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Just keep cooking. Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team (didn't he?), and he turned out pretty good.
For lighting, I stir up my old coals and dump in an 8 lb bag (or more) til full, then wedge in whatever wood I'm using into different spots of the lump. After that, I fill a chimney starter about 1/3 to 1/2 full of lump that I will be using and get it going. When it's ready I dump it in and wait for the temp to come up with the lower vent halfway open and without the daisy wheel. Once temp gets just past my desired temp I put the daisy wheel on with a full petal open, and then begin dialing it in to exact temps. I find that if I let it get too far past temp with that much lump, it may be hard to get back under control.
I do not have a gasket and I haven't had problems holding low (250ish) temps. The biggest thing is taking the time to get it dialed in, and PRACTICE.