so after some minor work to my system, i cant seem to break the 16 second barrier but i have bootchart showing that my startups are getting a lot slimmer and nicer:

Click image to enlarge

i streamlined the kernel even more so now its a thin 3.5mb:
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 3.5M May 23 11:47 vmlinuz-2.6.39-gentoo

without changing hardware i have to admit i am pretty happy with the results.