Thanks Pete, actually I was goofing around with that part of the control panel just before the avatar quit working! the public_html path was my last attempt to find out what would work and what wouldn't. I'll go back into control panel and fix things.
GMTurner, thanks for your feedback, I agree with those reasons also. I once saw the old website on a screen with really high resolution, and it looked really bad with so much free space on either side of the content.