It has been a slow couple of weeks. Since my parents sprung for a new computer case as a sort of birthday gift, I have been working on getting a network-attached storage (NAS) box up and running using the extra hard drives that don’t presently have a home. It is a beast of a case, but it provides plenty of room for expansion1, and it appeared to be among the quietest options available. I was heavily considering Silverstone’s LC20 HTPC case, but its lack of significant cooling means it would run loud as hell2. Regardless, I have the old parts reassembled in the new case and up and running. I’m just trying to troubleshoot some issues running FreeNAS, but it seems to be significantly easier to manage than EON or MilaX. It has done a fine job of setting up the arrays and shares (and even runs a BitTorrent server via Transmission!), but the network interface keeps tanking out for no good (identifiable) reason. I have to manually bring it up and down with ifconfig re0 down and ifconfig re0 up directly from the machine, and then it works fine again. WebGUI isn’t affected or anything. Quite bizarre!

I’ve gotten back into watching Furi Kuri (FLCL) again. I forget how funny the series is once you get past all the ridiculously convoluted plot setups. All the innuendos and references to other shows/series is just hilarious!

The food plans from the last blog post turned out fine. I would have had some pictures of the cheesecake, but it disappeared before I could snag some! I will likely make more, so I’ll sneak some pictures up once some is made again. It had just the right amount of peanut butter flavor, so I shan’t be tweaking that portion of the recipe at least! The homemade macaroni and cheese turned out nicely, but it was a little lacking with the cheese portion. I could really use a bit more broccoli in it next time, and bacon would make a fine substitute for the pancetta, especially some smoked bacon!

This week has a little more ambitious plans for cooking. I’m making my homemade spaghetti with toasted ciabatta tomorrow night. Wednesday night I’m making some crock-pot beef stroganof with egg noodles. Lastly, some other time this week I’m making tater tot casserole and homemade mac’n’cheese (yes, again, I need to get the cheese right!) when I find some free time. I have to do the casserole sooner than later so the beef doesn’t go bad, but I think I’ll leave the mac’n’cheese for the weekend.

Social plans? I think I’m doing my weekly trip to The Place, although that remains to be seen. I have no plans set up for St. Patrick’s Day, but that certainly does not mean I can’t be convinced to go out and do something last second. So we’ll see!

1I needed at least six 3.5″ HDD bays for the existing drives I wanted to put in. Ideally, I was looking for storage on the order of ten to include all of my spare drives.
2The Silverstone unit only has 2x 80mm fans pre-installed, while the Antec has 5x 120mm fans and a large 200mm fan on the top. Larger fan = lower RPMs to achieve same air flow. Lower RPMs = less noise!

This weekend is the yearly Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS) primary recruitment weekend. I have been solicited for help every year since I joined the program as the students have been stated as one of the largest factors for coming to the program here at the University at Buffalo. It struck me just recently that this will be the 5th year I have helped out with this endeavor. It really shows my age in the program, and reminds me I need to be wrapping things up within the next 12-18 months. I cannot seem to wrap my mind around that thought at this very moment, but every now and then it hits me while I’m working in the lab, and completely sidetracks my focus for an hour or two. At my progression within the program, I become more and more disconnected from the current coursework/courseload that the students are expected to take, and really only become knowledgeable within my own department in the context of available research projects and who does/does not have funding available for prospective students. I may be a shining example of what the program is capable of, but my age is becoming a bit more of a bane than a boon at this point!

In regards to finishing, I need to sit down and hash out just what couple experiments left that I need to finish up my current publication in progress. I have the primary experiments done; I need to wrap up the couple loose ends and decide exactly what the “story” that I am going to tell will be. This isn’t my strong point in research by any means (my communication issues have always been a little off-kilter), but I really have to do this and force myself to learn from it if I intend to keep instigating my own research and publishing it.

Anyways, back to the recruitment weekend stuff. With the recent reshuffling of the administration that runs the program, our off-campus venues have significantly changed from what they have been in previous years. In years’ past, we typically started off the weekend with a casual mixer between graduate students and prospective students Thursday evening at Tully’s on Niagara Falls Blvd, followed by dinner Friday night at somewhere a little more upscale1 like Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, and finally ending the weekend with a breakfast session at the hotel at which they are staying2 followed by an optional/voluntary tour of some typical areas that students find housing in.

Of the above locales, only the hotel is staying the same. Thursday evening, we will be classing it up downtown at the Chocolate Bar on Chippewa. The reviews look tantalizing! Friday evening, it will be fine dining at Shanghai Red’s. I have mixed thoughts about this as Yelp has an all over the field reviews mix on the restaurant; we’ll see. Hopefully it will turn out well. If nothing else, I know it has a nice view of Lake Erie!

1Traditionally this has been Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, although two years ago it was at Sean Patrick’s in Getzville during that lovely spring blizzard that stranded a pair of students here (whom I ended up fetching from the airport and returning to the Hotel Indigo in that accursed weather).
2For the past two or three years, the hotel used has been the Hotel Indigo, which I cannot complain about for its trendy rooms and nice atmosphere. I will, however, adamantly chastise them for their very mediocre dining choices/hours and rather expensive yet limited breakfast menu. The blizzard strandees were nigh left to starve there because I didn’t realize they lacked a regular kitchen service/hours there!