While the GUI installer was unable to find the external hard drive, the good old fashioned text installer was able to see the drive fine. Created 3 partitions on the drive, made the first partition bootable and installed root to that partition. For some reason, the installer deemed it unnecessary for me to specify a swap partition, and I installed /home to another partition.
Install flew through with flying colors.. No errors during the installation process. However, when I go to boot to the external drive, I get the splash screen, the hard drive works for a few seconds, then the caps lock key starts flashing and everything grinds to a halt. This is happening with any boot option I select via LILO.