A Table + CSS combination seems to be the the best way to format pages like this blog. The problem is the sidebar. The current workaround in CSS for a colored sidebar is to put a background image the size of the bar you want and have it repeat all the way down. This has problems, too, though.
So I decided that on non-navigation only pages (basically every page other than the home page, really!), I will use tables and CSS for positioning and formatting. I'll be sure to keep the tables simple and let CSS do most of the heavy lifting. Currently, I'm using just one 3 x 3 table to format an entire page, so I don't think that's too heinous. I think that when you start putting tables in tables, you have to rethink your approach.
I've been working on Nu Casual, too! Probably have something to show on Sunday.