I just install the base KDE making sure that ktorrent, xchat, thunderbird, amarok and kaffienne are installed along with the kernel development packages. I also install the AMD codeanalyst, AMD perfomance library , framewave, maya and Pro/E.
Well, with any new install of any distribution, these are the applications I grab right after a fresh install: VLC and codecs, Gimp (If already installed I grab plugins too.), Pidgin, flash and ktorrent.
If its Debian or Ubuntu I will install dash, and go to /etc/inittab and remove some of the extra terminals. I will also grab screen as well.