1) I don't worry so much about aesthetics as about having a shoulder injury. I had my shoulder pop out and right back in a few years back when a monster of a purple decided it was a good idea to use brute force rather than technique. I still get an ugly feeling when going total ROM on certain exercises (like the pack deck).
2) Sounds interesting (the gym has a considerable amount of strap on weights) but what is your issue with (weighted) dips?
As I mentioned earlier, it is easier for me to change my body composition and maintaining my weight than gaining some. At least in the past and with my old way of training it was.
So my reasoning is: I drop body fat I will be replacing it with muscle, getting stronger....
Not doing this for the looks... Especially since I want a strong back and legs, not massive arms and packs, thought I made that clear.
My old work out was a simple 3x5 squat, dead, dip, pull up thing, so very similar to the starting strength program.