Wow, you really caused a stir today. And to answer another of your questions, no, other fora are not as friendly and civil as this one. What passes for a flame war here is pretty tame.

If you can make Mac & Cheese, you can process B&W film. I started a couple years ago and videos like Jbrunner's helped a lot. A good place to find books is Goodwill.

Nobody but stupid fools like us want this stuff any more, and bags. tanks, and reels seem to never wear out. So if you look around, all the equipment you need will be available for very little money - fractions of what it originally cost. I did a lot of calculating before starting this and decided that getting into film as a serious hobby would be MUCH cheaper than digital over my remaining lifetime.