Hey Lump & Steven,
Regarding question 2, unfortunately wildcard searches with the * are no longer supported by eBay. Their algorithms have gotten progressively more crazy.
What I can highly recommend is this: http://www.auctionsieve.com/
You're going to love it! Essentially it gives you an unlimited minus list and you can build it up on the fly - after you retrieve all the search results, you highlight a word you never want to see again, hit a button and all the items containing that word are instantly hidden. And it also hides all that "related" search