I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
Last week was the Fifteenth Annual Australian System Administration Conference, aka SAGE-AU 2007.
Before I say more about the conference, let me mention the conference dinner. SAGE-AU conference dinners come with an open bar; and not just beer and wine, either. If you're willing to go to the effort of walking to the bar you can get some quite snazzy (and strong) drinks. As you can imagine, there's a tendency for the conference delegates to get quite happy as part of the evening festivities. The reason why this is important is due to my role in the conference each year.
Each year, for the last three years, I have been given the first talk after the conference dinner. Out of all the talks at the conference, mine is the one conference delegates are most looking for an excuse to miss. I need to have a talk that a room filled with hung-over sysadmins can grasp and find entertaining.
This by itself is not a great challenge. Where things become really tough is that I'm invariably presenting the talk with a hangover myself. As can be seen from the conference photographs, I've never got the habit of leaving the dinner early. It doesn't help that I feel compelled to rise before the sun to do dry runs of my talk, either.
Despite all this, I'm very happy with the arrangement. Not because of the honour of being deemed worthy of dragging the conference out of bed. Not because of the invariable praise and invitations that comes from a successful presentation. Not because of the perks that come with being a speaker, or the feeling that I've imparted valuable knowledge to the audience.
No. The thing that really, really makes me feel wonderful is watching the pain and anguish suffered by the delegates who slept in and missed the talk, and then are repeatedly told by their colleagues how good it was. There's something about getting up before the sun with a hangover that really improves one's appreciation of schadenfreude.