I use wordpress, and I find it to be restrictive to the extreme. You have to pay to edit your CSS, and it would take an act of congress if you want to edit the HTML or PHP. Forget about running any adds, it's not going to happen.
In my opinion, wp is a good test track for blog ideas, you do your basic layout, test your content, and see how fast it moves up the search engine ratings, but I'd have a better place ready to transfer it to once I got it dialed in.
As far as I can see there are no GOOD alternatives as far as sites like wp are concerned, if you're serious about your blog, and want to exercise the kind of control over it that is needed to make your ideas work, then you need your own domain on a dedicated server.
Just my brutally honest opinion. :eye:
I can find the little red triangle