Take the normal lens off your camera. Set the focus to infinity and open the aperture to the largest opening [smallest s/stop]. Look through the front of the lens and aim the rear [lens mount side] at the negative. Now you have a magnifying lens to use as a loupe.
It was indeed the Digital Ice that was the culprit. I'm using an Epson V500 to scan and I had forgotten to switch to 16 bit grayscale in addition to b/w negative. This was leaving Digital Ice activated, ruining the scan. My negatives look really good actually. I'm quite pleased this being my first attempt to self-develop. I'm probably going to be switching to shooting film almost exclusively now that I know I can develop my own film...it's quite enjoyable actually, and very rewarding to be responsible to the entire process. My next step is to learn how to make prints from my actual negatives instead of scanning and printing. I'm probably picking up a medium format camera soon too. Currently I'm using a Nikon FE and 50mm 1.8 series E, or a Nikon F90x when I want autofocus.
Thank you everyone for all the help. I'll be using that camera lens trick as well to examine my negatives I expect I'll be more active in these forums now that I have an idea as to what I'm doing. Probably lots more questions too.
I attached one of the proper negatives so you can get an idea what they look like. Not a great shot by any means but I was just blowing through this roll of film with the knowledge that it would be my first attempt at self-developing. It's Kodak Tmax 400. Thanks again.