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First Person (entry type): So, hey out there in ridiculous impossible internet land. Been a while since I did one of these vlog things - frankly, been a little busy saving the world, you know how it is. Well. Some of you know how it is. First-hand. And hey, more power to you guys. Which isn't to say that those of you who don't know how it is should be sitting there feeling like microwaved scrambled eggs, because come on. We love you. We're doing this for you. I love you. Yes, even you, the one who's mad at me because this popped up on you while you were trying to watch cheesy porn about girls dressed up in cat ears. I love you too. And if it's the one that starts with the pizza delivery boy, don't bother, she's wearing padding and it's less impressive once the tiger print bikini comes off. ... I should probably not be talking about porn watching on a public forum, Pepper gets kind of touchy about that. Pepper? Honey? If you see this, I'm sorry, I was just showing some love to the guy out there, not to -- well -- you know. Myself. ANYWAY. What was I even turning this on to talk to you guys about? I can't remember. JARVIS, did I put anything about what I was gonna vlog about, was this even in the schedule --

[a loud, avian screech cuts into his rambling]

Oh, right. The bird. I was gonna talk about -- okay, see, here's the deal. The cops keep sending me all this stuff they confiscated from Justin Hammer's laboratory of failure, thinking I might actually have a use for some of it. A couple of things made nice paperweights, but really, that was about it. If any of you are in the market for paperweights, I've got plenty of really unique ones. But the weirdest thing is, the other day, one of them showed up with a cockatoo, and -- I am not wired for birds. Birds are not wired for me. Birds just generally don't go well with wires. I'm afraid the little featherball is gonna chomp down on something and ruin my latest masterpiece. Not to mention, well, uh, himself. So ... if any of you wants a great big white bird, lemme know. We'll make arrangements.

[he holds up a hand so that the resulting peace sign takes up most of the monitor] Peace out.

Third Person: Tony was beginning to wish he hadn't taken the reins of the company back from Pepper so soon, and so easily. She'd just made that pouty, wide-eyed, harried, stressed-out-Pepper face at him, and he'd crumpled under the force of so much Magical Girl Emotion Power. As he sat in his chair at the end of the conference table, idly spinning from one side to the other as much as his limited sense of decorum would let him get away with, though, he had the distinct thought that she could have waited another couple of weeks. The other members of the committee were engaged in a lukewarm debate about the fate of the remainder of the Stark Expo, but the minute they'd started talking about dividends and ROIs and other complicated stuff that he couldn't be assed to consider, Tony's eyes had glassed over. Finally, the last of his give-a-shit muscles failed, and he turned his back completely on the rest of the table to look out the window.

The meeting room was at the top of one of the many conference centers on the Expo grounds, and one of the few that hadn't been damaged in his skirmish with Ivan Vanko. Whiplash, the papers were calling him - Tony was pretty sure the name had come from that cigar-chomping right-wing blunderbuss at the Daily Bugle. He couldn't fault Jonah Jameson too much - he was one of Iron Man's biggest fans in the press sector - but Tony had to admit that the man could probably give Stephen Colbert a run for his money, in an unironic sense. "Not a bad spot, though," he muttered to himself, recalling the gist of the article as his gaze swept over the swath of damage that cut through Flushing Meadows. It had mostly said a lot about what an asset Iron Man was to the country, how Senator Stern could stick his opinions on Tony Stark where the sun didn't shine, and a lot of other typical Jameson bluster. But what had caught Tony's attention was that the editor-in-chief had lauded the Expo itself, touching on a lot of personal nostalgia about the original session, and hoping that it would go on. Shifting in his chair to sprawl slightly, Tony reached for the glass of water at his side and sipped, pensively. He hoped it would, too. And of course, just as he'd reached that conclusion, one of the committe members' voices cut through his thoughts: "-- going to have to shut it down and eat the difference."

"Excuse me?" Tony spun around, setting his glass down and straightening out his posture. "Could you repeat that? I'm sorry, I was a little too busy looking out at something that's a physical embodiment of this company's entire history, something that my father started, and I've continued, and we both put our hearts and souls into. I know, you guys probably don't get this a lot - you're so busy scratching each other's backs and ordering out to lunch and, uh -" He pulled out his mobile, punched a few spots on the screen, and brought up a holographic projection - "updating your Facebook status about how pointless this meeting is, thanks, Ms. Tautenhan - to actually consider that maybe this isn't about the money. I know, I know." He held up a hand, pushing the hologram back off to the side, where it faded out of sight. "That's rich for me to say, it figures, I've got all the money, yadda yadda bla bla. Believe me, I know what you're all trying not to lean around and mutter to yourselves, I've been at about fifty billion of these meetings. It's cool. I get it. You want to get to your bottom line so you can go back to whatever it is you think counts as work, when in reality, the biggest, greatest work you can do for this company - for this nation - is to get on board with continuing this Expo, so that the great minds of America can share their thoughts and their inspiration with one another, so that we can come up with something worth passing on."

He paused just long enough to glance around the table, taking in the shocked faces of the committee members. "Unless, of course, you've all got enough of those kinds of ideas already. Enough to fill another eleven months or so worth of collaboration and ingenuity. ... Here's a hint. Facebook status, though very cutting edge about eight years ago if you were a freshman in Harvard? Not gonna cut it." Downing the rest of his glass of water, Tony got to his feet.

"And come on. How many of these meetings have you been to? Money's not even an issue, I've got this covered. Send me a bill." As he strode out the door, completely ignoring the cacophony that erupted behind him, Tony smiled. Pepper was going to kill him when he got home, but in all fairness, he was pretty sure that wherever he was in the Great Beyond, Howard Stark approved. And that kind of feeling called for a little celebration. "... Hey Jarvis. Any of those Belgian Waffle stands still open...?"


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Tony Stark

December 2012

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