Honestly, we couldn't put on a show like this without your support, and we thank you most sincerely. Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday 9 Pound Hammer was selling mealy apples on streetcorners, and now we're one of the most successful enterprises in the blogosphere! I write this note at my desk on the top floor of the Hammer Tower, my heart brimming with gratitude, and my tumbler brimming with Scotch from the Speyside region of the Highlands. It would be bitter, indeed, without all of your support, and I assure you it is not bitter at all but rather smoky and expensive-tasting. This is good stuff. Still, I haven't forgotten the rocky trail I climbed -- we climbed -- to get here, and all the hard work, and perhaps I am surrounded by ghosts at this hour as I remember all that went into this seemingly rapid ascent to the Death Zone -- that supernal height where blogs succeed or suffocate from lack of oxygen. I'm surrounded with memories. I stare at an onyx ashtray as big as my old apartment. I remember the people I crushed to get here, the sacrifices I had to make of myself and others, and as I pour myself another fine Scotch I detect a note of sadness as I contemplate my success -- our success -- or is that just the Speyside talking? Serene here, at this height, looking over the city at the first blush of dawn. There are twinkling lights! Ah, the steam rises from the grates like loosened souls, and I feel like the only living man up here all alone. An empire, yes, but at what cost? Another drink for this husk of a man. A long, steady pour for this wide awake ghost. Sleep on, city, as I drink in darkness, my body slack and sunken into buttery-soft leather, my mind a whirligig. Sleep on, at this ungodly hour, as I stare with watery eyes into the new year.