Thanks for the lesson. I'm still learning this stuff, and there's maybe no better car to learn on than one that's always broken!
SO I can tell you that I dead-headed the line and the pressure continued to decrease until it stalled. Opening the throttle brought it up a bit, but it never reached 36psi even under WOT. However, the fuel pressure being reported is generally so low that I don't have much opportunity to do any extended tests. I'll go through this battery of tests again later this evening though, just to confirm.
I should mention the problem has been getting worse. A few weeks ago the car would run reliably for a while, with intermittent hard starts or stalls at idle. Lately I can barely keep it running for more than a few seconds.
As for the electrical test, I was really just ensuring there was power making it to the pump. I've read MANY instances of a bad ground or power connection being the culprit.
And at least I know my injectors aren't leaking - it's held 20psi for 2 days now, according to the gauge.
as good as a car can be... briefly.