Life of Amy

CogSci, Knitting, and Other Shenanigans

Shampoo & Conditioner July 1, 2008

Filed under: art,cognitive science,design,life,photos,Uncategorized — Amy @ 5:14 pm

Shampoo and conditioner, originally uploaded by Clean Wal-Mart.

Despite the photo, no, this will not be a post about having too many options. I’ll save that for Barry Schwartz (“On the Paradox of Choice”).

Instead, what I’d like to talk about is the design of shampoo and conditioner bottles. Standing in the shower today, I reached for the shampoo first, and I checked the bottle to make sure it was indeed shampoo. The time before, in the shower, I had picked up a bottle, opened it and squeezed it out, only to reveal that the contents were conditioner. My mistake.

But how could I even make such an error? After all, aren’t bottles color coded? Isn’t the shampoo bottle supposed to be transparent while the conditioner is opaque? What about the idea that the shampoo stands with its cap in the air while the conditioner sits cap-down? Haven’t they been meticulously designed already? I won’t even go into the fact that we have this implicit knowledge. But we do. We all know how to tell shampoo and conditioner apart, aside from reading the bottles.

Back on topic, yes, I agree that the benefits of the bottles are products of design. However, all this designing cannot account for all of the possibilities.

The first problem with my set of hair products is that both bottles are opaque. The shampoo is clear, and the conditioner is white, but in the bottle, you can’t really tell the difference. This problem was inherent in the design. Perhaps it could have been countered with the transparent/opaque solution, but that doesn’t account for the second problem.

The second problem is user-related. A few months back, we had a sewage back-up in our apartment complex. This meant that we had raw sewage coming back up into the shower and bathtub. Needless to say, it was nasty, and the lesson learned there was that if there was a cap-down bottle, it was done for. I turned my new bottles cap-up. So, now, the only way my bottles can be told apart is by their labels and the directionality of those labels. Subtle, really.

The question then becomes: how can we further design shampoo and conditioner bottles so that they can be unmistakably told apart? Or is that really a question we need to be asking, after all?


Photo Moment: Poppies Party June 2, 2008

Filed under: photos — Amy @ 1:38 pm

poppies party, originally uploaded by Matteo Sasselli.

I love the contrast of the bright poppies against the sky. It’s bleak, but hopeful. 🙂


100! April 29, 2008

Filed under: life,photos — Amy @ 1:23 pm

Wow, this is my 100th post. I’m kind of impressed. So, here it is, photos from yesterday. It was at hot as summer, beautiful and bright. We went to the beach. Here’s the short story.

Learning to take self-portraits

So tranquil looking … just don’t get sunburned

I never get tired of looking up the coast


There you have it. Don’t you wish you were here? 🙂


A Year for Hats? March 9, 2008

Filed under: FO,photos,WIP — Amy @ 3:48 pm
Tags: , , ,

My head must be cold. Or, I must be tired of knitting large projects or projects with matching elements, because I’ve been knitting hats all year. Everything else has been thrown to the wayside — I’m on a roll!

For my Grandma, I’ve been knitting Gretel, in the most fitted style. It’s a beautiful shade of red — Cascade Cash Vero in Ruby. Very hard to photograph. Here goes!


I’m doing the cables without a cable needle, which works well enough. And, I am completely in love with Ysolda and her hats. I love them far too much. They’re beautifully designed and entirely worth the money you pay for the patterns.

I say that, because I’m knitting another one! I’m almost done. It’s a bit small, so it’ll probably be a gift, but here’s Verity (Cascade 220 in Marine)! I’m definitely going to make another one, probably in a drapier yarn. The only thing keeping me from finishing Verity is that I don’t have a button!


Also, here’s Koolhaas, designed by the incomparable Jared Flood, a.k.a. Brooklyn Tweed. I love the Malabrigo Worsted that I got to work with, in a fabulous shade of blue, Buscando Azul. However, it’s snug to the point where I worry it will fall off! So, as my grandpa has been asking for a hat to wear to sleep, so maybe I’ll give this one to him. Come to think of it, I finished this before the new year, but whatever. It’s a hat, it’s lovely, and it has yet to be seen!

Koolhaas - Malabrigo Buscando Azul


Too much! March 3, 2008

Filed under: photos,stash — Amy @ 2:06 am

It’s a new year, and my house is overrun by yarn. I haven’t even been able to categorize it all. I keep buying more … and yeah. That just can’t be good.

There’s lots of new sock yarn, including:

STR Lightweight in Space Dust
Socks that Rock – Lightweight, in Space Dust (a Christmas present from Chelle!)

STR Lightweight in Panzanite
Socks that Rock – Lightweight, in Panzanite (another Christmas present from Chelle! … I feel so loved!)

Madelinetosh Somewhat Solid Sock in Scarlet
Madelinetosh Somewhat Solid Sock, in Scarlet (a present to myself … oh dear!)

And theeeen, there was a sale at Two Sisters and Ewe, my LYS in Mira Mesa … that was a good day.

And before that, I had extended family visiting, and we went out to Common Threads in Encinitas, and more yarn was purchased there, along with some Soak Wool Wash.

And of course, there were more yarn escapades online, one for the Mirabella Cardigan that I’m dying to make. Right after I finish my languishing Minimalist Cardigan …

And, as a belated birthday present to myself, I purchased a hank of MudCreek handspun in Diamondback. This is possibly the most daring thing I’ve done yet, as it’s my first handspun. I’m possibly the most excited about this! Obviously, there are not nearly enough photos to express my words, so words it’ll be. However, I hope to finish documenting my stash and whatever other yarn things are running around. I’ll save WIPs for another post, as this one is getting rather long, and additionally, I don’t have updated photos! I will soon, though. Til then, at least I’m sort of back! It’s just been too long. 🙂


love you more than anyone February 6, 2008

Filed under: college,faith,life,love,photos — Amy @ 11:21 pm

Henna on back
Originally uploaded by greedus2

There are times when I doubt my purpose. I wonder why I’m in my major, why I’m here at UCSD, what I want out of life. And then it smacks me in the face. Multiple times in one day. I’m running into my friends everywhere, in the most unexpected ways.

First, in the library, catching up with a friend who I haven’t been able to spend time with as much this year as the last. Next, a friend called me with concerns about another friend. I later got in contact with the concernee, and she got to share with me what was going on in her life. Follow that up with Bible Study, where I was proud of the study that resulted. I feel like the study leaders have learned a lot, and we’re finally reaching the potential I felt we could. We’re progressing, and I couldn’t be happier. Finally, tonight, I left study late, after some rousing conversation and ran into a friend. She looked stoic at first, but it was more than I could have ever guessed …

My friends are brave and strong. They are amazing and beautiful. I love them so much, and I am so blessed to have them in my life. I only hope I could be a fraction as inspirational to them as they are to me.

A little cliche, I know, but considering that I’ve been under a lot of stress this week, it has been a wonderful day.



Filed under: college,life,photos,rant — Amy @ 6:55 pm

The Gaze
Originally uploaded by Anna Pagnacco

I’m working on a project that focuses on the details of the everyday world. Right now, I’m having trouble focusing. Ironic, isn’t it. I think I’m taking to finding photos on Flickr that suit my blogging moods. This is more fun. Beats being boring.

So I’m sitting in the library, and I have done some work, but right now, I’ve hit a rough spot. I’m not sure where to go, or what to right, so I’ve got to just analyze my data and step away. I might go to study tonight and see what we’re up to, then I can go home and finish my analysis. This process is long. I knew I should have given myself more time. Hey … at least it’s still the day before the project is due. 🙂