Dysontopia | A Study in Bad Acronyms | 2.2

<< A Study in Bad Acronyms 2.1 | Patch Log | A Study in Bad Acronyms 2.3 >>

Related: About Dysontopia | On Curse Words in Fiction

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She shrugs, of all things, and says, “As a matter of fact there is.” Then she smiles, and it’s all rather peculiar. I’m trying to comprehend why someone would be so happy-go-lucky about apprehending me, or whatever is going on.

“Go on,” I say, tilting my head, feeling more annoyed than anything.

“Are you hungry?” she changes the subject. I quickly shake my head no, furrowing my eyes behind the sunglasses. That was actually a lie. Millie was right about the sugar crash.

“Are you going to tell me what the hell you want?” I fire back.

“Hey, relax. I’ll tell you everything, but can we do it over lunch? Please? Something tells me one granola bar just isn’t enough.” She pulls out the empty wrapper I had dropped on the ground.

“How the –”

“I saw you drop it, okay. Look, relax. I promise you’re not in any trouble. I have…” she paused for a second. “I have a job offer for you to consider, that’s all.”

“A… job? Really?”

“Yeah, I’m here to interview you. What, you thought your qualifiers were the only test you’d be taking today?”


“Oh my dear dear Sydney, what have you gotten yourself into?” she said while we pull up a chair to a window-side table at The Crust, my favorite restaurant in The Shell, New Country’s version of Main Street.

“Who are you?” I ask, sitting down across from her.

I look around the reasonably crowded restaurant to hide my intrigue. How did this person know The Crust was my favorite restaurant, besides the obvious fact that pizza is universally loved by everybody ever? Well, my guess is that either she or one of her operatives saw me in here a few times brooding the evenings away over a pint. I’m starting to get the impression she knows a lot about me.

This whole areas is named The Shell because, if you looking at it from above, roads of businesses, boutiques, and restaurants spread out of a central point like a sea shell – a bay scallop specifically. Though, if you’re being honest, that’s debatable. I’ve seen the view from above online, and it looks less like a mosaic and more like a mess. City planners got the bright idea to assign each row a varying color of green, and tried to force the business owners to decorate the roofs of the buildings with it. This is a good idea in theory, but they failed to anticipate that simply handing out RGB values for people to decorate with just doesn’t work. Some tried painting their roofs, and some tried ordering tarps (emblazoned with that ugly-ass New U logo) to cover the top. Some wisely just said screw it, R85, G148, B116 doesn’t fit with our brand.

The Crust is one of those places, all decked out in reds and golds without a trace of turtle-related insignia or putrid green paraphernalia. That’s probably why I like it so much. Though it does unfortunately fit into the obnoxious moniker of naming the downtown businesses “The” followed by any random noun tangentially related to the purpose of the operation. I spot several of them out the window. The Compendium, a discount textbook store, has a built-in coffee shop that nobody ever goes to. The Olive Cardigan, a boutique clothing store where all the preps shop at, is right across from The New You, a tux rental place and a copyright trainwreck waiting to happen. Then there is by far the most awkward one the bunch, The Wheel, a guinea pig cafe which allows you to pet the big furry almost-bunnies while eating over-priced finger foods. These are the types of New Country offerings you just can’t make up.

“My name is Val Glendale, and I’m really just here to talk to you.”

The waiter came to take our drink orders. I shall name him “Dude” because he’s tall, sandy blonde, has a slight accent, and is kind of cute. Hmm… actually he’s really cute now that I think about it. Val orders cherry coke “with a lime, please.”

That’s my favorite “non-booze” related drink. This stalking thing needs to stop.

“Thought I’d give it a try,” she quips while shrugging her shoulders.

“Water please,” I say. That sends Dude, scribbling on his notepad, immediately walking towards the kitchen. “Hey Dude,” I recall him in mid-stride, “add a lemon.” He pauses for a second before nodding his head and continuing to The Great Soda Palace or whatever ethereal realm waiters go to prepare drinks. I don’t know, I’ve never worked in a restaurant before.

“Are you spying on me?” I ask.

She pauses.

“I’m a recruiter, not a spy.” Val pulls out the same pocketbook she flashed earlier. “It’s my job to know everything about you. Besides, I much prefer the term,” she air quotes, “secret agent.” She laughs and I just sit there, feigning stoicism. Was I amused? Sure, but I wasn’t about to show her that.

Dude’s back in a flash with our drinks, causing Val to very quickly flip closed the badge in a panic. That answers one thing: Dude is most definitely not working with Val.

“Same difference, huh?” I ask if I should be concerned about the volume of things she knows about me. She just shrugs, and I find myself trusting her probably more than I should. She’s got this aloof attitude which makes her kind of charming. Besides, I’m intrigued.

“Technically,” she says, “I’m a Public Relations Advisor for the U.S. Advisory Committee on Historical and Societal Research.”

“That’s quite a mouthful,” I mention, trying to keep her off-balance.

“Yeah, I thought so too,” she pauses for a second to count on her fingers, “and ACHSR doesn’t make for a particularly compelling acronym. We actually tried CHASR, as in ‘chaser’ for a while, but decided it was kind of ominous.”

She meandered around telling me all the different possible permutations of acronyms that wouldn’t work before finally picking back up again with something interesting.

“That’s why we tend to go by our unofficial name.”

“And what’s that?” I ask.

“Sector Zero,” she replies.

A new section is released every Monday! Next week we’ll be finishing Chapter 2: “A Study in Bad Acronyms.” As always I welcome your feedback in the comments. 🙂

<< A Study in Bad Acronyms 2.1 | Patch Log | A Study in Bad Acronyms 2.3 >>

Related: About Dysontopia | On Curse Words in Fiction

Nice Job Badges! | Week of May 18

It’s time to hand out this week’s colorful new set of Nice Job badges! Every blogger deserves recognition for the time and effort they put into their craft. These bloggers just deserve it a little more, that’s all.

Wait, today’s not Thursday. What gives!? Well, imagine a world where badges exemplifying the best of the week’s posts were given out at, you know, the end of the week! Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that Fridays are the best day so we can always go into the weekend on a high note.

So, brief update: Mondays are for Dysontopia, Wednesdays are for super specific challenges, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are for more traditional, substantial posts. Got it? Good.

Each Friday I’ll pick out five new blog posts posted within the span of that week! Here’s some things:


  • If someone makes an amazing post one week, then makes another the next, I will feature them two times in a row.
  • However, I will not (typically) feature the same blogger twice on one list, unless I’m really blown away. If so, I may give six badges that week.
  • The posts will all be from the current seven day period, though posts made on Thursdays or Fridays may overlap with the next week.
  • They must be on WordPress or Jetpack-enabled platforms. I’m sorry Blogger bloggers.
  • It’s perfectly fine to put the badge on your recognized piece with a pingback to this post!
  • Now featuring a weird assortment of colors!
  • They are in no particular order because they’re all great.

Continue reading “Nice Job Badges! | Week of May 18”

“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and Finding Your Better Self

< Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Minding the Gaps of Life | Star Trek V: The Final Frontier >

Is that the logical thing to do?
No, but it is the human thing to do. 

There’s never been another Star Trek film like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which is in my opinion one of the most fun films ever made. There’s a reason it absolutely destroyed the box office when it came out in 1986 — it was actually released on my birthday — and really wouldn’t be rivaled until the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot. The movie is purely enjoyable on a pure visceral level, smart enough to keep the audience engaged, intensely gripping when the stakes are high, yet loose enough to where you can relax and have a good time.

This is the part where I briefly touch on the negatives. Voyage Home is, by nature of being a comedy, going to have some drawbacks. There are a ton of plot-holes and nitpicks, none of which I care to go into because they don’t bother me. Some don’t like the art film-style time travel scenes… I personally like them quite a bit. To me the biggest issue, though, is the soundtrack. This is likely because I’m spoiled. I’ve got James Horner on one side and Jerry Goldsmith on the other — two of the most celebrated composers of all time. I feel Star Trek IV goes way overboard (puns always intended) in it’s pursuit of comedic musical tone. I have a fantastic idea: let’s recut Voyage Home with Final Frontier’s incredible music.

*listens to Star Trek V soundtrack while typing this*
Perfect! Continue reading ““Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and Finding Your Better Self”

“Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” and Minding the Gaps of Life

< Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Keeping On When All Goes Wrong | Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Finding Your Better Self  >

Enterprise feels like a house with all the children gone. No, more empty even then that. The death of Spock is like an open wound. It seem that I have left the most noblest part of myself back there on that newborn planet.

One of my favorite moments in this film is actually in the opening credits at the beginning of a film. This was a time when most films, instead of jumping right into the action, ramped up the spectacle by featuring the primary actors, writers, composers, directors, and so on in very large text. After a flashback recap, the viewer is greeted with the opening credits as normal, but then something unique happens. After seeing “Starring William Shatner,” you instinctively expect to see Leonard Nimoy’s name, as is the case for both of the previous two movies. But this time, after Shatner’s name disappears, there is… nothing. For an noticeably long time nothing appears — just a gap — before proceeding to DeForest Kelley’s name. The audience, still reeling from the death of Spock, is forced right off the bat into a moment where the character’s absence is noticed.

Such then is life, where opportunities come up, one after another, to notice when something is missing. And that’s the genius of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the darkest and most underrated of the Original Series films. Continue reading ““Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” and Minding the Gaps of Life”

Dysontopia | A Study in Bad Acronyms | 2.1

<< Cold Outside, Cold Inside 1.4 | Patch Log | A Study in Bad Acronyms 2.2 >>

Related: About Dysontopia | The Supporting Role of a Pure Hero

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As I escape Elmore Hall like a prison break, I notice the same female professor from my earlier observations had stationed herself on the park bench at ground level to the left of the steps. She is using a fairly bulky laptop, and for a moment I get a glimpse of what appears to be some kind of computer code or programming language. Was I wrong, perhaps? It occurs to me that she might not be a professor at all. Upon further inspection, she does look rather young. Long red hair, tallish, slightly olive skin, green – no make that blue – eyes. At first I had her pegged for sociology, or maybe archeology, but neither of those fields use a level of computer complexity anywhere close to what I think I just saw. Suspicious.

Descending the steps, I’m contemplating what I should do now that I’ve flown the coop. This could have been planned better. I think I’ll go into town, stock up on some supplies, and just go wander for a little while. It’s not like I haven’t done it before.

Iowa is notorious for being sparsely populated outside of its major population centers. This tiny town is somehow the fourth largest “city” in the state. So once I get a good distance outside the city limits, I’m pretty much free to wander anywhere, private property or not, without worrying too much about people. Plus, the landscape up here in this part of the state is this wicked spiral of tall forest and grassy plains, giving me the perfect place to hide from people. I could go on this long existential journey, filled with self-discovery…

I’ve just never done it when it was this cold before.

… have I really been hurting Millie that much?

Ugh… this is no time to be thinking about Millie’s damn note.

Suddenly, behind me, I hear the snap of a laptop closing. The zipping of a briefcase. She rises from her seat. The clopping of her heels pounding the walkway. A sudden jolt of anxiety grips me. I quicken my pace.

Plans change. I think I need to get on that transit and back to the apartment. Now.

I make it to the quad with the bus stop in record time, but I hear the rhythmic tapping literally every step of the way. Taking a peak at the CSW confirms that, yes, she is still back there, keeping her distance.

There it is. Transit #17, Castle Street illuminated on the LED above the vehicle’s windshield.

Boarding, I freeze. Where the hell is everyone? The middle-aged driver is eating a to-go croissant sandwich from any one of the many campus cafeteria kiosks, but he is the only living soul on board. I know it’s the middle of the day, but there should at least be a few people on here. Maybe everyone really does have finals today, or they’re all done with the semester and are recovering at home. Nah, no way. Campus was just too crowded.

At first, I’m tempted to sit towards the back in the same seat I did this morning. But the need for a quick escape is a higher priority in case my suspicions are correct, so I choose the second seat from the front on the side closest to the door. I place my things on the adjacent seat just like before, automatically taking off my sunglasses. I peek out the window. Oh god, she’s getting on the transit.

She takes out of her case what appears to be a small leather-bound booklet, but when she flips it open and flashes it to the driver, I catch the golden glimpse of what appears to be a badge reflected in the windshield. I have no idea what it says, of course, but it clearly gets his attention. The woman whispers a very short sentence to him, but I can only make out the words “take us to the… somewhere.” He nods his head in acknowledgement, and closes the door without hesitation.

Briefly, I try to look for an escape plan without looking too suspicious, but these campus transits look pretty escape proof. The rear exit appeared to open only if someone triggered the emergency button near the driver, and there’s no way I’m quick or fit enough to escape through the roof. Besides, people would react rather alarmed seeing a college-aged girl in shades balancing on the roof of a moving bus. It’d film well in an action movie though. Anyway, let’s not jump to conclusions. This may still have nothing to do with me at all.

“Sydney Winters,” the woman said.

Well shit, never mind, looks like I’m today’s lucky winner.

“That was a remarkably short-sighted thing you did,” she continues, taking a seat directly across the aisle from me. “But then, something tells me you knew this would happen.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I fire back. The bus begins to move. She crosses her legs and interlocks her fingers together, but for some reason all I can think of is how her bright red lipstick doesn’t quite perfectly compliment her already red hair. She should consider pink, or maybe even a bright purple matte lipstick. I would totally be able to pull that off myself if my skin tone was just a touch darker. I guess that didn’t stop me from trying it at that sorority ball they threw the fall of my senior year. But everyone kept looking at me all weird, and I started to get nervous…

She remains silent, just looking at me probingly.

I put back on my sunglasses, making the woman’s entire face varying shades of brown, black, and primary colors. It helps a bit with the lipstick, but more importantly it hides my eyes. She seems like type of person who likes to gauge emotional responses in people, but I’m not going to let her have mine if I can help it.

So she knows my name, and she knows I did something abnormal. My goal should be to get as much information from her as possible while giving away as little as I can. I look in her general direction, scowling, attempting to make her feel unwelcome.

“Is there something I can do for you?” I ask.

A new section is released every Monday! Next week we’ll be continuing Chapter 2: “A Study in Bad Acronyms.” As always I welcome your feedback in the comments. 🙂

<< Cold Outside, Cold Inside 1.4 | Patch Log | A Study in Bad Acronyms 2.2 >>

Related: About Dysontopia | The Supporting Role of a Pure Hero

The McAl(l)ister’s Effect: Basic Memory and the Simple Things

There is a glitch in the simulation.

Nikki and I have a “fast casual” restaurant that is easily our favorite. This type of eatery isn’t popular in some areas of the world, but they are basically a step above fast food, rather than a casual dining or “sit-down” restaurant. Instead you order your food from the counter, sit at a table, and they bring your food when it’s ready. A club and sweet tea for me, a four-cheese griller and veggie chili for Nikki.

That restaurant is called McAlister’s, a popular chain across the Eastern and Midwestern United States. The food is delicious and the service is pretty good. The name, however, is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. You see, Nikki and I have eaten McAlister’s for practically a decade, but up until three months ago McAlister’s wasn’t spelled that way. It had an extra “L” and was spelled McAllister’s. Don’t you think I know how my favorite restaurant is spelled?

No, Google, I meant McAllister’s.

And yet recently, hungry and walking through the shops in a promenade of a suburb of St. Louis, we see a sign written in a consistent typeface with the rest of the signs in the mall. McAlister’s.

“Weird that they misspelled the name McAllister’s,” I recall saying to Nikki. She gave me a puzzled look. “By giving it only one “L,” I clarify.

“Oh, yeah, that is weird,” she agreed.

Being a P.R. major in undergrad, I totally understand that signs and promotional material get misspelled all the time. Probably someone noticed after production of the sign, but it just wasn’t worth the extra expenses to get it changed for the sake of a missing “L” that only someone like me would notice.

But then we reach the eatery itself and the logo is wrong too. Going inside, all of the insignia displayed on the menus and paraphernalia adorning the walls is also spelled with the singular letter. I was so sure of the spelling of my favorite restaurant. I felt like someone walked over my grave.

Oh, don’t bother looking it up. The internet will insist that I’m wrong. It will tell you the restaurant started in 1989 in Oxford, Mississippi after retrofitting a gas station used in the production of the film Heart of Dixie. Truthfully, I can only find one real reference to the origin of it’s name, found in a 2016 Oxford Eagle article, stating the restaurant was named after the founder’s wife’s parents.

And yet, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I just know that McAlister’s has two L’s. My eyes still deceive me. It’s right there in the logo — two identical L’s, offset only by the curve of the banner. I even Photoshopped the logo and added an L to make sure it fits — it totally does. Therefore, I am left to draw one of three mutually exclusive conclusions. I believe only one of these could be true.

  1. Time travel is real. Someone went back in time and changed the name of the company at its origin. Somehow I am unaffected by the change in history.
  2. The entire universe is a simulation. The programmers updated McAlister’s to have one L, but somehow was unable to update my consciousness. Lab experiment, perhaps?
  3. Human memory just isn’t that good at fine details.

As compelling as the first option is, I just don’t see the one thing time travelers doing is going back to change a company name, unless doing so will prevent doomsday or something. And the second one… well there’s not much I can do about that. Nope, I think Occam’s razor applies and it’s probably definitely the third one: human memory is incredibly fallible.

This is The McAlister’s Effect: where I’m wrong about something blatantly staring me right in the face. The realization that I was wrong about the spelling of my favorite restaurant was a real moment of self-discovery for me, because I consider myself a person of excellent memory about the small details of life. In my career, I’m required to intuitively remember numbers, letters, colors, and style guides. When writing, I endeavor to have an advanced repository of words to make my points as clearly as possible. And yet, how can I effectively accomplish this when my mind has influenced my memory of something so simple as my favorite restaurant’s name? It’s a wonder I’m ever able to get any work done at all.

I have to wonder what other truths are hiding in plain sight that I’m just missing due to my own bias. And more importantly, what does this mean for my long-term memories — the ones that make up my identity and I look back on with fondness. I want to believe they truly exist and played out exactly as I recall. The trouble is a number of those great memories take place at McAllister’s, a place that doesn’t even exist.

If the solution were of practicality, I’d say just use more brainpower to pay attention to the whole of your surroundings. Journal it constantly if you have to. But humans do not have perfect memory, and that’s why you can get seven different accounts of the same scene from seven different people. Additionally, I get the suspicion that the harder a person tries to remember the excruciating details of an event, the murkier and more distorted they get. Based on our current understanding of long-term memory, this is likely due to re-accessing memories causing them to change slightly and merge together.

Yet, even memory doesn’t completely account for The McAlister’s Effect — the times where I’m wrong about something blatantly staring me right in the face. To combat this, I think I’m going to write down all of my forgone conclusions about the important things in life: relationships, worldview, personality, skills, and so on to make sure I’m not missing something else so glaringly obvious. I may even search for The McAlister’s Effect in aspects of my own life in future posts.

I’m just saying, though, time travel explains everything.

Where in your life did you discover The McAlister’s Effect? What things have you missed which were, in retrospect, right in front of you. They can be as insignificant as a restaurant name, or as important as relationship conflict. As always, I would love to discuss in the comments.

Nice Job Badges! | Week of May 10

It’s time to hand out this week’s colorful new set of Nice Job badges! Every blogger deserves recognition for the time and effort they put into their craft. These bloggers just deserve it a little more, that’s all.

Each Thursday I’ll pick out five new blog posts posted within the span of that week — it’s a limerick of excellent publications! Here’s some things:


  • If someone makes an amazing post one week, then makes another the next, I will feature them two times in a row.
  • However, I will not (typically) feature the same blogger twice on one list, unless I’m really blown away. If so, I may give six badges that week.
  • The posts will all be from the current seven day period, though posts made on Wednesdays or Thursdays may overlap with the next week.
  • They must be on WordPress or Jetpack-enabled platforms. I’m sorry Blogger bloggers.
  • It’s perfectly fine to put the badge on your recognized piece with a pingback to this post!
  • Now featuring a weird assortment of colors!
  • They are in no particular order because they’re all great.

Continue reading “Nice Job Badges! | Week of May 10”

Love It or Leave It: Reviewing All 150 of My Subscribed YouTube Channels

Time for some spring cleaning! Let’s see: clean the oven – check. Organize my closet – check. Clean out my YouTube subscriptions… oh.

Gosh, I’m subscribed to 150 YouTube channels. Time to downsize.

The purpose of this list is threefold:

  • Introduce you to fantastic and not-so-great YouTube channels
  • Write astonishingly short very nonobjective reviews of the channels
  • Clean up my bloated subscription feed

Note that these are my choices and not always a reflection of quality. Some of the channels I choose to leave are actually good channels that you should subscribe to. I’m simply subscribed to too many channels and need to minimize.

Log into your YouTube account and strap in! This is going to be a long one.

2veritasium | 523,393 subscribers | 48 videos

Leave it!

Veritasium’s second channel is really good, with Derrick walking the streets of various locations while discussing important topics. But I find myself more interested in Veritasium 1.

8-Bit Keys | 140,599 subscribers | 42 videos

Leave it!

8-Bit guy’s second channel. Truly fascinating disassembly of keyboards. But I’m not really a music guy, so I think it’s time I let this one go for now.

8-bit Music Theory | 132,613 subscribers | 41 videos

Love it!

This channel gives me such a crazy appreciation for classic video game music!

A+Start | 662,563 subscribers | 448 videos

Love it!

I’m going with a soft love it for A+ Start, because I’m fascinated by video game glitches.

AceStarThe3rd | 73,920 subscribers | 735 videos

Leave it!

Great Smash videos, but hasn’t posted in a while.

alexandcrackers | 2,631 subscribers | 26 videos

Leave it!

Same. Great videos but hasn’t made any in a while.

All Hail RETCON | 3,011 subscribers | 78 videos

Love it!

I like the Star Trek videos. Neat stuff.

Alltime10s |5,322,785 subscribers |1,510 videos

Leave it!

Way too mainstream and generic.

Amy Turk | 68,389 subscribers | 37 videos

Love it!

Just an incredibly talented harpist. Her music is enchanting.

AntDude | 229,146 subscribers| 158 videos

Love it!

So much Kirby!

Arlo | 243,599 subscribers | 186 videos

Love it!

Arlo’s awesome, though it must be challenging to play all those games as a puppet.

AsapSCIENCE | 7,681,010 subscribers | 267 videos

Leave it!

Sorry ASAP, the information you present is just kind of basic at this point.

Beta64 | 282,365 subscribers | 86 videos

Love it!

I’m a sucker for beta game development secrets.

BitFinity (Matthew Taranto) | 35,944 subscribers | 99 videos

Love it!

Hey, Matthew drew Brawl in the Family! I can’t leave you.

Blimey Cow | 527,469 subscribers | 566 videos

Leave it!

Time for Messy Mondays to go on without me.

Box Robot Studios | 8,874 subscribers | 21 videos

Leave it!

Hasn’t uploaded in a while.

Caitlin Hill | 52,849 subscribers | 32 videos

Leave it!

I remember Caitlin as the host of Rocketboom for a short time. But I haven’t kept up.

CBS Sunday Morning | 184,755 subscribers | 2,965 videos

Leave it!

I think I subscribed to this for a class.

CGP Grey | 3,394,827 subscribers | 122 videos

Love it!

Everybody loves CGP Grey videos.

Challengers Approaching | 3,517 subscribers | 65 videos

Love it!

Highly underrated YouTube gaming list channel.

CinemaSins | 7,709,264 subscribers | 625 videos

Leave it!

No channel is without sin. And this is the worst. Just no.

Classic Gaming Quarterly | 85,703 subscribers | 57 videos

Love it!

Ohh, I love the deep exploration of classic gaming history.

Cleanprincegaming | 464,808 subscribers | 123 videos

Leave it!

I love the mini-docs, but it just doesn’t go into Nintendo stuff enough.

Computerphile | 1,054,071 subscribers | 467 videos

Love it!

Videos about computers and computery stuff? Count me in.

ConnerTheWaffle | 222,147 subscribers | 135 videos

Love it!

So much Kirby content!

CoolRiddles|69,746 subscribers|906 videos

Leave it!

Riddles aren’t that interesting anymore, honestly.

CoolRiddles2|8,797 subscribers|311 videos

Leave it!

More of the same.

Company Man|269,407 subscribers|56 videos

Love it!

This is a crazy-cool channel about different businesses.

Counter Arguments|132,338 subscribers|61 videos

Leave it!

I really liked this channel for a short time. But I soon realized that the counterarguments presented were, themselves, becoming straw-man arguments. I’m not that cynical.

CrashCourse|7,629,809 subscribers|940 videos

Love it!

Because who doesn’t like learning?

CrowderVEVO | 168,045 subscribers | 35 videos

Leave it!

Unsubscribing to all band accounts.

Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows | 269,392 subscribers | 27 videos

Love it!

Emotionally gripping. Excellent channel.

DidYouKnowGaming?|2,186,757 subscribers|379 videos

Leave it!

Too popular.

DONG|1,094,492 subscribers|204 videos

Love it!

Do Online Now Guys was my favorite Vsauce series. I’m glad they made it their own channel.

Easy Allies|156,607 subscribers|1,118 videos

Leave it!

Just subscribed to too many game channels.

EC Henry|36,532 subscribers|136 videos

Love it!

Super creative science fiction channel.

engineerguy|716,094 subscribers|85 videos

Leave it!

I’m not really into engineering.

Erika Szabo|27,643 subscribers|333 videos

Love it!

Cool exploration of the emotional impact of games.

Every Frame a Painting|1,435,391 subscribers|28 videos

Leave it!

Cool, but hasn’t posted in a while.

ExoParadigmGamer|53,005 subscribers|264 videos

Love it!

I love “Remake or Re-break.”

Extra Credits|1,437,223 subscribers|748 videos

Love it!

Amazing and optimistic look at game development.

Fawful’s Minion|175,017 subscribers|181 videos

Leave it!

Subscribed to too many video game channels.

Filmmaker IQ|268,648 subscribers|86 videos

Leave it!

It’s a good film-making channel, but it’s beyond the scope of my interests for now.

Forty Two|9,200 subscribers|26 videos

Love it!

Pretty animations.

Games Done Quick|485,516 subscribers|1,388 videos

Love it!

To support this charity event, even if they only upload twice a year.

GameXplain|920,922 subscribers|8,959 videos

Love it!

As a gaming news channel, they’re always on top of things.

Gaming Historian|419,096 subscribers|125 videos

Love it!

Gaming Historian is my favorite gaming history channel. I always learn so much.

Garfield & Friends|6,215 subscribers|116 videos

Love it!

Gotta have my Monday nostalgic classic Garfield cartoons.

Geek & Sundry|1,779,416 subscribers|1,653 videos

Leave it!

I only watch Tabletop, and I can look that up.

Geography Now|949,074 subscribers|267 videos

Love it!

Super creative geography channel!

Half as Interesting|509,698 subscribers|36 videos

Love it!

Is more interesting than almost anything.

hankgames|171,866 subscribers|1,446 videos

Leave it!

Sorry Hank Green, i’m subscribed to too many video game channels.

hankschannel|301,709 subscribers|297 videos

Love it!

But I am a huge fan of Hank Green. So glad you wrote a book.

hbomberguy|230,975 subscribers|64 videos

Leave it!

Weird. Obscene. Too weird and obscene if you ask me.

Hello Internet|143,072 subscribers|125 videos

Love it!

Their podcast is hypnotic.

Henry|384 subscribers|84 videos

Love it!

Henry deserves more credit for is weird and amazing editing.

implantgames|13,286 subscribers|460 videos

Love it!

Just here for the Sonic reviews.

Improv Everywhere|1,926,206 subscribers|198 videos

Leave it!

Staged improv just isn’t as fun as it once was.

Isaac Arthur|245,076 subscribers|140 videos

Love it!

Best futurism channel on the Internet.

It’s Okay To Be Smart|2,113,830 subscribers|250 videos

Leave it!

It’s a good channel, but I just can’t get into it anymore.

Jak & Lev|15,251 subscribers|491 videos

Leave it!

I don’t remember subscribing to this channel. I’ve never seen you guys in my life.

Jake Roper|304,325 subscribers|74 videos

Love it!

Jake from Vsauce3 is cool. It’s good to keep up with him.

Jay Foreman|271,653 subscribers|77 videos

Love it!

Please make more Map Men!

Jimmy Whetzel|230,683 subscribers|91 videos

Leave it!

Who are you again?

John Michael Godier|63,503 subscribers|197 videos

Leave it!

Kind of covers the same ground as Issac Arthur.

Khan Academy|3,936,991 subscribers|6,986 videos

Leave it!


KingK|53,871 subscribers|49 videos

Love it!

Really great video game analyses.

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell|6,094,261 subscribers|80 videos

Love it!

Such incredible animation! I want to animate just like you!

Kyle Sullivan|2,277 subscribers|32 videos

Love it!

Fascinating geography and social studies videos.

LGR|849,819 subscribers|934 videos

Love it!

Cool retro tech commentary.

lights|335,136 subscribers|553 videos

Leave it!

Unsubscribing from all bands no matter how awesome.

Lindsay Ellis|344,709 subscribers|183 videos

Love it!

Very impressed with the social analyses of films from this YouTuber.

Little Z|129,500 subscribers|125 videos

Leave it!

I liked the OP series, but hasn’t made a new one in a while.

Lorerunner|23,318 subscribers|1,804 videos

Love it!

Best long-form media analyses on the planet.

Lorerunner Stream Archives|3,618 subscribers|558 videos

Love it!

I really like the Loreweek series.

Mark Brown|426,544 subscribers|88 videos

Love it!

Excellent production value in these video game analyses.

Master0fHyrule|222,810 subscribers|1,011 videos

Leave it!

It’s fun to watch video game minutia, but it’s time to let it go.

Matt and Tom|134,372 subscribers|131 videos

Love it!

The park bench series is quite entertaining.

Matthewmatosis|155,073 subscribers|54 videos

Leave it!

Subscribed to too many video game channels.

Mental Floss|1,347,426 subscribers|381 videos

Leave it!

Mental Floss is just getting a little annoying.

Meteorz|20,905 subscribers|1,446 videos

Love it!

I love the “What is Kirby Canon?” series.

MinuteEarth|1,922,478 subscribers|151 videos

Leave it!

Cool, but not really my forte.

minutephysics|4,342,011 subscribers|217 videos

Leave it!

Fun to learn, but I feel the videos are too short to capture the full topics.

moviebob|140,028 subscribers|409 videos

Leave it!

Way to juvenile for my tastes.

Mr. Beat|25,103 subscribers|292 videos

Love it!

Quite informative, I love all of the series on this channel.

Nathaniel Bandy|241,180 subscribers|682 videos

Leave it!

Just subscribed to too many video game channels.

Nintendo|3,973,375 subscribers|2,734 videos

Love it!

Gotta keep up with Nintendo.

Nintendo Life|247,472 subscribers|2,285 videos

Love it!

I admit, I find Alex to be a great host.

Numberphile|2,457,472 subscribers|470 videos

Love it!

Simply fascinating.

OverClocked ReMix: Video Game Music Community|129,543 subscribers|3,997 videos

Leave it!

I don’t enjoy OCRemix as much as I used to.

PBS Game/Show|145,036 subscribers|194 videos

Leave it!

I feel like the concepts they explore are too basic.

PBS Idea Channel|782,400 subscribers|367 videos

Leave it!

Well, I’ve watched them all and the channel has ended. It was an amazing run, but it’s time to move on.

PBS Space Time|1,188,368 subscribers|154 videos

Love it!

Fascinating astrophysics concepts to learn about.

PHLEARN|1,541,135 subscribers|563 videos

Leave it!

I feel like I have enough practical experience to let this channel go.

poparena|4,156 subscribers|543 videos

Love it!

Just because I really like the Animorphs book review series.

Rare Earth|530,904 subscribers|90 videos

Love it!

Exploring enchanting places.

RealLifeLore|2,027,489 subscribers|88 videos

Love it!

Super informative.

Really Freakin’ Clever|145,564 subscribers|169 videos

Leave it!

Used to be good, but went downhill in my opinion.

RelaxAlax|275,229 subscribers|106 videos

Leave it!

Subscribed to too many video game channels.

Retro Game Mechanics Explained|46,233 subscribers|16 videos

Love it!

Useful as I want to make a SNES-style game one day.

Retro Island Gaming|973 subscribers|23 videos

Leave it!

Kind of… odd somehow. Hard to explain.

Rocketboom|1,395 videos

Leave it!

Wayyy old channel.

RPG Limit Break|16,767 subscribers|451 videos

Love it!

Even better than GDQ, I think.

Sciencium|274,526 subscribers|4 videos

Leave it!

Another Veritasium channel.

SciShow|4,965,183 subscribers|1,579 videos

Leave it!

Just not terribly enjoyable anymore.

SciShow Space|1,013,870 subscribers|426 videos

Leave it!

Similar to SciShow, just not that enjoyable anymore.

Screen Junkies|6,429,409 subscribers|828 videos

Leave it!

Honest Trailers are fun, but not worth the subscription.

SeriousEats|149,679 subscribers|333 videos

Leave it!

I have another account devoted to food channels.

sfdebris|18,255 subscribers|89 videos

Love it!

The OG nerdy science fiction reviewer.

Shesez|368,442 subscribers|189 videos

Love it!

I love “Boundary Break!”

SmarterEveryDay|5,571,565 subscribers|276 videos

Love it!

Absolutely fascinating science videos.

Snoman Gaming|134,150 subscribers|173 videos

Leave it!

Subscribed to too many gaming channels.

SomecallmeJohnny|321,810 subscribers|494 videos

Love it!

I truly enjoy the work he puts into the videos.

Stargate Command|38,999 subscribers|176 videos

Leave it!

Meh, Stargate’s on Hulu.

Steve Shives|60,283 subscribers|2,135 videos

Love it!

A lot of great star Trek commentary.

Tater-Tot Tunes|8,734 subscribers|212 videos

Love it!

In case you want to rock to some 8-bit remixes.

Technicality|44,921 subscribers|73 videos

Love it!

This kid knows how to make amazing and informative videos.

The 8-Bit Guy|661,004 subscribers|185 videos

Love it!

Fascinating computer disassembly and repair.

The Aspiring Kryptonian|27 subscribers|2 videos

Love it!

Fellow blogger!

The Beat Goes On|337 subscribers|3 videos

Love it!

Mr. Beat’s second, equally good, channel.

The Digital Age|33,570 subscribers|66 videos

Love it!

Unsubscribing to all band channels.

The Easter Egg Hunter|310,947 subscribers|371 videos

Leave it!

Subscribed to too many gaming channels, plus I liked the earlier videos more.

The Financial Diet|425,800 subscribers|152 videos

Love it!

Excellent financial advice.

The Futur|281,035 subscribers|412 videos

Leave it!

I feel I have enough practical knowledge to where this graphic design channel seems superfluous.

The Game Theorists|10,051,917 subscribers|445 videos

Leave it!Leave it!

I think I should unsubscribe. But that’s just a theory. A game — kbye.

The Good Stuff|169,479 subscribers|242 videos

Love it!

It’s good stuff!

The Pensky File|2,212 subscribers|733 videos

Love it!

Amazing Star Trek podcasts. I’m going through them now.

The School of Life|3,527,061 subscribers|604 videos

Leave it!

Good videos, but I don’t really find consistency in their philosophy.

The8BitDrummer|216,597 subscribers|829 videos

Leave it!

Amazing music, but not really for me. More of an ambiance fan.

thebrainscoop|463,965 subscribers|196 videos

Leave it!

Meh, I like it but don’t remember subscribing.

Think Fact|141,602 subscribers|75 videos

Leave it!

I literally havce no idea what this channel is or why I’m subscribed.

TierZoo|487,956 subscribers|23 videos

Love it!

Genius idea of contextualizing nature as a fighting game. Please go watch!

Today I Found Out|1,390,597 subscribers|1,013 videos

Leave it!

Great information! But too many ads, pure and simple.

Tom Scott|1,227,951 subscribers|437 videos

Love it!

Short, brilliant videos.

Trekspertise|75,275 subscribers|41 videos

Love it!

All about the philosophy of Star Trek and other works. Great stuff.

Trekyards|41,583 subscribers|1,483 videos

Love it!

Way too nerdy for you. But I love it.

VanDeGraph|64,266 subscribers|13 videos

Love it!

Maps are cool.

Veritasium|4,722,114 subscribers|241 videos

Love it!

Great science videos!

Vintage Space|264,963 subscribers|306 videos

Love it!

I really love this channel on the history of space exploration.

Vsauce|13,231,023 subscribers|370 videos

Love it!

It’s Vsauce!

Vsauce2|3,860,908 subscribers|338 videos

Love it!

It’s more Vsauce!

Vsauce3|3,524,496 subscribers|161 videos

Love it!

It’s even more Vsauce!

Wendover Productions|1,188,193 subscribers|72 videos

Love it!

Their videos keep getting better!

Wintendo 64|27 subscribers|5 videos

Love it!

Fellow blogger!

You’re Doing it Wrong|9,355 subscribers|19 videos

Leave it!

You’re doing your YouTube channel wrong. Could be an allegory.

Zelda Dungeon|130,836 subscribers|1,494 videos

Love it!

Legend of Zelda stuff! Also needed for certain blogs.

Zelda Reorchestrated|11,248 subscribers|312 videos

Love it!

I miss you too much to unsubscribe.

ZeRo|220,219 subscribers|794 videos

Leave it!

Not really into the competitive Smash Bros. scene anymore.

Whew. It’s done. Now YouTube’s algorithm for my account is very very confused.

Started: 150 channels
Ended: 87

That’s almost half! If you want to get that number back up to 100, let me know some of your favorite YouTube channels in the comments. Also, let me know if you found any channels you loved though this list!

Super Specific Liebster Award

It’s Tuesday! You know what that means! It’s time for another Super Specific Suns– umm, Liebster Award. Completely different. Actually it’s not. It works just like all three Sunshine Awards of the past three weeks.

Thank you Megan @ A Geeky Gal for nominating me for a Liebster Award! I’m finally getting around to accepting this one. The way I do things around here is by answering my given questions, then coming up with wacky, super specific questions of my own.


Let’s try to keep the interview potion of the show brief, if that’s even possible for a person like me:

What song would you choose to listen to as you watched the world end?
“Brothers on a Hotel Bed” by Death Cab for Cutie. More accurately, I’d listen to the entire album Plans, and as I heave my final breath, I’d be listening to that song. 

Well, we’re off to a chipper start today indeed. You know this is an optimist’s blog, right Megan?

What are your favorite YouTube channels?
I’m subscribed to 161 YouTube channels, and you expect me to link to them all? Ha! Maybe in another blog post, but for now let me hit three random highlights.

Lorerunner | Best long-form media analyses on the planet.

Isaac Arthur | Amazingly high quality futurism videos.

Tater-Tot Tunes | In case you want to rock to some 8-bit remixes.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
Night Operation by Owen Barfield… it’s just taking me a while because it’s so long.
(oh gosh it’s only 75 pages…)

What is your weird blogging tip?
Never blog on less than 200 mg of caffeine.

What Hogwarts house would your favorite fictional character be sorted into? 
Oh, you mean Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation? Would the Sorting Hat even recognize him as a person? Doesn’t the 24th-century Federation support the right to choose your own house? Would there even be a need for wizards in an age of warp drive and transporters? What even is life?

Ravenclaw, obviously, due to his endless curiosity and moral compass.

What was the last movie you watched? 
I think it was A Quiet Place with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt

Do you have any obsessions right now?

Oh, you require specific details. Right now I’m obsessed with cold brew coffee, Stardew Valley, and using the easy ease effect in After Effects on literally everything.

And of course checking my stats. That’s just what bloggers do.

What would be your review of the tribble you adopted a couple of weeks ago?
Well I had a tribble, but it exploded a couple days after I got it. I looked up on the Internet what may cause an exploding tribble, and Memory Alpha said something about trying to assassinate famous starship captains. It was probably time-travel shenanigans.

What is your favorite podcast right now?
Hello Internet

What fictional character would you love to have as your RPG game master? 
Let’s do something wild, like have Dr. Frankenstein (read: not Frankenstein’s Monster) use his particular talents to lore-craft an unusual RPG game world.


To obtain a Normal Happenings Super Specific Sunshine Award Liebster Award, not to be confused with a Sunshiny Liebster Award or a Normal Liebster Award, the following ten of you are requested and required to answer my ten super specific questions in a separate blog post. This is your official invitation.

* A.
** Winner of the “Most Awesomely Named Blog on the List” sub-award.
*** B.
**** Mirror Match!
***** Come on, you know you’re tempted to take on my outlandish questions.

Super Specific Questions

The time has come to once again ask unrealistically specific questions!

  1. Scavenger hunt! Search though your computer/phone/device and find the most recent picture containing a window. Either post or, if you’re in the comments, describe it in way too much detail.

  2. What is the most beautiful vista in any video game you’ve played? Here’s the catch: the game must have come out before the year 2001.

  3. What’s the most obscure musical instrument you can think of?

  4. How is this even a question?

  5. A weird side effect of a popular ointment causes humans to grow an antenna after five years of daily use — something that slipped past the drug testing agencies of the world. The antenna has a purpose, though! What is this new appendage useful for?

  6. Admit it, we’ve all had a weird idea for a movie. What’s yours?

  7. Through merit, kind deeds, and encouraging words, you are gifted possession of a legendary airship. Go you! Can you come up with an equally legendary name for your new craft?

  8. In your opinion, what is the most well-done example of obvious nostalgia pandering in any film, TV show, video game, or other form of media? What made it so good?

  9. The Limited Superpower Bedbug gets its revenge!
    Which of the following limited superpowers would choose and why?
    – The ability to assign theme music for up to five people, to where it will play for exactly ten seconds after they enter or exit a door.
    – The ability to turn french fries into green beans at will, but not the other way around.
    – The ability to, at will, possess a Marauder’s Map — but it only shows the location of cats.

  10. Aw, thanks! You volunteered to help me make my grocery list for this week! What three items should I make sure to pick up?

And so we’ve reached the end of my backlog of awards for now — that’s three Sunshine Awards and one Liebster Award. But it looks like two bloggers want me to take a crack at their questions. So next Tuesday I’ll be continuing the spirit of the Super Specific awards by answering questions from Unoriginal love NoteS.

Play along at home in the comments! If I like your answer, I may nominate you for a  future super specific award. I’m looking forward to seeing your responses!

Dysontopia | Cold Outside, Cold Inside | 1.4

<< Cold Outside, Cold Inside 1.3 | Patch Log | A Study in Bad Acronyms 2.1 >>

Related: About Dysontopia | The Supporting Role of a Pure Hero

DT Logo BW

He glares for a second before giving me the third degree, telling me that I’m lucky he even lets me take the exam at all. That would be fine by me. I don’t even care anymore.

The computers were set up in hexagonal groups, six to a table. He told me to take a seat at one of the open iMacs, so I park myself across from Amy. Amy Summers. Somehow I think the only reason she got in this school is because some admission dean somewhere thought it would be hilarious to have a person with the name Summers and someone named Winters in the same classroom. She’s my only sort-of ally in the program. I say ally because she’s not even close to being my friend. However, she’s also the only person who doesn’t hate me, so she’s got that going for her.

Suddenly Ryker comes scampering in, his hair a mess and the bottom button of his jacket undone. Papers are flying, and he practically crashes into the computer directly behind me. Nobody says a word. Such is life. You think people are beyond middle school social cliques, organizing into groups and singling out people to pick on, but that maturity is too much to be expected of people of any age. The social dynamics of 14-year-olds are not much different from those of 24-year-olds, they just take on a different, more “professional” setting as people age. And academic types, for all their “knowledge” of why people behave the way they do, are the absolute worst. Continue reading “Dysontopia | Cold Outside, Cold Inside | 1.4”