Well put Mike. I feel that knowing your materials and procedures as best you can is the foundation of one's craft. I don't mean that's what makes a good photo. Not at all! Thats up to our mind's eye. But even the most beautiful concept is usless if it doesn't end up on a well done print. Don't be averse to experimentation now and then, tho'. It can be fun to wring out a new film or paper occasionally. You often learn something new. I try out something new every once in a while, usually when I feel I am stuck in a rut. I always end up coming back to my old favorites, which I've used for a long time, (but even Tri-x can't do everything). And after my little experiment I'll have a new film, paper or developer in my repertoire that just might me what I need sometime.
Keep on! I always like hearing that others do things the way I do! ;^)