thanks for the replies!!
Well I do use a thumb tack to poke the hose, and this time (smoking it right now =D) and no harsh smoke. I poked less holes and it seemed to fix the harshness. And I fill the bowl about halfway (waiting to get my vortex bowl :banana
and Yes I usually wait until the coal completely ashes over.
btw, how long does it take a natural coal to light?