A SSD will improve performance not only when opening applications, but when working with the files. This is readily apparent when using plugins like Nik of OnOne software. You will save a lot of cumulative time with a SSD.
I just put a Samsung 512gb 840 Pro in my Sony Vaio laptop. The included software cloned my drive and set the parameters for a SSD. Everything transferred over without any problem (OS, applications, files). Now my laptop screams and cold boots in less than 30 seconds. Before it was taking ~ 5 minutes. I then put the HDD I took out of the laptop and put it in a ThermalTake USB 3.0 external drive enclosure. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
I would consider the 24-70 2.8L. You should be able to find one for ~ $1000. If I could only have one lens and could not afford the II, this is the one I would get. It may not be quite as sharp as the new version, but it is a great lens. I use mine all of the time and get fantastic results.
If you are buying from a brick and mortar store, you can expect the lens to have been mounted on a camera to show it to a prospective customer. The more exotic the lens,the more likely this has occurred. Unless the store is very large, they simply cannot afford to keep a demo lens in the display case. Not used, just examined.
I have both the 85 f/1.8 USM and the 70-200 f/2.8L. I find that the 85mm is an excellent portrait lens. It is also small and inconspicuous and focuses really fast. Great lens at a great price. If you can afford it I would buy it.
Personally, I prefer that Nikon keeps improving their system and lenses. This forces Canon to continue to improve their products. A few years ago, Canon was kicking Nikon's backside because they had a better autofocus lens system (EOS). After that, they came out with the full frame 5D which Nikon had no answer for. Now Nikon has raised the bar with the D800/E and the 14-24 f/2.8. Canon is a much bigger company than Nikon and you had better believe that they have reverse engineered the Sony Exmor sensor and are developing their own alternative. As far as the 14-24 f/2.8 goes, not only will they have to develop one. They will have to make it as good or better than the Nikon. Otherwise Canon shooters will just buy the Nikon and use an adapter. Thank you Nikon, in the long run, you will only make Canon better!
You can by rolls of green screen paper. I believe Savage is one of the companies that makes it. Just unroll it from a backdrop stand. If you do not have a backdrop stand you can use a shower curtain rod and two light stands.