Regarding the long down time for the forums, I'm sorry for the extended delay. Ben the Awesome Tech Guy and I both work for the same company for our regular jobs and we've had a major project that's due to launch today. That's taken up all our time, but I'm hopeful that maybe this weekend we can turn our attention back to the forum issue.
We've found a replacement for SimplePress (the current blog software) that we hope will put less of a load on the server. We've run one sample import and it looked good but we haven't had time to really dive into it to make sure, since data integrity and the preservation of peoples' character images is the most important thing.
Thanks for your patience, I know it's super frustrating.