188 episodes

Every week, Jim invites different friends to guest on Topic Lords and be excited about whatever they've been fixated on this week.

Topic Lords Jim Stormdancer

    • Comedy
    • 4.8 • 12 Ratings

Every week, Jim invites different friends to guest on Topic Lords and be excited about whatever they've been fixated on this week.

    188. An Extremely Gendered Sniper Rifle

    188. An Extremely Gendered Sniper Rifle




    Zines and Jam Games; stuff that's understood to be breakable


    Birding in the pandemic
    Itinerant Filmmakers


    Meditation on Capitalism

    I found the tweet that the image came from, but still don't know the author of the poem: https://twitter.com/Sierra_OffLine/status/1100852286585221122


    The Bugzooka
    Booms and busts of little insect invasions.
    A little vacuum chamber that you squish closed.
    Sucking a fly through a tube.
    Cry havoc and let slip the bugs of war.
    Egads, Bugzooks!
    The Bug-A-Salt Passion Assassin 3.0.
    A middle aged dad of the type that would buy a salt gun
    A bugzooka in active use.
    A balding man who looks like Jeffery Epstein crawling on the floor in his underwear to promote the Bug-A-Salt.
    Professor Fly Presents: Fly Facts.
    Judging the anatomical correctness of Professor Fly.
    Hammacher-Schlemmer ads for bug-catching devices.
    Whether women make better snipers.
    Aiming at the fly on the wall with your laser sight.
    Mr. Pinch.
    A fly in a lab coat who lives in Seattle.
    A photocopied leaflet about your band or political cause.
    The best, most well-produced musicians in the world.
    Ways to frame game jams.
    A good brain hack for if you feel the urge to be a product.
    Electric Zine Maker.
    Whether the pandemic is over.
    One of the birdiest places in the United States.
    Talk Irby to Me.
    Becoming texting buddies with a famous bird systematist from Cornell.
    A Big Year.
    Yelling bird coordinates at someone you just met.
    Winston's favorite bird and why he likes it so much.
    Knowing something about ravens. (Not what they eat.)
    The Northwestern Crow.
    A crow catching live shrimp and stashing them in the moss.
    Collecting black walnut husks to dye wool.
    Feeding crows who bring you lipstick from the 1940s.
    What to do with a 10 pound bag of unsalted peanuts.
    A movie where every kid in town foils an attempted kidnapping and then holds a talent show.
    Ark Music Factory.
    Hiring a record label guy to write and record a song with your daughter so she can star in a terrible music video and become a survivor of internet celebrity.
    Social media survivors.
    Stardom: it's not good for you.
    Whether kids today still want to be movie stars.
    Bitmojis and other things that put you in a little cartoon.
    A customized birthday greeting from a Weird Al.
    Paying Rudy Giuliani a pittance to wish your mom a happy birthday.
    One of the Breaking Bad hitman twins undercutting the other by $300 on Cameo.
    Preserving your Too Short custom rap tape on Youtube.
    A poem written in BASIC that is spoilers for Mad Men.
    The light in your Ikea bookshelf recognizing the light in you.
    Doing line number archaeology when reading a BASIC program.
    Seeing text from the other side of the page through the page.
    Do It.
    Instructional Art.
    Finding 25 identical objects and naming them all Jimmy.
    Flying Maxx to the Permian Basin to teach your students how to repair microscopes.
    Support Topic Lords

    • 57 min
    187. The Second-Best Whale Playground In Emeryville

    187. The Second-Best Whale Playground In Emeryville





    USB-C cables that only work in one orientation


    Playgrounds seem to have gotten really good again in the last ten years
    Bedtime guitar update
    Where the Wild Things Are


    Classic hardware has become a kind of fantasy console


    Constructing a computing environment as a nested series of cages for a child to escape


    Extra plugs.
    Mr. Saitou
    How to sideload software onto the Playdate.
    Trying to make Sifteo happen.
    Where to find all the fancy MacIntosh dithering algorithms.
    Ableton for the Sega Megadrive.
    Who Zarf is.
    EU legislation saying that phones must charge via USB-C, which is unsustainable, when the text of the law ought to have been "Apple, knock that shit off."
    Getting rid of your bucket of cables.
    Never throwing away wood because you might need one that shape some day
    Never throwing away oddly shaped pieces of wood because you might become a carpenter some day.
    Playgrounds getting bad and then good again.
    Getting breakfast at the Emeryville Public Market.
    Whether swings or seesaws still exist.
    Giant wooden castles with bridges going between them.
    How to make the spinny playground things safe.
    A regionally variable playground.
    What countries have and don't have playgrounds.
    The San Lorenzo Community Park.
    A big stone bear you can climb on.
    Whether any of those playground speaking tubes have ever worked.
    Wanting the world to have magic in it so you lie to your kid about science.
    The Dennis the Menace playground in Monterey.
    Periodically removing the poison oak.
    Growing up and being on the other side of the memory.
    The Dead Dad playground turning into a fenced-off deathtrap.
    Procedural memory for nice melodies.
    Mountain dulcimers vs. hammered dulcimers.
    Walking around with a bandolier of mountain dulcimers, one for every key.
    What happens when you're living in the Appalachians and you want to make a violin but you can't.
    What to do with your ability to play an instrument when you have no free time.
    Maintaining a consistent strumming pattern while singing.
    Strumming and finding finger positions intuitively.
    Here's all the notes. Play the right ones at the right times.
    The Virtual Console of musical instruments.
    Jim's favorite note in the mixolydian mode.
    Where the Wild Things Are for Xbox 360.
    A poem with hardly any punctuation.
    Going on a journey of many weeks in just a few pages.
    Max in a wolf suit fighting bees with a stick.
    Maurice Sendak Kart Racer.
    Dinosaur Time.
    Clapping for names you know.
    A building with dinosaur bones in it.
    Rumpusing things.
    Games where you whack shadow spiders with a stick.
    GB Studio.
    Putting a wifi adapter in an NES cartridge.
    The Mario modding tool set.
    An IDE for making NES games.
    Pi-Boy D.
    Doing homebrew development on a system that is still in active use.
    Castlevania: Passacaglia of Disrepair.
    GBA of Theseus.
    Making a Lynx game that supports 8-player multiplayer, when there aren't 8 people who own the system.
    Porting a game about matching colors to a monochrome display.
    Giving your kids a computer running Linux to teach them sysadmin skills, but they just play games on their phone instead.
    Branded Scratch Wrappers.
    Composing new music for the extended What the Golf? cinematic universe.
    How to unlock your school laptop to play the Chrome Dinosaur Game.
    Support Topic Lords

    • 1 hr 8 min
    186. ADHD Shame Graveyard Of Browser Tabs

    186. ADHD Shame Graveyard Of Browser Tabs





    My Thursday Night
    The daunting thought of: there is so much music that exists now - it's more than likely that your favorite song in the world is out there and you'll never find it in your lifetime.
    I've been working on a small game in my spare time and I never want to ship it. I just want to have friends playtest forever.
    Fine Feather


    The terrifying field of Hostile Nuclear Architecture


    Do you have 103 tabs open in Chrome?
    In Super Mario World, some secrets reward you by skipping levels and some reward you by adding new levels. Make up your mind! If the level add guy and the level subtract guy had just talked to each other they could've just left the levels as they were and saved everybody a lot of work.


    Having something to unplug.
    Continuing to take care of your children.
    Going to see the Mountain Goats for your birthday.
    Sleep meds that don't interact well with grapefruit.
    Caring for a newborn for a month and then suddenly having a nice meal.
    A cocktail of factors.
    Finding an amazing new artist you become obsessed with for the next few months.
    Listening to music while you work.
    A poster containing the source code for Pitfall.
    How to keep finding new music in your thirties.
    Auto-brewery syndrome but for methamphetamines.
    A good song that everybody likes.
    Fear of stories.
    Refusing to see a movie because you're afraid of what it'll make you feel.
    Going camping in the woods in order to watch a movie.
    Reliving your past experience in memory.
    The soap operas that your ex's mom would watch.
    Buying sheet music and playing it yourself in anticipation of when the orchestra comes to your town to play you the real thing.
    Sheet music as a pre-release hype document.
    Reading the manual of your new video game on the car ride home.
    Listening to a record with somebody.
    Rogue topics that keep threatening to come up.
    Playtesting as a way to get to know your friends better.
    Approaching the things that are valuable to you through the lens of an illusion that you know is an illusion.
    Lockdown hobbies.
    How to enjoy hobbies.
    Starting a Youtube series called "Ben sucks at baking" so you get a bunch of followers who will be disappointed if you get good at baking.
    Dehydrating beer to get yeast out of it.
    Making beer out of the yeast that's just hanging out in the air around you.
    Gordy and the Monster Moon.
    Nine year olds who are incredible at climbing because they refuse to eat fish.
    A sparrow showing you its whole ass.
    Whether sparrows are detested.
    How to dispose of nuclear waste.
    Attempts to make you hind brain think "I need to leave here immediately."
    The meme of the skeleton playing the trumpet.
    A field of Aztec death whistles activated by the wind blowing.
    Trying to save the lives of people who live far in the future.
    Speaking across time.
    Whether this place is a place of honor.
    An ADHD Shame Graveyard of Browser Tabs.
    Going over all your browser tabs to see which ones remain relevant to you.
    Details of how one bathes oneself that we never discuss in public.
    A web browser that'll tell you "no, I think you've had enough tabs"
    A brick that gives you a key.
    How Elden Ring is structured.
    A game that is a foray into a new design space that demonstrates how not to solve these design problems.
    A scavenger hunt to find the next Topic Lords guest.
    Support Topic Lords

    • 59 min
    185. 2000-Year-Old Head, Again??

    185. 2000-Year-Old Head, Again??




    My keyboard is registering double inputs again help me
    Youtube channels that summarize movies like Cliff's Notes


    M3gan; technology horror movies
    You don't get points for coins in Super Mario World!


    A video game man.
    The Animorphs train.
    Children committing war crimes and having to live with the consequences.
    How many books are in the Animorphs series.
    The Visser Chronicles.
    Yeerks living in the Yeerk pool.
    Finding the person whose car you stole and explaining "here's your car back, I did a bunch of war crimes in it"
    Hearing someone explain Animorphs repeatedly and never forming a single opinion.
    The horror of noses moving around.
    Refusing to read graphic novels because you can't read and look at pictures at the same time.
    Animorphs: Shattered Reality.
    Why boys don't read Animorphs.
    Marco turning into an Andalyte.
    Eating via your hooves.
    F for Furry.
    The canonical source for all sexualities.
    Non-Consensual Dippin' Dots.
    Haunted Headphones.
    How to compliment your partner's flams.
    Taking a movie and turning it into a TikTok.
    The dude from Dark with the face.
    Twisted social experiment: whoever survives til the end gets to live.
    2000 Year Old Head Again??
    Blind Man Who Robbers Are Trying To Avoid For A Movie.
    This Garfield Comic is Too Highbrow.
    A Simple Rhyming Man.
    I Had a Lover's Quarrel with the World.
    A chat bot that only replies with cat memes.
    An extremely asymmetric cat.
    Hiding inside the couch.
    A cat wearing a neckerchief.
    AI dolls in horror movies.
    A movie that is advertised relentlessly on whatever wavelength you're on.
    Content warning: hilarious child death. The whole movie theater will laugh.
    Haunted TikTok.
    Topic Lords M3gan Edition.
    Robot vs. Firmware Updates.
    Robot vs. EULA.
    Horror stories about firmware updates.
    A toilet that screams at you if you're not licensed to shit in it.
    Bathrooms that self clean whether you're still in there or not.
    How many points coins are worth in all the different Mario games.
    Incentivizing children to stomp on goombas.
    Frog Fractions as an expression of score-related trauma.
    An email where it's hard to tell who is fucking with whom.
    The kind of people who like a game and leave a negative review on Steam that is clearly a joke but actually click the thumbs down button.
    Curling: the most horny sport.
    The game where people crouch really low and try to get a stone into a button.
    Playing Frog Fractions for 420 hours.
    The modern experience of being verified on Twitter.
    The time Frog Fractions was crashing when you played it in France.
    Support Topic Lords

    • 1 hr
    184. Times New Orange

    184. Times New Orange







    The 3-food problem: what 3 foods are pairwise good but bad all together?
    Talking loudly during movie trailers as an act of anticapitalist subversion
    Moon Mode on your phone camera is probably just pasting a good picture of the moon over your bad one.


    The Orange by Wendy Cope


    Learning Italian from a cartoon dog
    Being able to identify McElroy fans by how they complement my woodworking


    RIP List of Video Games Considered Artistic



    kittenm4ster's PICO-8 games.
    Vibing with the Alfonzo's Bowling Challenge ethos.
    A game that is implemented in under 8000 tokens.
    The ideal game pitch.
    Chocolate and cheese and something.
    Chocolate and gravy.
    A lukewarm Americano.
    A bunch of foodies who really know their foodstuffs.
    A fish being strangled by Red Vines.
    A GPU that has food inside of it.
    The Turing test for whether computers can taste foods.
    Asking Chat GPT what three foods you can combine to create a bomb in your kitchen.
    Whether Gallium has calories.
    Three people on a podcast who all think "trailers" should come after the movie
    Finding out about a movie by seeing a trailer in a movie theater even though trailers are constantly spilling out of every screen you own.
    Getting the wiggles out.
    How to make the lives of people who enjoy looking at ads a little bit worse.
    Yelling "fire" before the movie starts so fewer people pay attention to the pre-movie ads.
    Wanting to become the reason all movies have "no leopards in the theater" PSAs now.
    A toddler watching Youtube, yelling "no!" and throwing the phone on the ground when an ad plays.
    Pushing the lever to receive your stochastic reward.
    Youtube deciding you've seen enough ads lately and taking pity on you.
    Trying to explain to a four year old how to play a light gun game but the game is over before you finish explaining.
    The Space Alien Busting Song.
    Drawing new mountains on the moon to test your camera's moon mode.
    Here's the moon again.
    A filter to replace pictures of your wife with the moon.
    A Snapchat filter that makes you feel like you used to be attractive.
    A filter that takes your bad photos of the moon and makes them even worse.
    The worst bunny in the moon.
    A good poem that rhymes.
    Turtle metaconsistency.
    Enormous and hilarious oranges.
    Good art here, you guys.
    Reading poetry in the original Helvetica.
    BorgiaPro on various font downloading sites.
    A cartoon that is entertaining even if you are not learning Italian.
    Finding Armando's old hat in the attic.
    Asking the clouds to move so that your hat can protect you from the sun.
    Working within a constraint that produces delightful nonsense.
    Photocopying yourself to create a black and white clone.
    What drugs they'll give to kids in what countries.
    Growing up but continuing to take the same drugs.
    A little girl who is also a dog.
    Subtitles that don't match what's being said aloud.
    Watching Italian TV using a VPN.
    The Andrew Lloyd Weber musical with the roller skates.
    Roller bladers dancing in weird futuristic costumes.
    Having positive fun experiences with language.
    Learning a new language while skydiving.
    Hiring an experienced skydiver who can give you foreign language lessons while you're both falling from a plane.
    Getting bored while skydiving and looking at your phone but there's no WiFi up there.
    How McElroy fans

    • 1 hr 3 min
    183. The Radioactive Scone Problem

    183. The Radioactive Scone Problem




    Taking advantage of a rare opportunity to play a Legend of Zelda game before every aspect of it is documented on the internet
    RCA's implementation of color television is one of the most impressive engineering feats of the 20th century
    The guy next to me on BART talked to me the entire ride home from GDC. He made me play the phone game he was addicted to and compared my performance to the coworker he was also making play the game. He got a call from his wife and introduced me to her. He told me he was in prison for 30 years for murder. His step son is a pitbull breeder and he complained about how few free pitbulls he was getting. He smelled weed on the train and put on a loud voice to announce "I'm a cop, put your vape pen away." My stop was also his stop, so the monologue didn't let up when I got off the train. I finally escaped when he was distracted by girl scout cookies.
    Are dumplings universal? It seems like every civilization has at some point invented their version of 'carbs around a protein' food


    The best part of the show.
    The Great Lakes Pigeon Rescue.
    How best to keep a pigeon.
    Hiding in the discord
    Solving problems in interesting ways.
    A very interesting idea that just barely pays off.
    Playing a new game all weekend for the first time in your life.
    A game that is too spiky to be solved by one person.
    A matchmaking service that puts you on a forum with fifty people who are each starting a Dark Souls game for the first time.
    Accidentally playing geez Fez with your sister.
    A riddle about risk management.
    Not being able to throw away radioactive waste because you don't want to waste food.
    Deciding which cookie to put in your mouth
    Finding the password to someone's laptop in a video game by googling their information in real life.
    Digital vs. Analog circuitry.
    Piggybacking the color signal on top of the black and white signal.
    Quadrature amplitude modulation.
    Racing the Beam.
    Being banished from the kingdom for partly understanding how television works.
    Inventing two televisions so you can run one backwards.
    Extroverts who when meeting an introvert, think to themselves "it's my job to bridge the gap"
    Escaping when someone is distracted by Girl Scout Cookies.
    Encountering the ARG that you made for yourself and then forgot about.
    Not getting as many free pitbulls as you thought.
    Getting off the train early to get away from the person who won't stop talking to you and he's like "oh ok I'll get off here too."
    Your wife who hates when you impersonate a cop.
    The episode of Train Hot Dog which was just Jim reading a stack trace for twenty minutes.
    Trying to figure out what web site you can browse on your phone to get the person sitting next to you to stand up.
    Jim's preferred San Francisco residents.
    The orange bland ambassadorial face of the moon.
    Wild spiders crying together.
    What to do when the air raid sirens go off.
    Moving to a new place where they don't have monthly nuclear accident drills.
    John Vanderslice.
    The Human Missile Crisis.
    Showing fear for humanity before it's cool.
    Poetry that is not meant to be read aloud.
    Stripping the formatting out of e e cummings's poetry.
    A poem that skips around on the page like Chutes and Ladders.
    Topic Troves.
    Carbs around a protein food.
    A rooster named Pierogi.
    Whether dumplings have to be slimy.
    Putting the pudding in a protein.
    A particleboard meat.
    A McRib that's been injected with custard.
    Sweet and savory things placed inside a carb.
    What civilizations have never invented the dumpling.
    How to get from agriculture to the Hot Pocket.
    The singular of funfetti.
    How to get into the Topic Lords discord.
    Topic Lords the Phone Game.
    Cheap Bots Toot Sweet.
    Support Topic Lords

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Livevil999 ,

Good podcast

This is a show where 3 people from alternate realities (multiverse theory) debate topics from each of their own realities. Nobody knows the topics ahead of time and points are awarded with the loser being banished from their own reality and joining a new reality chosen at random. Its a lot and sometimes you feel really bad for the people who are banished, like the one guy who was banished to the universe where all veggies taste like blue cheese or the woman who was banished to a 2nd dimensional reality but she was still 3d so she couldn’t interact with anyone really. Rough stuff.

The topics are good and it’s basically a conversation among friends but you do end up learning things from their life experience and such. Would recommend it!

scumbly ,

Wonderful show, one problem

As a longtime fan of Jim (and always a newly-minted fan of each guest/lord he invites on), this show is so close to being five stars for me.

Problem is, so many episodes bring in guests that are on microphone setups that are just unlistenable for me. I may be more sensitive to this than others, but it seems like on every other episode at least one guest sounds like they’re shouting down an echoing hallway the whole time. It’s a frustrating listen when you’re trying to concentrate on what people are saying, because otherwise the material and rapport are so fun and good.

Would love to revisit this rating, and start recommending the show to friends, if they can just establish a good baseline for guest audio quality. Until then, I’m mostly enjoying it through clenched teeth.

Zelrain ,

great lords, sufficiently topical

i grew eager to listen to this podcast when i saw that someone named the second episode “Conjure a False Godot” because i thought maybe these lords might offer some engaging Beckett discussion.

only upon reaching the end of the aforementioned episode featuring, rather than Beckett, an explanation of False Gobots did i realize my mistake:

by reversing the title’s b and reading it as a d, i conjured a false Godot to wait for while enjoying “Conjure a False Gobot”

five stars - very good podcast

Top Podcasts In Comedy

Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett
Lemonada Media
Morbid Network | Wondery
Theo Von
Dumb Blonde Productions
Team Coco & Earwolf

You Might Also Like

insert credit
Brad Shoemaker, Will Smith
Giant Bomb