BuddyPress Social misc: Avatar pix not uploading; plus: can change to custom background?

Hello,

I have a few question re the BUDDYPRESS SOCIAL theme:

I am running latest versions of WP and BP. And BP Social 1.2.6

1) I can't upload Avatars.
See here: http://JazzHeaven.com/social
Strange - I CAN upload pix via the cool, new Activity Plus plugin.
But can NOT upload Avatars.
Any thoughts there? Others having that issue?

2) Is is possible to use a CUSTOM BACKGROUND?
Like the sky/cloud background I am using on my main site http://JazzHeaven.com ?
I just need the confirmation that it IS possible. Then I will look for somebody to implement it.
Any pointers for that person in terms of where to do what?

Thanks in advance!

Falk

PS: Oops, thinking of 2 more things:

* is there a CAPTCHA plugin to prevent spam signups?

* can I mass-email certain parts of my users? (Certain groups only)
=> And: is there a way to integrate my autoresponder (OfficeAutoPilot.com) with this, so that I capture all names that create an account on
my BP site also in my autoresponder separately?