To the best of my knowledge, Anthony Alvarado is the first local author ever to promise a betel nut sampling at his book release party. Alvardo's practical mind-expansion guide D.I.Y. Magic was just published by Floating World Comics; it's a very attractive little book with a letterpress silver foil cover and more than 40 black and white illustrations, and it promises to help the reader access "a state where the mind lets go of the normal way of being and is opened up to an experience of existence as a whole that is bigger and without time." So, you know, basically the reason hippies always do drugs.

This is not really my scene—the doors of my perception haven't opened since like 2003—and I haven't read the whole book, but in paging through it I've actually been struck by an endearing practicality. Alvadaro defines magic as "a con game you play on your own brain," and his book compiles a handful of ways people can alter their mental states. "Rather than advertise this as a book of magic, it could just as well have been labeled a book of psychology hacking," he writes. "Or a cookbook. Think of it as jail-breaking the iPhone of your mind. Teaching it to do things that its basic programming was never set up for. Advanced self-psychology." A section on mind-altering drugs is introduced by an MC Chris quote; suggestions include "way too much coffee," the aforementioned betel nut, whiskey and Adderall ("a great mixture for writing"), and naps. Other chapters take on lucid dreaming and the benefits of floatation tanks, plus there's an odd little interview that discusses the notion of the hipster as modern flaneur. I'll give away my copy, if anyone wants to swing by the Mercury office during business hours to pick it up—email me with "magick" in the subject line by 5 pm today and I'll email you back if you win.

The release party for D.I.Y. Magic is tonight at Floating World Comics, 6-8 pm.