My shoulder and neck have been hurting alot. I'm seeing a physiotherapist about it, and I've realised it is due to bad posture. I've fixed the problem at work, thanks to an adjustable chair, but my home computing environment is the real problem. I'm currently sitting on an "executive" style chair, which means it leans back if I lean back at all... very comfy, until you find yourself hunching forward to counteract the leaning back. Hence the severe pain. Moral: Posture is important. And don't wait a few weeks hoping the pain will go away by itself.
A month ago, I allowed hypatia and jdub (both of who I live with!), who are on this year's SLUG committee, to convince me to give a talk on Python to SLUG. I was assured the Perl bigots would be gagged ;)
I'm generally not a confident public speaker, to say the least. I've had many bad experiences with hand tremors and general nervousness making public speaking a real nightmare. Also, my previous talking experience has never been for more than 10 minutes, and a SLUG talk is typically 40, so I was starting to feel quite worried as the hour of the talk approached. However, I felt very confident that I knew what I was talking about (as opposed to half-researched uni assignments), and I apparently gave a really good talk. People asked questions during and afterwards -- and I could answer them. And it is really, really wonderful to have people come up immediately afterwards and say "Thanks, that was a really good talk". It sounds so simple but it is such a great feeling to receive that sort of compliment. Thank you to everyone who was kind to me after the talk!
I was unsure of what I should say. I didn't really know how many people were at all familiar with python -- or indeed with programming in general. I decided to do a broad, but shallow talk, which means I covered lots of random things, but didn't spend very long on any one thing. My reasoning was that Python is easy to learn, and there are good tutorials on the web that can probably teach it better than I can, so instead I should try demonstrate why you might want to use Python. The format of 10 minutes flicking through the basics ("here are the built-in data types, here's what functions and classes look like"), followed by an overview of Python's object system, functional programming, and random odds and ends (the talk was roughly 40 minutes all up). Things like interactively using the dis (disassembly) module and the one-liner mandelbrot generator were nice examples, I think. People also seemed interested in the wacky stuff like generators and nested scopes.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the talk was that people found my joke about Singleton funny :) Singleton is where I grew up, and it has the southern hemisphere's largest monolithic sundial (the sign in the town simply says "WORLDS LARGEST SUNDIAL"). People don't expect a picture of a big concrete sundial to appear on slide about implementing the "Singleton" design pattern...