I tried a few more test shots w/the Canon and TMax (developed for 15m),and this time eureka, I got my first “good negative”! While not perfect, I couldn’t be happier. I could finally feel the warmth of that grain. I now could see some light at the end of the tunnel!
(On a side note, I’ve noticed that when shooting w/the AE-1, I have a tendency to look at the back of the camera after taking a shot, searching for an image that won’t be there.)