I would NOT be in favor of special events modifying stats unless they were standardized (i.e. every character will of gaining an equal benefit, even if it is different). I think things like the strange events table that don't directly affect the rules are a better way to go for making a character narrative during creation. I'd prefer to see more of those.
One of the early design goals was to have the cocky teen and the jaded vet in the same party so yes its on the wish list. I'll make sure that Crunch is brought before Chris and will see what he comes back with. It might be it skips the main rule book though.
If there was an optional rule that special events in the life path granted concrete modifiers to the character in Stats and Skills would you be in favour?
Luna city is currently under siege by a mad bomber and the players must track him down before he blows up the town. You draw out a map of the city and label neighborhoods as individual zones. Each round takes 1 hour and you have 24 hours until midnight when the bomber will strike again. The players have to spread out among the zones and balance moving between them and using skills to investigate different areas. Maybe a player runs into some thugs and does a quick battle in the zone against them. Maybe players don't have comms and if they want to communicate information they have to be in the same zone or both be at payphones. All kinds of cool things could be done with this using zones.
I also own and have read far more games than I've played, as I think most GMs do. I have two main gripes with really crunchy games. The first is that they're often very poorly balanced and belie a lot of fundamental misunderstandings of physics, fighting, socializing, and so on that the designers have. The second gripe is that running these games is a nightmare to me, as I am a stickler for rules and am just not capable or remembering all of the little details. I've much preferred to lighter games, and also play in them.
I understand that it can be fun to be given a crap character and try to make him work. That's not really the normal game experience for a lot of people, and it's not fun for a lot of people compared to having a competent character.
Lifepath generation is a bit different, as it's purpose is both to act as a bit of a minigame itself and to produce randomized stories for characters. The randomization adds to the minigame aspect and also allows players to do a creative exercise by making up a story around their result. However, that randomization is not in itself an effective balance for different options, due to the fact that these created characters do not exist in a vacuum and instead work alongside other characters and in a story that may have to be heavily adapted just to involve them properly.