I was fortunate enough to stumble upon bxSlider.
I want to give particular mention to its developer, Steven Wanderski, not because the plugin is awesome (it is), but because he wrote a fantastic page, Building the bxSlider, that details his development process, complete with fully annotated source.
This is developer gold.
It's one thing to see decent documentation on a single-person, free, and open-sourced project, but this is something else entirely. Inspiring.
Thank you, Steven.
⚛ March 10 2013.