I like everything about this. I’m a firm believer in using as much of a browser’s width as possible while still giving the eye enough white space to relax in. I love how your sidebar goes from one to two columns as the eye goes down. I also really like the masthead. You’ve kept VN’s title font, which looks so good uncapitalized. I like the organization and ease of use at the top. I like what you’ve chosen to put in the black bar in the masthead. I really, really like, and am quite covetous of, the browse feature. That’s the smartest way I’ve seen a blog present a number of categories. I like the internal links and external links in separate columns. I’ll have to get used to the smaller post body font, but I’m glad it (appears to be) the same font.
I think the overall look is somehow warmer than your last one, previous comments to the contrary. Your old one wasn’t forbidding, but I think this combination of eye-pleasing layout and improved features and choices make this far more inviting than your old site.
(I’m using Safari/Mac, and I’m not having the problem with the previous/next post links.)
I’m sure this was a pain to put together, but I know (at least I think I know; I’ve looked at a lot of WordPress skins) that you can’t get something this good off the rack. Congratulations! I love it.