Month: September 2011

Comics: New medical codes

The Wall Street Journal had an article about the new medical codes coming out, which expand the codes used by hospitals and doctors to detail items on invoices to insurance companies from about 18,000 to 140,000. They allow for almost absurd fine detail in describing how the injury occurred, where the injury occurred, or other causes of the injury. Some of the smirk-worthy examples from the article include a code for “walked into lampost, subsequent encounter,” or a code for “very low level of personal hygiene.” (You can run keyword search using this tool here.)

These, of course, inspired some comics when I couldn’t sleep last night…

(see chicken codes)

(see bucket-related codes)

(see bedroom codes)


Lighthouse mural

I recently worked on a mural for the youth group ministry at our church, which is called “Lighthouse.” The old paint job was a formerly-trendy mix of earthtones (I don’t have a good “before” picture but here are some pictures taken in the room, below).

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My friend Elise took it upon herself to redo the room, and she recruited volunteers to paint most of the walls a dark semigloss grey, with the front wall (slate blue in the photo on the left above) and the opposite wall with the main doors (bright yellow in the photo on the right, above) painted a bright semigloss blue. She asked me if I could paint a lighthouse silhouette that was the main graphic on the t-shirts and also add the youth group’s theme verse, “let your light shine before men, so that they may praise your Father in heaven.” Since I’m always a sucker for painting murals, I said yes.

Here’s how it looked after I chalked it out with yellow sidewalk chalk (the only thing I had on hand). Since I don’t have a 15-foot level (or any level), I used painter’s tape, two volunteers holding each end of the tape, and my eyeballs to get straight guidelines for the words (they stuck the tape on the wall, then I chalked a guideline). The lighthouse took a few attempts to get right – I had to keep climbing up and down the ladder to step back and look at it – first it was too narrow, then too wide. It took me about two hours to chalk the whole thing.


Elise gets credit for the paint choice – she picked out a flat black to go over the semigloss grey. She wasn’t exactly sure how it would turn out, so she told me to use my judgement as to whether to use the same paint for the words or to use something else. I decided to paint the lighthouse first and then decide. While I was doing this part, some smart-alecks made remarks about “oooh, painting black on black.”


To my surprise, with the glare from the overhead fluorescent lights shimmering off the semigloss paint, the flat black paint stood out very distinctly. (In the picture, the grey looks lighter than it does in person – it really looks almost black.) I decided to go ahead and do the words in black, too. I went with a kinda grungy slash woodcut sort of effect on the spur of the moment.


Here’s a closeup of the flat paint against the semigloss grey.


Here’s how it looked when I was done with the words.


I was happy with the way it turned out, but I was inspired to add some accents, using acrylic paint that I’d brought from home. I mixed cadmium yellow with a metallic gold paint and applied it to the candle flames on the “i’s.”


Then I washed off the chalk lines with a wet rag and called it a night! Total painting time was also about 2 hours, so this whole thing was a 4 hour project.


I’m very happy with how it turned out, and so was Elise and the rest of the youth group! The first Sunday that this was unveiled, everyone came in, gave a start when they saw the bright blue wall, then turned around and did another double take at the mural.