Veterans Day


Veterans Day

This is several weeks late, but I was given a rare opportunity to speak publicly about my time in the service this past Veteran’s Day, at Tigard High School in Tigard, Oregon. There were over 2000 people in attendence and was a wonderful and respectful event for the centennial of Armistice Day.

What follows is the speech I gave. Enjoy and share.

Nathaniel Patterson

Thank you Tigard High School for allowing me the honor of addressing you today.  

My name is Nathaniel Patterson, and as you may or may not know, I work here as the Technical Director of the theater program, I have worked in theatre for over 20 years, however from 2004-2009 I served as an enlisted sailor in the United States Navy as a sonarman onboard the fast attack submarine USS San Francisco.

Today has given me the opportunity to look back on my five years in the service as well as my nine years as a veteran and attempt to explain fourteen years of experience in about ten minutes.

I am originally from Dayton, Ohio a city which has been economically devastated over the past thirty years, and like many young people from impoverished parts of our nation, I needed a way out.  I was in and out of school with no real direction, and acting does not pay the bills in the murder capital of the state.

So, I joined the Navy.  Joining the Navy was a practical decision, not one based on a higher calling or a desire to serve my country.  I needed a steady job, and a way out of Ohio.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were in full swing and I did not want to come back with an odd number of appendages.  This ruled out the Army or Marine Corps. The odds of this type of injury were less in the Navy. Naval service offered good opportunity for travel, adventure and way fewer people shooting back at me.  Simple as that. I then volunteered for Submarine Service to get the seven thousand dollar signing bonus. These decisions, though greedy and pragmatic, rank among ones that I am most proud to have made.

On June 15 2004 I entered boot camp and learned the finest lesson the military could teach:  It does not matter what color you are, what you worship, where you are from or who you are attracted to, because we’re all garbage.  We were all garbage together, members of a unit, a division, a crew and we drew strength from our differences to make the unit stronger.

From bootcamp I left for Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut, and a year later I received my orders to the fleet.

The Submarine Service is unique unto itself within the fleet.  Submariners are the original US special forces, engaging in dangerous secret missions for well over 100 years.  Those of us who earn the title Submariner go through a rigorous training period known as Qualifications. Within ten months the sailor is expected to know the boat from cone to screw.

By the time of my first qualifications board I could draw every system from memory.  This includes: High pressure air, hydraulics, trim system, drain system, refrigeration systems, nuclear power plant, diesel power plant, torpedo launch system, low pressure air, sonar, radar, radio, periscope, ships control, and the garbage smasher.  I also could recite from memory: damage control procedure, fire fighting procedure, flooding procedure, emergency air procedure, oxygen system operation, ships escape procedure, boat parameters, command history, submarine service history, the 52 boats lost during World War Two with all hands, the two boats lost during the Cold War with all hands and several dirty songs.  And No, I will not repeat them for you now or ever.

After three hours of questions, I failed.  I failed my first qualification board, and had to do it all over again the next week.  

In August of 2006, I passed board,earned the title Submariner and the right to wear dolphins on my chest, our warfare badge.  Submariner is a title we hold for life. Once earned it is unrevokable

The men I served with, and at the time it was an all male service are my brothers.  We hold a unique and treasured bond of making the best out of what most would call a miserable experience.  

I did not love my time in the fleet.  I kind of hated it.


I loved the members of my crew, and more than once sealed myself inside a 300 foot long, 30 foot wide steel tube with 144 of my brothers, went below the waves and into harm's way.

The Frisco herself was unique.  On January 8 2005 she was involved in a catastrophic undersea collision several hundred miles south of Guam.  The boat slammed into an uncharted sea mount 534’ below the surface of the Pacific, with six miles of water below her.  The collision crushed the sonar dome and ruptured the forward ballast tanks. 70% of the crew was injured in the accident and a man was killed, when the impact threw him across an open space and into a steel bulkhead.  

I joined this crew ten months later, and took part in the three and a half year procedure to repair and restore San Francisco to operational service. During this time, I qualified to be called a Submariner and then deployed on another boat, the USS Helena conducting counter narcotic and counter terrorism operations.  I was away from the wind, rain, the moon, stars and sun for over four months; breathing recycled air, taking twenty second showers, tracking ships of all types all unaware that I was listening to their screws turn through the Pacific.

I’ll never forget the feeling of wind on my face as rain sprinked down when I walk onto the pier, and dry land.  

My final voyage in 2009 took the Frisco from her drydock port in Bremerton Washington, to her new home in Point Loma, San Diego.  Completing this mission put a period on my naval service, and I walked off the boat for the last time in May of 2009.

I was now a veteran and civilian.  I travelled that summer across the United States and Europe, making my way back to Washington State to start school.  While in college, I rediscovered theatre and that world suddenly felt uniquely comfortable. I was surrounded by funny, goofy, hardworking oddballs while working in a dark room with no windows.

A play operates similarly to military operations.  There is a top down command structure, everyone has unique roles to play, and much like the operation of a ship, a play is so unfathomably complicated to pull off, it’s amazing that it happens at all, yet it happens every single time.  

It took me another eight years to grasp how lucky I was to have theater in my life.  I avoided the dozens of pitfalls veterans face when returning to the civilian world: I never felt alone, isolated, or that I was unheard.  I never became suicidal, opioid dependent, or violent in my homelife. I was able to process my PTSD into works of art, writing, and performance.

I am positive theater saved my life by giving me a second crew and the opportunity to use my extensive training, training designed to break things.  Things like nations and people. And use those skills build a better world. To create, tell stories and bring people together.

For the past two years I have helmed a veterans theatre program titled FUBAR.  FUBAR is a live theatrical storytelling production of true stories told by the men and women who experienced the wars our nation fights.  

Most of you in this room were not even born on September 11, 2001.  I was 21. I am now 38. We are still fighting wars as a consequence of actions taken in response to that attack.  FUBAR is an attempt to put human faces on the folly of war. I know that theater saved my life, and FUBAR is my opportunity to give some of that joy back, the shared camaraderie with other veterans and to be part of a unit again.  FUBAR also allows civilians like yourselves to listen and understand that we are more than a football flyover, more than ‘Thank you for your service’, and more than a pity case.

The men and women who serve this nation honorably have so much more to offer, so much more to give, because we are stronger than you can possibly imagine.

I would like to close with a quote.  This sunday, November 11, is the centennial of Armistice Day.  100 years have passed since the guns of the First World War fell silent, the War to End All Wars.  This quote is from All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarch.

“They are more to me than life, more to me than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere:  They are the voices of my comrades.”

Thank You.

Speech delivered November 9 2018 at Tigard High School.


Five great podcasts to aid your writing.


Five great podcasts to aid your writing.

There are zillions and zillions of podcasts available for download and streaming today.  Some are great and most, some are terrible and most are hosted by Scott Aukerman in one form or another.  Here is a quick list of five good podcasts which can help focus your writing, provide insights into building a world for your characters to live within, or just kick you in the ass.  Here they are in no particular order.

Dead Authors Podcast

This comedic podcasts features the creator of science fiction (according to him) H.G. Wells (played by comedian Paul F. Tompkins, who owns and operates his personal time machine, which he purchased at a church rubbish sale.  H.G. Wells interviews authors from the past, in present day.  The interviews are quite funny and insightful, despite the fact that the actors playing the interviewee have very little knowledge of who they are.  

It's a wonderful show to look into the mind of creative thinkers.  There is quite a bit of improvisation mixed into the interview process.

Write Now with Sarah Werner

This podcast is filled with advice, insight and admission from a working author.  Sarah Werner speaks candidly about her struggles, conflicts and solutions to writing issues that you yourself may be having.  The episodes average only thirty minutes, perfect for taking the dog on a walk and clearing your head for the task of writing.

Gay Nerd Love

Full disclosure, Second Look Scripts is a sponsor of this podcast from Portland Oregon.  Archie and Andy are two gay sci fi nerds who discuss all things nerdy and gay in their weekly podcast. The show is insightful and funny with deep conversations focusing on everything from the philosophy of Star Trek to the societal impact of toys built in the 1970's.  Gay Nerd Love is certainly the smallest podcast on this list and certainly deserves a listen.

No Soundcloud for these guys but here is link to all of their episodes.


Gay Nerd Love

Smartest Man in the World

Greg Proops has been working as an entertainer and comedian for over 25 years.  His podcast comes out often, sometimes thrice in one week.  His vocabulary is opulent, and his breadth of knowledge is staggering.  Topics range from baseball to Roman sexual practices to current events to narcotics and kittens.  Books are read, authors are discussed and the greats of our time are mourned.  The tribute to David Bowie he gave while in Portland will bring tears to your eyes.  He's included here not only for the quality and uniqueness within each episode, but also for his insistence that if you have an idea of something to create, then do it now.  Right now, not tomorrow, but now, because if you don't, if you wait for the right moment, it will never come, and you will regret not creating for the rest of your life.

No soundcloud for Smartest Man in the World, but here is the companion show, the Greg Proops Film Club.  

Imaginary Worlds

Imaginary Worlds focuses on the worlds of science fiction, fantasy and horror; why we love them and why we keep believing in the possiblities these worlds offer to us as readers.  Host Eric Molinsky does a great job of taking the listener on a journey, whether it is alignment of superheroes and villians based on a roleplaying game structure, to the unnerving horror of Cthulhu, or the first wave feminism of Wonder Woman, this show has it all.

If I have missed your go to writing podcast let me know in the comments section.  Thanks for stopping by and happy listening!


Five Great Villains from Literature


Five Great Villains from Literature

It's the week of Halloween so it makes sense to put together a quick list of great villains.  Your favorite will certainly be left out so please feel free to add yours to the comments section below. This list is by no means complete or comprehensive, we at the office wanted to pick 5 good ones who have established archetypes, push boundaries, created genres or whose actions are so chilling that the reader had to set the book down and wash their hands because they felt icky.

Number 5 - Cain

The original biblical bad guy, Cain or in Hebrew Qayin, was the first naturally born human and his brother Abel was the first human to die.  Cain slew his younger brother in a field.  The motives for the killing have been debated for centuries, the popular theory attributes his murdering his brother to jealousy, one of the seven deadly sins.  The Bible itself provides very little in terms of context.

Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field."

And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

— Genesis 4:1–8

This is the first murder according to Abrahamic Theology, and the motive of jealousy has been used by writers for millenia as a basic driving force in an antagonists life.  For these reasons Cain made our list.

Number 4 - Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster AKA Adam

This is not the lumbering hulk created by Boris Karloff in the 1930's.  Mary Shelley's genre creating masterwork contains a villain who is articulate, clever and unstoppable.  The Monster, whose name is Adam, is created from reanimated corpses by Victor Frankenstein.  Victor's dream is to conquer death and instead he unleashes it on all of his friends and family.  

Adam is highly intelligent.  He learns to speak and read all on his own while hiding from various bands of torch wielding villagers.  Most people get depressed due to angry villager pursuit. Not Adam, instead he reads a little Milton and Plutarch to pass the time.  Despite being well read, articulate and a good center for any intramural basketball team, Adam is continually harassed and attacked by the aforementioned villagers with torches.  He swears vengeance on his creator and sets about a terrible path of revenge.

Adam systematically murders all of Victor's friends and family.  The Monster kills Victor's younger brother and frames an innocent man for the crime, who is later hanged.  He strangles Victor's wife Elizabeth to death on her wedding night.  

I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear, and chiefly toward you my arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred"
- Frankenstein Mary Shelley

He toys with poor Victor like a cat with a vole, always one step ahead of the poor deranged man.  Victor dies alone on an ice floe in the Arctic.  Only then does Adam build him a funeral pyre and set himself on fire, killing himself while his creator burns.  

This chilling story, which was told first on a rainy day in Switzerland for a bet, created the modern genres of Horror and Science Fiction.  The Monster is empathetic to the reader despite his horrifying deeds and certainly deserves a place in our Halloween top five.

Number 3 - Iago

There are so many of Shakespeare's villians to pull from, and a list of ten of the Bard's baddies is sure to be on the way, but for now make due with Iago, from the great tragedy Othello.  Iago is an improvising malevolent force, who runs a path of destruction through the entire play.

What makes Iago so powerful as a villian is that he seems to have no motive.  There are elements of jealousy and vengeance as well as wrath and greed, but none of these really feel like the true motive.  He is an element of chaos.  Iago plants seeds in Othello's brain, he tells long and poetic tales of Othello's wife Desdemona sleeping with Cassio, a handsome lieutenant under Othello's command.  Iago's plan kills four innocent people:  Othello, Desdemona, Emilia and Rodrigo, also Cassio is castrated in a violent attack.  Iago survives the play and never reveals his true motivation to anyone.

Demand me nothing. What you know, you know.
From this time forth I never will speak word.
Othello Act V scene ii

Iago is charming and friendly to all of the characters in the play.  He tells jokes and spins yarns.  He speaks to the audience with open and wry grace of his terrible plans.  He provides the audience with dramatic irony.  The audience is aware of his plans while the characters are not.  He is a strong, manipulative villain whose impact on literature is still being felt today

Number 2: Medea

A personal favorite of mine the sorceress Medea comes to us from Greek mythology. Medea saved and married the Greek hero Jason.  She was instrumental in Jason capturing the Golden Fleece.  They later married and had two sons.  

Sounds pretty good right?

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  Medea was scorned.


After years of happy marriage, Jason is presented with the opportunity to marry the young and pretty daughter of the King of Corinth, Glauce.  Jason may be a hero and good with a sword, but he is also pretty dense.  He turns his back on his sorceress wife, who already killed her own father and brother out of her love for Jason.  He tells her to pack up and go.  You can't take the kids, we're done.  Kick rocks.

Medea does not take this well.  

She first considers killing herself, but that's to difficult for her; so she does the following instead.  

Medea acts as if everything is alright and that she accepts Jason's decision.  She makes a lovely new dress for Glauce.  Glauce, who is about as bright as Jason, gladly accepts the new dress and puts it on.  The dress erupts in flames.  The King of Corinth, seeing his daughter spontaneously combust, attempts to put her out, and dies a horrible flame related death as well.

This all told to Jason through messengers in Euripidies' tragedy.  All of the terrible action is left to the audiences imagination.  

Except for this.  The following action is only heard but never seen.

A child within: What shall I do? What is it? Keep me fast from mother!
The other child: I know nothing brother.  Brother! Oh, I think she means to kill us.
A child: Yes, in god's name! Help quickly ere we die!
The other child: She has almost caught me now!  She has a sword!
Medea of Euripedes

She cuts down her two sons with a sword to punish Jason for his dalliances.  Medea erupts triumphant above a broken and weeping Jason in a chariot pulled by dragons.  She condemns him to a long miserable life.  

Medea: Thy marriage drive Medea from this land, and suffer not.  Call me what thou please, Tigress or Scylla of the from the Tuscan seas:  My claws have gripped thine heart, and all things shine.
Jason: Thou too hast grief.  Thy pain is fierce as mine.
Medea:  I love the pain, so thou shalt laugh no more.
Medea of Euripedes

This play is over 2,500 years old and it holds up.  Few actions are as terrible as a mother killing her own children.  The fact that Medea gets away with the crime, leaving Jason a broken wretch is all the better.  It is available  for free on kindle and is well worth a read.

and finally

Number 1:  The Joker

That's right!  The Clown Prince of Crime and the original Batman nemesis, The Joker.  He appeared in Batman number 1 on April 25th 1940.  He was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson.  


Reams have been written about the Joker, he has gone though a plethora of versions throughout the ages: trickster, thief, gangster, artist, anarchist and monster.  He is arguably the greatest fictional villain of the 20th Century.  Stan Lee has often stated that what makes a hero truly great is the quality of the villains the hero must face.  This is no more true than with the Joker and Batman.  The Joker is constantly pushing to break Batman's ironclad code: No Killing.  The Joker kills without thought or remorse.  If you look at Batman from a Neitzschean perspective, The Joker is the dragon to battle, however to truly defeat the dragon the hero will become a dragon themselves.  Translation:  Batman must violate his own code in order to win, which will then destroy all that he represents. Quite the paradox.

Ladies and Gentlemen! You've read about it in the papers! Now witness, before your very eyes, that most rare and tragic of nature's mistakes! I give you: the average man. Physically unremarkable, it instead possesses a deformed set of values. Notice the hideously bloated sense of humanity's importance. Also note the club-footed social conscience and the withered optimism. It's certainly not for the squeamish, is it? Most repulsive of all, are its frail and useless notions of order and sanity. If too much weight is placed upon them... they snap. How does it live, I hear you ask? How does this poor pathetic specimen survive in today's harsh and irrational environment? I'm afraid the sad answer is, "Not very well." Faced with the inescapable fact that human existence is mad, random, and pointless, one in eight of them crack up and go stark slavering buggo! Who can blame them? In a world as psychotic as this... any other response would be crazy! 
The Killing Joke Alan Moore

The Joker is our only modern name on the list and certainly can stand to represent the most violent century in human history.

Thanks for your time and have a very Happy Halloween


Who we are.


Who we are.

This is our first blog entry so bear with us.  We are Second Look Scripts.  We are here to help you improve your writing.  All relations start with a grain of trust.  So we are going to tell you about ourselves.  Second Look Scripts is a small editing and proof reading firm located in the heartland of small editing and proofreading firms -Portland Oregon.  Our focus as editors is to make your writing shine.  It is our focus and our mission.  We do this by being honest with our clients.  Our duty is not to find what works with your writing; our duty is to find what does not work and help you improve it.  

We want as many writers working professionally as possible.  Every new writer is one less barista.  Every new writer is one less cell phone salesmen.  Every new writer is someone working toward their passion rather than away from it.  We believe that this is a noble goal and one worth pursuing.  

We are looking for playwrights, screenwriters, novelists, poets and non fiction writers.  We want to read your mysteries, short stories, sci-fi space operas, erotica, steampunk action thrillers, your tragedies and comedies; we are looking for you.