135 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.

    135. I've Been A Bad, Bad French

    135. I've Been A Bad, Bad French

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    Why do rice cookers play music but not microwaves?


    If all your needs are met in a utopian society will we still need sports and competition?
    Hot Ice, Cool Sounds
    Goblin Time by Emma

    Esper says: "My long-held suspicion has always been that humans are generally way less prone to salt-related health issues than suggested by nutritional science. I think a lot of that stuff was ginned up by cigarette companies trying to deflect blame. But I try not to go full-on conspiracy theory about it."

    Nerds candy has a Dungeons and Dragons themed box. Is this good for D&D?
    If the four horsemen of the apocalypse were recruiting for a fifth member, how would you convince them to hire you?


    A shmup about how Microsoft screwed up their Xbox 360 dashboard.
    Screaming for 24 hours straight and having a heart attack, or vice versa.
    Remastering your obscure protest game and needing to build a museum explaining the context for the protest.
    An educational title about how to find games on the new Xbox 360 dashboard.
    An infinite runner with extremely awkward horse controls.
    Using all the right dark patterns.
    Meeting an indie game developer in San Francisco and recognizing him because he's a white guy with a beard and glasses who likes Dark Souls.
    A pot that's specifically for rice and it knows when to school cooking the rice.
    Only rice cookers get to sing a song.
    Installing an AI in your microwave so your microwave can try to murder you.
    A codependent washing machine.
    Landlords in California doing an end run around renter's rights.
    The keyless entry system on your apartment that has a battery backup just so it can play "These Boots are Made for Walking" when it can't let you in because the power is out.
    3D printing some laundry to fold because people are bored in your Utopia.
    Extremely soporific TV.
    A mashup of music and sports.
    Gathering to watch a live band play while a chef makes crepes.
    Whether you can be bored while watching two things at the same time.
    An orchestra trying to live-score a basketball game.
    Trying to listen to an arcade game in the arcade.
    Goblins in our community.
    A bullet point list of how you can help a goblin.
    Spicy radish waffles.
    Blackwheat crepes and whether they're really black.
    Lemonade crepes.
    Dipping a sandwich in mustard.
    The pros and cons of salting food.
    Chickens laying pre-salted eggs.
    Paying a monthly subscription to Monsanto to keep up the injections that make your tongue exude its own salt.
    Getting in line to hate Monsanto.
    Whether nerds are more or less likely to eat Nerds candy.
    A candy for people who forgot D&D exists.
    A series of Nerds-themed D&D campaigns.
    Hiring people and paying them.
    Star Trek Jeopardy where 70% of the answers are 1980s pop culture because the federation is obsessed with the 80s.
    Seeing yet another college sports question in the New York Times crossword and deciding whether to get irrationally angry at Will Shortz.
    What Jim embodies that is the worst thing.
    Death, war, famine, pestilence, crypto and late-onset melatonin.
    John Cleese teaching sex ed in a boarding school.
    Starting with death and going downhill from there.
    Convincing Death to not kill anyone and Death just rides off and mopes.
    Whether the four horsemen listen to podcasts or if the internet is down during the apocalypse.
    The four new horsemen of the new apocalypse: crypto, gaslighting, late-onset melatonin and Elon Musk.
    How to find people to follow on Mastodon.
    How to be a part of a human-sized community.
    The Topic Lords subreddit.
    The photo of a middle school basketball team that somebody posted to the Topic Lords subreddit.
    How to keep spam bots out of your Discord.
    Support T

    • 1 hr 15 min
    134. A Bad Case Of Footmouse

    134. A Bad Case Of Footmouse

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    "World's greatest author Chuck Tingle"
    Way of making moving easier, collective tips?


    Melatonin parenting decisions


    Rabbit nose speeds.
    A stranger from Australia handing you a twenty dollar bill.
    Lining a trench coat with Steam keys.
    How to make Elden Ring feel like a video game rather than a slog.
    An incredible variety of fantastical biomes filled with body horror monstrosities that are inexplicably bad at killing you.
    Playing Elden Ring with passive enemies
    Big columns with massively muscular horsemen.
    Sheep curling up into a wheel and rolling away.
    Fostering a different sense of what accomplishment means.
    Ramps interweaving the stairway.
    Going into a spooky house and the house is like "why would you come in here? Can't you see I'm haunted"
    Going into a spooky house in hopes of seeing bespoke content.
    An author of real books that people think are memes.
    A tornado that has a butthole because it must've picked it up with all the other debris.
    Lesbian candy corn.
    High-functioning chocoholics.
    Having sex with the State of California and reading the list of things that the State of California has found to cause cancer.
    Making a career out of exploring the weird connections in your own mind.
    Writing to Chuck Tingle to ask for more details about the 747's genitalia.
    Moving house and then moving house again immediately, to save yourself a packing/unpacking cycle.
    Having many shamefully confusing objects and making the movers wear blindfolds.
    Making your friends wear blindfolds and rely on LIDAR when they come into your house.
    Putting all your vacation souvenirs in storage and going to your storage unit when you want to remember your vacation.
    Three drawers of cables organized into power cables, USB cables and audio cables, all neatly constrained with velcro.
    Giving your rabbit decoy cables to chew on so that the important cables remain safe.
    Throwing away 70% of your stuff.
    Whether it's a lie if you have books on your shelf that you haven't read yet.
    Apocryphal John Waters quotes.
    Having an outfit for hacktivism.
    Mounting the spines of books you've read above your hearth.
    Data Hands.
    A keyboard that doesn't work in direct sunlight.
    Foot Mouse and the Data Hands.
    Staring into the abyss, wiggling your fingers.
    Underwear computing.
    Late-onset melatonin generation.
    How to deal when everybody in the family gets sick at once.
    An island made of bureaucracy.
    The fax machine in your underwear computer.
    How to pronounce "James" according to Jim's facebook profile.
    Armchairing a request for poetry in the rudest way possible.
    Streets that duel like coarse teeth.
    The matted thing that leaves its woman without the duck.
    Hooking your poetry generator up to a receipt printer so people can print a new poem on demand.
    Writing a poem and finding out what you meant later.
    Soup repair.
    A man who is nice on British TV but angry on American TV.
    Old Enough!
    An extremely relatable two year old.
    Being tasked with juicing some oranges and spending the next hour chasing the dog.
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    • 1 hr
    133. Every Tumbleweed Is An Antique

    133. Every Tumbleweed Is An Antique

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    Judging by the selection on eBay, the 1960's and 1970's seems to have been the golden age of belt buckles.


    The time a parent of my kid's friend said "Do you remember Tetris?"
    JVC PocketMail


    The Prelude, by Matthew Zapruder


    Hyperspecific collections
    Yiwum, the city in China that produces 60% of all the Christmas decorations in the world


    An album that someday will be available on Spotify.
    The Mauretania comics by Detective Pikachu.
    The kind of work that falls out of relaxation.
    The Golden Age of Belt Buckles.
    Going into an eBay fugue state.
    Promotional belt buckles.
    The British obsession with American long haul truckers.
    The kind of video game where you have to file copious paperwork before and after you shoot someone.
    What Police Quest was before and after Daryl Gates was hired as lead designer.
    Whether there were any racist belt buckles in the 1960s.
    Buying 20 $2 games for Christmas rather than the one $40 game your kid actually asked for.
    Men's names from the 1960s and 1970s.
    Hewlett Packard belt buckles.
    The personalized belt buckles you'll sell at your merch table when you go back on tour.
    A conference about fingers.
    Talking to the funeral director before you're dead just in case you die someday.
    A point-of-sale system for funeral directors.
    Bidding on a Cheeto and getting outbid.
    Having It's-Its and That's-Its in the freezer and completing your collection with a What's-It.
    Remembering Tetris.
    Being a parent and making friends with people you have basically nothing in common with.
    Talking to normies about your nerd interests.
    Going into the Forever 21 and yelling "Skeletor!" and everybody cheers.
    People high-fiving you as you walk down the street in your Wolverine costume.
    Listening to an adult man gush about Power Rangers to you and realizing that probably Star Wars isn't any good after all and you just happened to be the right age for it.
    Star Wars fans trying to convince each other that being based on the Hero's Journey makes a story good art.
    Reading a mathematical proof that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is actually exactly as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark and having no choice but to believe it.
    Remember Tetris? This is a topic about Tetris.
    Writing email in the jungle and getting the chance to send it if you survive all the quicksand.
    A product using technologies developed by NASA, i.e. one of the programmers drank Tang once.
    Dongling things to the Palm Pilot.
    An article from 1999 titled "Email on the Move."
    Check your pocket… you've got mail!
    Preserving your Motorola Razr M in amber so Jim can buy it on eBay the next time he's ordering a batch of Orbitz.
    The Linux open source phone that everybody likes but nobody's heard of.
    The idea of chocolate.
    A disappointing and super creepy bed and breakfast.
    Art where the artist has disguised a message for you.
    Contrasting a Diet Coke with Coleridge and Wordsworth.
    Freedom Power Style Motion.
    Having a bunch of Tumblrs and never going on Tumblr.
    Hours Played.
    A new weird thing that a video game can be.
    Collecting tumbleweeds.
    A tumbleweed the size of a car that stops at the red light.
    Movies from the 1930s giving a false impression of how much you need to worry about quicksand.
    Sentient poison oak.
    The sentient tumbleweed episode of The Outer Limits.
    Consuming media by fast-forwarding to the tumbleweed parts.
    A book of polaroids of all your favorite lighting fixtures.
    A list of every move in every game that Mario has ever been in.
    Desert Chrome.
    Drawing a van and airbrushing your drawing of a van.
    Jean-Claude Van Dad.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    132. A Miserable Pile Of Knuckles

    132. A Miserable Pile Of Knuckles

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    Novel uses for hundreds of surplus ceramic clown statues
    Thinking about household stuff as a system you can design to meet your needs instead of a cultural lifestyle obligation


    Big Black Elephant


    People are reluctant to shift their paradigm in real life but give them a video game & they're all for it


    Games or sports that started out as fictional, but that people actually play


    Jenni, she slash her.
    A poem that could've been an email.
    OST Jam.
    If every time you were in a room there was someone else in the room doing the game thing you were doing.
    Just trying to enjoy a leisurely video game when suddenly a co-op partner shows up and starts getting impatient with you.
    Animals but wet.
    Animals but they are in the ocean and don't have legs so they can't kick butt.
    The duality of having legs.
    The many-faceted world butt.
    Try fish: you're welcome.
    Becoming deeply involved in the design and production of novelty clown statues.
    Who's this unsold clown?
    Whether the prenup addresses any of the potential clown situations.
    How many clowns could fit in a bed and breakfast.
    Monogrammed businessclowns.
    How to buy yourself a Lordy.
    Sending unsolicited clowns in the mail.
    Stacking the clowns until you can ascend to clown heaven.
    Cleaning help and support for neurodivergent people to clean our filthy filthy houses.
    The act of living in a house and putting things in places.
    Keeping your silverware in the freezer.
    A house where the forks turn into spoons.
    A basket for clothes that are not so dirty that they need to be washed immediately.
    Food that is technically rotten but not so rotten that you can't eat it.
    The room in your house where the gravity is lower and you float.
    Holding a phone up to your face like a taco.
    Hundreds of pictures of people holding weird shit up to their heads.
    Why all the women are at the end of the page.
    Announcing a new consumer electronics device by submitting it to sidetalkin.com.
    A fun web site for if you want to look at objects.
    A pregnant woman with her belly painted to look like your face.
    Copying all the worst aspects of the Virtual Boy.
    Whether you want to download jivetalkin.midi.
    A poem shaped like something.
    Updo bleak curious quiet.
    Desert thumbs.
    Rather pale pagasus.
    A poem that generates its own blurb.
    The entire front edge of the pegasus.
    Why so political, pagasus?
    Any thumb you want it to be.
    Defining a thumb by its oppositionality.
    Rooting for and with the thumb.
    Your boomer aunt who has a really specific idea of gender roles.
    Disrupting your toothbrush.
    Your beaver farm where the underwear comes down the chute and you feed the underwear to the beavers and put the beavers in the juicer and sell the beaver juice to Lenny who gives you gems you can use to play Scrabble but you only get so many tiles per minute unless you're willing to sit and tap video ads, and whether that's a paradigm shift.
    Willingness to think through processes and systems.
    A shmup where you control a whale research vessel.
    Taking the one skill you have in this life and using it to create heavy handed, ineffective political satire.
    Making an exit poll to find out what percentage of players actually learned something from your propaganda simulator game and what percentage just min-maxed the numbers because it was a fun puzzle.
    What paradigm you're imagining shifting, exactly.
    Every game developer's cottage-core retirement fantasy.
    Making video games without ever talking to anyone on Twitter.
    Who's the beardy guy dot com.
    Scrolling through pictures of beardy guys until you find the right one.
    Carrying the macguffin into your opponent's goal.

    • 50 min
    131. GDC Santa Rides Again

    131. GDC Santa Rides Again

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    Embracing creative chaos is very hard but paradoxically extremely common?
    GDC happened this year! They really did it
    Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy By Thomas Lux


    Being left handed in a right handed world


    Wanting to learn to program and moving to Maine.
    Learning to program by implementing a meticulous copy of Metroid for the NES.
    Choosing to live a life that feels like an anime training montage.
    How to learn to program while having kids.
    Radical content for radical gamers.
    Having one's mind blown by works of art, as one does.
    The "stone soup bubblegum and baling wire everything went wrong" method of making art.
    What happens when the plan makes contact with the enemy.
    Writing a film with the magic of wintertime as a core theme and not being able to get the permit to film until spring.
    Iterating on your idea with insights you've gleaned from working on your idea.
    Ascertaining the recoverability of any given error.
    The kind of disaster that happens when a culture accustomed to low-cost-error problems tries to work on high-cost-error problems.
    Improvising bridges.
    Programming vs. the disciplined engineering fields.
    The pros and cons of storing a bunch of elephants on the roof.
    The user experience of death.
    Digital ghosts on LinkedIn.
    Logging in to LinkedIn for the first time in eight years and getting a bunch of IMs from a friend who died six years ago.
    Dealing with your dead friend's estate and having to close out all the relationships they were maintaining on OkCupid.
    The human events taking place on a separate flow of time than internet time.
    Slug World.
    A human brain computer interaction conference at Noisebridge.
    Spending all of GDC on the lawn.
    A GDC talk except instead of talking to an auditorium full of 500 people, you're talking to a hotel room full of five people.
    The Unconference Phenomenon.
    Substance-to-fluff ratios.
    Your three GDC lives.
    Going to the talks where they talk about the stuff we're doing to figure out how we can do our stuff better.
    The ascended platonic GDC.
    Getting all Dunbar's Numbered-out and spending all your time talking to people you know.
    Showing your game at a conference to increase the odds that one of the seven people at Sony who can get your game into the Spring Fever promotion will walk by and notice you.
    Making a leveraged play on your charisma and luck stats.
    GDC Santa with the sack of boxed copies of Glittermitten Grove.
    A map of TXT World stitched together out of screenshots, like in the good old days.
    A greybeard coming out of the woodwork to admire your ANSI art map.
    Disrespecting the expo.
    Realizing that somebody is about to ask you how your GDC is going and getting the drop on them by asking how their GDC is going first.
    Katie hauling off and gassing you up.
    The hazards of being Jim Stormdancer.
    A reward for not loving the death of the ugly and even the dangerous.
    The tangled underworld of your socks.
    Pretending to not be afraid of spiders because you don't want your son to be afraid of spiders.
    Growing up with rhino beetles in Liberia.
    Hog snakes.
    The extremely specific feeling of a desperate beetle clinging to your pruny fingertip.
    Formative bug experiences.
    Millions of termites growing wings to do their big ol' termite sex party.
    Sweeping up all the termites who are taking a nap after mating season to fry in palm oil as a special treat.
    The morning where the entire town is covered in bugs which sucks but you get to eat them which rules.
    Reminiscing about which body parts of a termite are saltiest.
    Getting accustomed to eating termites by the time you get to the bottom of the bag.
    Left-handed zippers.
    Trying to use the wrong scissors and assuming that you have some kind of developmental problem.
    The Uniball Jetstream Rollerb

    • 1 hr 7 min
    130. Gilding The Lemur

    130. Gilding The Lemur

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    Watching TAS videos and wondering how much of what is happening is necessary vs flourish
    If Jeff Bezos wanted to recreate Jurassic Park
    Chocolate-dipped fruit has such an enormous gulf between perceived effort and actual effort that as a gift giver or potluck attendee you are all but obligated to take advantage
    Strong Men, Riding Horses by Gwendolyn Brooks


    The creators of Earthworm Jim: Where are they now?


    Finding collectible pages of a game's manual inside the game.
    Games in fake languages.
    Playing imported games in emulation and trying to figure out how to play even though you don't speak the language.
    A monthly in-person cozy casual game development meetup.
    Discovering what people mean by "within" when people say "inquire within."
    What happened to all of the art.
    What a whale bone smells like after you clean it.
    Whether it's grosser to drink bone marrow or eat oysters.
    The most charming of all the crabs.
    TAS runs.
    The various kinds of tools that might assist you in creating a tool-assisted speed run.
    Human-Mediated Speed Runs, or HMSRs.
    Proving the ideal speed run.
    Some kind of sequence that is based on a timer.
    When the TAS run does a little dance and you're trying to figure out whether that's important to the run or if they're just killing time.
    The game became Snake.
    Whether coffee cures or causes cancer.
    Like listening in a mirror.
    The vapors.
    Trillionaires not being as rich as they used to be.
    A big big island full of organisms that are just waiting to be coated in gold.
    Painting your entire body and dying somehow.
    Lemur-friendly paints.
    People who've eaten breakfast and then died.
    Dipping some shit in some crap.
    Watching Food Network to discover the Science of Chocolate.
    An attractive morsel.
    Pastries with fruit fillings.
    A solid cube of a mass of dessert-object.
    Taking advice from someone who hasn't even been on several hundred podcasts.
    Frantically putting the Topic Lords banner back on your wall when you see Jim approaching.
    Releasing Topic Lords episodes.
    Shuffling off of this mortal topic.
    Making a movie to promote your new chocolate bar.
    A type of chocolate that tries to be solid.
    Spaghetti-Os as a back formation of Spaghetti-O-ification, which is what happens when pasta passes through a black hole's event horizon.
    Using Hawking radiation to retrieve lost Spaghetti-Os from within black holes.
    The movie playing the sound of somebody peeing to let you know that now's when you get up to use the bathroom.
    A crowd of people doing foley work for a restaurant scene in Murder She Wrote.
    Picking somebody for Animatronic Angela Lansbury to murder and then picking somebody for her to pin it on when she solves the crime.
    The fine line between true and false.
    The fine line between foot and floor.
    Desert-eyed, rentless strong men pasted to stars already.
    A source of praise for the patriarchy.
    Addled by landlords.
    Whether being pasted to the stars is good.
    The elbow of the topics.
    Earthworm Jim.
    A muscular goofball earthworm.
    Whether you can say "groovy" and still be angry.
    A strict no-sequels policy.
    Not the thing you're here to talk about.
    George "The Fat Man" Sanger.
    Wall-E but a Roomba but also one of those 90s wireless phone cradles.
    Games you can play for free on the web.
    All the good times we had at Blockbuster Video renting movies from Blockbuster Video.
    How public libraries still exist and offer more movies than your local Blockbuster Video had and they're free and you keep them for a month rather than two days but nobody gives a shit because libraries don't have branding or advertising.
    A perfect solution to a problem that everybody wants solved urgently.
    Weirdly buff creatures that should not be buff.
    Music band with a

    • 1 hr 12 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

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