Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
It’s amazing how time flies. I still remember when my sister announced that she was pregnant with her second bundle of stress, er, joy. It’s almost like it was yesterday. I was better looking, considerably more care-free, and I actually believed I would be the first President of the World Federation. Not to mention the best-selling artist of all time. How else would I win the minds and hearts of the people of earth and convinced the modern nation-states to disband, demilitarize, and unify under one common banner of rock? Well, needless to say, things didn’t quite turn out that way, but at least I get my own blog.
While both my nieces are turning out to be beautiful and talented young ladies, it’s the younger one of these, now 11, that’s becoming quite the accomplished gymnast. Those genes are definitely something that have stayed on the women’s side of our family since I am neither flexible nor athletic. The last “athletic”thing I engaged in was loading gear from my project studio to a large recording studio. Before that it was running, and before that, it was roller-blading, which I absolutely loved. However, there is something certain people seem to find creepy about a 6’4”bearded man rollerblading around the neighborhood in short-shorts and shaking that booty to his favorite 90’s workout jams. Lots of Madonna, Janet Jackson, and other top 40 favorites. *Ya’ll remember “Rhythm is a Dancer”or “Good Vibrations”? Marky Mark before he was Mark Wahlberg? If you have, you might be old. But anyway…
I was recently sent a video of her doing her thing with ribbons. She runs and leaps and somersaults on the carpeted crosslink floor and just completely looks at home. It’s really quite remarkable how young some of these gymnasts are too. One her team-mates could not be older than 7, and she is just FLYING on the balance beam. Legs twirling like a helicopter, with the most serious look on her face. Through a series of routines on balance beams, gymnastics mats, and other gym equipment, these girls seems well on their way to their accolades be it regional or with enough dedication, even the Olympics.
Posted on: October 14th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
I’m currently on my way to the high Sierras for a little nature bonding with the boys for my brother-from-another-mother’s bachelor party. We decided the traditional Vegas regrets would be a little to cliche for us, so instead, we’re gonna go on epic hikes and camp lakeside. While I wouldn’t consider myself a regular outdoors man, I certainly have enough appreciation to at least try to get out at least once a year into the open wilderness. As we were loading up everyone’s gear, however, I realized that I would not be enjoying the same comforts as everyone else… You see I overlooked an important detail. An exercise mat…
I actually forgot to bring even a yoga mat. The irony isn’t lost on me either. Every day I’m literally talking about how comfortable and portable our 2′x6′ folding exercise mats are. How they’ve got just the right firmness crosslink foam. How they are comfortable enough to lay on and nap on, but also firm enough to do exercise on.
As I write this I’m overcome with nervous anticipation to what comfort or lack thereof awaits me as I set up camp and eventually retire on bare ground. I can literally see the sample 3/8″ thick foam mats resting on the corner of the office cabinet… just there… waiting. Waiting for me all week to go “Hey, I’ll probably need that!” Instead, I’ll have to brave the cold night on bare ground as the roll of comfortable foam sits at the MatsMatsMats.com office sitting in bitter silence at not having been noticed.
I am not a smart man…
Posted on: October 14th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
Time for another delicious blog. Delicious I say, because I have not slept in about 36 hours and for whatever reason, everything looks like food to me right now. Don’t ask, it just happens when I’m under sleep delirium.
“But, Ben! What does food and sleep delirium have to with an exercise mat? Or any of the things you sell for a living from interlocking floor mats to children’s play mats for that matter?”
The answer is simple my friends. Oh, so simple.. nothing. IT has nothing to do with wall padding or exercise equipment or any type of mat. This weeks blog will not be about how Soft Wood tiles make a beautiful addition to a child’s playroom helping it to enhance comfort while preserving the look and feel of that hardwood floor you nearly killed your husband to install when you bought that fixer upper. No siree, bub.
It has nothing to do with how our Soft Carpet Tiles are the industry leader portable tradeshow surfaces. With their durable bonded carpet, these things will go wherever you go and last!
It especially has nothing to do with our Supreme Folding Rest mats. That are just oh so-dang- comfy that this overgrown child can’t help but take a quickie nap in the office when he works his third job once a month every month in the summer.
Hey, are those zzzz’s over there? I better go catch them…
Posted on: September 17th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
Can you dance? I sure as hell can’t. But I think I can. This delusion, of course, is largely to the detriment of my loved ones. You’d have to see it to believe it. I get really into it too. From my epileptic hip ‘swinging’ for salsa and samba, the drunken shuffling of my bachata, to the lunatic flailing of arms ode my “modern hip-hop” choreography, no family or friends’ events are safe from the disaster of my overconfidence. It’s better than going to the gym with my exercise mat…for me anyway.
Little would you know, but I am actually a fairly accomplished musician. This, however, does not help me dance in the slightest. Not well at least. Something to do with the stiffness and lack of communication between my limbs. Also, facial expressions… yikes! Luckily, I’ll be taking dance lessons soon.
Before I set foot in one of these places, I was really imagining something along the lines of a nice, rich mahogany floored studio space with a beautiful Spanish instructor teaching me the ways of romantic dance in front of a Mylar mirror . I was excited! Would I finally fulfill my long lived fantasy to be the foremost competitive dancer/lover in the world? No… not at all. I set foot into what seemed like day care. Matlay Dance floor, I thought, but instead… primary colors! PRIMARY COLORS EVERYWHERE! It also didn’t help that I was at least 12 years older than everyone else in that class! The teacher might have actually been younger than me too! I’m not even 30!
After swallowing my pride and getting a little comfortable, a simple waltz was guided by a map of
Poly Pads feet laid out across the floor to guide my (very clumsy) feet. After about an hour of waltzing, I decided never to return to the dance class unless it was required by law since a) I realized that flailing is more fun than being proper and b) I think I broke their toilet just before I left the establishment.
Moral of the story is when it comes to dancing, do YOU!
Posted on: September 17th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
As of late, I’ve grown increasingly aware of the fact that I am getting old. Not old-old, but old like an adult. 3rd floor of life. Where you start reflecting on the fact that you should have been a little more athletic just so your body was conditioned for the hardships of being an American citizen for the next 50 years. Ok, ok, 30 if I’m lucky.
Heavily bombarded with fast food, fast cars, and fast women, it is no wonder our indulgent lifestyle makes it so easy to forget very basic things like regular physical activity. After all, the body wasn’t exactly designed to sit at cubicle trying to think of blogs to write… hmmm…
I’ve become increasingly more interested in keeping my body in shape. Not for looks, but merely for endurance, stamina, and vigor… IN BED! BOOYAH! Seriously, though… life in general. Regular physical activity be it buying a yoga mat and start doing yoga, jogging by myself, getting a few martial arts mats to wrestle with my girlfriend, or just taking the stairs instead of the elevator can substantially improve my metabolism, sleep, and my mood overall. Another big commitment is cutting out ALL sodas. That crap is BAD for you! No more Diet Coke for me! Or Squirt.. or Fanta… or regular Coke. (Beer is NOT soda by the way!)
Take it from someone that has been blessed with a pretty amazing metabolism (I have literally bombarded my body with just about anything you can throw at it for the past 30 years… and I still maintain a happy median weight of 185 lbs at 6’4″), things start to change after the last half of the second decade. If you are feeling the 3rd floor blues, consider taking something up cycling, yoga, martial arts, or cross-fit. One of the very distinct perks of working here has been the employee discounts on a variety things like work-out gloves, yoga equipment, martial arts products, and exercise mats. If you need a bit of a push in the right direction, remember that the body is like a car. Always lease, never buy. Wait, that’s not right… Oh yes, you’re body is like a car and it won’t last forever. But the more regular maintenance you give it, the more mileage you’ll get out of it.
Posted on: August 16th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
Another month is upon us and another third Thursday of the month for that matter. Yesterday was our Canoga Park Art Walk (or Third Thursdays as we hold it in the summers on the third Thursday of every month) and it was my distinct honor and pleasure to shed my sales hat and put on the sound guy hat. Since this event is completely organized by volunteers, there were little options more fitting than I due to owning and operating all my own gear AND because my day job is about 5 minutes away from the event. As a result, my trustee partner in crime, Mr. Stag and I quickly left the comfortable zen of selling gymnastics, commercial , and dance accessories for the brutal assault that is stage management and audio engineering.
Something that would’ve been handy (besides a better power amp as the one I brought blew out two songs into our last artist) would be some anti-fatigue mats. After carefully crafting a well balance sonic presentation for our audience, I still had to stay put (as any good engineer would) and monitor levels, check for noise (there was plenty) and enjoy the fumes right next to the generator. All the while managing the set times, kicking overzealous bands off stage, and partying it up with the resident DJ Phitoe. If anyone is local to the San Fernando Valley, Third Thursdays happens next on Aug 5th. Come by and pay me a visit. I won’t bite… hard. And I’ll be sure to bring me my marble fatigue mat this time.
Posted on: August 7th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
Rubber… not the 2010 French horror film about the psychic tire that murders people (yes it’s real), the actual polymer; RUBBER! Ta-da! We sell a lot of that stuff. Due to it’s versatility and durability, you can see it used just about anywhere. From car parts, to electronics, household items, and yes, rubber mats. It’s hard to imagine a world without it. Generally, you can split rubber products into one of two categories: Recycled rubber or EPDM rubber. But what is the difference exactly? In a nutshell, recycled rubber is, as the name suggests, recycled, while the EPDM, is not. EPDM is also know by it’s full name
ethylene propylene diene monomer which is a synthetic rubber (as opposed to NATURAL rubber which comes a type of tree) or simply virgin rubber. Our recycled rubber flooring is also made from EPDM rubber, but since it is recycled from various rubber materials (mostly tire rubber), the term EPDM can not be applied as it is not produced so much as “compiled” from the “crumbs” of other recycled rubber eco-friendly products.
Recently, I had a customer request a quote for a client who was looking specifically for EPDM rubber for a military training ground. After touching base with the customer the differences between the rubbers and our limited availability of EPDM (it is only available as the colored TOP for our Bounce Back Tiles and the colored fleck in our Mega Lock Flooring and Tuff-n-Easy interlocking rubber tiles), it seems some clarification was needed. For a while, they were under the impression that because EPDM is virgin rubber, that it would have a much better load resistance than recycled rubber. NOT TRUE IN THE SLIGHTEST. After much testing by our manufacturer, the process involved in our selection of rubber crumb for our solid black recycled rubber reduces any difference in load tolerance between standard EPDM rubber and the recycled rubber we produce to a marginal difference which is effectively non-issue for the carious athletic or commercial applications that our mats are most often requested for. What this means for our customer is that we could provide him with a much less product he would have otherwise dismissed due to misinformation.
Posted on: August 2nd, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
Playground flooring can be very expensive. We get customers all the time that are pretty shocked by the idea that it can cost them upwards of 2,000 dollars to have a decent size fall height rated rubber flooring for their kids jungle gym. However, as we get this all the time, we always implore our customers to really consider whether or not they need a fall height rated flooring solution.
Fall height can be viewed as an approximation of the playground fall height which is below the level that would be expected to cause a life threatening head injury. Naturally, one would say “Why would I NOT want that in my playground?”, the simple answer is cost vs. risk. If you have a small jungle gym and expect a fall from no more than about 3″, any rubber product will by its very nature break the fall and soften it as opposed to falling directly onto concrete. Our Mega-Lock rubber flooring and Tuff-and-Easy tiles can serve as a playground surface very well especially in these cases where fall height is non-issue.
Another product to consider would be our SoftRubber Tiles. These tiles have a solid recycled rubber top but up to a 3/4″ thick pad of foam as a base. Again, for your most common playground applications (small jungle gym, toddlers, or infants just learning to crawl or walk) these are a great and far less expensive alternative than the full blown Bounce Back approach. Not to mention, they are MUCH lighter and easier to install.
Since the materials we offer are so versatile, be sure that when you are looking for a particular application on one of our floors, never hesitate to ask your sales rep about less expensive alternatives. Chances are that there are various solutions towards a given application that you might be the first to think of!
Posted on: July 1st, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
Recently I took a little trip to Pinks Hot Dogs. World famous Pink’s Hot Dogs, I should say. Celebrities from about five generations of Hollywood royalty have to come to this place as well as you average Joe to enjoy these deliciously decadent treats. Founded in 1939, this place offers interesting processed meat between buns of various varieties such as Lord of The Rings (a 10″ Stretch Dog with BBQ sauce), a Rosie O’Donell ( 10″ Stretch Dog, topped with mustard, onions, chili and sauerkraut topped with onion rings), and my personal favorite: the L.A. Philharmonic Conductor Gustavo Dudamel Dog ( Stretch hot dog, guacamole, American & Swiss cheese, fajitas mix, jalapeno slice, topped with tortilla chips).
Needless to say, after a night of partying hard with the homies (read: leisure with my fellow gentlemen), this is the stop for a post midnight meal. They are open until 3am!! Well, imagine my surprise (or lack thereof) to see one of our scraper mats right there at the entrance of this reputable establishment! I CAN’T ESCAPE THEM! MATS ARE EVERYWHERE! THEY CONSUME!! NOOO!!! But my reward was a delicious dog and an idea for my blog. I couldn’t complain.
After quickly scarfing through the last of my meal, a commotion at the front of the line started. Two girls were getting physical…. violently physical. Well, get this. One of the girls was wearing some funky shoes and as she made a lunge for this smaller enemy combatant, I noticed that the grip of the rubber door mat did a really good job keeping a grip on the floor. While not exactly the best example to boast functionality of these outdoor mats, it sure did what it was supposed to do.
Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
Vanity. Satan’s favorite sin. Well, at least in Al Pacino’s depiction of the devil. I don’t know why I found myself thinking about this other than the fact that I watched The Devil’s Advocate earlier this week. The movie is a solid 7.5 in my opinion. A perfect touch of Clinton-era cheese while people still had this post 80′s excess fascination with the ‘devil-lawyer’ archetype. Yes, lawyers are evil (no exceptions), but my point is that I came to very particular and nuanced conclusions about something while I was watching this film 16 years after it’s release:
a) Keanu is not a terrible actor.
b) I love Charlize Theron. Like… a lot.
c) I love Al Pacino. (there’s a reason he sits atop my cubicle screaming at me at the horror of seeing his anti-christ son commit suicide instead of serving him).
The real meat and potatoes, though, is that this whole experience left me thinking about another Al Pacino classic, Carlito’s Way! An undeniable classic tale of redemption with a tragic turn for the protagonist. I mean, the movie starts where it ends and you STILL hope and are even made to feel like things might work out. But anyway, the point is that in that movie, there is ONE brief scene where Carlito (Pacino), having just been released from prison, follows his old flame to a dance class. There, for a quick second, BAM, a ballet barre! And it all comes full circle. Maybe a shot of glassless mirrors too. I don’t know. The thing is that the more I thought about it, I thought that maybe my love and affinity for movies has just been a subconscious pre-conditioning to me learning all about dance accessories, commercial/industrial products, and exercise mats. I’ll be scouring my favorite movies looking for all these things I’ve missed before. Luckily with the power of HD Blu-Ray remasters, I might even see a MatsMatsMats.com label somewhere.