as for background colors, i am confused, i am using VERY VERY subtle background colors (except the outside background) can you explain that alittle more??
Sorry, I shouldn't have generalized. I meant THE background, the outside one. The contrast is very high and it's a striking pattern, so it distracts from the content, in my opinion. I felt similarly about some of the borders, like the one used for the footer.
StrangeAttractor, its interesting that you mention the box headers. i say this because other people have said that they like it and its a nice touch and brings it away from the basic box oulines.
Well, they are nice looking for sure. It's that I felt they didn't go well with the rest of the design. However, since my main critique of the main background is that it is too bold and high contrast, it is possible that the side bar headers would look more in place if the background were toned down.
PS Please take my opinion -- and all opinions -- with a big grain of salt. It's always easy to criticize. The overall design is very nice, and of high quality. So these things come down to matters of opinion. Ultimately, you have to go with your gut -- what you think works well, not what others do.
(I have spent some time in writing workshops, watching writers water down their best writing in response to critiques, so I'm always wary of design-by-committee, which is sometimes what critique sessions turn into.)