Thanks for your advice on the safety gear.
Yes I will be taking the motorcycle safety course next month. It's only $100 in WA and from what I understand the ones around here are awesome. Part of the reason I'm picking the sv650s is besides from hearing in these forums that it is a good starting bike is that I have ridden my buddy's some and feel very good on it. It fits well and I feel confident (but that doesn't mean I will act stupid on it, I just know riding a bike and feeling unsure is a recipe for disaster!)