Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cardio Agriculture

This weekend I went to my cousins’ vineyard not far from Belgrade. After a lovely spring morning in the sun and a good breakfast under the blossoming peach trees I was asked to help out a little bit.
It seamed like fun in the sun, so I said yes. The task was simple – collect bundles of twigs scattered every few meters between the lines of grape vines along the steep hill and stack them up at the bottom. Walking uphill in the soft earth I felt, so much more clearly than in the gym, my glutes and thighs doing something right. Ideas started to brew.

A hillside in Serbia, less than an hour’s drive from the capital, perhaps overlooking the swelling Danube, breaking its banks from the melting snows of Europe. Fruit trees in bloom. Sunshine. 25 degrees. A rustic cottage at the foot of the hill. A vineyard, but , oh, so much more – an agricultural fitness centre.

Account executives, and PR managers running uphill in an aerobic lower body workout, under the watchful eye of a fitness trainer. Running again down hill working their upper body as they go, with a bundle of twigs in each hand, breathing the fresh air, tanning in the sun. A balanced training, monitored by professionals. Guests take turns to avoid exhaustion and maximize the positive effects of the workout. A high protein – low carb lunch follows with fresh fruit and home-made herbal tees, in the evening - sauna and a massage, and a good night’s sleep. On Monday morning, guests are back at work in banks in New Belgrade and advertising agencies in the city center, refreshed, firm and fit.

The best thing is that the work has been done. The vineyard owners have successfully transformed the back-braking low-paying job into a lucrative business. All the benefits from the vineyard are still there, with the additional profit from fitness tourism added in.

But this is just the beginning - the first step of a much broader sociological shift. A new form of manual labor. Seasonal workers all over the world no longer illegally crossing borders but coming from urban centers, perhaps flying abroad for the weekend on business class, to take part in the harvest. It is the birth of cardio agriculture. And it doesn’t stop there. You don’t have to work(out) in the field. There’s cardio construction and cardio industry. How about sweating away those extra kilos in a foundry? Or cardio-mining for the more adventurous?

The shift opens up a whole new catering sector centered on the wellness industry! Former manual laborers move up into the services sector. Many become well paid trainers showing their former bosses how to properly do jobs they used to be exploited in.

Everyone is happy.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Why am I doing this?
Recently, during a period of having to be in the office, but not having any actual work, I developed a fascination with blogs, as means of communication and expressing oneself.
I realized that I feel a need to participate in this phenomenon and I’ve been trying to explain it to myself.
I was wondering how it all begins and what it was that makes a person decide to share their thoughts with someone… or maybe no one.
To a certain extent it is a form of exhibitionism, and I have always loved having an audience. On the other hand, audience is by no means guarantied, so it can be a form of intimate contemplation. It is also about leaving some sort of permanent trace on this world however abstract, invisible and immaterial it might be. What is the probability of it being relevant one day?
So, above all, I see this as an experiment, mostly with myself, but also with other people. I want to see what I can do with a medium of expression which is not very familiar to me. This will be a space for anything and everything I find interesting. But I will have to write it, make it concise and bring some order into random streams of thoughts, give a narrative dimension to experiences.
Also, it is an experiment in public vs. private. How does one decide what to put on the internet? How is it going to change and evolve in time? How do you maintain a desirable level of privacy and anonymity, while at the same time writing about your life and your personal thoughts?
It’s also about reaction and interaction or the lack of both. Who, if anyone, is actually going to read this stuff? Why? How long does it take before someone stumbles on to it? How will they get here? What will they think about the ramblings of an unknown person half way across the world, or perhaps in the apartment next door? What if no one comes? And what about people who might read this but post no comments? …
I am excited about the potential to influence so many and the possibility I will influence none.
Off course, this raised an important issue. Initially, I thought, I would write in Serbian, but realized this also limits my potential audience considerably, greatly diminishing my chances for greatness and fame. After some consideration I decided to write in English. This might make the whole experience a bit less personal for me and most people I know, but it keeps options open for friends far away or still to come. In addition, it provides necessary distance so the blog doesn’t turn in to a daily forum for deciding which film to see.
I’ve never been much of a writer, never kept a journal or diary, but at times I did find it necessary to write things down, clarify and organize them. Often when I travel, I write little descriptions and short stories. I thought it was time to make some use of it, for someone other than me to read them, be it a couple of friends, or the occasional bored office worker with free internet access. It’s time for little words to break free from chaotic back pages of notebooks packed in dark boxes at the bottom of the closet and try to find their fortune on the world wide web.
“In the beginning was the word”, so, I guess, it’s back to basics.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


So exciting!

The reluctant dragon is a happy creature enjoying the good things life can bring, trying to be himself in a world that always expects something.