Yeah, it doesn't look like I put together 20% of my custom design and 80% of someone else's stuff, then gradually removed some of their stuff to add my own. It actually looks somewhat decent now ... although I'm sure I'll want to move things around again at some point.
Of course Google half-assed this part too; they don't let you assign your own background image, probably because that would be helpful. Instead, they want you to override their image with CSS containing yours, which is stupid because, of course, that's how they put their image in place. (With comments, even. o rly? Can't say I ever checked out a simple template to find out what the generic background was.) So I found this post from a fellow blogger that confirms that you can just change it where it's assigned.
Naturally, Google will do something else that will remove that customization eventually ... anyway, enjoy the new look.
Oh, sorry that the title bar changed. I'll see if I can set that myself, but it seems that I must have "broken" that. lol.