Good news. Blender 2.35 is out, with a bunch of new stuff and it's great. I haven't used a lot of the features in recent updates, but this one really rules. Full undo - rewritten mesh modelling with vertex/edge/face selection - an outliner view (kind of collapsible folder view of your scenes). But then again if you're reading this, you already know all of that.
The really good news is that Ton will be reworking the character animation code for 2.36. As I've learned, implementing the features I want into the current codebase is extremely difficult, due in part to my lack of programming skills, but also due to the obtuse and not-the-best-designed nature of the existing code.
This weekend, I'll be learning and using (thanks Tom) the trial version of Kaydara Motionbuilder 5 (Alias MB6 is out but no trial version is available yet). From what I can tell, it's the best of the commercially available character animation software. Of course, if anyone can get me Pixar's Marionette to test, that would be awesome (Ha!). Once I've run MB5 through it's paces, I'll be in a better position to write up my proposal for Blender's character animation tools, which will hopefully influence the upcoming development.
As they say in central Pennsylvania, Yeeeeee-haw!