I’m still around

This blog is somewhat quiet due to my work/life balance not being as healthy as it should be. I am working hard on fixing this, in part so I can blog some more.

A lot of stuff is happening in the world right now – the indictments of Trump moving forward in several different courts, the war in Ukraine continuing, more and more right-wing grifters grifting for Putin etc., so there is plenty of blogging material. I just need to tap into it.

If you want to keep track of what I am doing between my rare blog posts, I would suggest following my Instagram feed, where I am the most active.


Are funko pops the new beanie babies?


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kristjan Wager (@kriswager)

I am a low key collector of vinyl figures – mostly tokidoki and Kidrobot, but also other figures that I find fun and affordable. One brand of figures I don’t collect, is Funko – I simply don’t find them interesting enough.

However, I am  aware that a lot of people collect Funko items, especially the Funko Pop! figures. There are lots of YouTube channels dedicated to collecting these, and I have watched a fair share of YouTube videos with unboxing of Funkos. One of the things I have noticed is that the YouTube videos always seems focused on the reselling value of the items, which shows that the YouTubers consider the figures to be investments, rather than items to add to their collection. Not all obviously; some talk about whether they have the figure already or not, but even these YouTubers tend to focus on value.

Watching this, I can’t help comparing the Funkos to Beanie Babies, which also were considered an investment by many of the people who purchased them, and which ended up burning a lot of “investors”.

This is something I have a feeling might also happen with Funkos. Some reasons for this:

  1. Some Funkos sell for extremely high prices, due to artificial scarcity
  2. A very large number of Funkos are released every year
  3. Focus on keeping package in mint condition
  4. Even small things, make a huge differences in price for the same figure

Let’s start with the first point. There are quite a few Funkos that are only made in a limited series. This obviously make their prices go up during resale. There is no real reason for Funko to make these limited runs, except for creating hype/higher prices. Be that as it may – it is not an uncommon thing to do after all, Funko also tend to retire (or “vault”) their Funkos, instead of keep making them as long as there is a demand. Both the limited runs and the retiring of figures are tools to make people collect the figures.

Even though Funko tries to appeal to collectors, by making the individual figures scarce, or at least harder to get, they are also optimizing their profit, by releasing a large number of figures every month, making it hard for even the most focused collector to buy them all, even if they can afford it.

Both the scarcity of the individual figures, and the large number of figures released, seems to be aimed at creating an environment where peoples’ natural tendency to collect kicks in. And kick in, it does, which is demonstrated by 3) and 4). There is an extreme focus on the condition of the boxes, which clearly shows that it is not really the figures themselves that matter, something which is also demonstrated by the fact that there can be a huge difference in price of the same figure, depending on what stickers are on the box. The stickers shows if it was sold/connected to a con, is part of a limited run, or if it is sold exclusively at some store (chain) or another. As I said, even if the figure is the same, these stickers make a tremendous differences in price.

So, all in all, it seems clear to me, that Funkos have become a collectible and an investment item, quite like Beanie Babies were. This leads me to believe that we’ll see a similar development – maybe not quite as bad, since the scarce figures will still probably be worth something (as I believe also is the case for Beanie Babies), but the many, many ordinary ones will decrease their value a lot, no matter the stickers on the box.

For a quick introduction to the story behind the Beanie Babies, see The Insane History of Beanie Babies at Otis Magazine, which also have a quick introduction to Funko Funko Pop! Mania (note on Otis – I am linking to the articles because they seem like good introductions to the subject. I do, however, not endorse their website in any way, and have never used it – and giving the fact that they promote NFTs, I am not likely to ever use them for anything)



Lazy linking

I have gotten my first jab of the Pfizer vaccine this morning, and while I don’t really feel any side effects, I am a bit exhausted, which might as well be due to a busy schedule than anything else. Anyway, I am working on some posts about Danish politics, but until I get around to finishing them, I thought I’d do a quick link round-up.

I case you are curious about the kind of work I do on a daily basis, you can get a glimpse into it, through an article I have written on being a Product Owner in a DevOps environment for Scrum Alliance.

I might have recommended this before, but I highly recommend the “Woking up” series of episodes of Elynah’s Polite Conversations podcast, where she discusses Sam Harris and why she left his fandom. The podcast can be found on all places where you can get podcasts. Otherwise, the first full episode can be found on Soundcloud here. Be aware that Elynah first releases a shorter preview episode. Currently there are six full episodes out.

A new fascinating, if somewhat frustrating podcast is The Turning: The Sisters Who Left, about women who joined the Missionaries of Charity under Mother Theresa, and since left the order. It is fascinating, as it shows how cult-like the order was. It is frustrating, because it still buys too much into the myths around Mother Theresa . Though there is an episode entirely dedicated to the criticism from Hitchens etc., it is clear that the former sisters are still somewhat reverent of Mother Theresa, and while they occasionally talk about the problems with the order (e.g. how proper medicine isn’t used), they don’t seem to blame her for it.

A bit of radio-silence

As people might have noticed, I have been fairly quiet since the whole COVID-19 pandemic started in Europe. It is not because I have been sick, but rather it is because I have been very, very busy working on some essential IT-systems, used while paying compensation to Danish companies in the lock-down.

Obviously, I cannot talk too much about it, but it has been challenging to work on such systems in an ever-changing world.

But I consider myself lucky – I have had something really meaningful to do, which has been beneficial to a lot of people, at a time where others have lost their job, or haven’t been able to do their daily job.

We are not quite out of the COVID-19 crisis yet, not even in Denmark, where we have started to open up again, and I am not quite out of this extra-ordinary work situation just yet, but things are quieting down, and I hope to post more often.

Please donate to “Defense against Carrier SLAPP Suit” GoFundMe

It is not a secret that Richard Carrier has sued this blog network, the Orbit, Skepticon, and several individuals for libel. While most people consider the lawsuit completely groundless, it still requires some legal work to get the case dismissed, and this, unfortunately, costs money.

As the GoFundMe states:

Dr. Richard Carrier is suing us for reporting  on his well-known allegations of misconduct. These allegations were widely reported on throughout the community, including by third-parties both critical and sympathetic to him who are not themselves defendants.

This lawsuit has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP suit — a lawsuit filed to stifle legitimate criticism and commentary. The named defendants are Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethought Blogs – as well as individuals Lauren Lane, the lead organizer of Skepticon; Stephanie Zvan, a blogger for The Orbit; PZ Myers, a blogger for Freethought Blogs; and Amy Frank-Skiba, who publicly posted her first-hand allegations against Carrier.

We need your help to keep our voices alive. All the defendants are represented by the same attorney, First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza. Randazza is providing his services at a significant discount, but we are not asking him to work for free. Plus, there are thousands of dollars in “costs” for the case that don’t include legal bills, and there is no way to discount those. In order to continue fighting this lawsuit, we, the defendants of this case, have put together this campaign to raise money to defray our costs, some of which is outstanding.

If you have some money to spare, please help fight this suit.

Skepticon needs your help

As many of you are aware of, former blogger on this network, Richard Carrier, has sued Skepticon, FreethoughtBlogs, the Orbit, as well as some individual people for defamation.  As this blog network is included in the lawsuit, I haven’t commented on it, but I am obviously of the opinion that Richard Carrier doesn’t have a case. Even so, the lawsuit results in legal costs for the people and groups involved, and Skepticon is asking for donations to help cover their costs. If you have some spare money, consider donating some to them.

A similar effort to raise money will be done by the rest of the defendants, and I will post a link when that happens.

It is awful quiet around here

Yes, I know, this blog has been pretty much missing in action for a month now. I apologize – that is no way to behave when you’ve just moved your blog.

The silence is mainly due to two facts:

  1. My home computer died on me. I was uninstalling some stuff, because I wanted to upgrade my OS to Windows 10, but somehow I managed to delete something important in the process, turning my computer non-functional.
  2. I have moved apartment. This last happened nearly 10 years ago, and I underestimated how much time and energy it would take.

I won’t promise daily blogposts any time soon, but I will try to write something a bit more often.

Temporary banner up

As some might have noticed, I have had a banner in place on this blog. Since that makes it harder to know what blog you are currently reading, I’ve put up a temporary banner, which I will exchange with something better at some stage.

Away from keyboard

I am currently suffering from an inflammation in my left shoulder, and am reducing my typing to a minimum, and thus won’t be writing on this blog before I get better. I am on the mend, but this blog will probably be quiet for at least another week.