"I MUST get a boil even if it the very very very last thing I do!!!"
You know, I had a friend who kept trying to boil two cups of water with minimum fuel, and he kept running into problems like this. He went over and over it, and still it didn't work. Finally I agreed to observe his technique. In an instant, I saw his problem. His measuring cup was not standard 8 ounces. It was 12 ounces. So, he kept failing to boil 24 ounces of water with fuel for 16 ounces. Once he measured right, it was normal.