in reply to
How DO those monks do it?
First of all for technical information on core Perl, of course I go to perldoc first, secondly I cast my net wider. Thirdly I go to /usr/lib/perl5/5.005/pod directory and grep for it. :-) If it isn't core Perl I have other technical and non-technical resources, Google is a favorite. :-)
But when I am starting to write a program, I start by asking questions and talking to people. I don't write the thing until I am good and ready. For instance I wouldn't dare try to automate a process that I had not done manually at least once, I just know that there are going to be things that I will notice which I won't be told, and things that I will see should not be done how I will be asked to do it.
As for pointers, well there is a reason that I keep on recommending reading books like Code Complete, the Pragmatic Programmer, and other classics. The links on my home node contain some good nuggets as well. If a lot of them are not very Perl specific, well the sooner you understand that you are learning how to program first, and how to program in Perl second, the better you will be.
In fact all of the cute tricks you do with Perl, well you can do most of them in other languages as well. Oh, you may have to do some background work, but based on Perl you know it is possible, you just have to figure out how to do it! :-) (And vica versa of course.)