Thursday, August 6, 2020


From Molly, Trackers Founder & Mom

We all are getting quite a bit of special family time these days. Moms (and all parents) now do work, school, and play! The “new norm” of leisure includes 10 minutes of uninterrupted: shower, cooking, sleep, thought, or the online multi-user dungeon (MUD) that I play.

I’m experiencing an interesting side-effect with my patience level. The daily affirmations said under my breath seem to be helping. Along with lowering my standards.😉I find myself getting less frustrated about things. Tony cooked me breakfast this morning. Good for him.

Counting to 10 goes both ways. To buffer my reactions to my kids or for getting them to do a thing. This week the girls cut sleeves off their dresses to make them more “summer-ready” in the hot weather. My sweet-toothed child has been hoarding cups of sugar around the house. The youngest hides whenever it’s time for chores.

It’s all part of being a parent. From one mom to other parents, Happy Parent’s Day. I hope we’re hanging in and I’m looking to the light beyond this—as long the kids get outside the house. Take the day to enjoy a little “new norm” and play with your wonderful and sometimes aggravating loved ones.😸

See You In The Virtual Forest,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom

Editor’s Note The Evil Dr. Dice is the arch-nemesis of our Secret Agent Academy camp and Lead Counselor of our Evil Secret Agent Academy camp. Though he bears a striking resemblance to our founder, Tony Deis, he is in no way the same person or even an evil doppelgänger created by a transporter accident on the Starship Potemkin.

Greetings from The Evil Dr. Dice. As a yearly tradition in the TrackersVerse, they are contractually obligated to let me write a blog reviewing their Winter Break Camps. I laugh maniacally at the lengths Trackers will go to maintain my A-List star power. Let’s get started…

First off, Trackers Winter Break Camp is a terrible idea unto itself. Most of their programs take place out-of-doors, forcing parents to dress their kids for the cold weather. Which sounds like a lot of work. I recommend choosing something indoors, such as leaving them at the mall unattended.

Wilderness Survival Camps

Aside from the loathsome fact that outdoor skills camps show children how to survive the future apocalyptic landscape where I rule, learning “wilderness survival” also innately teaches the youths that we humans are dependent on Nature—a thoroughly horrible prospect for any parent. We can’t have kids questioning the cozy, lulling four walls of school, or wondering why we screwed up the planet’s biodiversity. Don’t complicate your modern familial domestic bliss with an anthropological discourse through the lens of evolutionary biology and ecology. Instead, get them an Xbox.

Holiday Craft Camps

Many camps provide holiday cheer through handcrafted decor, scrumptious campfire cooked foods, and even neighborhood singing and goodwill*. Unfortunately, such creative adventures detract from global corporate consumerism and consumption. And let’s face it, that’s bad for the economy. Do you want to be responsible for a new recession (even though you’re not a hedge fund manager)? Well, you will be if you let your kid hand-make that holiday wreath.

*Such unpatriotic tinkering also includes Woodworking Camp, Blacksmithing Camp, and Ceramics Camp.

Elves, Wizards & Dragons Camps

I once heard that reading Harry Potter or playing Dungeons & Dragons can make children super evil. I got really excited about this prospect, but then I learned it was only a debunked theory made-up by 1980s fundamentalist groups who were probably jealous because their fictional universe was less cool than that of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Unfortunately, role-playing camps build character (literally and figuratively). So adventures of imagination with Troll Markets and Solstice Celebrations help children practice skills of emotional resiliency, making them less compliant for my impending world domination (or the 2020 elections). Thumbs down.

Archery Camps

I have mixed emotions about this one. Teaching kids how to use projectile weapons (excuse me, hunting tools), that’s awesome! Teaching them how to use those same tools responsibly, well, that just makes them less likely to follow orders in my minion army. The same goes for Paintball Camp.

With My Freeze Ray, I Will…

Finally, every Winter Break, it’s become a yearly tradition that I make some sort of super freeze ray to ice over something important: the city, the Clinton Street Bike Boulevard, Pip’s Donuts. And every time I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and their hippie-dippy instructors at the Trackers Secret Agent Academy. Consequently, I have some feelings.

So this year, after talking with my therapist, I’ve decided not to focus on an external freeze. Instead, I’m searching my soul for an intrinsic chilling of my heart. My plan? Using evil science, I shall mutate myself into a snow villain called The Evil Dr. ICE. A persona through which I can process my own grief for so many failed attempts at world domination. Plus, I’ll get cool ice ray powers.

Criminy, you got me monologuing about my plans! Just like my therapist. Anyways, forget everything I just wrote… unless you want a visit from the wooly mammoth riding minions of the Evil Dr. Ice.

Ninjas will not save you!

The Evil Dr. Dice
Dictator of Small Bavarian City State
Cat Stevens Superfan


We wanted to update Portland, Oregon parents regarding details about the upcoming eclipse.

Of course, we do anticipate several species of aliens from various exoplanets to invade. And that is the day time traveling Arnold Schwarzenegger tells us Skynet is set to go online… not to mention all the Mega-Werewolves.

But beyond those things, we expect the day to go generally well. First off, the health and safety of our campers is our priority. And while we may not be experts of satire (see above), we are professionals at working with kids for over 10 summers during all kinds of natural events and weather. When times call for it, we adapt.

Our site schedule is optimized to travel away from the path of totality. Our coordinators always monitor the traffic report and subspace channels throughout the day. Site Supervisors communicate regularly with Coordinators and Away Teams to seek out alternate routes to and from our sites. Parents can help us by planning extra time for their commute in the morning and flexibility for return times of our buses in the afternoon. Remember when packing, a towel is about the most massively useful thing any interstellar Camper can carry.

Finally, and most awesomely, Trackers is prepared to supply free eclipse glasses for all our campers and staff so they safely observe this once (or twice) in a lifetime event. We carefully researched which glasses we purchased to be certain they are ISO and CE certified—the certification recommended by NASA. Plus, they are approved by Galactic Empress Xiaton, who plans on invading the earth with her fleet of Space Battlestars during the height of the eclipse. But don’t worry, we have faith the Planet Express team will save us.

All this, and campers will be able to bring the glasses home as a keepsake.

Our goal is to prepare kids to thrive with nature in all types of weather and natural events. We learn important outdoor skills by being prepared. Meanwhile, our Zombie Survival Camp will ply their new skills to defeat the coming hordes of Mega-Werewolves.

And it could be cloudy, because… Oregon.

Chris Codino (and all the Trackers staff)
Administrative Director

Glory to Skynet as our Future Robot Overlord!


My workdays at Trackers can be a hectic blend of emails and phone calls from my home “office.” I always hope the background noise of my kids asking questions or the babbling baby doesn’t intrude into the conversation when I’m talking with you, our parents. Working in a family business means I sometimes get to be at home with the kids, and I also get to answer emails or phone calls on weekends, evenings, and even holidays.

computer_kidsThe biggest challenge for me (and Tony) is taking the time to unplug and get Robin, Annie and Maxine outside. Ironic, I know. Like many parents it can be hard to limit screen time for not only my kids, but especially myself. Too often I look over my computer to see Maxine playing on the floor, happily chewing her toys (a branch used in a primitive fire-starting kit). When my baby girl gazes towards me I’m reminded the glow of the Apple brand on the back of my laptop is a common sight for her 10-month old eyes. Grr arg! The inner-demon of mommy guilt rises.

It can be hard to close the computer and quickly usher the kids outside and towards the barn of chickens, ducklings, goats, and the “bear fort” my five-year old son, Robin, had made from sticks. There’s always one more thing of work to do. I try to remind myself how important it is for me personally to unplug and connect with my kids. I try to walk the Trackers talk.

It’s hard for all of us. More and more our work and social worlds demand we login through cables, bluetooth, or Wifi. I’ve never been one to resent technology. I could always use “one more minute” to send an email or cast a self-spell for my online role-playing game (a text based MUDD) while campaigning for my Kingdom.

I also understand that I can’t be too hard on myself. As a mom who also serves the families of Trackers, my job necessitates me to consistently engage that virtual world. While I also realize that in the day-to-day flurry of life online, I often need simple reminders to just be outside, unplugging and connecting with my own children. So I apologize up front if I ever miss a email or call. I promise to eventually get to it… right after Maxine and I feed the ducks. Probably just before. Or during.

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth, Founder

Editor’s Note The evil opinions of the megalomaniac dictator and scientist, The Evil Dr. Dice does not  necessarily reflect the views of Trackers Earth. We are contractually obliged to let him write three blogs a year in exchange for being a guest instructor at our Evil Secret Agent Academy Camp. Luckily, he is not a legitimate threat to the free-thinking world as our good Secret Agent Academy Camp foils his awkwardly Rube Goldbergian schemes of world domination.

From the Desk of the Evil Dr. Dice

Greetings from the Evil Dr. Dice. Before we get started, let’s clear one thing up; a-lot of people get me confused with the whiney, mewely, hippie founder of Trackers, Tony Deis. They seem to think we’re doppelgängers. Just take a look at these pictures. I see absolutely no resemblance…

Right Evil Dr. Dice, Megalomaniac Dictator    Left Tony Deis, Trackers Earth Founder
Some campers even go so far as to claim we are one-in-the-same person. And that Mr. Deis created me as a satirical comment on corporate personhood. Or to even illustrate the complexities of all characters while fostering empathy in solving our conflicts. I have one answer to that. Would Tony Deis, the founder of Trackers Earth, genetically splice a kitten, Tyrannosaurus rex, and a duck to create a aquatically horrific beast-meme? I think not. Quandary solved. I am The Evil Dr. Dice.

My Evil Plot

With a maniacal laugh I express my excitement to once again lead my own camp this summer, the Evil Secret Agent Academy Camp (vs Secret Agent Academy Camp). This camp is for all the evil children that never fit in to the good side of summer. While most kids were out building fairy houses from sticks, leaves, and flower-petals, my Proto-Evil Secret Agents were either kicking them over, or better yet, serving the winged-fairies foreclosure notices, evicting them, and then renting the fairy houses back at higher monthly rates than the original mortgage. Not that I’m saying bankers are Evil (though they should be proud). Seriously, no more angry letters, like when I made that “Social Media Consultants/Baristas Are Evil” faux-pas last year.

But back on topic (my therapist is helping me with my monologuing issue). I’m charged with writing my yearly review of all the other summer camps Trackers Earth is running. So here goes…


Stealth, Archery & Wilderness Survival

Seriously, wilderness survival skills? Where are your kids going to use those, the post-apocalypse or something? In the dystopian future where I rule, the only survival skill you’ll need is the complacency to get indoors before curfew after which my giant sentinel robots begin to patrol all neighborhood streets in the Northern Hemisphere. These androids are judge, jury, and, well, the last part we can discuss later.

Though, skills of Stealth, Archery, and Wilderness Survival may be useful when I make select teens from every region battle it out in an epic Zombie Survival Camp to soothe the seething rage of my demoralized populace. So yeah, send them to this one. They’ll need the archery skills. Also, consider Archery Adventure because somehow bow and arrow skills are more useful than the know-how to build a neutron laser! Silly. Hey, I think OMSI Science Camp has a Neutron Laser Building Camp, good on them.


Realms of Cascadia: Elves, Wizards & Dragons

Remember in the 80’s, when wondrous hyperbole came out purporting to be “research” that claimed to link Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games to evil, demonic behavior? (I know, I was excited too). Guess what, instead they found out Role-Playing games actually foster creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork (snore). And that’s exactly why the goodie-two-shoes at Trackers runs a Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) camp. They are under that deluded opinion that kids becoming a character, going on quests through the forest, and creating a village that celebrates community and camaraderie will, in one week, somehow be good for the world. Well I got news, it’s not good for the reality-altered reshaped-multi-dimensional proto-world I’ll be running… someday. BTW, they offer Day Camp & Overnight Camp options for Realms.

Paintball Camp

What, are they training a libertarian militia or something? I can respect that.


Camp Trackers Village (Overnight)

This is the ultimate flower-power lameness and shameness. Kids participate in a “village” learning “Earth living skills.” I bet all the instructors have stinky dreads, ear plugs, and are scrawny from a long-term diet of dumpster diving for New Seasons for Dave’s Killer Bread and Gogurt.

I have issues with people teaching kids to live and work together as a cooperative team. It makes them less corruptible to the forces of my shadowy media empire and Super PACS. Actually, on second thought, let those shaggy, Captain Cavemen wannabes become your child’s role models. Then, when my mutant minion forces march across the planet, your children shall seek peace and love, or whatever hippies do nowadays (snap their fingers in agreement).

Wait, what’s that you say? They also teach patterns of strategy based on nature observation and animal tracking. Essentially, how to “protect the village” with stealth and evasion skills through their goofy Rangers Guild role-playing game? That might explain why my shoelaces are constantly tied together. Ugh!

Ultimate Evil

Well, I hope you appreciate this year’s reviews. I realize I didn’t get to all the camps, but they’re pretty much the same thing with different titles. I mean how is Forest Fishing unique from River Rats. Or even more egregious, Rangers Survival: Stealth & Bow from Fires, Forts & Shelters. Do you just not get to shoot bows and arrows in the latter?

Well, you know my preference, give me an awesome neutron laser any day. All hail OMSI Science Camps.


The Evil Dr. Dice
Lutras Enterprises, Total Dominator
Not the Founder of Trackers