Sounds like you're on the right track. It'll take some practice you get the hang of it and get it dialed in just right. Really fresh coffee will seem somewhat globby and airy normally. as the extraction goes on, carbon dioxide is released from the grounds. This is how the crema comes about.
Many of us use a naked (or bottomless) portafilter. It allows us to watch the extraction as it comes from the bottom of the basket, rather than just watch the drips from the spouts.
Also, consider installing a PID on your machine. It's not necessary, but it'll help maintain temp stability and make your life easier.
See if you can find some videos of what an extraction is supposed to look like, then if you can't get it all dialed in the way you'd like, try to post a video.
Remember that the only place it all really matters is in your mouth.
Symbols: = New Posts since your last visit = No New Posts since last visit = Newest post
Forum Rules: No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards. No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum. No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum. Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards. Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics. Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies. Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies. Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts. Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.