I was giving the ViewLevel plugin a try, but at first it was “no dice.”
$user_level variable wasn’t being set, or evaluated to 0. As it turned out, my WordPress URI settings were set back to the default “www.davidseah.com” address, but I usually login at “davidseah.com”. The cookies are different in each case, so my user level wasn’t being read. I must have accidentally reset it when explaining how it worked to someone setting up their own blog last week.
So it seems to work great. I can now implement some private posts for friends, without having EVERYONE be able to see them.