After organizing my needlework again, I came across my afghan crochet hook that's been dormant in a drawer for about a year now. Also called Tunisian crochet, this method is surprisingly simple. If you really like it, or want to dig deep into all forms of crochet, I suggest Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet. It's got it all, from history, basics, thread, lace, filet, wire, afghan, patterns, stitch library, and complete instructions for lefties too!
I now know why they call this afghan crochet - it's fast. This is my first attempt, and I whipped up this 8" swatch in about 20 minutes, so rationally, I could whip out a 40" square baby blanket in 8 hours. Thinking big, I could use chunky or bulky, or double medium yarn on huge hooks, so a nice thick last-minute blanket is not an unreasonable project to endure the night before a shower.