Issue 10 - 02/11/19


  • Financial Aid at Hogwarts
  • Therapy: One Year Later
  • Sherlock Spec Script Excerpt
  • 10 Ways to Tell Your Significant Other That You Remember Their Name
  • Who Would Win Bright Ocean vs. Dark Ocean
  • Nextdoor Clippings
  • Horoscopes: Creative Outlets
  • Office Chart

Financial Aid at Hogwarts

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

The books take place between 1991-1998. We'll use 1997 because I like that year but some of the data is more general.

The total population of the United Kingdom in 1997 was 58.32 million.

It is said that there are ten times more muggles than magic-users, and therefore the UK's magical community in 1997 was 5.8 million.

A little over 20% of the population was under 16, which means roughly 10% was Hogwarts school-age.

Therefore, over half a million were eligible to attend Hogwarts if the only criteria were magical ability and age. This number is clearly untenable, meaning some other selection process was used.

This process probably would've been financially based, because the alternatives are rather Orwellian, e.g. based on bloodline, some committee's assessment of ability, promise, or overall quality, or maybe even random, which is terrifying given the monumental advantage a Hogwarts education would provide (I don't remember any other local schools being mentioned - were the options only Hogwarts or homeschool?)

But supposing it was financial: money makes no sense in this world. Why were there poor or rich families? Couldn't they just magically create more money? This would inflate an economy to death on a large enough scale but doesn't seem super enforceable.

Why do magic-users even need much money? Can't they just magic up a big house, new furniture, even food? Is them going out and spending money equivalent to us using vinyl records to listen to music?

In fairness, perhaps not everyone wanted to go to Hogwarts as the number of student deaths throughout the series is clearly non-zero.

Even pretending the number of students is borderline manageable, it has been and continues to increase over time. Can Hogwarts magically accommodate this? Stretch the walls of classrooms? Force professors to do time-and-a-half using time turners? Would they demand increased pay? Are they getting paid to begin with? By who? Is Hogwarts a public or private school? At what point do they turn to the Ministry for funding and as a result become a streamlined auror school, which is basically a military academy? What happens when virtually an entire population grows up in a military academy? Shades of an authoritarian magical regime if you ask me.

Therapy: One Year Later

Seneschal-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer

I started seeing a therapist for the same reason I expect many do: pure desperation.

By the end of January 2018, my anxiety at work had become completely unmanageable. I wasn't able to eat more than one meal a day because I was constantly nauseous. I regularly woke up in the night, sometimes even sitting up in bed or standing up, thinking I was at work. The fear left me paralyzed and accomplishing very little which led to more anxiety. I felt trapped. It got to the point that I was either going to have to quit or get help. I walked into therapy expecting some coping mechanisms I could apply to my everyday life, clearly in denial about the real work I needed to do. I quickly learned that anxiety was just a symptom and if I was ever going to conquer it I would need to dig up its roots.

My first year of therapy completely changed my life and resulted in 2018 being... a doozy. It was often uncomfortable and slow. Sometimes it was heartbreaking and raw. Some days I would come home from my appointment and be unable to do anything but sit on my couch and stare at the wall. It's hard to keep living your life normally while you're digging around in a box of compartmentalized feelings. Matt compared it to trying to drive a car and repair it at the same time. It was hard and sometimes it still is.

I love therapy because it's an hour just for me with someone completely dedicated to my well being and goals. My therapist helps me get to the bottom of what I'm feeling and encourages me to be honest and hold strong boundaries. She's often my common sense filter. She reminds me to ignore the shoulds and ought tos and focus on what I truly want and what will bring me peace.

If you have the privilege to do so, I strongly encourage you to see someone. Even if you aren't desperate.

I know that most people cannot afford to see a therapist every week. And most people don't have the time or emotional bandwidth to do this kind of work. I suggest reaching out to a therapist to see if they have a sliding scale payment option. I also recommend being open with the people in your life and letting them know that in order for you to help yourself you might need them to support you and understand that you might not always be at 100% while you're trudging through the work. Make your mental health a priority.

If you have questions about therapy or resources please feel free to reach out. And if you can, I recommend donating to this gofundme campaign.

Sherlock Spec Script Excerpt

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

Sherlock Season 6 Episode 1 - 06/04/2024



Dismal half-lit hallways feed into more dismal half-lit hallways.

WATSON (V.O., FROM 5.2): You just can't leave well enough alone.

No sound rises over the contemplative music and nobody is to be seen.

SHERLOCK (V.O., FROM 5.3): I can't be finished.

INSPECTOR LESTRADE (V.O., FROM 5.3): It'll be better there.

SHERLOCK (V.O., FROM 5.3, DISTRESSED): I can't be finished.

Light shines through drawn blinds into a gray room. We pan low until legs are visible under a cheap folding table. Dress shoes and slacks on the right, white in-patient pants and slippers on the left, heels raised.

DOCTOR: One month contract, then we reassess. MacMillan are eager and will offer a generous salary, provided you...


DOCTOR (CONT'D): The need is very high. You'll be doing important work.


DOCTOR (CONT'D): Important work.



SHERLOCK'S haggard face staring down.

We pan across a toilet installation, too high to see the mess, but it's clear that it's an atrocity. Two custodians watch on from outside the door, unfocused in the background. SHERLOCK shuts the door on them. The fluorescent light hums.

SHERLOCK squats and studies the ground. The camera pans around in first person while those daft stylistic subtitles and algebras float around the evidence - a reflective puddle at the base of the ceramic, wads of toilet paper strewn haphazardly over the tile, and in the background, unfocused but grotesque dark smears up the wall. SHERLOCK studies them stoically. He produces from his coat a magnifying glass and studies the puddle.



The custodians stare at the door as the sounds of commotion and a banging toilet seat and crashing and bursting water and a whirring towel dispenser are heard. They slowly turn and look at each other.



BOSS in business attire sits behind his desk. SHERLOCK stands.

SHERLOCK: ...and this trajectory indicates two things; one, that he is a male between 5'4" and 5'8", which should narrow the field a fair deal, and two, that he both sat and stood during the same visit, which you may be forgiven for interpreting as confusion, perhaps even severe dementia, but the repeated nature of these offences tells us that this is premeditated and deliberate. So why the switch-up? It's simple, really. Is that your brother in that photo?

BOSS: Why, yes. Tim and I are close, he visits every...


BOSS: (PAUSE) Yes. But...

SHERLOCK: It's clear from the evidence that the perpetrator's diet is rather low in fiber but remarkably high in corn. Perhaps someone who frequently enjoys Mexican cuisine. Perhaps... Julio's?

Both look towards the man's trash bin where fast food bags clearly reading Julio's reside.

SHERLOCK: Tim bring you lunch when he visits?

BOSS is speechless.

SHERLOCK: Sibling rivalries. Must keep an eye out.

He turns, his ankle bracelet glinting in the office light, and starts towards the door.

BOSS: Wait - Sherlock - there are the incidents in the 3rd floor women's, too, before you're done for the day.

SHERLOCK pauses without turning before continuing out of view.

BOSS: (ALONE) Gross.

10 Ways to Tell Your Significant Other That You Remember Their Name 

Brewmaster-level contributor Alex Speed

Well, Valentine's day is coming up, and it's time to show your special person that you definitely without a doubt remember what his/her name is and you don't just view them as a vessel for avoiding your own inadequacies.

1. Take them to Starbucks, order for them - it's a power move and a great way to show you remember their name without the pressure of trying to spell it.

2. Do that thing where you run into someone you haven't seen in a while, like a former co-worker or friend you used to sit next to in cult meetings, and gesture to each of them as if to suggest "you two introduce yourselves even though I know both of your names." It works all the time.

3. Compile a small stack of ornately wrapped gifts (something like 30-40) and write a different name on each gift. Present them the entire stack and watch as they struggle to understand the message of this weird power move about how many friends you have that they have never met or heard you talk about ever.

4. Pretend that you were kidnapped and leave a very sweet ransom note addressed to them. Delivery should be in the form of a brick thrown through their window in the dead of night.

5. Adopt the online persona of a pushy Hungarian widower and send them daily poems filled with fish-themed metaphors of love. After three weeks of nautical seduction, reveal that it was you the whole time! You found their profile because you know their name!

6. Open up a credit card in their name at Hobby Lobby.

7. Collar.

8. Legally change their name so that it's the same as yours. This shows you knew their name originally, but now you are forever bonded in nomenclature.

9. Sign them up to receive daily door visits from the Church of Ladder-Day Saints. Bonus: you save them from eternal damnation.

10. Never forget the all-time classic: face tattoo.

The Church of Ladder-Day Saints is not to be confused with the much more widely known and far less dangerous Church of Latter-Day Saints.

Who Would Win Bright Ocean vs. Dark Ocean

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

Bright ocean: can get a tan 

Dark ocean: don't have to worry about sunburns

Bright: tropical aesthetic makes for a relaxing summer vibe

Dark: cloudy skies and stormy squalls make for a relaxing wintry aesthetic

Bright: cruises get romanticized but probably suck

Dark: life as a sailor on a North Atlantic fishing vessel gets romanticized but probably sucks

Bright: Robert Louis Stevenson is fun but kind of dumb

Dark: Herman Melville is contemplative but kind of pretentious

Bright: have to worry about sharks

Dark: have to worry about whales?

Bright: hurricanes

Dark: aptly dark and stormy nights

Bright: like Spongebob

Dark: also plenty of Spongebob

Bright: have to deal with spring-breakers who are more athletic than you and play music that makes you vaguely nauseous and are continuously vaping just so much that you will smell dank mango for the following three weeks and lose your appetite for what was previously your favorite food and you won't even have been able to see any dolphins through the haze of sick billowing rips

Dark: have to deal with surly old men who are less the classic romanticized, sea-shanty rattling, honestly and rusticly endearing, delightfully messily bearded old coots, and more clearly in need of therapy, alcoholic, racist, and plenty more that you don't want to contemplate too long because you're stuck in this village for at least two more nights because of the storm

Bright: have to worry about sharks and it's your responsibility to save loved ones from these alpha predators in the astronomical chance that the need arises

Dark: don't really have to worry about sharks and can relax knowing that there won't be an emergency in which you'll be called upon

Bright: if you're not fast enough you'll regret it forever

Dark: time moves a little slower out here, and that's nice, because you move too slow, way too slow, you useless fool

Bright: the idyllic aesthetic contrasts sickeningly with the horrors of the memories you can't escape, that you'll never be able to escape

Dark: you can hide from others, everyone, but not always yourself

Bright: he was so close, you had him in your grasp, saw his terrified eyes pleading with you to save him, to do whatever had to be done, to do anything, and you let him get dragged beneath the surface one last time, you weren't strong enough, and you floated helplessly in the gorey brine for what seemed like an eternity, at last hoping for nothing other than that you, too, get dragged into the depths and consumed so that you wouldn't have to go on, not like this

Dark: the seafood is so fresh!

Nextdoor Clippings

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

Christopher - North University - 37th St. Christmas Lights

It's February. You know what that means: the last vestiges of holiday cheer are rapidly drying up and all but disappeared. Come join us to appreciate this final bastion of Christmas spirit. We're going to encircle the house and let nobody in or out for 36 hours. At nightfall on the second day we're going to charge the property and fling ourselves against the feeble walls not unlike crazed moths and shatter the windows with our leaping bodies. We will fill the house to bursting and devour every light left shining inside and out to warm our dark souls. Bring cocoa. 

Judy - South Congress - Elderly woman in backyard


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Horoscopes: Creative Outlets

Seneschal-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer

CAPRICORN - Grab your camera (aka your iphone 6s) and head outdoors, Cap. You're destined to be a wildlife photographer! Will you be any good at it? Almost certainly no. But the squirrels in your neighborhood are going to be flattered! Make sure you tag them on insta.

AQUARIUS - Synchronized swimming is in your future, Aquarius! Well, it will be more like you and several others all flailing in open water away from a bull shark off the coast of Massachusetts. Cool!

PISCES - We all know your inner emo kid is just dying to get out, Pisces. Go into your parent's attic, dust of that 2002 karaoke machine, and lay down some sick screamo vocals. Tell no one.

ARIES - Oh Aries, you need a creative outlet for all that pent up energy. Set a fire.

TAURUS - You're making crop circles, Taurus! Yeah, remember crop circles? That's you now. You can have a little friendly competition with the aliens. Winner gets to probe the loser! How fun.

GEMINI - Get your butt to Costco Gemini. Buy as much flour as you can fit in your car and make the largest cake the world has ever seen. Hollow that bad boy out and jump on in while wearing your classiest bejeweled bra. Take a delicious nap in there. Huzzah!

CANCER - Why try something new when you can try something old, Cancer? Break into your local church and paint a fresco on their ceiling. May I suggest a portrait of Myshka? I'll send you some pictures.

LEO - Did you know running can be creative, Leo? Go outside and run around your house seven times. Express yourself!

VIRGO - Open up a can of Campbell's Vegetable SoupTM and make a poem with the letter noodles, Virgo. Glue the letters to a canvas and send it to the CEO of Campbell's SoupTM at 1 Campbell Place, Camden, NJ, 08103-1701.

LIBRA - Start a podcast, Libra! Use it as an outlet for all your ideas. All your weird, uncomfortable ideas. All your nonsense, insane ideas. I'm calling the police.

SCORPIO - You've heard of carving pumpkins, Scorpio, but have you heard of carving a meat orb? Stop by your local butcher and tell them you need their largest meat orb for carving. They'll know what to do!

SAGITTARIUS - Paint for a rabbit, Sagittarius, and seven goes home. Training on plans can read small but twenty follows and it misremembered at lunch. Did xeno find brush interest? Hello!

Office Chart

The National - Pink Rabbits

Rufus Wainwright - Memphis Skyline

The Felice Brothers - Jack at the Asylum

Conor Oberst - Counting Sheep

Lana Del Rey - Cherry

The Mountain Goats - Going to Georgia

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

Car Seat Headrest - Beach Life-In-Death



Cenote - Zack Nipper for The People's Key by Bright Eyes

The insane Hogwarts FAFSA baby shirt is apparently copyrighted to BeeGeeTees and was found for some concerning reason on