Saturday, March 3, 2007

"I'm Pete Christensen, Stand by I tell you, Stand by..."

While I am in somewhat of a prolific mood, executing my assigned broadcast duties flawlessly (sorry Rush) bringing all you people out there in TV land that fine NBC programming, I went and smoked a cigarette and was thinking about my friend, Pete Christensen. That is Pete on the left after going through some serious chemotherapy treatment. I carry that picture on me all the time as he is a great person. He had a full head of hair the last time I saw him and ever being Pete, thought he would clown around for the camera. He hand wrote letters to all the "vidiots" at the station and we all got various poses from "the master". I just hope to God that he doesn't start calling us all "grasshopper." I told him to find a computer with an email address and then send us email and we could scatter-shot it through the station so he didn't have to expend all that energy writing. But I think writing might be a pleasant distraction for him.

Now Pete is a co-worker here at the station. He is a floor director (that's the guy you see on TV shows that is cueing the "anchors" that they have less than :10 secs to shut up about their Mercedes or Lexus' or their gossip about other "anchors", and not like on TV shows, a floor director that knows the biz never counts down past "3" otherwise you would hear their voice on the air when the mics are opened, just a little TV 411 for all you civilians) and has or had been learning how to TD (that's technical direct for all you people in Apache Junction and Fountain, Colorado) A TD is the guy who during the newscast, actually is in charge of putting video, graphic elements and switching cameras according to the director's commands, together. I think a far better term is one they use in the UK, a "vision mixer" which is really what a TD does.

Pete is a great guy. I love him dearly. He has a wonderful wife named Norlina that loves him and people at the station just adore him. Anyway, Pete is also a stand up comedian. Along with working at the station, he has done gigs here in Phoenix, LA, Denver, San Francisco and god knows where else. I worked with him doing the recording and mixing, supplying the music bed (from one of my own songs, "every little thing") for All Comedy Radio based out of LA which is or was a national radio network.

Well, Pete has cancer. He had discovered a grapefruit sized lump in his neck. Pete didn't and doesn't smoke. Pete is a few years older than me I think and can tell a few stories like nobody else's business. While I was out of the loop on medical leave, Pete got sick and went to the doctor about the lump in his neck and his doctor ignored it saying, "we'll keep an eye on it", until Pete went to another doctor. (Another detour here, sorry, if YOU really think that Hitlary is so great and a nationalized health care plan is the answer, then imagine what Pete would have had to go through to get to where he is now, being treated at least. On top of that, you think you're paying Taxes now, just wait! That woman is nothing more than a battle axe and I cringe when she is on the news as that is really violence on TV!) Pete is currently back in Wisconsin with family while he is being treated for his illness and the prognosis is kind of sketchy. Of course, being Pete Christensen, he is the eternal optimist. He has told me that he has accepted whatever will happen and is at peace with the outcome. He has said that he thought about coming back to Phoenix and partying his butt off until he died, but that his friends here at the station and his wife and other friends have said they want him to fight and he has agreed.

I talked to Pete a couple of days ago and the grapefruit-sized tumor in his neck has shrunk, and we can hope his cancer goes into remission. All in all, he has retained that optimistic composure, though I am sure at times in the solitude he must have, he does feel scared and lonely. Pete is a very brave man and we all love him here at the station. We hope, and I especially hope, that he does beat this and lives to a ripe old age. He has such a bright spirit and truly, the world will be a little darker if his light goes out. I love you Pete Christensen, you are a true soldier and a good friend. Drive on, soldier, drive on.


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