I also usually use wood dpns (what a surprise, right?). Those funky curved needles specially designed for cables just don't work for me.
I actually could never get the hang of knitting stitches off the cable needle/dpn/whatever. I slip my sts to the dpn and stick the bottom end of it down into the knitting, out of the way, to keep it secure. After I knit the first half of the cable sts, I slip the sts on the dpn back to the left needle and knit from there as normal. After getting used to it, it's actually faster for me than cabling w/out a cable needle. To each his/her own!