I hit lj_maint's userinfo and noticed the massive increase in viewers ... and well, I can't say how sorry we are for all of this crap. Believe me, all of our friends use this thing, too.
Information on what we're doing about it can be found here on a post made on the 19th to this same place. We're still waiting for the servers. :(
In the meantime, we are trying to keep the service up. I'm running out of ideas for noncritical things to shut off until we get the new servers, though :(
Still trying to get to the site?
First off, paid account members have their own server that they hit, the service is nearly flawless for them. I don't expect everyone to be able to pay, however.
Secondly... If you are waiting for a friends page to update, use a client that has a feature to check if your friends page has been updated. The windows lj client (lj_win32) does this, as does the Mirc and many web-based clients.
This is actually pretty neat, and the hit the client makes to check for new friends posts is really light on the servers. If everyone did this we'd be in much better shape.
In case it helps at all, between midnight PST and 9AM PST are our low-usage hours, where the site will probably still work for free users. If you're having trouble getting to the site during peak usage hours, I would strongly recommend not reloading more than once every fifteen minutes. Everyone hitting reload makes everything a lot worse :\