Well, I FINALLY have this site looking the way I want it to. I've been toying with this design for a few months, and yesterday I finally went ahead and put it all together.
But that wasn't enough. Once I had it all laid out and looking great, using CSS instead of tables, I had to try to shoehorn it into Google's code. And CRIPES, that's a pain in the ass. Google's blog templates use XML for everything, and since I don't know XML, it was basically just a 2-day long session of trial-and-error. Honestly, I think I reloaded the page a few thousand times, trying to get everything looking right.
I still need to add some more of the sidebar items to the site, and there are probably still a few things that aren't working right, but at least it's usable, and if you ask me, it looks great.