1) there is absolutely no reason to use tables for layout anymore. It takes a little effort, but the CSS learning curve isn’t all that large.
2) I see you’re trying to position all your elements absolutely – the main pitful for many beginners. Absolute positioning can be powerful and definitely has its place – but major layout context is not it.
3) you can teach an old dog new tricks – I’m 45 and coded with tables years ago, but I’m a 100% convert now.
Show us an example of what you’d like to do and I or some other helpful folk here will show you how to go about it.
@intodesign, you can use percentages. The only thing your missing is setting html to height: 100% as well as the body. And I’d remove all the width statements – the block level elements will take up all available width by default. You may want to set the body margin and padding to 0.