Okies, yes, I guess not having to juggle more software than you need to is good.
As to making them look more bloggy and less forum-y... um... have them somehow linked to a person's profile? If they are going to be in the forum they are part of the forum I guess... it's a tricky one if you don't want them on the main page. I know you've already rejected the idea but the main page is the best place for them I think, since visitors to the site are likely to dip into them there and they thus become a good adertisement for the sorts of thinking that goes on here and the writers who dwell here.
Once you get to the forum page... they kinda get lost. Unless you have a header or a side bar of some kind.