Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Wow, here we are again, ramping up
for an amazing new
year — one filled with unlimited possibilities.
But before we ring in
2013, I want to take
this opportunity to
reflect on a few
highlights from the
last twelve months.  
____________________________
 
My second book C'MON! 
was released in January 2012.
Personally, 2012 was an awesome year that kicked off with a bang. Combining my lifetime of personal experiences in the entertainment biz with a bold message of faith, my star-studded second book C'MON! - My Story of Rock, Ruin and Revelation was released on January 17th. I put my heart and soul into C'MON! It took nearly two years to complete and I was moved and honored when it met with glowing praise.

Long has dished up something
akin to the rock 'n' roll version of
"The Cross & The Switchblade."
-Gail Worley (WorleyGig.com)

Well-written with a dose of
self-deprecating humor.
-Beth Lynne (BZHercules.com)
 
It also was a year of rewarding academic achievement as my son Jesse  graduated from high school with honors (see my post A Matter of Time), while I received a diploma in Theology from East Coast Christian University in Merritt Island, Florida.
 
In June, I traveled to Daytona Beach for a weeklong Christian youth/camp conference with some great teens from my church. To say the least, times certainly have changed since I last attended summer camp back in '73. I recount the entire wacky experience in the lively five-part BigStuf Diaries series. If you can manage the time, I invite you to check it out: Pt. I, Pt. II, Pt. III, Pt. IV, Pt. V.
 
I was thrilled to record a few tracks last summer
with singer/songwriter Jake Kaufman.
I don't get much chance to play music these days. However, I had the distinct pleasure of doing some studio work last summer with Jake Kaufman. Inspired by such singer/songwriters as Jeff Buckley and John Hiatt, Jake is an incredible young artist. Simply put, I'm a huge fan and I was stoked that he invited me to play drums on his debut recordings.
 
This past November I found myself on  a missionary trip  in Nicaragua. Crazy, right? Along with my twelve teammates, we healed the sick, fed the hungry and preached a little  Gospel to the people of Popoyo. It was a life-changing  adventure that I  chronicled in  my five-part series, Welcome to the Jungle. Read all about it:  Pt. I, Pt. II, Pt. III, Pt. IV, Pt. V.
 
As the year draws to a conclusion, I'm currently developing my third book, tentatively entitled, Boomerang! Although I'm remaining somewhat tight-lipped about the project  (for now) I will keep everyone apprised of my progress throughout the upcoming year. Stand by!
 
And just this past week I turned fifty. Holy cow! What happened to thirty? But as I mentioned in my 12/3/12 post, Turning the Big 5-0, my best and brightest days are still ahead. Bring on 2013!
In honor of my 50th birthday, my friends
at the club where I DJ gave me a gift
bag filled with bottles of Mountain Dew
and canned Starbucks shots.
(Hey, I can quit whenever I want!)
 
 
Since this is, after all, an entertainment-based website, I also want to look back on some of the records, movies, concerts and books that made 2012 memorable. (Click on the blue highlighted text of each category to read my full review of each winner.)

 
 
 Best Picture
Blue Like Jazz 
Based on author Donald Miller's best-seller of the same title, director Steve Taylor delivered a film that was fresh, fun and compelling — in my estimation, far and away THE movie of the year.
 
Check out some of my other 2012 movie reviews:
Ted
Rock of Ages
The Hunger Games

Record of the Year
This Is Love 
In the musical vein of the popular Jesus Culture outfit, the praise and worship team from East Coast Christian Center in Merritt Island, Florida dropped This Is Love  in November. Although many excellent records came my way in 2012, this one truly is life-changing. 
 
A few of my other groovy record reviews from 2012:
Alicia Keys Girl on Fire
Kiss Monster
Hoobastank Fight or Flight
Adele Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Seal Soul 2
Van Halen A Different Kind of Truth


Song of the Year
"Be Still"
Featured on 2012's Record of the Year, This Is Love, "Be Still" was written by the songwriting team of Chris Johnson and Leigh Ann Johnson. Consisting merely of two vocals and one piano, highlighted by cello, "Be Still" is a delicate and moving testament of God's perfect love. Even the most hard-hearted of non-believers will have difficulty denying the song's power and passion. It's available on iTunes, but if you can't find it, shoot me an email and I'll send you a copy — FREE.

I know sometimes it's painful, will you let Me be your healer?
I have carried all your sorrows, by My stripes you are made whole.
I know sometimes it's stressful, will you let Me be your peace?
I will help you learn contentment, I will satisfy your soul.
If you'll let Me, if you'll just be — still.
 

Best in Books
NO SLEEP 'TIL SUDBURY:
Adventures in 80s Hard Rock
and Metal Deconstruction 
by Brent Jensen
I find myself reading more than ever lately. Although much of what I'm curling up with these days are riveting faith-based titles, I still make time for the occasional guilty pleasure. And this year, I discovered a doozie.
 
Author Brent Jensen delivers a compelling read based on a subject that (in hindsight) to me was inherently dumb. But Jensen is passionate and well-read, and he chronicles his lifelong obsession and connection to heavy metal music with candor and wit. His story of growing up in Canada during metal's infamous hey day of the 1980s is simply riveting. I felt as if Jensen  was a long lost friend who I would have spent countless hours with back in the day, hanging out in record stores, going to concerts and swapping bootleg tapes. He refers to Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil album as "a stupid record for stupid young people" and he thinks that Stryper is "gay." Hilarious stuff to be sure. Bold, honest, insightful and VERY well-written. For an old school hard rocker like myself, No Sleep 'Til Sudbury is easily the best and most entertaining read of 2012, dude!

More of my 2012 book reviews:
Make Up To Break Up by Peter Criss
A Better Way to Pray by Andrew Wommack
Recommended Reading 2012

Concert of the Year 
Lindsey Buckingham
8/7/12 - Orlando, FL
From retro to screamo, from classic to cutting edge, 2012 was a great year for concerts. I took in many live events this year, however, the hands down best was the Orlando appearance in August from master guitarist, singer, songwriter, Lindsey Buckingham. The longtime Fleetwood Mac golden boy didn't have a band  to back him up — he didn't need one. A true rock legend, Buckingham cranked out more than an hour's worth of his best solo bits and Fleetwood Mac faves — connecting on a very personal level with the one thousand fans in the intimate theater setting.


Other 2012 concert reviews that contributed to my blog and Ink19.com:
Moody Blues 3/14/12 - Melbourne, FL
Protest the Hero 4/17/12 - Orlando, FL
Elvis Costello 4/23/12 - Melbourne, FL
Maps and Atlases / The Big Sleep 5/27/12 - Orlando, FL
Classic Albums Live: Dark Side of the Moon 7/21/12 - Orlando, FL
Stryper 7/26/12 - Orlando, FL
Kiss 7/28/12 - Tampa, FL
Mötley Crüe 7/28/12 - Tampa, FL

So there you have it — a look back on the last twelve months — a time capsule of sorts. And I never once brought up politics!
 
This will be my final post of 2012, however, stay connected, as I will be posting several compelling and insightful offerings from a host of guest bloggers right up 'til the new year.
 
I launched this blog back in April 2010 simply as a means of venting my random rants and promoting my various personal appearances. Two and a half years later, my audience (and content) has blossomed. And I'm grateful to all of my readers — those who only have recently discovered my site and those who have been with me from the start. Thanks for making 2012 a great year, and here's to an awesome 2013!

-Christopher Long
(December (2012)

2 comments:

  1. Is it just me, or does it seem that January 1, 2012 was just like yesterday?

    --Vince

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, Vince. I'm looking forward to checking out your blog.

      -Chris

      Delete