soffit questions

I'm in the upper mid-west, land of 4 months of winter, lots of snow, and ice dams arriving every winter like clockwork.
#1. I've taken apart a couple soffits on my house, and they don't appear to connect to the attic space. It looks as if the exterior wall extends upwards all the way to the underside of the roof decking. Does it still pay to vent the soffits? The existing soffits have vents. A part of me wants to remove the top piece of siding to see if cutting into it would add ventilation to the attic, but I'm not sure I have the stones to do it. Every project I take on in this house develops a bad case of "mission creep", and I should probably concentrate on putting stuff back together before cutting more things apart.
My plan is to vent the soffits anyway (adding double the amount of vents currently installed) unless any of you come up with a pressing reason not to.
#2. While I had the soffits apart, it occurred to me to possibly reinstall them at an angle so that they would be tucked behind the bargeboards. See the following diagram for details, showing the current setup versus my plan:
http://www.knikglacieradventures.com/soffit.jpg
Anyone see any problems with this plan? Water migrating upwards, perhaps?
This would be for purely visual purposes, to make the peaks of the rooflines more prominent and get rid of the ugly boxlike soffits currently installed.
Advice, horror stories or any words even remotely related to this subect are appreciated.
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woj snipped-for-privacy@excite.com wrote:

which means the soffits would have opening into the attic space for airflow. This comes about quite naturally during construction because the roof rafters sit on top of the exterior walls. That is what supports the roof. Hence the space between rafters creates bays the heigth of the rafters, which are open into the soffits. Most times the problems come from insulation which can be pushed all the way to the ends of the ceiling joists and that then blocks the air flow.
To vent the soffits should not require taking them apart. All you should have to do is run a saw set to the depth of the material down the entire soffit, twice, creating a channel. Then you can install a continuous soffit vent.
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