Hey Matt, thanks for the great answers.
Good idea about using two or three coal halves to get it started. I tried it out this morning, and it seemed to work really well. I agree, I should probably switch to natural coals though. I ordered a tiny bag of them with some new shisha yesterday, and'm really looking forward to trying them out.
Aye, I've got the acrylic mini mya. I basically bought it because it was one of the cheapest I could find, and wasn't sure I'd smoke often enough to justify a really nice hookah.
I don't have any real complaints, other than the purging of course. I'll probably do that straw mod sometime though.