Y data runs from -600 to about +24,000
(yes, some months we go backward ;-). Right now,
matplotlib is switching to scientific notation when it
hits 1.000e+04 (10,000). Any hints?

Greg Wilson