I've been trying to track down one of the clear acetate parallels ever since Topps started putting them in their base sets. I have been chasing less-popular players since they tend to be the cheapest, but the bidding always seems to go a little higher than I want to pay. A couple of weeks ago this Jon Singleton card from 2015 Topps Series 2 popped up in my feed with a fairly reasonable price. Singleton's stock has dropped quite a bit since he was sent down to AAA at the start of the season, so I was able to get it for the opening bid. This copy is numbered # 01 / 10.
Singleton got called back up to the Astros a little while ago, but hasn't done a whole lot yet with the opportunity. In theory George Springer's recent injury opens up a bunch of playing time for the next couple of months, but Singleton might have to start hitting the ball in order to get a share of it. They don't play the same position, so there isn't really a direct route to playing time for Singleton, but people are going to have to shuffle around to fill that spot.
I was watching a game between the Astros and Red Sox this weekend and tried to come up with a list of my favorite Astros to watch. I always try to watch Singleton's at-bats when he gets them, but my top three must-watch guys right now are probably Evan Gattis, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve, roughly in that order. Gattis is a big dude, and with the beard he's got he looks a lot like one of the guys I worked with at FedEx. He seems to usually have good at-bats, and it always feels like he's on the verge of a big hit. Correa doesn't quite have the stage presence that Gattis does, but it seems like he's had at least one huge hit in every game I've watched over the last couple of weeks. I don't think Altuve ever stops talking, and he is pretty electric on the basepaths.
We went on a multi-family camping trip Thursday-Saturday for the 4th of July holiday. It was supposed to go through Sunday morning, but by the time Saturday morning rolled around everyone had about had enough of the heat and the hard ground and wanted to sleep in their own beds Saturday night, so we all decided to take off a little early. My mom and brother were there, as were 3 of my 4 sisters and their families, making a total of 10 adults and 11 kids on one site. There was a little creek on one side of the campsite and a hillside separating us from the rest of the campers, so it was actually a pretty good setup. Each day had about the right mix of activities and sitting around.
Thursday evening was set aside for getting there and getting set up. The campground had an alligator for some reason, so we went and looked at that. It obliged us by getting up and swimming over to have a look at us, probably hoping that we were planning on feeding it. For some reason the chicken run was set up next to the alligator's pen, which brought to my mind The Far Side comic strip.
Friday we went to look at some fossil beds, only to realize once we were there that the fossil beds are essentially a very warm hillside full of rocks. Luckily a sign directed us to town, where the Fossil Beds Visitors' Center was located. There we got to look at various fossils of prehistoric horses, mammoths, sloths, and saber-tooth cats. There was also a display about the Japanese internment camps that were set up in the area during World War Two. I can't say that I am surprised that Japanese-Americans were rounded up and sent to camps at that time, but I do feel bad that it happened and that not many people are even aware of it. One of my coworkers has family who were sent to live in the camps, and because it happened locally we learned a little bit about it in middle school and high school. We also stopped at a fish hatchery and saw hundreds of thousands of little fish in big tanks. There was also a nice little park area with Rainbow Trout and Sturgeon in it. It was shallow enough that you could reach down and pet the Sturgeon. There were 4 or 5 of them and they were all probably between 4 and 8 feet long. Before and after the outing everyone had plenty of time to mess around in the creek and hang out together. I skipped a lot of rocks, even though I knew my arm would hurt for a couple of days afterward (and it sure does). I just can't stop myself when there is a nice flat rock in the area. I have to throw it.
Saturday involved more playing in the creek and also two trips to the swimming pool before and after lunch. The pool was actually three pools fed by hot springs. Cooler water was mixed in to varying degrees, so each pool offered a different temperature. I think everyone had a good time, but it was obvious by the time we left that everyone was pretty ready to get out of there. When we got home (about a two hour drive) we decided it wouldn't be worth it to drag three tired kids out to watch fireworks. We had some sparklers and a couple of other small fireworks left over from last year, so the kids got to see those as well as whatever the neighbors were setting off. We also got to see a few airburst fireworks that were being sent up in the surrounding neighborhoods. The kids had a really good time, which was a nice reminder that sometimes you don't have to go all out on a bunch of fountains and projectiles to have a decent 4th of July celebration. As they get older that will probably change some, but for now sparklers and ground bloom flowers are good enough.