On my list of videos to shoot, is how to start the first row on straight needles! I'll get to it one of these days!
My favorite thing to do with the tail is to hold it together with the working yarn, and knit three stiches with both yarns as if they were one yarn. Knit those stitches tightly, to reduce the bulk of the extra strand. Then, abandone the tail yarn and continue with just the working yarn. After you've done the next row, you can cut the tail yarn. Leave 1/4" if you can, so it stays in place and doesn't pop out to the other side and become a big strand sticking out.
Or, if you're going to be sewing a seam with the yarn, along the edge where the tail is, you can leave it dangling, and use it to sew the seam.
Hope that helps.