the BEST advice i can give is to check out SamB's beginners video.
I've been having wonderful sessions for over a year and I STILL refer to his video if things aren't going so hot.
And as far as holes go, i prefer greater quantity of tiny holes, than average amount of average holes.
and when using the stock, small bowl, you can try breaking them in half ((before lighting)) and placing them opposite each other on the bowl if it's too hot. But make sure that the coals aren't in the center of the bowl. Keeping them to the outside helps with heat management. maybe if you can make a video of you setting up and then post it up to be critiqued? it'd help us to help you