For great sound, go for the AKG K240, the only problem is they aren't very efficient and need bit of extra power to run. Grado SR60's are probably the best option if she doesn't have the power to run the AKGs.
For the small tube, the Epiphone Valve Juniors and even Blackhearts are a bunch of fun for almost no money and skip the noiseless and go lace sensor or anything dimarzio or seymour duncan. Noiseless are a bit overrated and strangle the sound.
I have a similar machine using 98SE and and XUbuntu (xfce interface is the only one i can get to install) both work well enough. Ubuntu is really easy and cheap (read: free) and a great way to make old hardware work again.
B&H is probably the best option. Camera prices are essentially the same everywhere and B&H is where pro guys go because they are dependable and fair. My photo teacher who's been shooting digital for more than 15 years will always recommend B&H from his own experiences.
Alder is the strat sound. Ash should be considered cuz Fender has toyed with it on some tele's. If you want a strat, go hunting used. My bro's '92ish mexican strat is insane feeling and sounds good through any amp (Fender twins, deluxe, deville, Mesa F100.) I love buy used gear cuz you can get something with character. japan made strats are great finds, and older mexican models (early 90's) can be alot better than you think.
I just got my first decent amp, a Traynor YCV20WR. Nice 15W tube, 2 channels with shared eq, reverb. Simple but nice sounding with my 2001 Ibanez Artstar AS120 and a Pro Co Rat for some of the distortion or just the nice sound of the amp. Just wondered who else rocked out and what you play. Bass players are always welcome.
I got an amazing deal on a D80 and I will never look back. The included lens is much better than the 40/60 and the camera itself is significantly sturdier. I got a pair of 4gb SDHC cards and they work great. Shoots in RAW (NEF) at 10.2 MP. Even in full auto it works well. I shoot concert shots in a small club-like place in the dark and it makes really tough shots look pretty good. The D80 is worth the extra cash and if you wait for the D90 release to get closer, the 80...
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Consider IEMs as an option, no leakage, low profile and easy to drive. I have Westone UM1's which are really comfortable and sound pretty good straight out of a player. If bass is your game Beyerdynamic DT700's are the premier closed headphone for ear bleeding bass.