Posted on: June 10th, 2015 by Ben Gonzalez
Any fans of The Big Lebowski? That movie practically raised me from the ages of 11 – 17. Maybe not the best idea to be “raised” by a character who prides himself in his absolute laziness but nevertheless, hilarity ensued. The line “It really ties the room together.” is at the root of the shenanigans Jeff Bridges’s character “The Dude” faces to secure his rug back from the Germans who stole it from his home. Genius concept, I know. But there’s something to be said about that. Rugs really do tie the room together. And something I noticed recently is how well welcome mats can “tie the room together” so to speak.
At my studio, we have several lock-out units. All rented by various musicians, drummers, recording engineers, and the occasional random-o solitaire weirdo that just wants a space away from home to do whatever the hell they want at whatever volume they want. But when you walk in, you immediately notice how the rooms with a door mat just look more official. Welcoming actually. It actually makes you think “there’s something going on in there probably.” Which is exactly why I acquired one for my studio. Now my synonymous door doesn’t just look like a closet space. It actually looks like “something is going in there” which is great since I make my extra income from clients there (as well as through various other avenues) stumbling onto my space and asking what services I offer.
The same applies to apartments and even larger houses. A nice mat at the front really just ties the room, porch, threshold together. Ever moved into a new apartment and feel like there’s something missing. It’s probably a mat! Big, beautiful entry mats or welcome mats to officiate you into your new place of residence. Never underestimate the power of simple items to really bring everything together.
Posted on: April 6th, 2015 by Ben Gonzalez
It was during this year’s Halloween Harvest Festival at the local community college that I realized the importance of portable dance floors. Not for me, particularly but some of this year’s performers. As the world continues on this warming trend towards certain catastrophe, the San Fernando Valley treated us to triple digit weather in the middle of October. One particular Saturday, we got a whopping 110 degrees! In October! The extreme temperature changes from night to day made it so our uncovered wooden stage warped immensely along the seams of the planks. Luckily, our handy man was able to remove the warped and cracked plank and put in new ones. But ther was a new problem. Since the planks that were put in a replacements were newer, they were also slightly thicker. This small detail made some of the kids’ choreography a little less than graceful. After a few tumbles and some humble recoveries right back into the number, I had one of the dance instructors ask if we had anything that we can lay over the stage to smooth it out so to speak. It actually baffled me to realize that not ONE of these coaches had brought with them some kind of vinyl floor or the like considering that MANY of the requests we get here are about using the Matlay Dance Floor for various competitions and showcases that are outside of the troupes respective dance schools or home venues.
It dawned on me that aside from the smooth and even surface, the Matlay flooring actually serves to cover and hide a lot of the tiny cracks and splinters on outdoor stages that can otherwise be hazards to performances.
Posted on: January 12th, 2015 by Ben Gonzalez
It’s tradeshow season and that means new electronics, products, services, and meet and greets for just about any “industry” you can think of. As such, I’ve been inundated with all kinds of rapid fire updates on the latest smartphone announcement, startups, recording equipment, religions, science developments, etc etc. It’s been kind of hard to filter through all these things on my subscription newsfeed since I only have so much time and I can’t read EVERYTHING that comes my way. So in an effort to filter through the vast majority of these events, I have a tendency to focus on the two biggest ones that I even care about this year, NAMM and CES. These tradeshows are basically music and consumer electronics tradeshows respectively and for me, that’s pretty much everything I am interested in. The term “interested” being a gross understatement.
Among the many pictures that I see for these huge (and I really do mean, absolutely SPRAWLING events), one thing that continues to blow my mind is how many of these exhibitors are still using the same old carpet and padding provided by the event venue. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I would just imagine (taking my own bias into consideration here) that people would take a hint from the tradeshow booths and operators that are using some form of trade show anti fatigue mats. Even if it’s not ours! Picture yourself as an exhibitor. You’ve got this fancy booth, lights, desks, and a fancy display array for your latest gadget. Be it a new tablet, pocket size camera, or a magic remote for your new electronic toilet and you’re at this thing talking to various attendees. Be it online correspondent for various blogs, news outlets, or just your average joes (a rarity since tradeshows are usually reserved for industry insiders and not the general public) you will be standing by your booth for 8 – 12 hours DAILY. This is absolute torture on your feet and if you are fatigued considerably more by 6pm than you were at 6am, there’s a good chance that standing on a thinly padded carpet overlay is not helping.
Alternatively, just about every single customer that uses trade show flooring would never ever go back to not using it. Forget the various aesthetic options available from wood laminate finishes and grass green carpet tops, but the anti-fatigue benefits alone are tremendous and that is no overstatement.
Posted on: December 4th, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
What to do when a pesky landlord decides that despite a security deposit and a contract, he/she just does not feel comfortable with your canine moose on their precious hardwood floor? In L.A., many residents are faced with this dilemma constantly. There are few solutions that are quite as resilient, practical, and cost effective as recycled rubber flooring. While mainly used in kennels and more commercial applications, a 650 square foot apartment can greatly benefit from this as well.
A ¼” thick layer of this rubber can serve to greatly reduced noise, protect the hardwood floor from swelling should your pup have an accident while you’re at work or away, and is actually easier on the joints for older dogs. If odor is of great concern, rest assured that proper ventilation should dissipate and outgassing within a week at the most. Since these are recycle tire rubber as opposed to virgin rubber, the harsh “rubber-band” smell is largely reduced through the recycling process.
So let’s say you’re the landlord is concerned with scuffing of the floor kind of like the soles of some cheap work boots might. You can tell them to stop being such a baby since this is easily remedied with any cleaning solution. Most importantly, however, you can remind them that this rubber flooring does not scuff or leave marks. Again, since it’s recycled rubber, the bonding agent does not allow the rubber material to leave any significant scuffs or “tire marks” on the floor. Again, anything left is easily remedied with a light cleaning solution or agent.
Should any Angelino or resident of major metropolitan areas be faced with this type of situation, remember that there are options for you and your canine buddy! Don’t let the landlord pull the rug from under you! Keep it in place with some rubber flooring!
Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
A popular misconception with most of our products is that they are limited to a particular use. Must be something to do with the extensive catalog of items we carry here. One would not think that “Wrestling Mats” are also a great surface for veterinary applications, pediatric, and a myriad of other uses that we’ve seen our customers purchase these for. While we do have two types of of these (the CLASSIC and the LIGHT WEIGHT), by far the most versatile and longer lasting of the two, albeit that more expensive one, would be the CLASSIC. At 1” or 1.25” in thickness, the proprietary material is quite literally a “rubber foam”. Strong enough to withstand constant use yet has enough shock absorption to be used as a surface to slam a 200 lb adult on. Or lay a baby on and have him take a nap. Whatever the need, these mats certainly deliver. Here are some of the more creative ways that our customers have used this material.
Yacht Deck – Too rich for my blood, personally. But one of our customers fitted his yacht with about 200 sq ft of this stuff on one of his decks presumably to sun bathe and host wild parties. At least, that’s what I would do.
Safety lining – A veteran and military enthusiast was building his own dune buggy type vehicle and was apparently having a hard time fitting the inside of his vehicle with a suitable foam-type material that can withstand impact but still have a color on it that POPS. He settled on several custom cut pieces of our Wrestling Mat material to fit the inside of his roll cage, his seat, and his dash board with in a right “tactical” orange color.
Veterinary clinic – Most veterinary clinics have high metal gurneys that dogs, cats, and other critters get placed on for check-ups, sterilization, etc. A more considerate vet decided that he wanted soft, hospital style inspection tables with a material that was non-permeable, had an anti-bacterial lining (Microban) and was strong enough to last but soft enough for the animals.
Backpacker – This one was a little more impractical but worth mention. Backpackers generally have roll up mats more akin to our foam exercise mats for sleeping in the wilderness or taking a quick rest in various rough terrain. This customer wanted something much thicker than the usual 3/8” material and also VERY easy to clean. A one-inch 2’x8’ mat was his winning number, although that mat alone would be about 16lbs in addition to his heavy bag.
Don’t let the names of some of the products deceive you! Get creative!
Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
The world is filled with garbage. Tons of it. So much, in fact, that there is a Texas-sized plastic island floating somewhere in the Pacific. Or is it the Atlantic? Does it matter? It’s hard to make sense and really conceptualize how much trash we generate as individuals. Recycling has certainly been an ever growing trend amongst developed countries but not nearly at the level that new trash is generated. Take your cellphone, for instance. While companies like schnApple and Shmamsung (see what I did there? NO FREE SEO FOR YOU!) try to best each other for the hottest new product EVERY YEAR, one has to wonder what becomes of discarded cell phones and their components as many consumers pride themselves in upgrading to the “newest, hottest, next big thing” or whatever other euphemism their marketing teams come up with.
I happen to keep all my past handsets (I’ve amassed a small collection of cellphones in perfect working condition dating back to 2006) since I figured I could get more use out of them as ways to experiment with their components or just have a readily available back-up should something happen to my current handset. This is a habit that is borderline hoarding. It’s hard for me to get rid of electronics despite their age or usefulness. Something about it just seems like such a waste. After much nagging over the years from parental units, room mates, and wifey, I’ve curbed the habit. Sort of…
A good example is my old gaming consoles. My old Nintendo is now a multimedia PC. My old Sega Genesis (much SEO for you!) is a neat little workhorse computer for my studio to run software synthesizers. It also looks really cool and makes feel like I’m all smart when clients come by and see that not only am I not screwing around on the job by turning on my old Sega console, I’m actually about to run this girls awful vocals through a pitch correction program that won’t make her sound like T-Pain. Score.
At MatsMatsMats.com, we have many of these old samples and materials that are either obsolete or just no longer in production. Before they get thrown away, something like a rubber yoga mat samples are now kitschy little coasters. Small recycled rubber mat squares are now spacers for my custom PC cases to stop the rattling while the fans are on. What was once a near-hoarding of garbage I didn’t technically need has been, thankfully, turned into a knack for seeing trash as simply nothing more than perfectly good-to-use, un-maximized resources! Pulling over before a dinner date to load up an old couch on the side of the road never felt so handy and Earth-friendly. Then again, maybe loading up that “perfectly good” mattress from behind the caution tape wasn’t the best of ideas. Or most legal… or hygienic… or prudent. Meh, 1 in 10, right guys?
Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
Hot yoga is so hot right now. In more ways than one. And most popular in recent years is Bikram Yoga. Founded by the brother of Paramahansa Yoganandi (who himself founded the Self Realization Fellowship. Angelinos know what I’m talking about.Based in Mt. Washington? In that awesome Golden Age of Hollywood mansion-turned-monastery? Overlooks the Los Angeles skyline. Off the 110? No… dang… Well, if you’re local you should go visit. Google search it. I can tell you the entire history of that place and how I came to posses such knowledge at the risk of continuing to suddenly break from my point to give a brief history of this pseudo-religion founded by an Indian expat who combined elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity into one easy-to-digest all in one philosophy emphasizing connection between the self and the all…. <deeeeeeeep breath> but I digress. Ahem…
Bikram is a form of hot Hatha Yoga where you step into a room at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at about 40%. It’s hot. It’s not comfy, exactly. But it’s so popular that it’s become the go-to for an insurmountable amount of rush hour survivors and people looking for an intense set of 26 sequenced postures guided and standardized in the same duration of 90 minutes per class. This is more like an intense 90-minute set of heavy weight lifting than it is a 90 minute session with dim lights, burning nag champa, and new age soundscapes playing in the background . When the class is done, you are soaked and using your yoga mat as a stretcher. You become a purge of your own sweat and misery. The latter of particular importance as evidence from previous clinical studies showed that Hatha Yoga may have anti-depressant benefits.
Massachussetts General Hospital is currently pursuing a pilot trial to study the effectiveness of Bikram Yoga as a treatment for depression. While it’s been known to many from personal experience, Dr. Maren Nyer, director of Yoga Research in the MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program notes that Hot Yoga “…appears to be a promising treatment for depression.” She notes that hot yoga provides both mindfulness and intense exercise, both known to be effective treatments of major depressive disorder.
While this is a pilot trial of an actual clinical study, Hot Yoga enthusiasts should rejoice that not only is it great exercise, but it’s very likely that, as the the earliest trial currently show, practitioners are far less likely to develop major depressive disorders. One could assume it’s the constant exercise and serotonin production thereof that is a contributing factor into this. However, I think it’s partly the discipline that has to be assimilated in order to do this regularly. I tried it twice and decide that if I can pick and choose which I will engage in regularly, I was too much of a wimp to stick with the Hot Yoga as my regular routine. Instead, I chose daily 2k runs and 90 minute weight lifting routines. Although I love my yoga mat, Hot Yoga is just too hot for me to handle.
Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
The expression “one sick puppy” has earned a whole new meaning for me. I adopted a beautiful Mastif-Lab mix named Jolie about 3 months ago. She is the light of my life these days. At 18 months, she is now about 100 pounds of pure doggy happiness. She has turned me into a total doggy-daddy. I wake up every morning at 6am to go running or have some play time at the dog park. Sometimes with wifey, but lately.. not so much. I guess I can be an overbearing dad that worries about his princess a tad too much. “She’s not a child, she’s a dog!” is my girlfriends catch-phrase as of late. I just roll it off since it was HER idea to get a dog in the first place. An idea which I objected to. But I digress…
After about 2 – 2.5 hours, we have breakfast together and then it’s off to work. Once off work, we go on another long walk and play a bit at the apartment before she’ passes out or focuses her attention on one of her favorite toys. This is everyday now. There is no “day off” since these creatures are all encompassing responsibilities. Especially the breed since she’s still a puppy in the body of a lycanthrope. As if this wasn’t enough, we ran into a poor little Stafforshire Terrier tied up to a tree and abandoned across the street from the dog park we frequent on a fateful Friday morning. After reading the note left on him (his name is Ice, it turns out) we promptly took him to the shelter to try and identify his owner. No tags, no chip, and no identity, the 6-year old lad would have been put down in a weeks time. So I did the only thing a sucker for punishment would do to ensure the everlasting glare of his already over-doggyfied girlfriend… I took him home.
It’s been three weeks now and the apartment is almost completely doggy proof. With some ingenuity, we’re keeping the moose and lycanthrope (Ice is, himself, a hefty 85 lbs of slobbery awesomeness) from driving our downstairs neighbor insane. A few anti-fatigue mats under the area rug in the living room help make it more comfortable than without it. This helps us to keep the dogs from sleeping on the couch. Also, since they are BIG dogs, our new Pet Placemat keep their food bowls from sliding around. Luckily, the pups aren’t too fond of chewing on the mats. As far as chewing on my priced possessions, well… I’d probably do the same if I was a dog.
Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
I’ve been working long, hard hours turning a project recording studio into a commercial enterprise. After about 2 years of chipping away at a very large to-do list, it seems that things finally came into place. I work with a couple of clients regularly and more seem to be coming my way. While the space is small, it’s definitely providing musicians and producers with a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. However, being that the rental space is in one of MANY grey doors that look exactly the same from the outside, I have been continuously haunted with something that feels “missing”. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Christmas lights for a more “festive” atmosphere… nope, too hoaky. A fridge full of beer? Negative. Distracting and encourages drinking while working. Not necessarily a bad thing but when you’re dealing with old-time rockers in the program… have to pass on that. I de-arranged, re-arranged, and cleaned the hell out of the space again. Put up some paintings I like, new sound panels with more visually striking cloth covers and still nothing.
Finally it dawned on me… there is not “welcome” mat. I Realized that all the other studios at least have some kind of rubber mats at the entrance to their respective spaces. Something to wipe your feet on and not track as much dirt and debris inside. But all were pretty much black and boring. What I needed was something with a little bit more flair. Not necessarily saying “welcome” or “bless this house”.. I mean, c’mon. But I was in serious need of something more inviting. Something that spoke to me and said “Hey, someone gives a hoot about this joint.” Perusing for various options, I finally settled on nice ivy patterned coir door mats to greet anyone when they first get there. Not the biggest deal in the world but it’s the little details that really tie an idea together.
Posted on: May 9th, 2014 by Ben Gonzalez
While staying with my brother in Mexico, he encouraged me to try some of the finer and more ‘upscale’ eating establishments available in his neighborhood of Juarez. Think of it like Mexico City’s equivalent of Silver Lake. The first Saturday there, him and his girlfriend took me and mine to a pizza eatery built out of the basement of one of MANY historical buildings there. A Spanish colonial residence who’s exterior is meticulously preserved now surrounded by technical schools, OXXO’s, 7-Eleven’s, and streets that would make a New York pedestrian squeamish from complexity. The entrance was lined with fancy entry mats and we made our way to our table. There, we decided to order a home cooked pizza. Marinara, date, and asparagus with a faint touch of wine in the dough. It was delicious. And impressive that the cooks were able to whip this out in such a short time. Craft beers abound, we relinquished in a drunken stupor back to the apartment. I made it a point to try and remember that I got a peek at the mat behind the bar. To my non-shock, it was the very non slip drainage mats so common in bars… and provided by my place of daily employment. It seemed that even across borders, the influence of ‘mats’ followed me everywhere.
The night was kind and without incident. Until the sun came up and it’s first unfriendly beams poured in through the curtain-less guest bedroom and directly into my tired eyes. As I reached for my phone to check the time, a sudden influx of pain and nausea began to manifest within me. A low rumble and gurgle urged me to get out of bed. But my weary spirit declined and with an almost child like internal plea, I forced myself back to sleep. I closed my eyes anew, and before I could reach the sweet bliss of the dream state, the rumble and gurgle turned into a stampede of wild buffalo running from something… something terrifying. Stumbling out of bed and unable to answer my better half’s mumbled inquiry, I was sat upon the freezing cold porcelain in what seemed like a flash. To the horrible shock of my tender end, what followed was a catastrophic display of entropy in it’s rawest form. For the next 30 minutes of my life I bowed before a terrible pain and sorrow I always understood was reserved for the poor, unwitting western foodie tourist on his first, uninformed excursion to a genuine Delhi eatery.
When the carnage was over and my eyes restored focus, there I sat, hunched over and staring the very thing I had all but forgotten to think of from the night before: a non-slip drainage mat.