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.
Posted on: June 12th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
I wrote about horses once before already, but HOT DANG I had to share my experience this weekend! I took my girlfriend out on a (romantic) expedition to the Morongo Valley and adjacent Joshua Tree desert area. We went to the Cottonwood Canyon Ranch which is basically a ranch that rescues and rehabilitates horses from slaughter auctions, neglectful owners, and other bad situations for the animals.
Because of my height and weight, I lucked out and got a BIG horse. And I’m talking BIG horse. She was driver named Rosie and if you could compare horses to cars, a regular horse is like a solid mid size pick up. My horse was Hummer. Big, comfortable, and all terrain! After an hour and a half ride where we got a tour of the local flora and fauna, we headed back for some pictures and a quick little tour of the ranch.
I resisted sounding too pitchy, but I immediately asked about the stall mats and what they use. It seems that they are currently using common recycled rubber tiles that, unlike ours, they weren’t sure if it was sulfur free. I of course, handed my card and just let them know that if they have any need for stall mats, rubber flooring, or any mats whatsoever, to please call us. Perhaps we’ll be exchanging some horse stall mats for group sessions? One can only hope!
Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
I was curious to go watch the new Iron Man movie last night at a midnight showing. I quickly realized I can’t hang with the late night showings anymore. Not at my age, anyway. How sad is that? Lately, between random bouts of insomnia, under-accomplishment blues, and marital woes, it can be extremely difficult to stand being surrounded by rowdy teenagers and all their witty anecdotes during the previews or the pre-show entertainment; a random flurry of local CPA’s, hair stylists, and tax lawyers all mixed in with useless celebrity trivia and Coca-Cola advertisements which, mind you, work like a charm. I got the largest syrupy coke they had to offer.
In my quest for searching for a blog topic, I was literally about to ask the girl at the concession stand what kind of anti fatigue mats they were standing on. Perhaps some Performa or other non-slip drainage mats? I stopped myself. I knew that If I opened my mouth not only would I ooze depression and desperation for some conversation, but this young female worker might assume that I’m hitting on her and I wanted to spare myself and her the embarrassment of having to clarify that I am not awkwardly trying to hit on her, but I actually really do have in interest as to the fatigue mats she is standing on.
After a nice long narrative involving good ol fashioned American exceptionalism (Mandarin in this movie, however, is not Mandarin at all), I found myself pondering in very deep ways the nature of the universe as I often do after a sci-fi action movie. When I got back to my car, instead of driving home, I drove up to a nice dark empty spot just outside the valley. Low light pollution but not quite rural yet. I went to the trunk and pulled out the embossed yoga mat that I had “borrowed” from work. You see, whenever a yoga mat order gets placed with an embossed logo on it, we get a free unit to make sure it is up to par with what the customer received. I got to keep this particular one since it was, unfortunately from an older plate manufacturer we no longer use and was not as nice as the rest of our regular lots. I hastily (I had precious little time to do so as I still had to be at work the next day) unfurled the yoga mat across the hood of my “new” car and watched the stars while sipping on the last of my watered down coca-cola. At that point, I felt small and insignificant enough to suddenly not care about any of my particular woes. The stars just guided me for the next hour and a half.
Posted on: May 24th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
I came down with a nasty flu this week. Not nasty in length, but in severity. 103 degree fever for a solid four plus hours or so. When it finally broke, I felt like I was hallucinating. And I actually was. You see, I thanked my girlfriend for bringing me the glass of water that I didn’t ask for and in reality, wasn’t even there. After stumbling from bed to the kitchen for some refreshment and battling my cat to not trip me as I shuffled my feet in what can only be described as an alien imitation of human bipedalism, I had a revelation. I was sick from the gym! Of course! All the grime, sharing equipment, and that one folding exercise mat
I used… I remember the one. I had a bad feeling about using the common exercise mat
but I went ahead and did it anyway. Four days later, BAM! Sick as dog. Now, I wouldn’t dare suggest that this particular facility does not disinfect its workout mats
regularly, but I have my suspicions.
I always wondered why we sell our mat disinfectant
. That sounds stupid… I know WHY we use them, but I never really thought about it in context. But the sweat, the grunts, the exhausting of ones body to the limits while perspiring sweat and salival grunts, well, let’s just say your gonna be swapping fluids (involuntarily) with a couple of people at your gym. I’d like to think that ALL gyms (and after researching OF COURSE THEY DO) disinfect their daily use common equipment with disinfectants and a mat cleaner
, but if you happen to be extra paranoid like me, take your own aerobic mats with you from here on out.