Went to Lowe's this Weekend
Simkar 4-ft shop light w/ white reflector $7.98
Sylvania "Octron" F032 32W 48" T8 $2.98
Sylvania QT4x32 electronic ballast $27.97
Simkar 24" strip $9.97
Sylvania "Cool White" F18 18W 24" $6.98
Just tried wiring it up to see if it worked and, yes, it works! Tried 1, 2, then 4 leads to the 4-ft bulb and it got progressively brighter (my wife and son hid behind chairs when I plugged it in... sheesh). Did not get such a large increase in brightness with the 18W bulb... so that's why you recommend connecting the short tubes in series, to "fool" the ballast. Makes sense, since the ballast is rated for F032, F025, F017, and F040, so it must "sense" the F18 bulb and limit it's output accordingly... do I have that right?