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Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Web Pages in Archive
Volume 7074
By Rick Johnson

Ok, am bored!

Not just ‘what do I do now’ bored but the “I AM GOING OUT OF MY FREAKING MIND” bored.

Ok, I understand, intellectually, the fear people have re the corona virus.  But remember, I lived through the American Polio Epidemics, the American Measles Epidemics, any number of really nasty plagues and diseases in Third World nations. Plus I remember in SE Asia holding my breath and running towards a cloud of gas because I knew that was the fastest way to get through it.  I have pee’d into my handerchief and breathed through that urine-soaked cloth as an expedient methods gas mask.  I have learned that you cannot put a gas mask on while running away from a gas attack while people are shooting at you.  I have been exposed to both Agent Orange and Dioxin in SE and SW Asia and asbestos in Europe.

Plus I suffer asthma and have only 65% lung capacity because both my parents were chain smokers.  I have a mitro-valve collapse because, when I was younger, I was so fat I could not sit up which led to three heart attacks long after I lost the weight.  I survived all that, so you can understand why I am so complacent about this coronavid19 thing.  But my daughter and lady-friend are terrified that I am in a high-risk profile so they insist that I remain at home, alone.

Ok, I have enough camping food, DVDs, books, porn and hand-lotion to survive a nuclear winter, BUT, I have always been a hard worker and an outdoorsman so this isolation is killing me.  There is only so much weeding I can do in my yard.

Plus I KNOW that the government is lying and everything that they say contradicts everything else they say.   30% of all business in America are small businesses that fall well below the 50-500 business that earn that crisis financial support from the govt so without my support, they will collapse within three months.  But how can I support these small businesses if I must remain inside?  Amazon can close down for a year and still survive.  Their low-tier employees will starve but the company and executives will be fat and happy.  It’s the smaller restuarants and employees, the smaller camping stores and employees, my Audiology office that keeps me able to hear and their employees that will close and starve.

Obviously, I am frustrated.

Those things on the shelf are beer and water bottles and other dust collectors I got overseas.

I should like to point out that last year I took early retirement and lost $500/month but really, I hated my job and after paying off my bills, found that I could not only live comfortably on the $5k/mo I would receive from the USAF, the State and SSAN, AND also buy a house.

These are the Mars MOLA maps I had laminated.
You can see my Barsoom markings on the map, including, in the lower left map, a city just below Gathol!
This bears introspection!

So, my daughter in Kansas, remember I am in Arizona, keeps sending me projects to do to keep me occupied, same, at home and alive.

Her first one was a dice tower.  What the ***?   She sent me a link and it seems that a Dice Tower is a box with baffles that will randomize the dice throw during your D&D game. Oh, right, my kid plays D&D and met her boy friend that way.  I sold my entire D&D collection on e-bay to pay for a semester of her college so have been out of the game for some years.
Ok, I still have plenty of scrap wood from previous projects so I spent a couple days making her a Dice Tower from an old 2x4.

What’s next?

My father was an amateur carpenter.  His third wife, Fifi from Finland, recognized that a woman needs to keep her husband busy.  Otherwise he gets underfoot and dies early.  When I retired from the USAF, we went from the world’s best CE Team (250 men) to 7!  200 of us were forceably retired and within two years, 150 of us were dead!  Mostly from boredom.

So when I retired, I discovered that I had $30,000 in savings, an unused VA loan, $5.00 per month retirement, no bills, an 812 credit rating and in the past 20 years, my realtor could find NO evidence that I had been late or skipped any payment any bill.  Because of this she was able to find me a $145,000 house for $130,000.  And today, a year later, my improvements have added nearly $5,000 to the value of my place.  Like my father said, “If you don’t plan for your retirement, don’t plan on retiring!”

My big problem was that I could not unpack boxes until I built shelves and I could not build shelves until I had a workshop and I could not make a workshop until… you get the idea.  So I fixed up the back porch and turned that into my workshop and things cascaded from there.

One third of my shop and tools

Most people do not have this set-up.  [Bleep], I don’t have the set-up you see in the YouTube vids.   But I do have a love of thrift stores and craigslist which rebuilt my tool supply after my divorce.

Still!  I wanted people to be able to make this set with the absolute minimum of tools.  A saw, a file and maybe some sandpaper!  If you need more than that, you are an artist or have way more money than do I, though someday I hope to get a 3D scanner and printer.

Looking for my brass sextant because I already designed and made a Quadrant, Kamal, Navigation Hook and any other number of medieval and renaissance navigation devices for the pirate club to which I belong.  I am not the captain, but the navigator in the Dread Fleet.  Yes, my great grandfather was a Barbary Coast Pirate so it runs in my veins. Plus I like designing and making things.

It was while looking for my sextant that I came across my old Jetan Board.  Feel free to look over my previous papers on ERBzine for my wooden Jetan board and my James Spratt Jetan set.  But as much as I love my Spratt set, some ladies of my acquaintance, are … let us say, uncomfortable with some of the overly buxom pieces.  I think it is jealousy but what do I know.  I am a retired single nerd.  I also found a box of old Chess pieces, many of them made of wood.

BING!  The light went off!  Why not make a new Jetan set that anyone can copy and may just establish a standardized set?  Really, any chess player can easily play a game with a new and unique set because Chess pieces ARE standardized.  Ok, a number of people have made Jetan pieces, many are works of art, but I wanted one that could be simple to make and be universally recognized by all players.

So, using the wooden pieces I found I considered what pieces Jetan uses?
*Panthan, 8 of per side.  These are mercenaries and so disposable.
*Thoats. 2 of.
*Than or Warrior. 2 of.  Essentially a panthan but serving for patriotism and not money.
*Padwar, a lieutenant. 2 of.
*Dwar, a captain. 2 of
*Odwar, a general.2 of.
*The Chieftain. 1 of.
*The Princess. 1 of.

Ok, rather than design entirely new pieces, I used my chess pieces as a base.  Burroughs refers to using pieces such as a ‘Diadem with three feathers’.  Really?  How can I do that and actually have the feathers survive?  I know that I do not have the skill to carve feathers so what can I do?  I wanted them to be able to be made by anyone with simple tools because watching YouTube videos on Dice-Towers made me realize just how inadequate my workshop was.

I can never afford a laser cutter or a computer-controlled scroll-saw or computer-scanner with 3-D printer.  But I DO own a set of files and a hacksaw and some sandpaper.  So, I wanted them so easy to make that any fan could duplicate my work.

The Panthan could be the Pawn without any modifications.
This means that as the Warrior is little more than a Panthan who fights for patriotism over money, it should be a Pawn with one mod.  How about a Pawn with a groove filed in the dome?  That works.
And the Thoat can be the knight without any mods at all.

So if the Warrior has one grove, then why not give the Padwar two grooves?  I took the Bishop, removed the top and carved two groves into the side.

Ok, I am on a roll here.  If the Warrior has one groove, and the Padwar has two grooves, then the Dwar should have three grooves!  I used a rook for this one.

You see what I am getting at here?  Thus, the Odwar should then have 4-grooves!  This was another bishop, but I made the third groove a cross-groove to denote his status as a general!

Ok, the Chieftain!  Five grooves cut into the Queen!  That sounds good!

Logically, the Princess should be six grooves but I got tired of this and realized that the only way the game could be won was to capture the Princess (see my paper on the historical basis of Jetan)  so I made the Princess unique by taking the king and modifying the cross-crown into a “V” shape in her crown to denote feathers or an elaborate hairstyle.

Anyone with access to a thrift store to buy old wooden chess sets, a hacksaw and a triangular file can easily make this set.  Some spray paint (once I am allowed to leave my house I will buy some yellow paint for the set) and you are ready.

Oops, I forgot the board.

Making a simple board is easy.  Get a large piece of cardboard from some box, draw a 10x10 grid and color in every other square with a magic-marker and you are done.  But what I did was to look through my scrap cloth and find some black and orange felt, some white cloth and I sewed this board.  The squares are 2x2” felt temp-glued to the white background.  Then I cut some white strips and sewed those to separate the felt and to hold it down.  Also to look nice.

When my kids allow me to leave the house, I will buy some red and white oak and make a nice wooden board.  But for now this cloth one works.

Plus a rule booklet I printed up.

So, there you have it.

A simple way to construct a Jetan set that can easily become universal.  Easily made with simple tools by anyone, regardless of their carpentry skills.


Rick Johnson's Many Feature Articles and Fiction in ERBzine

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