Cerebral Flotsam And Jetsam - My Mental Maelstrom


Random Thoughts Of Raegan Hunt

Today thoughts of Raegan D’Ann Hunt drifted in to my head, as they occasionally have for the last 25 years or so. I have had the incredible luck and pleasure of dating some magnificently amazing women, and she was one of them for a couple of years (I think) in the mid-nineties. I say “I think” because it’s strange how my memory fades and becomes altered and corrupted over time and often I actually can’t remember exactly how long I dated someone, exactly how it ended, or other such details.

Raegan and I both worked as actors at The Texas Renaissance Festival in the early nineties. Though we had worked there together for a year or two, we actually didn’t know each other as we never worked directly together. Somehow (mutual friends, I think, but I can’t remember the details) we discovered that we both lived in College Station and got in touch with each other saying that we should meet up and hang out some time.

I still remember our first “date” as probably the best I’ve ever had. Now to be fair, I never really traditionally “dated” much in my life, so there haven’t been a lot of things that register as “first dates.” Usually I just meet someone, we become friends, get to know other, hang out as friends and eventually discover we have romantic feelings. I don’t remember this actually being a “date” necessarily either, but then in hind-sight it sure felt date-like. My friend, Ty Southerland was playing an acoustic gig somewhere out of town. I don’t remember exactly where but it wasn’t too far of a drive. No more than 30-60 minutes, I would think. I was going to come sit in with him to sing some harmony vocals. I don’t think I did any playing but again, this was probably a quarter-century ago so all details in this account are subject to question. I invited Raegan to come along.

I was working as a clerk and guitar teacher at Lippman Music at the time, and Brian, the owner, had a Saab he was trying to sell, so in exchange for me taking care of it and keeping it clean and such, he also let me drive it until he could sell it. Raegan met me in the parking lot of Culpepper Plaza, the strip mall where Lippman Music was located and got into the car with me. I seem to remember her wearing a fitted dress and looking very nice. We had the whole drive to talk, and then the gig. I think I just sat in on a handful of tunes so it wasn’t like she was just solo in the audience all night while I was on stage. Afterward, we talked the whole drive back and then just continued talking for hours in the parking lot where her car was parked. If memory serves and I’m not just romanticizing things, she eventually laid her head in my lap and we talked and laughed until the very, very late/early hours. Suffice to say, we had hit it off.

Another such night of all-night talking and laughing at my place led to our first kiss. This was, unfortunately, just before she was heading back home for a break from college. I remember a friend telling her that I must really like her, being a musician who would show up at 8am to help her move out of her dorm for the break.

Raegan was incredibly smart. She was a double major in Nuclear Engineering/Radiological Health Sciences, I believe. Very scholastic and always a top student. She was also creative, fun, funny and just an all around amazing person, as evidenced by me having been in love with her. I always remember her as one of the more magical people I’ve had the pleasure to know.

Very strangely, I don’t actually remember exactly how it ended, or why. My memory is of her going away to some summer program, and it feeling like a soft breakup. I use the term “soft” because I don’t remember an actual definitive breakup conversation or anything dramatic, but just a sort of feeling like “So I guess we aren’t together any more.” It’s so strange to have such an important detail be so fuzzy in the ether of memory. I was working at Sears in the electronics department at the time, and I have this memory of her coming by and us having a conversation out in the parking lot that I believe was our last “Goodbye” conversation before she left for the summer. I don’t remember us really talking or being in contact at all while she was gone which cemented my conclusion that we were no longer a couple. It’s still so strange to me to remember so little about this. Like part of my memory has been erased or something. It’s baffling to me how I can’t remember more specifics.

While she was gone, I started dating someone new. This is also how I know that, to my knowledge, we were broken up. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have started dating someone else. This however led to an awkward encounter that I still sort of feel bad about to this day, not knowing what she thought or felt. Raegan still had keys to my place that I actually shared with my mom. Now I know that might sound weird to a lot of people, but it would be a whole other story to explain why and how it wasn’t at all weird. My mom is cool and at that time it served us both well to be “roommates.” One morning, I was laying in bed with my girlfriend, when I heard my mom saying “Yeah, he’s in his room! Heath, Raegan is here!” I don’t remember what exchange I had with my girlfriend, but I know she was cool about it and quickly left as she had to get somewhere any way. She and Raegan passed each other in the hallway and said hello.

Raegan and I exchanged a long hug. I seem to remember us just kind of catching up for a bit. Not acknowledging any weirdness, I don’t think. Before she left she gave me back the keys to my place. I’ve always wondered what exactly happened that day. What she thought. How she felt. What had been her thoughts or intentions on the way to my place. Had I misinterpreted something or misunderstood us not being together? I am absolutely a loyal man of honor, and even the thought that there might have been some misunderstanding appalled me. I don’t know how there could have been, but it’s so long ago now, all details, thoughts, and feelings surrounding the whole situation are so vague and faded.

I believe the last time I saw Raegan was when I briefly stopped by her college graduation party, which she had been kind enough to invite me to. I had an outdoor summer band gig with my band, “The Voodudes” (which included music store owner Brian Lippman on bass) so I couldn’t stay long, and I remember being dressed in shorts and a cut up sleeveless shirt and apologizing for my attire.

After that, I think we lost touch. Over the years I would occasionally Google her to see if I could find anything. There was never much until I found an article about how she had helped to discover some new gene in the heart or something pretty significant like that. She’s apparently a pediatrician now. At one point, I was actually in touch with her sister briefly and told her to pass my info to Raegan if she wanted to catch up. Her sister told me that Raegan was super busy (as was always her way; she was always a hard worker and known as a “Gunner” among her scholastic peers) and that her family barely heard from her, so it was not likely. I think I remember learning that she’s married with kids now. I still have a decoratively painted balalaika that her father brought back from Russia, I believe. I also have a cool leather mask that was hers that I’ve worn any time I needed that masked “Dread Pirate Roberts” look. I remember seeing Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” with her in the theater when it was released, a movie I still love and that introduced me to one of my top acting idols, Gary Oldman.

I don’t know why of all the times she has randomly drifted into my brain over the years, that today is the day I felt compelled to chronicle this. I hope you’re well and happy, Raegan. I hope you know what a wonderful, unique, magical person you must be to leave lifelong impressions on the people whose paths cross yours. And let us never forget a guitarist named “Vampiro” and a Spanish song called “Refrigerador.” And that pure, innocent, laughter-filled night parked in a borrowed Saab in the parking lot of Culpepper Plaza.

A picture from the 3/9/1994 college newspaper that I found on microfiche in the college library on a whim, many, many years ago before everything was online. I have no idea how I managed to track it down as I wouldn’t have known the date. I think I must have just started browsing every issue from the general time period.

Emotional Masochism

I’ll never understand the human tendency to purposefully poke our own emotional sore spots. I definitely do it a lot and it fascinates me. It goes against my strongest core beliefs (being present) and yet I willfully choose to spend so much time walking like a ghost through my own past. I often wonder if it’s just because those like me love to *feel*. The stronger, more powerfully and passionately the better. I am so incredibly self-aware and yet still so often an enigma even to myself.


Dream Theatre 58

In this dream I was feeling anxious. You see, for some reason I and a fictional dream woman named Misty had agreed to marry each other even though we’d never met. We had lots of mutual friends in the music scene and she too was a singer and musician. Justifiably, I was now having extreme second thoughts about this. I’m not even sure why we had made this agreement and I’m not sure that dream me was clear on that either. It wasn’t an immigration thing, I know that much. I was trying to be optimistic and thought “Well some people go into ‘arranged marriages’ so maybe this will turn out okay.” I had seen pictures of her on Facebook and knew that I found her at least moderately attractive, and maybe we could play music and sing together or form a duo or something. Never the less, to quote many a Star Wars character, I had a bad feeling about this. Why had we agreed to this? It couldn’t possibly be a good idea to marry someone you had never met.

And that was it really. The dream had no resolution. Like a show canceled without a finale.


Vox Populi Covering “The King Is Half-Undressed” By Jellyfish

We’ve always wanted to do this song by one of our all-time favorite bands, Jellyfish, so we arranged it for a 3 piece and did our power trio version as another Quarantine Socially Distant Performance! Here is Vox Populi covering “The King Is Half-Undressed”!

I decided to arrange this for the trio. This meant there are several parts where there is (at least) one vocal part missing. I also decided to try and do it like we would live so instead of videoing myself doing several guitar parts, or a keyboard part, I just left it with one guitar part performed simultaneously with the vocal (like I would live). Of course, in a studio setting, this is not optimal as my very sensitive vocal mic (a Slate Digital ML-1) picks up the jangling noise from strumming my guitar strings as well, but it’s tolerable.

I love this group and this song and this is definitely one of my favorite musical things that I’ve ever been involved with. Vox Populi is me, David Houston on bass and vocals, and Matt Patterson on drums and vocals.


Cover Of “September Gurls” By Big Star

Matt Patterson, David Houston and I have been threatening to start a power pop cover band. We’ve all been throwing song ideas around and Matt has been throwing out all kinds of great song suggestions that I’ve somehow never heard before. For our first ever virtual performance, he wanted to do “September Gurls” by Big Star, which I’d actually never heard. About 2 hours later I had learned and filmed my parts! We have dubbed ourselves “Vox Populi” and VoxpopuliPowerPop will be our URLs around Cyberspace!


Dream Theatre 57

I dreamt that the movie “Milk” with Sean Penn was an action movie that ended with a frenetic gun fight between Sean Penn and Eddie Murphy. There was lots of firing, jumping, flipping through the air, taking cover, etc. The scene ended in a standoff as they flipped past each other in the air with Milk landing, sitting on the floor in a corner and Eddie Murphy across a few feet away. As they pointed guns at each, Eddie’s character was taunting Milk saying “Come on! Shoot me! Go ahead!” But Milk wouldn’t shoot so Eddie quickly, and coldly shot him in the head. What a weird-ass dream.


Darin Murphy And I Cover “Getting Better” By The Beatles

Finally! The project that I’ve been totally immersed in for so many hours over so many days that time has lost all meaning (in a good way…I’ve been smiling and cackling like a mad scientist in his lair).

Among my latest random musical urges, I suddenly, out of nowhere felt like I wanted to cover “Getting Better” by The Beatles and do one of those videos where you video as you record each part. Initially, it was just going to be a solo project, but then I thought how things are always more fun “With A Little Help From My Friends.” So I contacted the biggest Beatles guru I know who also happens to be a multi-talented musician, singer, actor, and all around ridiculously good guy, Darin Murphy to see if he would be the John and Ringo to my Paul and George. He was gracious enough to agree to “Come Together” and I absolutely love the result.

It may be a strange song to cover in these crazy days, but if nothing else I like to think the title alone is just a good goal and hope. And some Beatles always makes things better.


“Wish You Were Here”

I’ve been getting random musical urges lately. The latest was a sudden desire to perform “Wish You Were Here” using my looper. So here it is. It is uncomfortably far from perfect, but I find I very often get bogged down in letting perfection become the enemy of good.

Playing music is so powerful and therapeutic for me. Putting things out for public consumption though, I NEVER feel like they’re good enough. I recorded a take of this last night, then upon reviewing the footage noticed some visual things that were unacceptable. I did a couple of more tries today. I finally got one I could live with so I went to render the audio and when it came time to grab the video, I found I had mistakenly deleted it, and since I used the Filmic Pro app, there was no “trash” to recover it from.

2 or three more tries and eventually it was starting to lose its magic and become tiresome, so I decided that this one was it. No more. Hopefully what it lacks in perfection, it makes up for in soul.


Dream Theatre 56

I hesitated to document this one because it’s about her again. Nothing crazy, but I just didn’t want “Dream Theatre” to become exclusively about her. There’s been many more dreams of her I haven’t documented here but I remembered a lot of weird details about this one.

I was t a hotel for some reason and we had arranged for her to call me to catch up. The first time we would be actually speaking since my banishment. The phone rang, I answered and it was a bit of a confusing beginning as she was with someone on her end (him maybe), and whoever she was with was joking around and obviously distracting her as a joke. They shouted “She loves you!” playfully and she quieted them down to begin the conversation. I don’t remember anything in particular that was said, but I remembered that she had changed her number. It was no longer an Austin number. She had just moved to L.A. from Nevada so I figured it must have been one of those two and wondered why she had bothered changing numbers since area codes don’t mean much these days.

I had walked into the hotel and at the entrance to the bar which was closed at the moment, so while there was no one there, the door was open and it was a nice quiet place to talk. Two young men approached me and started to surround me and I could tell something was up. Next thing I knew, They had grabbed me, picked me up and were trying to pull me out the bar door and into these other doors where I presumed they would rob and beat me. While still on the phone, I started yelling for help and grabbing on to the door frame of the bar, trying to keep from getting pulled out. Then everything kind of froze like paused video game as I started analyzing my options and whether I could get a good angle to land a punch on either of them.

Then I woke up.


A Tale Of Forbidden Hydration

I had noticed a filtered water machine at the gas station down the street from me. In an effort to more easily stay hydrated, I ordered a gallon water jug thinking that I could just walk down to the store and fill it up for $.35. Now I have a big water filter in my room, but to fill it I have to make multiple trips from the kitchen with a jug, and monitor the particulate count with a meter (or just notice when it starts tasting funny), buy filters, change the filters, fill out a form and mail in the filters to get recycled and get a credit on some new filters, make sure the cistern stays clean, etc. It seemed way easier to walk down to the store and pay $.35 and, BAM! Gallon of clean tasting filtered water.

I used the jug multiple times, but then one day I went to fill it up and the machine was apparently out of order. I would check periodically but it was out of order for quite a while. Then one day, there it was, all lit up again, ready to dispense me some lovely, life giving oxygen combined with a pair of hydrogen molecules! Yay!

But then soon after it was out of order again. After a few trips with it still being out of commission, I decided to ask the store clerk about it. He went to check it out and found it was simply unplugged. Well, good thing I asked about it! I told him I would have to come back with my jug. Today (a day or two after that last encounter), I grabbed my trusty gallon jug, prepared to stop drinking so much Diet Mtn. Dew and get some of that incredibly beneficial water into my system again! I needed some sun and air anyway, so I walked on down to the gas station on my quest, 35 cents jangling in the pocket of my Forest Green gym shorts.

As I approached, I was stopped dead in my tracks and my mouth went agape. There were no lights. In fact, there was no machine. The water machine was gone. A discolored patch of concrete next to the ice machine where it had once stood. For some reason, I walked right up to where it had been, as if maybe I wasn’t seeing something correctly. Just air where there had once been metal and plastic containing a menaga-a-trois of hydrogen and oxygen within, dancing together in their liquidy embrace.

I walked back home, defeated, wondering why the universe wanted to deny me my simple hydration wishes. As I walked, two Hispanic men in a work truck yelled something in Spanish that I didn’t understand. I looked at them, and the driver made drumming motions. I just laughed and smiled and they laughed and smiled back. When I arrived home, I made three trips from the kitchen with a kettle full of water to fill my filter. And now I sit here typing this while drinking some Diet Mtn Dew.