I do intend to keep the background, because I like that bluegrid that's almost white, though I think I may compress the image a bit more, to shrink the filesize. No, I will- that image is 60k! Why did I ever publish that? Oh yeah, it was my webdesign class and I didn't care.
So, lets rethink things: new background, probably not image based.
New logo, something a bit jazzier, and more of a banner feel.
Buttons will contrast the new background, and maybe have a slight image texture to them, just enough to denote them as buttons (unlike the button links here). Also, the buttons will all be the same size! Oi, that original ARIA site reall sucked.