How the Reviews are Made

Some of you might have wondered: How do you test BDSM toys? Well… here is the ultimate answer – at least for this website.

It all starts with receiving an envelope from a mysterious donor which goes straight to my desk for unpacking.

The first thing I find inside such envelopes is mostly something to get me through the stressful and exhausting reviewing process.

Damn, they know my weaknes! 😉

Next up is a friendly and easy to understand notice which should help me reach a verdict matching the superior quality and functionality of the new toy.

Last but not least is the toy itself. And now you know why unboxings will be very rare at this website.

The first thing I do with a new toy is testing it at a uncritical part of my body in order to get a first impression and a feel for it.

From this first test, I take some notes on the initial expressions I got.

Because the initial reaction can be misleading, I let the toy rest a bit. This is why you will rarely find extensive reviews of new toys tight after I got them.

Now also the testing on me and on friends begins – which I am at the moment not allowed to show you. I might update this article as soon as I find a way to do so.

During the resting time, I keep on testing them and get second oppinions, p.e. from friend who come over for a drink and a pretzel…

… or by taking them out to a club in order to get some reallife experience with them.

After I have gathered enough information how the toy performs as a BDSM utensile, the more technical testing starts. How do certain materials influence the experience? Does the toy damage the material?

Next up is the handling test where the influence of gloves and lube on the overall and more important the secure handling of the toy is tested.

Right after the testing, I take some times to try out different probs in order to show the toy in it’s best light when the pictures are taken…

… which takes place right afterwards.

It all ends with the digital production process: Cropping and editing the pictures, writing a review from the notes I have taken, scoring the toy and finally creat a WordPress article featuring the review.

Going Postal

I know the title of this post is a cheap rip off from a great Terry Pratchett novel, but it suits perfectly. In Germany the formal federal postal service which is now DHL set up boxes where you can send and pick up parcels so you don’t have to be at home. The system isn’t perfect since you can only receive parcels shipped with DHL but anyway, it is great for people who are not at home all day.

Monday they implemented a change in their authentification system: Instead of a static PIN they now send you a mTAN with the notification SMS that a new parcel has been delivered. I awaited a new toy yesterday and was thrilled when I got the SMS that it has been put into the Packstation box. I was not so thrilled when I sat that the SMS ended right after 160 characters – right before the mTAN. So I called the DHL hotline – and waited for about 45 minuits in a waiting loop before I had to work. I sent e-mails, used twitter and the contact form, today I spend another hour of listening to their ridicules waiting loop music but I had no success. Thursday will be a holiday in Germany and I hope they send me a new mTAN by tomorrow evening, otherwise somebody will really suffer and not in a good way!

Murphy Loves this Site

I don’t know what I have done wrong that I have so much misfortune when it comes pictures: Today I took pictures for today’s article. And when I wanted to download them from the SD card my PC told me, that the card was compromised and even the Sandisk tools couldn’t help me recover them. Since the article was supposed to be a picture story I am left with nearly nothing. In the future I want to have a stack of articles and reviews I can pull from if something goes wrong but I am far away from this state. So I have to ask for your patience. Thursday is a holiday in Germany. I will redo the pictures and post the article. Of cause the next week will see a new review – this is if my camera doesn’t explode.

Quo Vadis ToyTorture.com

Today I also want to tell you where this website will and/ or should be heading. But I think such an important topic needed its own blog entry.

The core of the website will be reviews. I plan to publish a review every other week. Looking at my collection and the rate I buy new toys, I will have enough material to review for about two years. If you have a specific toy you want to have reviewed or if you are a collector who wants to get rid of parts of his collection or a producer/ vendor who wants to give me toys in order to review them, just click here where you will find means to contact me or just send me an e-mail.

For the weeks where no review will be published I plan to have two segments which will get new features every four weeks.

  1. Desiderates: Published in the blog section under the tag “Desiderates” I want to present toys I found at (online) stores which I don’t own yet and the reason I find them intriguing. I am not sure how this segment will work because in order to publish pictures of the toys I need the permission of the web store to present them on this side. We will see how this will work out and hopefully as this site will get recognition, vendors will get interested that their toys are presented here.
  2. Articles: This will be shorter or longer pieces on topics about BDSM, DIY, etc. I have a couple of ideas what to write about and I don’t want to give away too much yet.

As you see, if everything turns out nice and if I don’t get too consumed with work and studies, especially since I will spend a semester in the USA from January to June 2013, there won’t be a week without new content being added to this site. Next to the “editorial” content the blog will get update more often – as soon as I have figured out what to write there accept the problems of keeping this site alive 😀

Housekeeping

It has been nearly one week since this site has gone online and I think it is finally time for some housekeeping. I intended to do it earlier but the time of the last week ran through my fingers instead of being at my fingertips: The weekend was consumed by the Fetish U30 party in Mainz (which was totally worth it), stress at work took Monday to Thursday from me and yesterday a cold knocked me down. And just an hour ago when I wanted to start, my server went down. Somehow, Murphy seems to love this website. But let’s get down to business!

As you might have noticed, I did some housekeeping: Promised or mentioned pictures have been added to blog entries (I somehow forgot to add them in the first place), I changed the menus in order to add some structure and improve clarity and finally I added some bad rubber pictures of me in order to get you a better impression of me. I promise sooner or later, pictures with polished rubber will come 😉

Also I am aware of a big issue: The pictures. I know the pictures of me and especially the toys are not great and very scarce. This is due to a number of reasons:

  1. Equipment: When taking pictures of the toys I quickly learned that I will need to get a macro lens in order to get decent pictures. But such lenses are expensive and at the moment totally out of my budget after buying myself a new DSLR for my semester abroad. FYI: I am using a Nikon FX camera so I you have a functioning AF macro lens laying around and around, please write me an e-mail.
  2. Motive and Legal Limitations: The number of angles you can take picture of a toy is quite limited – as long as it is not in action. As soon as I put a BDSM toy in action and publish a picture online it is very likely that I will get into trouble with the German prosecution. I am in talks with a lawyer and youth protection counselor but it will probably take until next spring/ summer until I can work out a safe, good and practicable solution.
  3. Personal Limitation: At least in Dortmund I don’t have a person I could take pictures of wearing/ using the toys or someone to take decent pictures of me, let alone a place where I could take such pictures with an acceptable background.

As soon as I work out all this problems, I promise better pictures but it probably will take some or better a lot of time. Until then I hope you stay with me anyway and enjoy the site just like it is.

Lunching the „Website“

What a week! The good news is: ToyTorture.com is finally online with nearly everything implemented what I wanted (I am still lacking things like Twitter support but I am working on it).

The bad news is: This site has little to do with the original design ideas I had. As a naive student I though programming or more clicking together a static website would be a piece of cake done in a few days. And I actually never found out. My BF who provides me with the technical infrastructure set up a WordPress and told me to live with it “because it is easier and better”. So I spent a few nights with the limited WordPress design, trying to get it as close to my original ideas as possible. In essence: I am satisfied with the design but not happy. Instead of a distinct CD this site looks like millions of other on the web. At least the content stayed the same. Or most of it. Somehow the blog system I used to document the creation process got badly hurt when trying to get it implemented into WordPress, so I added every single entry manually in WordPress’ CMS thus don’t wonder why every blog entry seems to be added today.

It is kind of weird seeing something I have been working on for month online. I hope you enjoy the website as much as I do and I am really looking forward to receive some honest feedback, get comments on articles or rewarding tweets. Only through that communication I can make this site worth your while.

First Reviews

I took a look at the reviews I have written for the lunch and it struck me: All products but one are from McHurt in Berlin. Before any rumors pop up: No, I don’t get paid or received dominated from them. Otherwise the reviews might also be better 😉 But seriously, I chose the toys to review first by being basic items most people get first to try out on themselves, perform some self bondage, etc. It happens that I got nearly all of my basic item from McHurt due to offering good quality to a cheap price. So in the near future there will also be reviews from other vendors. I am currently thinking about reviewing another basic item: a blindfold from SlingKing or are you fed up with basic and want something fancy? Let me know in the comments.

Choosing A Name

One might think, that finding or choosing a name is one of the first steps. And it kind of was. When I started out thinking about a website which tests BDSM toys, I came up with some crazy ideas. Sadistic Material Review and Pervert’s Private Parts were some of the better. Fairly soon the name Ruff Reviews grew on me. A few weeks later I discovered Ruff’s great blog and even though I admire his blog and even more his body, calling my site Ruff Reviews would never be an homage but always have a trace of a cheap way to profit of his well established name. Due to the logo design which I have roughly finished today I wanted an alliteration. The last days I have tossed around Toy Torture. I am feeling more and more comfortable with the term even though it doesn’t feel as right as Ruff Reviews. But every child needs a name which shapes a bit of its identity and I think Toy Torture fits the project and has a little twist in it. You can tell from the URL which got you to this side if I have choosen TT or switched to something else – maybe FF 😉

Teaser idea and photo problems

Some entity doesn’t want good pictures to happen for this website but I will bravely soldier on. Anyway, please don’t be too harsh on the pictures until I have decent equipment.

As written yesterday, I drove to Essen in order to get myself a new light tent which I got. Afterwards, I have been a good gay guy and took a stroll through IKEA. While enjoying my hot cocoa afterwards I developed an idea for a series of teaser pictures. I hope to realize them until middle of next week in order to get the URL online.

But back to the photo problems: The tent I got had the backgrounds folded neatly together in order to fit inside the packing. So I had to iron them. But it turns out that I haven’t cleaned out my iron not well enough after the last decalcifying so I ended up with a big brown spot on a white cloth which meant: Washing, drying, ironing which took until the middle of the afternoon. When I finally was able to start taking pictures, it turned out the due to large objects and lightning, I would have to use the tent upside down. That does not only look stupid, but you can see black lines in the background. But as written at the beginning: For the beginning the pictures will do. Someday there will be new and better.

Taking Pictures

Yesterday I nearly finished writing all the texts I want to have online for the lunch. There are one or two small pieces I might have to write, but overall I am done and it feels good to have gotten something done. Awaiting the work vacuum (well… since I have procrastinated on the technical implementation, I can’t really call it a “vacuum” :D) I ordered a lightning cube and asked the seller if the item would be shipped the same day which he confirmed. Well… I have gotten the mail and it isn’t here. But I got my new “photo light” aka an LED array which is dimmer than my desk lamp. So I’ll send it back leaving me to worry how I will light the light tent. Three new flashes (a master and two servants – no pun intended) would be the perfect solution but is way out of my already exhausted budget. But since this not (yet?) the CNet of BDSM toys I hope that despite the inflation of expectations due to the internet the picture quality will be sufferable.

Anyway: It is Saturday, so I would have to postpone the photo stuff at least until Monday. So I probably will go out and buy myself another one. This might actually make sense anyway since the ordered one is really huge and a smaller one for smaller objects light clamps might be easier to lit.