Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Children of the Pumpkins…er…uh…Corn.

Halloween’s not over just yet, so if you’re looking for something to do to get your last kicks in besides the…

traditional costume party...

a haunted house...

or trick or treating…

Consider a Corn or Pumpkin Maze!

Most cost less than or about the same as going to the movies, have just as much junk food available (kettle corn, hot cider, hot dogs - but fresher and you can almost convince yourself it’s healthy since it came from a farm ;-) The mazes and the farms that typically house them are pretty popular events for little kids, BUT later on in the afternoon and early evening they’re tons of fun for young adults, especially in big groups.

Check ‘em out. Here are a few in the Greater Seattle area:
U-Pick Pumpkin Patch
Sunrise Hill Farms
City of Snohomish Festival of the Pumpkins
Gordon Skagit Farms

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Internet Guide to College Admissions!

Overwhelmed by the college application process? It seems like everyone is, and for good reason! In these tough times of academic pressures and social expectations, we at teenlink understand that you’re going through a lot in your quest to find the ultimate school and wanted to make the process just a little bit easier. Here are some college-y websites, broken down and profiled teenlink-style to benefit you and your college search to the MAX! Best of luck!

***Also, before you get carried away, a quick not about those “academic pressures and social expectations”---don’t stress out too much. Period. Seriously, whether or not you get into your “dream school”, or whether or not you even have a dream school, you’re likely going to be just fine at whichever school you end up at. And, if you’re not happy, here’s a little nugget of glorious information; you can always transfer! So, keep an open mind while filling out that online common app. And getting in those teacher recommendations and know that wherever your college search takes you, it’s your education and you can make it an amazing experience at the most unlikely of places!

If you’re still stressin’ (that’s ok, there’s a lot to think about!), remember you have your counselors and advisors at school, parents, guardians, friends, teachers, coaches, and of course TEENLINK to talk to about whatever’s on your mind with the whole finding a school process. You’re definitely not alone in your search for figuring out what that next step will be in your education! So, talk it out!


Rankings are rankings, and can be as subjective as you want to personally consider them, but they are still sometimes sorta kinda fun to check out. US News brings us rankings that include highest acceptance rate, Best liberal arts, Best engineering programs, A+ schools for B students, Up and coming schools, Academic programs to look for (such as internships or studying abroad). If you want to know how the schools are ranked, the methodology is broken down and easy to find. A quick search feature can help you narrow down which schools would be the best fit for you, including the cost and location.


If you’re on the prrrrrrrrrrrrooooooowl for a school that’s a perfect fit for you, take collegeprowler into consideration as your personal guide in determining which schools might be good options. The site is easy to use, with the ability to let you browse for schools and save them for future use, including comparing them with other schools that you prrrrrooowl into. One of the fun, most straightforward components of the site is it’s entertaining “Best and Worst” lists, which give down to earth, realistic overviews of the school. The schools are also ranked in categories including campus strictness, housing, parking, safety, transportation, weather, girls/boys, nightlife, local atmosphere, academics, campus dining (this could be much more important than the later…hehe). If you choose to create a personal account, you have the option of selecting which rating categories matter most and then get matched to schools that fit your preferences. Sweeet deal!


Brought to you by the glorious site that provides desperate, struggling (or smart and skillful, depending on how you look at it) students with Sparknotes comes “Sparkcollege,” a resource that hosts tons of articles ranging from topics such as admission, test prep, and a detailed segment on financial aid including the lingo to know and the FAFSA form. The site also shares with us detailed profiles of schools, including admissions requirements, what’s considered important factors, academics, campus life and a “students say” section. A handy component of the website is the “College Adviser Blog” with entries on everything from dropping out of band to letters of recommendation, in the format of a “Dear Abby” column.


This website (Student Review) might seem a bit strange to navigate at first, but it’s a gold mine featuring interesting articles such as “college is what you make of it, or is it?,” reviews on education quality, social life, extracurricular activities and overviews of schools. It also has helpful reviews by students which give personal accounts and opinions on various schools. The site also includes a “perceptual rankings” feature, ranking the schools in various ways based on votes by site users. The site wouldn’t be complete without a life at and after college section, as well as insider suggestions on what will get you in to a particular school! There’s no saying just how true these comments may be, but hey, we’ll take any suggestions!


A fabulously sneaky and insightful search engine that’s stacked with golden information, College Data is an amazing tool for getting started with your college search. Here’s some hints on how to use its powers for good (such as getting into a school):
  • Click on “college search” and enter in any preferences you might have in a school, or just type in the name of a school
  • The search results will come up location, student body, price, entrance difficulty and type of institution
  • Click on the name of the college, and you’re linked to more details including deadlines, the schools website, admissions, academics
  • Go to “college admissions tracker” and see student profiles of who got into where, who was deferred, who was wait-listed etc. based on where they applied and their personal profile (stalker, much?)
  • You can create an account to personalize the site and calculate your chances of getting in

TEEN LINK REMINDER: As you creep around on student profiles to see who was accepted where, remember this: don’t let a website dash your dreams of a college, the admissions process is tricky and unpredictable---you never know who’s going to be blown away by your application this year! : )


So wait, why do the people at College Board want to help us get into college? They are the company that brought us the monstrous SAT and Subject tests, right? In that case, doesn’t it seem like College Board wants to keep us from being admitted to a school? Maybe they feel they owe it to us, after making us jump through hoops to pass their “reasoning” test, to create a user-friendly site that includes everything from straightforward, customizable college searches with the find your mach feature to articles on essay skills, the application and paying for college. Well played, College Board, well played.


College Confidential is a very forum-based site with multiple “hot topic” discussions, student-to-student questions, personal inquires and more. Basically if you have any sort of question about college, you’re likely to find that it’s been asked and answered on this site. Be careful on what you choose to take to heart, as most of the material is subjective and generated by people sitting behind their computer screens, each with an individual idea of what they are talking about, whether that idea be the actual reality or not. Basically, use with caution!

Good luck, we know you'll do great!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shut up and Drive...sorta


As we move into the weekend, when teens do a majority of their driving, especially night-time driving, remember that it’s National Teen Driver Safety Week

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. “In 2007, eleven teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.”


1. Sixteen-year-olds are three times more likely to die in a car crash than other drivers.

2. Simple driver error is a factor in two-thirds of fatal teen crashes.

3. Two-thirds of teen occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts

4. In 2005, 12 percent of high school males reported driving after drinking.

5. Two or more teen passengers make fatal teen crash risk five times more likely.

6. Two-thirds of teens who die in car crashes are passengers of teen drivers.

7. Speeding is a factor in 40 percent of all teen driver fatalities.

8. Being awake for 18 hours leads to a driver impairment equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08, which is legally drunk.

9. Inexperience combined with distractions is lethal.

10.The distractions proven to kill teens: teen passengers and cell phones.


Drugs and alcohol are STILL a big factor. Nationally, 64 percent of all drivers or motorcycle operators ages 15 to 20 who were involved in traffic accidents and were legally drunk died as a result of the crash. But, driving under the influence seems to be taking a bit of a back seat to “Distracted Driving” – the distraction of cell phones, texting and having other teen passengers in the car.

Check out this site that gives all sorts of things to consider before you answer your phone or text someone when behind the wheel::

Also check out the graphic video PSA depicting the dangers of texting while driving.

Warning, the images seen can be disturbing.

Click here to view

And Finally - if you're in the Greater Seattle area,

Click HERE to see a list of All-Ages concerts/shows from The Stranger.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Teen Smoking & Weird Animals (Not Together)

Disclaimer: Teen Link neither condones nor condemns any behaviors or habits, we simply explore the issues.

The Teen Tobacco Craze

The American Lung Association reports that as many as 6,000 teens under the age of 18 start smoking every day. In response, there seems to be no shortage of anti-smoking ad campaigns and programs geared towards helping teens stop smoking (The Truth Campaign,, The Scoop on Smoking, etc.)

But are they working?

According to a new report from the American Journal of Public Health (read about it here), the 2006 ad campaign called “Talk: They’ll Listen,” which focused on getting parents to talk to their kids about smoking, actually had the revere effect. After watching the commercials, teens were actually more inclined to start smoking, likely because “most teens spurn their parents’ advice.” (Of course, the ad campaign was also funded by Philip Morris, one of the largest tobacco producers in the world, so how effective the campaign was to begin with is kind of suspect...)

An Australian study in 2003 found that the only anti-smoking ads that worked were the ones that showed gory/graphic health consequences of smoking like these:

Pretty gory, huh.

And something we always like to hear at Teen Link is that teens who tried to quit but couldn't actually found that their chances of quitting were higher when they had phone counseling available as well (more here). There are plenty of 800 numbers that offer free quit-smoking counseling, and plenty of general 800 counseling lines as well that would love to talk to teens about these issues. Or you could always call Teen Link. :)

More info:

Teens Speaking Out Video

Interesting article on what is effective at helping teens quit


and just for fun:

The Nine Weirdest-Looking Animals You Didn't Know Existed

Monday, October 19, 2009


With Halloween rapidly approaching, how are you guys celebrating? As much as I love free candy, I’m starting to feel a bit old to be trick-or-treating with five-year-olds in my neighborhood. Some people seem to be having private Halloween parties, but not everyone has the time or resources to pull one of those off. The alternative: haunted houses! In fact, Seattle has several haunted houses that are open on Halloween night as well as several days in the weeks before Halloween.

Probably the most well known is the Kube 93 haunted house. Open every weekend during October until midnight, everyone should be able to find a time to hit this classic spot. Tickets are $15 and available for purchase there, at the Georgetown Morgue (5000 E Marginal Way S Seattle, WA 98134-2408 US). As an annual visitor to the Kube haunted house, I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed, but definitely scared to death. The website is pretty cool too; you can listen to a live feed from the haunted house and check out pictures!

The Kube 93 house is pretty far south, so for those from Northern Seattle the Kiss 106.1 haunted house may be a better option. Similar to the Kube 93 one, this haunted house claims to be one of the scariest in the Seattle area, although I have never attended, so I can’t confirm that fact. Tickets are also $15, but you can pick up coupons for $2 off at any KFC in the western Washington area. Located up north in Tulalip, (10200 Quil Ceda Blvd. Tulalip, WA 98271), it may be easier to get to for some. They also have a cool website, be sure to check it out!

Unfortunately, the Kube and Kiss haunted houses are pretty expensive: $15 for 10 minutes in a haunted house is a little steep. If you’re looking to make a bit of a road trip out of your Halloween festivities, The Fright Factory is said to be the scariest Haunted House in the Seattle area and is open for most of October (the schedule is available online). Located in Buckley, WA about an hour south of downtown Seattle, The Fright Factory only costs $9 for admission, and you can even print out a coupon for $1 off on the website! It may seem like pretty far away, but it is about the same distance most of us travel for the Puyallup Fair every year, so not that bad.

Be sure to check out one of these awesome spots for some fun this Halloween!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Community Event

Since one of Teen Link's main purposes is to raise awareness regarding youth suicide and suicide prevention, it only seems appropriate to bring up this event:

The 2009 Walk to Save Lives (a part of the Out of the Darkness Community Walk) is taking place this Saturday, October 10 at Green Lake. You can register here if you are so inclined. The event kicks off at 10:00 AM, with registration beginning at 8:30 AM. It raises money for a really good cause (suicide prevention), and is a pretty powerful and inspiring event (corny as that sounds).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time for a Coffee Break!

So, school. This means studying, homework, reading, and lots of missed sleep. The cure? Well, time management might work. But you know what's quicker? Cafes and caffeine. Seattle is one of the coffee capitals of the world, and for good reason. Not only were some of the world's largest coffee chains started here (Starbucks, anyone?), anecdotal experience tells me that Seattleites consume more coffee per capita than any other city in America (with perhaps the exception of New York, and maybe Portland... this is all very un-scientific).

For many of you, I realize that coffee is probably not the go-to drink of choice. Need caffeine? Probably you're going to stock up on energy drinks, sodas, or maybe those million dollar/million calorie Frappacinos that nearly every large coffee store carries nowadays. But how many of you have $4.50 to drop every single time you're tired, or find that lurking by vending machines or in gas station marts is conducive to writing that 10-page essay on Hamlet?

Cafes are the perfect place to get a little caffeine boost while simultaneously doing your homework in a quiet, relaxing environment without the distractions of television, parents, and siblings. They usually have large tables, free wifi, and comfy couches to sink into while you're madly highlighting that chapter on the War of the Roses. And what makes it even better is that Seattle has several non-profit cafes that offer amazing local music, give profits to other local non-profit organizations, and sometimes even have negotiable prices! A quick Google search will give you several names, but I would like to highlight three in particular:

First and foremost is the Mosaic Coffee House in Wallingford. It is run out of the Seattle First Church of the Nazarene, but don't let that deter you from the calming atmosphere, the free wifi, and the pay-want-you-want coffee. Plus, as an added bonus, Mosaic is donating 10% of their profits to Teen Link during the month of November, so go down and help support your local coffee shop as well as Teen Link! (Mosaic Coffee House is located at 4401 2nd Ave NE Seattle 98105. Hours of operation are 9 AM - 9 PM Monday-Thursday, 9 AM - 5 PM on Friday, 9 AM - 2 PM on Saturday, and closed on Sundays.)

Next is the Green Bean Coffeehouse in Greenwood. It's mission is to encourage community and community building, while also supporting local non-profits through a similar donation process as Mosaic (unfortunately,Teen Link is not getting any money from them at this time). They have amazing food (quiche AND bread pudding?!), superb baristas, and some pretty fun open mic nights on Wednesdays. If you happen to be in North Seattle coming up, go check 'em out. (Green Bean Coffeehouse is located at 210 N 85th St Seattle 98103. Hours of operation are 6 AM - 6 PM Monday-Friday, Saturday 8 AM - 6 PM, and closed on Sundays.)

Lastly, there's the Q Cafe in Interbay. According to the website, the Q Cafe "support[s] local artists and musicians through our art gallery and live music venue; host[s] many groups through the rental of our space; host[s] community events; help[s] collect resources for the homeless community; and give[s] back 10% of all cafe sales to local and global non-profit causes." The cafe space is huge (the capacity for shows is 238!), and has hosted a number of local and touring artists including Tiny Vipers and Ingrid Michaelson. It is also connected with a neighboring church, the Quest Church, but is now independently funded and operated. (Q Cafe is located at 3223 15th Ave W Seattle 98199. Hours of operation are 8 AM - 9 PM Monday-Thursday, 8 AM - 5 PM Fridays, and closed weekends. Fridays the Cafe reopens at 7:30 PM for live shows.)

So now that you know what's out there, let the caffeine addictions begin!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Unusual News Items: Food for Thought

And now, some random stories from the Teen Link news wire! Remember, these stories are all taken from the internet to get you thinking. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Teen Link or its volunteers!

Tattoo ad on forehead for $10,000

A mother had her forehead tattooed with the web address of a gambling site after auctioning off advertising space on her head to pay for her son's school fees.

Karolyne Smith has to live with a permanent billboard on her forehead after she accepted's offer of $10,000 for the 'advertising space'. She needed the money to send her son Brady to a private school.

Karolyne said: ""I really want to do this. To everyone else, it seems like a stupid thing to do. To me, $10,000 is like a million dollars."

"I only live once and I'm doing it for my son. It's a small sacrifice to build a better future for my son."

Karolyne did not take the decision lightly. She discussed it for more than three weeks with her boyfriend Jeremy Williams.

Smith's eBay auction attracted more than 27,000 hits and 1,000 watchers. Bidding reached $999.99 before, an Internet gambling company met Smith's $10,000 asking price. also gave her another $5,000 for her trouble.

Another person, inspired by Karolyne is currently auctioning his forehead as ad space on ebay.

-Bass Van Rilen

Questions: What do you think about this? Do you feel like Smith's decision was justified or too extreme? What if you were in this position, what would you do?

Gay rights groups now focus on 'helping' gay penguins

A zoo in Germany has scrapped its plans to break up homosexual penguin couples after gay rights groups protested against it.

The Bremerhaven Zoo had noticed that three penguin couples turned out to be all male. In an attempt to encourage the penguins to reproduce the zoo had flown in four female penguins.

The plan was too introduce the female birds too the male which would hopefully lead to the endangered species reproducing, but the zoo abandoned its plans after gay rights groups protested against the experiment.

The zoo's director Heike Kueck said: "Everyone can live here as they please."

Kueck said it was never their intention to separate the couples by force and even if it was their intention, it wouldn't be possible to make them be interested in their new female companions.

Gay groups had earlier protested against "the organised and forced harassment through female seductresses" in an open letter to Bremerhaven's Mayor.

-Paul van der Maas

Something to Consider: Is this just a case of anthropomorphism to the extreme? Or is sexuality maybe not as rigid as humans would like to think?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

“The Swine Flu: The Side of the Pig Pen You Haven’t Seen”

Here at Teen Link, we are preparing for the upcoming spread of the new H1N1 virus, just as everyone else. From promoting new techniques of how to wash your hands better, how to cover your mouth better (in your elbow, everyone!), and sanitize surfaces more regularly, we are doing our part in trying to keep the spread at bay! As I know all of you have been hearing about the “swine flu” epidemic from the intense (overly?) media coverage, I thought getting a “behind the scenes” view of this virus might put a different spin on it.

First of all, a little history! Did you know there was a “swine flu” that broke out in 1976? Take a look at this commercial they had in order to urge people to get vaccinated! (Scare tactics, anyone??!)

Turns out the vaccine was hastily promoted too soon since there were definite complications in the old swine flu vaccine. BUT, not to worry: Although named the same, the virus now is quite different than the one in 1976, and so is the new vaccine for H1N1 (which is supposed to be coming out in October sometime). This article explains: "Health: 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine Complications"

So, obviously we all know all about the new H1N1 virus, its magnitude, its spread, its gravity, and so on and so on…but what about the OTHER aspects of day-to-day life it’s effecting that we would never think of?

Here’s 3 present day swine flu…um, “problems”?:


While trying to protect inmates in jail from contracting the flu and making everyone sick, hand sanitizer was given (in large quantities I assume?), and here’s what one guy did…Got intoxicated…

Looks like inmates wont be able to sanitize their hands anymore….

(DISCLAIMER! Liquid sanitizers are toxic if ingested!)


Yes, garbage became a problem due to swine flu! Here’s how: When the swine flu broke out this spring, the government of Egypt ordered to kill all the pigs they had. This has two “sub-problems” here: First, swine flu for humans is not spread through pigs; soo…killing the pigs does nothing (oops!). Secondly, the pigs in Egypt are what eat the garbage…look what happened without them:

Seems like pigs are needed in order to NOT have a pigsty!


Yes, even romance is trying to be stopped! Get this: the French government is urging its people to not kiss! The cheek kissing the French do is a “no-no” now that there’s a swine flu threat!:

Kind of ironic that the French are saying to not kiss…?

So what do you all think? Does the swine flu have too much hype? Is it from lack of knowledge (eg. “Kill all the pigs!”)? Should we be more cautious (eg. “No more kissing!”)?

Stay healthy everyone! Make sure to stay home if you’re feeling sick at all! ….and hand sanitizer is for HANDS (ok, inmate guy?)! J