I've been away for a while... (new baby on the way)
Anyways, apparently, the guys at fedora have been working on an amazing new boot splash engine named plymouth (YouTube: here and here).
Their goals are to create a more streamlined boot process (less flickering) and nicer effects.
You can experiment with plymouth on Fedora Linux 10.
What's all this have to do with XBMC? - You wait and see :)