i was getting impatient so...
i managed to detach the dome light assembly from the ceiling and took a peek at the wires on it. keep in mind im not very good at this electrical stuff. anyway... i noticed a green wire with a red stripe on it that terminated in the connector at the same spot where a wire on the other side of that connector went to the middle part of the switch, the door part. soo i was like "hmm maybe put a tap on that and see what happens..."
10 minutes later: so my wire is tapped, i run another wire around the frame behind the cig lighter, and i pull out one of the side dome light bulbs to test with (couldnt find or think of anything else that works nice with 12v systems). well... when i connected my tapped wire with the ground, it caused the middle dome light to fully light up, and when i disconnected the two, it would turn off (keep in mind its supposed to fade after a few seconds then turn off). so with the switch in "door" mode, connecting my ground and my tap wire would always cause the light to turn on to full brightness no matter what the position of the door or how long it had been in that position.
at this point i dont know if i have accomplished anything. its obvious that i cant put my lights between those two wires like i had planned to, because putting the test bulb there only caused the dome light to dim because it was stealing some of its juice. could i possibly use this wire in conjunction with a relay to get the desired effect?
again, the desired effect: i want a light that will mirror the behavior of the dome light, including the position of the dome light switch, so that the dome light switch will also control my lights. i do not *need* the fade effect, im going to be used LEDs so that wouldnt matter anyway. i just need to mirror the on/off state of that light.
sorry for the lengthy post, still desperate for help