ADHD on my mind

By Paige Francis Posted Monday Apr 1, 2024

Filed under: Epilogue, Paige Writes 5 comments

I have undiagnosed ADHD. Pretty sure I had it as a kid, but I was raised by parents and in a community in which such an idea was originally eschewed because that was considered a mental illness, and normal people don’t get mental illnesses. By the time I was a young adult, there was grudging acceptance that SOME kinds of mental affectations, disorders, or behaviors COULD occur, but probably you could avoid them by raising your kids right and generally not indulging the seven deadly sins. And boy is that a topic for another time. As the diagnosing of ADHD in children increased from the late 1980’s into the 2000’s; it became a political issue. Those who believed themselves to be “normal, traditional Americans” came to believe ADHD diagnosis were “crutches” used by parents and teachers to avoid doing their job. I’m sure you all have seen some variation on the meme “There’s no such thing as ADHD. If you had a gun to your head, you would study.”

No. I would be dead, asshole. It doesn’t work like that, and people refuse to learn. But I was RAISED believing it was all BS, so problems I had related to ADHD were clearly moral or intellectual failings on either my parents or myself, and my parents were pretty damned clear it wasn’t THEIR fault. That I carried the lessons learned from this into parenting myself is another long discussion, but for the matter at hand, as usual, it means I couldn’t write what I wanted to write this week. Thank God it wasn’t depression-related this time, as I would be in bed right now or stuffing food into my face instead of writing…which I DO really want to do. So we’re gonna talk about other things this week.

Speaking of ADHD, I was going to mention that I got to eat at Golden Corral this week when I took my mother back to the doctor to get her stitches removed; which reminded me of a story about Burger King somebody mentioned to me. So I looked that up instead. Someone mentioned to me that Burger King, my favorite fast-food burger-maker, was closing hundreds of franchise locations this year. That doesn’t surprise me; they have severe problems with franchise management and quality control. The only real problem I have with Burger King restaurants is piss-poor management, followed by under-staffing (not that they are alone in that category.) I would guess 40% of the Burger Kings I visit outside of lunch hours are incredibly slow and have a tendency to “run out of food” a few hours before closing. Two locations, after some polite but pointed questioning, admitted they had started closing up (this is a few hours before their advertised closing time) and weren’t going to start up the fryers or grills again, so they were only selling what was previously prepared or could be microwaved. I would rather have the honesty, even if the practice is infuriating. AND I HAVE WORKED FAST FOOD…the struggle is real and I would give anything to shut down early. But every location I worked had aggressive, active managers who kept the store popping until the bell rang.

ANYWAY…the story is actually from Spring 2023. Last year Burger King closed around 400 franchise locations. So if you know a BK location that sucks and it’s still open, it was deemed a “financially healthy” location. And that’s the key thing, isn’t it? A place can be absolutely awful but make money, through a combination of meeting demand and cost control. It’s one of the fundamentals of capitalism. There is a town of about 30,000 people just down the road from my own location. They have a wider selection of restaurants, fast food, and shopping than my own town, but not nearly as much as two different small cities I can reach in about an hour. This town hosts THE WORST WENDY’S IN THE WORLD. I have visited this Wendy’s in the past at 7:30PM, and all the external lights were out. I assumed there was some kind of electrical problem; I could see people standing at the counter inside. I pulled up the speaker/microphone/menu thingy; the order location for the drive-thru, and waited. After about a minute I asked for service. Now keep in mind it is reasonably dark at this point and I have my headlights on. Anyone in the restaurant could see me if they wanted. After a couple of minutes, a very flustered-sounding man asked to take my order. When I pulled up to the window, an early-middle-aged man with a “Manager” name tag apologized for wait. He had been in the office filling out reports, and somehow the drive-thru notification had been unplugged, so no one knew I was there. I told him that all the external lights were off, too. He stuck his head out the window and looked back to verify what I said. I noticed the employees behind him scatter. At least two went straight out the door to the parking lot. The manager prepared the meal himself, gave it to me at no charge, and dumped multiple coupon BOOKS into the bag. Much appreciated, but it didn’t lead to improvements…I’ve tried to eat there a couple of times since and the food and service were awful. The Dominos next door likewise prepares truly terrible pizza. But I’m betting each one makes a profit. There are three pizza places in town, and I’ve seen smaller populations support three or more. Likewise there are two McDonald’s, a Whataburger, and a Wendy’s for fast-food hamburgers…they make money just because demand is high enough. I suspect both locations receive thousands of complaints every month. But they make money, so it doesn’t matter.

Burger King said in January they think the closings are done. BK will remodel hundreds of locations this year and implement new menu items. Anyone who visits Burger King regularly will be wondering “how is that different from every year for the past fifteen?” And you’re right…the new leadership of Burger King is going to raise the franchise’s profile by doing exactly the same things they’ve been doing and hoping it works this time. They have introduced two different chicken wraps in their new menu. I don’t remember the first, but the newest is a buffalo sauce flavored option which is quite good. I mean, it’s not mind-blowing or anything, but it is tasty. To be fair, buffalo sauce is pretty hard to screw up, but I’ve seen it done. But I don’t think chicken wraps are going to save BK. I wish they could accept “just be Burger King” as good advice, but in 2024, even McDonald’s has decided “just keep being McDonald’s” isn’t acceptable. Stable profits aren’t good enough; if that line isn’t constantly going up, the business is a failure. The fact that this will inevitably eat itself is relegated to the vague future.

My advice? Figure out how to emulate that Whopper flavor at home. And I don’t mean “we make a home-made Whopper, but BETTER” that is constantly trending on YouTube. I hate those videos. I don’t want something that’s “what a Big Mac would be like if freshly-made at home,” I want the taste of a salty, saucy, too-much shredded lettuce with a tired, sad island of onion slivers and pickles double-16th pound Big Mac. Sue me.

Came across this situation playing my Bounty Hunter Sniper on Taris while doing the bonus missions series.

But what I really want to talk about right now is trying to salvage old laptops and I didn’t want to post a picture of an HP Stream, because honestly they don’t deserve the attention.

I have six and half laptops laying around that MIGHT be able to fulfill one of two roles. I got rid of my three-monitor setup and went back to a single larger monitor. The ONE thing that I lost that affects my daily life by doing this is that I kept a playlist of YouTube videos going in the right-hand monitor was I was working, gaming, etc. So I figured ONE of these laptops could be set up to do NOTHING but play YouTube, maybe load Discord. You would THINK that would be simple.

The first option DOES get a picture, because I LOVE this Asus Transformer T100TAM. It has an Atom processor, 2 Gigabytes of RAM, and a 64 Gigabyte hard drive. It is almost completely useless, but can ALMOST do all sorts of things. I bought it as a reader, but it’s too heavy for that. I used it to remotely play video during a live theater production one time, because it has a mini-HDMI output that worked with no lag. That was years ago, and it’s all gone downhill from there. I can’t even complete installing the latest version of Windows 10 on it (this is a recurring problem), but I can’t bring myself to throw it away yet. BlissOS is supposed to support Atom processors; I’ll probably try that soon.

I have an HP Stream 11 and an HP Stream 14. The Streams came with reasonable-for-what-it-is Celeron processors and 4GB-8GB of RAM. They feel quite useful and speedy. Until you install a program. Any program. Or if you try to update to a current version of Windows 10. Which they can’t do. At least the base models. The base models came with a 32 Gigabyte eMMC hard drive soldered to the motherboard. As in, it’s a cheap tablet in laptop form, but running a full version of Windows. You cannot upgrade past Windows version 21h2 with the amount of free space available after a Windows installation is completed. HOWEVER, you CAN install the latest official release of Windows, 22H2, from a USB stick. This will leave about 7 Gigabytes of space left. Here’s the thing: the latest version of Windows HAS BEEN 22H2, and yet if you have “the latest version of Windows” I bet you’ve noticed it downloads “the latest version” of Windows every month, and I’m not talking about security updates. On top of that, Windows 10 performance has been tanking hard ever since 22H2 came out. I actually tested this.

I have a couple of “real” HP laptops. One was older, so I just set it aside to be recycled, but the other is only a few years old. It’s still a cheap 15″ Walmart edition, but it has a 1 Terabyte hard drive and 8 Gigabytes of RAM…that should be enough to run Windows 10, right? Well, it was…until I updated to 22H2. Even after removing all the cruft Microsoft installs these days, I couldn’t play a YouTube video without stuttering and pausing. Here’s where I made an assumption: I created a new Windows 10 install USB using 22H2. Blanked the hard drive, installed 22H2, and everything was GREAT, except for the drivers needed specifically for this laptop. Incidentally, HP’s current support website is TERRIBLE. After installing the proper outdated drivers to get everything identified and working, I noticed suddenly Windows wanted to update 22H2 to the latest version of Windows, 22H2.

Lord Zeele plots with the newest member of his entourage, Darth Hexid. Hexid is thoroughly self-interested, selfish, and looks good in the official colors of Dark Blue and Light Gray. I try to not bring her into the house when Vette is home; it leads to tension.

I let the laptop update, and performance drained down the tubes. I tried several tips I found to disable Windows Update, and all the instructions to modify the registry or disable the Update Service didn’t work. In fact, Windows has a new service marked as “essential” that you can’t disable, that exists SOLELY to re-enable update services if you try to turn them off. But you CAN “turn them off,” so they technically aren’t breaking the law.

But I found a program that actually blocks the disable service constantly, so I got that. Then I UNINSTALLED every Microsoft update that Windows has installed since the USB stick installation, and what do you know? I got my performance back. It seems to still have some problems with 60fps video, but it doesn’t freeze the laptop or anything.

I didn’t even mess with my ancient Acer Aspire V5-122, an early implementation of AMD’s integrated CPU/GPU solution they called APU. It’s a dual-core A4 and was a poor performer in its default Windows 8. I did try re-installing from an official USB image, but something went screwy with the BIOS. I think it’s kind of funny that Windows Vista and 8/8.1 both took a lot of criticism for slow performance (8 less than Vista) yet I would take the performance of either of them over the current results with Windows 10. I used Vista for a LONG time; in fact the computer I still use (this one, the one I’m typing on and the one I play SWTOR and other games on) was built with Vista. I never had any performance problems at all, but I must disclose that it was BUILT with 32 Gigabytes of RAM. Memory has never been an issue, and I don’t see the performance hit with this computer using Windows 22H2 that I do with any other computer. My Dell has 12 Gigabytes of RAM, and is no faster than the older laptops with 8Gb and 4Gb. I am assuming that 16 Gigabytes is likely now the minimum, but I haven’t tested it. The Dell was very much a compromise system that can’t be upgraded past 12.

Rix has finished grinding reputation on Makeb, and has moved on to CZ-198 with former-Imperial Lieutenant turned Imperial Agent-in-training Reina Temple. Here we see Reina insisting her muted metallic green and orange jumpsuit is NOT a suitable recipient for a recently acquired Dark Blue and Purple dye, no matter how rare or valuable it is.

I need to try to find a laptop that would work for college work, and the only remaining choice is the Dell Latitude Convertible I bought about five years ago for work trips, and then used when I went back to college. Like everything else, I recently updated Windows to 22H2 and lost performance, so likely I will have to look into doing a factory restore, get it up to a certain point, then block updates like I have with the minimally-acceptable HP laptop.

I’m also looking at Haiku, the current incarnation of BeOS. Unfortunately a laptop for college work really needs to be a 100% current and compatible Windows system. I have helped other students with Chromebook support and found it problematic. The sudden explosion of Android-x86 OS options fascinate me, but as I just said, Android support for the apps needed for college, at least in the systems I have experience, is piecemeal at best.

Also my mother made a cabbage casserole for me because I had mentioned I was steaming rice or quinoa a lot for lunch, and had recently started hankering adding a bit of cabbage to the steam tray in my rice cooker. I like steamed or fried cabbage. Then when we ate lunch at Golden Corral they had some squash and cabbage as a veggie option, which went great with my chicken-fried steak and cream gravy and mashed potatoes with brown gravy, and giant potato roll. And that brings us full-circle to where we started, and maybe I can focus on something really useful this week.



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5 thoughts on “ADHD on my mind

  1. Pythor says:

    Old / low power laptop that only needs to run Youtube is a perfect recipe for trying a Linux distribution, though I’m not sure how hard that is with an Atom processor. If you have the files to re-install Windows anyway, though, it couldn’t hurt to try. I run Ubuntu, because I might be crazy, but I’m too lazy to worry about other distros. I’ve heard Mint is good too, though. And if you want to do the research, I’m sure there are specific “minimal” options out there that will perform slightly better with low specs.

    1. I’ve done some digging and I keep seeing Debian coming up specifically with the Asus T100TAM. Ubuntu and Mint both have apparently been done, but NOT without some fiddling and problems. Something that’s throwing things for a loop with this PARTICULAR Asus Transformer is that the processor is 64-bit, but the UEFI is only 32-bit. That’s keeping all of the Android options from installing.

    2. Adam says:

      My mother-in-law uses Xubuntu (an Ubuntu variant that uses the ultra low resource XFCE desktop) on an old Aton netbook to listen to internet radio at night. Works well enough, and looks similar enough to WindowsXP that she wasn’t too put off by it.

  2. PPX14 says:

    Ha, good description of the T100 ! My father used one for a while. Similar situation with the Linx Vision gaming tablet. In principle it is great… in use it is very slow indeed.

    1. PPX14 says:

      And a good description of burger king (wow, swipe text typed that as “budget joint”). My local one in Chester (UK) was almost opposite a very bustling McDonald’s that was constantly full of teens. The BK on the other hand was dark, dingy, empty, understaffed, more expensive, and took ages to get food at, by comparison with the robot efficiency of McD. Still, the Big King and Long Big King or whatever they were called were good when I had the vouchers, and I reckon better than the Big Mac. And then of course it closed.

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