For the high revving at 1st gear, check to see if there's any air leaks coming from the air intake hose or the smaller hose connecting to the PCV valve, if not, change your PCV valve.
Car now has 105,000kms and its running fairly well.
Transmission still has the same issue, I believe it to be non-serious and a characteristic of this transmission.
Drums are original and have rusted with age causing a scraping noise (goes and comes, easily solved with new drums).
I have a lot of suspension noise right now, endlinks were replaced but it looks like my struts, strut mounts, and bushings will all need replacing this spring.
The engine seems to have developed a light "screaming" noise near higher RPM. Other than that it runs fine.
I'm still on my original water pump, starter, and rad after 10 years.
Fuel economy seems to be my only problem right now, can't seem to get much better than 10-11L/100kms even with new plugs and air filter. Might be a bad O2 sensor... although the car passes emissions test without any issues.
I hope to have this car for another 2-3 years.
Sorry forgot to add:
The Air Bag Control Module went out on me at about 90,000kms. Mazda wanted $500+ for a new module. I picked one up from a junkyard for $80.
The fan control module went out on me at about 100,000kms, this was an easy fix and only cost $30 from Mazda. This allowed the A/C to work again and my fan for settings 1-3 (only worked on setting 4 before I fixed it).
Update, car now has 131,000 kms. My worst fear happened, the transmission failed at 128,500 kms or 12 years of age. It went without warning, got an O/D light and the trans was stuck in 3rd gear.
3 codes were read by the shop indicating incorrect gear ratio for 1, 2, 4. Swapped the trans with a used one from another 99 1.8... installed for $1100. That tranny however shifts very poorly, will likely replace this car before the warranty is up on the transmission.
Other than that, power door locks failed this year, replaced with new switches. Opened up the doors and installed myself. Both 02 sensors failed, replaced one so far $120.
Replaced brakes and rotors, and installed new timing belt and water pump with aftermarket parts ($150 vs $700 from the dealer).