Blog of Stories

There are 35 blog entries within the category of Stories

The Monte Montgomery Guitar
Story circa April 12th, 2002 | View Post
When Tisa and I had only been dating for about 2 or 3 months, I wanted to get her a cool present for her upcoming birthday on the 16th of April. She and I were frequently going to see Monte Montgomery play at the local bars in Austin and she had made some mention to me that she would like to learn to play the guitar. My idea was then to buy her a relatively inexpensive acoustic guitar and have Monte sign it for her.

Getting the Guitar

About a week earlier to this particular trip, I went onto eBay and found a red Johnson 6 string acoustic for about $150.00 or so. There was an available 'Buy it Now' option and since I didn't have much time, I went ahead and did it. For whatever reason, my eBay account was giving me trouble, so I actually had Dave Guezuraga, my roommate at the time, purchase the guitar for me. I quickly reimbursed him for it - and he got the star on his eBay account.

Contacting Monte

I went on to Monte's website and found an email address that I figured I could use to contact his people regarding having the guitar signed. A day or two went by and I still had not heard back from them. Getting slightly anxious about this, I decided that if I did not hear back from them, I would just have to go to one of Monte's concerts and have him sign it, I figured he couldn't turn me down. The only problem was that his only upcoming concert was in Dallas on the 5th of April, 2002, and that was going to be a bit of a drive on my part.

My Letter to Monte Montgomery

From: "Kevin Ludlow" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 2:53 PM
Subject: upcoming show - with a question

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am hoping that this letter can find its way to Monte Montgomery as this was the only email address that I could find on the website. So:


My name is Kevin Ludlow and I live in Austin - where I do get to see your shows from time to time. I try to go whenever possible because, while I'm sure you can do without more flattering from people, your music is incredible and your guitar method is something I've never seen before. To the point, I have a small favor that I would like to ask of you. I have been playing guitar for quite some time and my girlfriend has been wanting me to teach her. For her upcoming birthday, this April 16, I have bought her a pretty inexpensive, but nice, practice guitar so she has something to learn on. Unfortuantly I couldnt afford anything too grand. My favor to ask is if you could sign/personalize the guitar. I'm sure that you have lots of number one fans, but I would say that she is definately one of them and I think she would cherish the very thought of you signing it. Also, I would hope it would inspire her to learn to play, as she admires your guitar playing a great deal.

If this is at all possible, I would happily pay you for the trouble or do whatever necessary to make it possible. I might not normally go through such a length do to something, but she is definately worth that and much more, to me anyways. I understand that you have a show coming up in Dallas on the 5th, and I happily would drive up to Dallas. I'd love to see the show, and perhaps I could see you afterwards? I am just hoping that the guitar gets here before then, as I ordered it online. So - it would mean a great deal to me and I guarantee her too if you could do this. I hope to hear from you - and email is great - but my cell is 512:xxx-xxxx.

Thank you so much for your time,
Kevin Ludlow

Getting the Signature

The signed guitar sitting in my living room
I asked my good friend Preston Graham if he would like to join me in going to a concert in Dallas, and of course explained why I needed to go up there. Being the great guy that he is, he happily agreed to go with me. So, around 4pm on the 5th, I picked him up in my truck and we drove the 3 or so hours up North to Dallas. I guess we got there a bit too early for nightlife but it allowed me to get a spot directly in front of the club where Monte was playing that night, The Gypsy Tea Room.

With some time to kill, Preston and I walked across the street from the club and had a beer or two at another bar. Afterwards, we proceeded to walk back over to the club and wait in line. We were there for about 10 minutes or so when Tisa called me on my cell. There was clearly a loud ruckus from the people standing around and I had to make up some story about me being out with some friends or the like. I didn't want her to know that I was in Dallas going to a concert. I think it was a fair white lie.

When we finally got inside of the Gypsy Tea Room, the opening band was just about to go on. Preston and I had a few more beers and were just sitting around talking when I happened to notice Monte up at the bar. I quickly ran up to him and explained to him that I had just bought my girlfriend an acoustic guitar and would appreciate it if he could sign it. He told me no problem and that he would do it after the show. This was a relief, though now we had to sit through the entire show. Not that I didn't want to see Monte play or anything like that, but he wasn't going on until around 11pm or so and we still had to drive back to Austin.

Needless to say, we watched the entire show, drank some beers, and all in all, had a great time. As soon as the show was over, I asked Monte once more just to confirm and he told me to go and get the guitar from my car. I brought it back to him and he was more than happy to sign it personally to Tisa. He asked me what I wanted it to read and I told him just to write whatever he wanted, so long as it was addressed to Tisa. He didn't argue and signed it "To Tisa: Peace and Love - Monte Montgomery".

Preston and I left the Tea Room sometime around 2:30-3:00am and of course still had a 3 hour drive ahead of us. It was more than exhausting and I think Preston tried to stay awake with me as long as possible but eventually fell asleep in the car. We got home some time around 6am.

My Response from Monte Montgomery

Even though I managed to get the guitar signed, it took awhile for that email that I originally wrote to get back to me. The return letter actually came from Monte's manager, Ray Rodriguez, but apparently he actually spoke with Monte regarding the guitar. Thankfully, it wasn't of much concern by this time. Here is the email that was sent back to me regarding the guitar being signed:

From ???@??? Sun Apr 14 11:45:59 2002
From: "RayRod" <>
To: "Kevin Ludlow" <>
Subject: Re: upcoming show - with a question
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2002 10:45:35 -0500


Sorry for the late reply. I spoke to Monte about this and he'd be glad to sign the guitar. So, bring it to any one of his shows and just ask him to sign it!

Best Regards,
Ray Rodriguez
Manager, Monte Montgomery
Monte-Ray Enterprises

Giving the Guitar to Tisa

I had to hold onto the guitar for 10 solid days without letting her know anything about it, much less that I had just been to Dallas the night before and gone to a Monte concert. On her birthday, she came over after going out with one of her friends and I was anxious to give her the guitar. I presented it to her and of course she was incredibly excited that I had given her a guitar in the first place. The funny thing was, she thought that I had signed it. I explained to her that it was personally signed by Monte Montgomery just for her. I had to explain the entire story but I think she was more than amazed with the effort made.

Wow! That is so cool! I can't believe you went to all that trouble. But, I can see you had a good time doing it. I am a huge M.M. fan, and have driven between Dallas and Austin to see gigs, myself. Tisa'a a lucky girl.

bonjour, je cherche la tablature de romeo and juliet par monte montgomery. Pourriez vous m' écrire pour savoir si vous l' aviez et si possible pourriez vous me l envoyer a mon adresse mail. je vous remercie a bientot

The Paintball Gun
Story circa April 4th, 2001 | View Post
This was an absolutely ridiculous idea from the get-go, but somehow Dave G and I thought it would be fun. Since we were both making pretty good salaries and really not having much to pay for other than rent and bills, we were buying all sorts of random toys for around the house.

One afternoon we took off to Academy and came across some paintball guns. Thinking paintballing might be something we could get into, we each bought a gun, an over-sized hopper, and a box of paint. Of course the problem with having a paintball gun is that you inevitably want to shoot it. And once you shoot it, you inevitably want to shoot it at something. And after that milestone, you inevitably want to shoot at someone.

Dave and I got the idea that we would each get to shoot the other person one time. Dayna happened to come over and was more than happy to bear witness to this. We drew to see who went first and Dave lost. He marched over to a tree in our backyard, probably about 20 yards away and turned his back to me. I calked the gun, told him I was going to fire, and shot him square in the back. He got a huge welt as we expected, but was otherwise fine seeing on how he knew he was about to return the favor.

I marched over to the same tree and turned my back to Dave. He fired, but his first shot missed me! This actually only made my situation far worse as I could literally hear the air from the paintball whizzing by my head. The apprehensiveness of being shot from such a close distance was terrible. Finally Dave took aim again and fired. He hit me square in corner of my right ear. It stung terribly and the entirety of my head and ear were covered in water-based paint.

I have no idea what Dayna thought of all of this, but she happily watched on.
The Spaghetti Blender
Story circa February 18th, 2001 | View Post

Taken about 10 minutes before Dayna flew over the handlebars and smashed her face
In the late winter of 2001, Dayna and I took a trip up to visit her parents in Irving, Texas. Her family wanted to go over to the park and so they got her and I a pair of mountain bikes that we could ride around on. Probably not more than an hour or so into our riding around, Dayna somehow managed to slam on the front breaks causing the bike to flip forward. She landed square on her face on the sidewalk below and to say the least was screaming in pain.

Her mom and I took her to the emergency room in Dallas and after a number of x-rays and what I assume was a rather painful examination, they concluded that she had broken her jaw and would need to have some wiring done.

It should be pretty obvious, but there are lots of things you can't do when you have a broken jaw. Some of them are worse than others, but near the top of that list is eat solid foods. Since you can't really apply any pressure to your jaw, it's near impossible to chew.

Fast forward a week or two.

Dayna and I were back in Austin and she was really getting tired of not being able to eat anything. Incidentally she had been living off of Broccoli Cheese Soup from Jason's Deli and was desperate for a change. I felt awful for her and so one night invited her over to my house as somewhat of a dinner date night. She was hanging out on the couch while I cooked a full meal of spaghetti and meat sauce. I prepared it just as anyone would, boiling the pasta, cooking the meat, simmering the sauce, and mixing it all together. Finally I was done. Dayna was a bit confused as to why I would have gone through this effort seeing on how she couldn't eat it. But I had a plan.

I took the entire meal and tossed it into my blender, still piping hot. I hit puree and let the blender do its thing. What was left was this steaming hot pile of mush with little chunks of meat in it. The excess starch in the pasta gave the meal a really interesting consistency. We both sat down to have our mush meals only to find that they were about the worst-tasting things we had ever tried. Unfortunately, and despite my best effort to give Dayna a good meal, we couldn't eat them.

I still got credit for the nice gesture, but for future reference, blended spaghetti is NOT a good meal.
The Super Sperm
Story circa October 5th, 1999 | View Post

The MicroFilm machine at the University of Texas PCL. I needed this little device to grab all of the old stills.
In the summer of 2000 I was living in a SCUBA diving town in Mexico called Akumal. It translates to "Place of the Turtle" in Mayan. I was working as a research dive assistant for a Ph.D student at the University of Texas. A few months before moving there, I had started sketching out a silly comic hero named SuperSperm. Much like Superman, SuperSperm would try to bring peace and harmony to the world. The only difference was that it was a world full of sperm and sperm cities. The sperm world had all of the same basic characteristics that our own world had, only instead of humans, there were sperm.

There was an outdoor whiteboard at the dive shop in Akumal. The instructors would often use it for teaching their day classes. One morning before anyone else had showed up, I took the whiteboard markers and drew a SuperSperm comic on it. I cannot for the life of me remember what the comic was about, but a couple of people chuckled at it and I was hooked. From that day on, any time that I could come up with something relevant to what was going on at the shop, I'd draw a SuperSperm comic strip representing it.

This went on for a few weeks until one day I was told to stop. Mexico is a pretty conservative Catholic destination and evidently not everyone was amused with the content of my drawings. Evidently it was not proper to satirize Superman with a caped-sperm. I drew a few more on the whiteboard after that, but always made sure to erase them before paying customers would arrive (I was part of a non-paying research team).

When I returned back to Austin after the summer expedition, I decided I would try to have the comic published in our school newspaper, The Daily Texan. I contacted the editor and he said that they were always happy to receive more student content. He also said that it would be published if they liked it. Of course I immediately jumped on the chance to have my work published. Despite having absolutely no artistic talent (at least with respect to drawing), it didn't take me long to come up with a sperm-themed joke and sketch it out. I even ran it down to the editor's office that very night. And so on Thursday October 5th, 2000, my first SuperSperm comic strip was published in The Daily Texan. I have no idea how many people actually saw the comic, but I know it was in the hands of about 30,000.

Over the course of about two weeks there were six published. Unfortunately due to some bad luck, this would end the comic series. (continued below)

SuperSperm Thursday October 5th, 2000: The EarthQuake
"With 200 million missing and feared dead, SuperSperm has been dispatched"

SuperSperm Monday October 9th, 2000: Washington
"SuperSperm addresses the nation.

SuperSperm Tuesday October 10th, 2000: Fame
"SuperSperm stares at his first endorsement" (Sperm Lights - Genuine Taste)

SuperSperm Thursday October 12th, 2000: The Museum
"SuperSperm admires the Hall of Swimmers"

SuperSperm Friday October 13th, 2000: The Natives
"Totonka" "Buffalo"

SuperSperm Monday October 16th, 2000: Explorer
"SuperSperm finds himself in a mysteriously moist cave."

In the fall semester of 2000 I was in between apartments. My girlfriend at the time, Dayna, allowed me to stay with her pretty frequently, and so naturally I did. It was a great arrangement for me every night I was there except for one, the night that my truck got broken into.

The truck was parked immediately outside of her apartment. Presumably anybody who was outside would have witnessed the break-in, but unfortunately there were no such witnesses. Somewhat ironically, the burglars used lead SCUBA weights from the bed of the truck to break one of the windows and unlock the doors; I found it on the floor in a puddle of glass. Those Catholics in Mexico had finally taken their revenge.

In addition to having my speakers ripped out, my CD collection stolen, and everything else that comes with a vehicle break-in, my school backpack containing weeks worth of SuperSperm drawings was also stolen. I was definitely pissed about the truck, but I was genuinely upset about having lost all of my comic material.

Since it was never really my dream to become a comic artist, I decided that I wouldn't try to overcome losing all of my work. It would have taken far too long to recreate everything and my morale was too low to try. That was pretty much the end of SuperSperm.
The Blue Softee
Story circa September 10th, 1999 | View Post
Some time during our Junior year in college, while living as roommates, Klaus and I got the idea that our dear friend Sunni needed a present.  She had broken up with her boyfriend of many years just months before, and was clearly upset over this event (as one would expect most anyone to be).  There was discussion of trying to find her someone, but unfortunately neither Klaus nor I were going to be of any help in this department.

One late evening in our cozy 41st street apartment, Klaus and I took to the pipe as we did on so many other nights there.  It probably wasn't too long before we were stoned out of our minds reminiscing on memories past.

I'll never be sure if it was Klaus or myself who suggested it (in all likeliness it was me), but we somehow decided that it would be comical to purchase Sunni a vibrator.  After some initial laughter, we somehow figured that it would be a nice gesture.

Within moments, we were huddled around my smoke-stained monitor trying to find Sunni the perfect 'fulfillment' when alas, the Blue Softee presented itself.  I filled out the order form with my information, and we sent it (and a bottle of cleaning solution) anonymously to Sunni and Laura's cottage duplex on 33rd street.  There was a note attached with some sort of innuendo, though I can't recall it.
The Belicean Border Incident
Story circa July 30th, 1999 | View Post
When Dayna came to visit me in Akumal, Mexico, we thought it would be fun to take a weekend trip to Belize. Akumal sits about 180 miles north of the Belician border and is a pretty comfortable ride on any of their major bus services. In fact the problem isn't so much getting to the southern border of Mexico, it's getting onto another bus service that will take you across.

Keep in mind that when I was living in Mexico in 1999, it wasn't necessary to travel with a passport. In fact, I had traveled to Mexico many times with just my driver's license and birth certificate, and this summer's trip was no exception.

Anyway, we arrived at the border and crossed the bridge into the border checkpoint. The first step of this process is to give up your Mexican visa. We did this. In a legal sense you're now no longer visiting Mexico, but you also haven't technically been granted access to visit Belize yet either. We crossed into the country and walked through a very low-tech border agency. They asked to see our passports and of course we presented them with our driver's license and birth certificates. To make this part of the story short, they effectively just laughed at us and said they weren't going to let us in. I spent some time discussing and eventually arguing with them, but they said we would have to go back. It didn't look like we'd make it past the armed guards either.

This was obviously very disappointing for us, but we headed back towards Mexico to get back into the country. Unfortunately, and as you may recall reading from above, we no longer had Mexican tourist visas. Normally this isn't a problem when coming from Belize because you just show your Belicean visa. Except we were never issued one due to the whole passport / birth certificate misunderstanding.

So here we were, essentially standing on the little Rand-McNally line that graces the map's borders of Mexico and Belize and I'm now having to discuss with armed Mexican soldiers why I don't have a visa either from Belize or from Mexico. Fortunately my Spanish had improved pretty drastically that summer and so after just as few minutes, I was able to speak with the person who had taken our visas not twenty minutes earlier. He reluctantly shuffled through them and found ours in the mix. I honestly can't recall if they issued us new visas or if they just un-cancelled our previous one, but we were allowed back into Mexico shortly thereafter.

Of course this is all a moot point these days since you can't get to Mexico any longer without a passport, but this is what happened when I tried to go without one.