For fun I was going to try a mini keyboard like:
Being "slightly bigger than a candy bar" puts it in the same size ballpark as a remote. That way you get a keyboard/mouse and don't have to mess around with lirc. One downside is that a real remote (I use TiVo peanut remotes) can also do volume, power etc. Even though I use lirc to also control the mouse, having a keyboard and a trackpad is easier to use in my opinion on sites like hbogo. Navigation is just easier with a real mouse. I have been using this:
and it's worked well - just a lot bigger than a remote.