#1 (partially) and #2 are covered by FLStudio's very powerful Piano Roll. The feature you want is called (by the makers of FL no less) 'Ghost Notes'.
Kryzon, thanks for your comment and explanation. It sounds like FL is may be the way to go for this type of functionality. I honestly hate the thought of dealing with yet another DAW - I find it hard to even keep track of what I have now - but it sounds like this is almost exactly what I'm looking for. I will definitely have to check it out - especially if the basic version has the features.
thank you again for responding. it is appreciated. sounds like it could make midi composition fun again!