Well borg, you beat me to something that actually works!
If you haven't seen it yet, check out my python prototype of a screen lock program:
I put this up a few weeks ago. It's intended to be less visual, more kinetic (i.e., easy to use without looking). I want the locked screen to have information on it eventually, but I haven't gotten around to recoding it in C (with dbus, etc.) in part because neod seemed like kind of a dead-end.
Perhaps some collaboration is in order? I'd LOVE to see a combination graphical unlocker with dbus interfaces to useful info (voicemails, SMSes, GPRS state, etc.) that is both kinetic and attractive.