Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Formal Assessment

...and that was yesterday, right there. I had the Mau-Mau and the Elder Son, and we had to go to Launceston so Elder Son could have his 'Formal Assessment'.

That's when the kid sits down with a qualified individual appointed and authorised by the Ed Dept, and they go through a bunch of tests to decide where the kid falls on various curves, and what kind of oddball needs he might have to make school work better for him. This particular version takes a bit over three hours.

So we shunted Smaller Son down to the bus stop. Then we took off for Launceston, and managed to wriggle around through the back streets by the gorge until we found Trevallyn School. We were a bit early, which caused a minor fuss because nobody seemed to know about us -- but only five minutes after we arrived, the assessing officer turned up, and everything was under control. The Mau-Mau and I left Elder Son on the job, and we took off to do our own errands.

  • New socks. What the fuck do children do with their socks? Is there an entire planetoid of abandoned socks drifting silently behind the moon, where we can't detect it?
  • Another Wii remote: yeah, okay. Listen -- any of you lot with kids, the Rayman Raving Rabbids games are pretty damned funny. They consist of a loosely-connected series of mini-games which involve the fullest range of Wii-remote manipulations I've seen yet, and between the whacked-out animation and the happily twisted nature of the games themselves, they're pretty fabulous. But the sequel is actually better, because it includes a full 'party mode' in which up to four people can play these demented games against one another. Imagine four of us there, all trying to boogie along to the cues provided while the Wii thumps out "Jungle Boogie"...
  • Dinner: I got some barramundi. And a squid tube. Just one. Plus some other stuff.
  • New plants: some thornless blackberries -- getting more later, I think -- and a pair of kiwis. (Again, getting more.) The old kiwi vines were placed right next to the deck, which was unbelievably silly. Don't plant kiwi vines anywhere near your house, unless you feel like researching a sequel to "Day Of The Triffids".
  • Books -- no trip to Launceston is complete without a buzz through the secondhand book places.
By the time we were done with everything (there was more, but I can't recall it offhand. Oh -- a long and fruitless search for some insulation material...) it was almost time to collect The Boy. The Mau-Mau and I grabbed some lunch, and picked up a few bits and pieces for Elder Son, and then the phone rocked on (my phone plays "Werewolves of London". Good thing I like the song, eh?) so we went back to Trevallyn.

Elder Son was tired and hungry, but apparently he enjoyed himself. And the assessment officer was really great -- we had a long talk about the whole edumacation thing. She's got a couple kids of her own who fall into the high-end category (possibly why she's doing what she does?) and had a lot of sympathy and insight.

We won't know the results of the assessment for a while, of course. There's another meeting to come with the school as well, naturally. But hopefully, hopefully this will see the Elder Son being officially recognised as having 'different needs', and give the school the opportunity to develop something appropriate for him.

The rest of the day? Ah, well. Natalie made it home a bit late. By that time, I'd already overseen the violin practice, the cello practice, and the typing practice. Loaded the firewood box. Brought in the laundry, put up some more. Stoked the fire. Cooked barramundi and calamari and baked potatoes and green salad. Organised the bathtime, etc.

Heh. The boys were pleased with my calamari -- because I stripped the tough outer membrane off the squid before I sliced it into rings. They were really interested in the membrane itself, and really delighted to discover that the Flinthart version of calamari isn't rubbery and stretchy. I've probably made a mess for myself in the future, though. Now they'll never be happy with cheap chippery calamari again, and I'll have to cook the stuff at home more often, and I can't buy it except in Launceston or Bridport...


  1. What. the. hell. is a squid tube?

  2. I keep forgetting. Michigan is seriously landlocked, isn't it?

    Okay. You wanna eat squid? Fine. You need to get one that's a)fresh and b) hopefully dead. If not dead, then kill it. They're tough, mind you.

    Now you've gotta harvest the edible bits. You don't want beaks, brains, eyes, and guts. You want the tentacles, and you want the head/body thing, all cleaned up and empty.

    The head-body thing, when you buy it from a fishmonger, appears as a white 'tube', faintly resembling to the eye a tennis player's wrist-band, for example. It has a wide end, and a narrow end. Most commonly, it is cut into rings which are cooked in some fashion before eating.

    The boys love them some tasty tentacle, sure, but they like their squid rings more. And all the better if they don't have to chew like they were trying to make a meal out of an extra-strength condom, either. Badly cooked squid becomes very, very rubbery. It still tastes good, but texture-wise it is ugly.

    There. Squid tubes, and What You Can Do With 'Em.

  3. Jennicki, have you ever had Calamari? Same thing. We used to batter and fry them and drizzle some cholula butter over them. Delicious.

  4. My mate Barn (not Barnes) advised me that there were eleven layers of nasty before the good bits of the calamari, and one of the japanese tests of calamari frshness and knife sharpness was to cut and peel these layers off one by one. Barn showed me and managed to cut/ slice / peel these down and got about seven layers, and advised that wasn't too bad as an amatuer.

    It is damn fine food.

  5. Oh dear. You have been invaded by the sock monster. This creature will not only eat socks but be responsible for all other naughty things happening around your home. Just ask the kids. They will verify that this creature is responsible for naughty things.

  6. Calamari that isn't chewy isn't calamari - at least from my squid-eating-Greek point of view.

  7. I agree completely, Paul. But Australia has a recent history of adopting food from migrant folk - and doing so badly. Some of the terrifying stuff I've seen passed off as "Chinese" in small, isolated Queensland towns doesn't even bear description. You would cringe in horror at the very thought.

    The Greeks turned up hereabouts after WWII, and brought with them their fine cooking. The Aussies, completely confused by the concept of trying to eat anything other than heavily boiled lamb or beef (and occasionally chicken), were initially horrified by the squid - then later, delighted. And very quickly, your average vendor of cheap and greasy fast food discovered that the typical Australian had never actually eaten decent calamari... so the tradition of battered and deep-fried rubber rings was born.

    It takes time to peel squid. But with a sharp knife, you can slice up a tube in seconds. If your customers think that chewing latex is the norm, why would you correct them?

  8. I'm very familiar with Raving Rabbids, I have it and my kids love it. I'm a big fan of the ones where you're sledding down the mountain.

  9. The Greeks made wine out of anything they could put in a bucket, and ate anything that couldn't climb out of one.

  10. Damian. LOL.

    And as for that fucking sock thief, when somebody finds his location..let ME know, I will kill the fucker, he has quite a stash by all accounts