Well, the final out come is that the parking break switch needs adjustment, just as Steve suggested. The break light blinking off when the parking break is released should have been my clue. If I reach down and pull up gently on the parking break pedal while it's released I hear the switch click and the light goes out.
Moe and Jerry (no kidding!) at the shop around the corner were more than happy to replace my half worn out pads and relieve me of some encumbering cash.
Oh and Robby, they mentioned the electron problem with the smoke-silver paint and suggested gold chains and extra batteries.