Roadtrip Part 2: Alepocalypse Now

Ask the Readers takes a break for a couple of weeks while I’m on my trip. Instead, I’ll regale you with tales from the road. In this week’s edition (2/3), I tell you about my long strange trip with the Physician on FIRE.

The Physician on FIRE (PoF) is an elusive and enigmatic character. No one really knows what he looks like, who he is, or even if he is a he. I wanted to find out more, but didn’t know where to start.

A couple of months ago, I hired a private investigator to hunt down PoF. Although the PI spent months on the trail, the biggest clue he uncovered was this:

It was enough. Anyone who knows anything about Scandinavian culture knows what this dog bowl is a reference to:

There is only one state where a dog would say wuff da or a human would say uff da and it is Minnesota.

My travels were taking me to Minneapolis, so I sent an email to an address that the PI had uncovered:

Hey PoF, I’ll be near you soon. Want to meet up?


Hey doctor, may I buy you a beer when I’m in town?

More radio silence.

But then, a week before the trip, I received a strange email:

My handle is <redacted>. The Physician on FIRE requests your presence. Meet me at 11:08 pm at the old <redacted> near <redacted>.

Ummm, OK. Was this a ruse or a trap? I didn’t know, but I had to find out.


A Journey into the Heart of (Surly) Darkness

I met PoF’s representative at the specified time. I was put into the back of a dark van and given a suspicious substance to drink. At some point during the ride, The Door’sThe End blared out the van’s speakers. After 2 hours (or was it 12?), I arrived at PoF’s compound. And then it got even stranger…

My time with PoF is hazy. I can’t remember much, but I know that we did a lot of biking, sampled a little beer and ate a lot of great food.

Found this pic on my phone. I assume that is PoF behind me.

Here are some of the other memories that I’ve pieced together:

I recollect sitting in PoFs famous (infamous?) hot tub. I was wearing nothing but my socks. The PoF and I were discussing the intimate details of curling stones*.

Another time, I found myself suckling from the mysterious beer taps in PoF’s dungeon. I heard Lady Gaga somewhere off in the distance.

PoF doesn’t mess around

In another memory, PoF’s assistant served me a local delicacy that she called a popover. I have no idea what sorcery was involved in the creation of these magical treats, but I’m pretty sure I ate 56 of them. Maybe more.

Popover. Bliss.


My time with PoF (if it was even him) is a blur. I can’t even tell you what he looks like, but I found the pictures below on my phone.

Is this PoF?

Or this?

Maybe this is him:

I have no idea.

All I do know is that I eventually woke up in the middle of a cornfield in Western Iowa wearing a pink tutu, a Hannah Montana shirt and sporting a new tattoo. I was clutching a bottle of Surly’s Darkness:


Or maybe it was all just a dream…


*The curling stone part of the story is actually true.

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27 Responses to Roadtrip Part 2: Alepocalypse Now

  1. I’ve never heard the term Uff Da before and my grandparents immigrated from Norway. I’ll definitely have to ask them when I see them later this week about the term. Sounds like you had an epic adventure with PoF. Hopefully next time you can get a closer look at this elusive figure 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…When Will You Reach Retirement?My Profile

    • Joe says:

      I’ve never heard of Uff Da either. You learn something new everyday. 🙂
      Sounds like a great trip so far. I’m very jealous of the ale menu. I don’t drink much anymore due to my high triglyceride. 🙁

  2. Wayne says:

    Uff Da!!!
    I too love that smell.
    Best teaser paragraph ever…who could not click for more?

  3. My in-laws use Uff Da all the time. They are children of Norway immigrants who moved to Iowa, so it’s not just Minnesota​;). Sounds like a.really fun trip.

  4. Sounds like you had a blast! I’m glad you got to experience a fun time with PoF….. even if you can’t remember it all 😛
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…House Update: 3 MosMy Profile

  5. Brian says:

    So which is your favorite Uff Da or Boy howdy? Never heard Uff Da before, maybe I’m just not hanging in the right place.
    Brian recently posted…Net Worth Update: May 2017My Profile

  6. Hahaha, I love it. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend! June 4My Profile

  7. Mr. SSC says:

    Whoa, PoF doesn’t mess around with the homebrewing at all! Looks like a great trip, so far. The popover looks suspiciously like a Yorkshire pudding. Which now has me salivating for a pan of Yorkshire puddings…
    Mr. SSC recently posted…May 2017: Our Money Went Where?!My Profile

  8. Team CF says:

    All that beer messed with your head, that’s a fact! 😋

  9. Kate says:

    Ha! Sounds like you had a blast. Being a Minnesotan with Scandinavian heritage, I heard uff da a lot growing up 🙂

    I love popovers! So good with butter and honey. Here’s my favorite recipe if you ever want to try making them yourself:

    Oddly enough, the Renaissance Festival has some of the best popovers I’ve ever had.

  10. Wade says:

    Uff da! is right. Vi drikker alle olen!

    The new (pretty new) Surly “experience” in Minneapolis is something to see if you get a chance. The place is massive. Amazing beer and food. It is kind of the “it” place to be. Or at least it was the last time I was “down south der”.

    I had a smoked coffee stout that knocked my pants off. Yum.

    Thanks for the update.

  11. Whoa, did you really get to try Darkness?? I haven’t been able to get ahold of a bottle yet.

    • Lying next to him in that western Iowan cornfield was a case of local and regional delights, including bottles of regular and Barrel Aged Darkness.

      [Dark] Lord knows how they got there.


  12. This POF is elusive indeed. Beware his charms displayed on the website and the enchanted way he treats his guest posters. Beneath his mesmerism and his penchant for various libations of differing alcoholic content lies a dark secret few know: He will put you to sleep if you aren’t careful. [Dark] Lord knows when the wake up call would come. Faint voices saying “uff da” could be heard at a distance. Oh, the horror that awaits the unsuspecting. To be continued…(cue haunted laughter)
    Ten Factorial Rocks recently posted…Stress-test Your Financial IndependenceMy Profile

  13. Mr. Tako says:

    Haha, funny story Mr. 1500!

    I love that the curling bit is actually true!

  14. Mrs. BITA says:

    “wearing a pink tutu, a Hannah Montana shirt and sporting a new tattoo.”

    A tramp stamp I assume?

    All the best stories end in corn fields with no memories and a ton of beer.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…On the path to financial independence: May 2017My Profile

  15. Peter says:

    Uff Da! What a story!

    As another Minnesotan, and one of Swedish ancestry, I can confirm that Uff Da is a phrase constantly uttered in many MN households – especially those of Scandinavian lineage. The markets have a tough day? Uff Da! You hit your knee on the coffee table? Uff Da! Eating lutefisk for dinner? Uff Da, that’s some strong fish!

    Having met PoF (someone who said he was PoF at least?) he definitely makes a mean homebrew – loved the brew he brought to our meetup – with coriander as one of the flavors. Very good. Of course, I didn’t end up in a cornfield after our meetup, so it’s possible that was an imposter. Who knows?
    Peter recently posted…5 Growing Expenses To Expect With Older ChildrenMy Profile

  16. Matt Kuhn says:

    Haha this was a fun one to read, sounds like quite the adventure!
    Matt Kuhn recently posted…Taxes Made Easy Part 2: How to Legally Avoid Taxes and Keep More MoneyMy Profile

  17. I’m amused, being born and raised in Sweden I know the expression well, except for that we spell it “usch” and it can be pronounced either with the sch = sh as in should or sch using the hard to grasp sje-sound which sounds a lot more like uff and from where I can assume “uff da” has been adapted. (For the sje pronunciation follow this link:

    As for the meaning usch is a less obnoxious “eww” and the uses listed by Urban Dictionary are 100% common and still used in Sweden at least. I had no idea this was a thing elsewhere and am sorta excited about it!

  18. Kendall Frederick says:

    Am I the only one who read this wondering when you were going to work in the Aleppo reference? What’s all this talk about beer… wait.

  19. Jason says:

    Uff da is a classic phrase. Where I am from in MN we have an Uff Da shop in town. I bought all my mom’s Christmas presents from that store. And Surly…oh how I miss you. I need to make a pilgrimage home soon (and also so I can some New Glarus in WI)>

  20. Kyle says:

    Sounds like the best kidnapping of all time. I still have a New Glarus bottle of Uff da, good stuff. Enjoyed a bottle of barrel aged Darkness with good friends a few weeks ago, delicious delicacy. There are worse places to wake up than in the middle of an Iowa Cornfield, you know TG can’t be too far away.

  21. redrider_00 says:

    Nothing wrong with waking up in Western Iowa, I do it every day! It’s a great place to live!

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