If you’re considering NOT entering the 555 contest, be sure to peep their list of prizes before you make that decision. There’s a pro Eagle license from Element 14, a scope and DMMs from Extech, XMEGA dev kits, XuLA boards, a Nexus S phone from Google, a couple of Fluke DMMs, a SumoBot competition kit from Digi-Key, and tons, tons more. Here are the rules. The deadline is March 1st. Enter early and often, and good luck!
Also, NYC hackerspace Alpha One Labs is suggesting a 555 focus for the 16th Global Synchronous Hackathon to be held the 19th of February — a great opportunity to finish up your project in a single night.