I did some upgrades to our vBulletin software and database. The "recent posts" and other sidebars are currently MIA. I'm working to restore them but I'm not sure why they broke so it may be a while until they return (if ever).
Yes, it was down for a short period of time. When both sites are down it is an indication of host server maintenance. Chris does this periodically to clean out the dust and spiders from the server in his basement.
Yeah, sorry, we went down due to a freak coincidence of events. Generally I do server maintenance during the middle of the day when I'm taking a break for lunch. I rebooted the server after an update and a typo on the new server kept it from coming back up properly but I didn't notice because I went to lunch immediately after starting the reboot.