Leveled Up Emoji

On my recent guest appearance on IRLTalk, I mentioned that I consider myself a professional Emoji user. This is mostly because I have set up quite a few text replacement shortcuts to accelerate my Emoji usage. I get asked to post my list periodically.

I’ve set these up on my Mac in System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, and on iOS in Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Conveniently, until iOS 8, the entries on all my devices were synchronized. Upon upgrading to iOS 8, I’ve found the shortcuts are no longer syncing between my devices. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

Regardless, below is my list of shortcuts. Note that this won’t work in Chrome (nor Windows) without some supplementary software.

I type this… …to get this.
awatch ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ
diaf 💀 in a 🔥
embeers 🍻
emfml 😐🔫
emhi 👋
emwave 👋
emmartini 🍸
emsprout 🌱
fivestars ★★★★★
fourstars ★★★★☆
threestars ★★★☆☆
twostars ★★☆☆☆
onestar ★☆☆☆☆
nostars ☆☆☆☆☆
happypoo 💩
highfive 🙌
hoh ✋ ➡️ ❤️
jpflag 🇯🇵
nosegoes 👉👃
poundit 👊
ptcb ✈️, 🚂, 🚙, or 🚤?
slowclap 👏 … 👏 … 👏
spoileralert 🚨 SPOILER ALERT 🚨
tableflip (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
thumbsup 👍
thumbsdown 👎
ukflag 🇬🇧
usachant 🇺🇸 U-S-A! 🇺🇸 U-S-A! 🇺🇸
usflag 🇺🇸
wtfguy ಠ_ಠ

Analog(ue) 5

This week’s episode of Analog(ue) was the hardest podcast I’ve ever recorded. I’m rather confident, however, it’s the best. Stephen Hackett, who we had on as our first guest, summarizes it well:

If I never record another podcast, I’d be fine with this capping my career. It’s the show I’ve wanted to record for almost two years. I genuinely hope that our conversation — as raw and emotional as it was — helps someone out there struggling with pain, depression or loss.

How I Make Bacon
Mmmmmmmm, bacon!

Dan Benjamin, podcaster extraordinare, has been long espousing his Bacon Method, an easy and reliable way to make great bacon.

I’ve tried the Bacon Method, and it wasn’t for me. I think I may be alone in this feeling, as I’ve seen numerous people other than Dan espouse Bacon Method. I mean, the thing has its own t-shirt, and that’s not because it’s crappy. You should try it. Seriously.

Here at home, we have fallen into a different approach. The Liss Family approach is probably for you if:

  • You are of the opinion you can take some of the fat out of (and away from) the bacon without losing taste
  • You’re impatient and are willing to be more involved in order to get bacon in your mouth as quickly as possible
  • You want to take advice from a random stranger on the internet who has never really cared about what he eats
  • You like long URLs

Here’s the approach we use in the Liss household:

  1. Place two paper towels down on a large plate
  2. Place the bacon on the paper towel, making sure each strip is spaced just enough so that it’s not touching any other strips
  3. Place two paper towels over the bacon; this should leave you with a towels-bacon-towels sandwich
  4. Cook for 2 minutes in the microwave
  5. Either remove the top towels and flip the bacon itself, or simply grab the bacon-and-towel sandwich and flip the whole thing
  6. Cook for at least another minute — I find between 75 and 90 seconds to be the sweet spot

If you prefer a slightly softer bacon, stop closer to 75 seconds. If you prefer crispier, go for the full 90. Naturally, each batch of bacon and each microwave are different, so part of the fun is establishing your own timing preferences.

Using the above approach leads to bacon that is not greasy, as well as allowing for reasonably granular crispiness control. Additionally, the whole process takes less than 5 minutes. Further, unlike classical pan-fried bacon, it doesn’t leave the house and clothes smelling for days.

I really want to name this post “Non-Standard Bacon Method”, but I fear not everyone that reads it will be in on the joke.

On Feeding Trolls

Mike Meyers wrote an excellent bit of feedback to myself and my ATP co-hosts regarding feeding the trolls. He sums up the correct way to handle trolls really well:

To me, it means that once a troll has been called out and fails to understand that their behaviour is unacceptable, then they should be starved of attention.

Mike also summarizes something I’ve wrestled with lately:

Also, I’m finding Twitter is more and more a place for anger and hatred. It’s so easy to send off an angry 140-character rant, without thinking through the anger in it. There is too little friction and too little space for nuance.

Appearance: IRL Talk 40

This past week, my buddy Jason Seifer had me stand in for my other buddy Faith Eleanor Korpi on my their awesome podcast, IRL Talk.

On last week’s episode, I call Jason and Faith out on their amateur-level use of Emoji, Kickstarter, Analog(ue), and more.

Blaming Teachers

The Atlantic attempts to explain why teachers are blamed for all of the ills of the education system here in the United States:

The focus on testing to evaluate teachers, then, is not based on a rational look at the research. Instead, one could argue, it’s based on the logic of the moral panic, and the created identity of teachers.


If we want to improve schools, one of the quickest ways is to reduce turnover; skilled veteran teachers may be schools’ most valuable resources.

My favorite part:

It means treating teachers as professionals to rely on, rather than as suspects to be policed.

A man can dream.

Mobile Data Plan Changes

I just noticed that there have been some changes to T-Mobile’s data plans for iPads. I’ve updated the chart in my post that lays out the options.

T-Mobile’s changes:

  • New 5GB & 7GB month passes (these don’t auto-renew)
  • Added 500MB of data to all monthly plans (these auto-renew). No change in cost.
  • For the 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB plans, they are $10 off each month until the end of the year.

This is yet another example of why I feel like T-Mobile is the most consumer- friendly mobile carrier. They’re offering great deals and raising some of the data allotments without increasing cost.

I would absolutely switch to T-Mobile, but I’ve found coverage is pretty terrible as soon as you get even slightly outside Richmond. In fact, it feels very much like AT&T did circa 2008.

Appearance: Defocused 11

In my continuing quest to make you all sick of me by being on all the podcasts, I joined Joe Rosensteel (seen previously) and Dan Sturm on their really fun podcast, Defocused.

In the episode, we discussed my appearance on TRL circa 2001, Woodstock 1999, and one of my favorite movies, Collateral.

A Brave Decision

Today is a peculiar day in the Liss household.

On this day, Erin should be going back to work, for her first day of teacher in-service days for the 2014-2015 school year.

But, she’s not at work. Erin is staying home.

Upon leaving for my job today, I could see that sad twinkle in her eye. While I know, and Erin knows, that staying home with is the right decision, it doesn’t make today any less sad.


Erin has said to me a few times over the summer, in so many words, that she’s losing a part of herself by ceasing to work outside the home. I don’t blame her — I’d probably be saying the same thing, were the roles reversed. Which got me thinking: how do you really define yourself? Is it the work you do? The company you keep? What you provide to the world? Or, perhaps, what you take from it?

It’s so easy, particularly in a work-obsessed place like America, to derive so much of your identity from the work which you do. When you meet someone, it’s typically the second thing you’re asked; “what’s your name?” and then “what do you do?”.

To me, I think identity is all of those things, while also none of them.

Perhaps most importantly, identity can be summed up as the choices you make.

Leap of Faith

In Erin’s case, her choice is to trade one of the hardest jobs in the world (teaching) for an even harder one (being a stay-at-home mom). It is a total leap of faith on her part.

I have absolutely zero doubt that she’ll be a phenomenal mother, and embrace staying at home with . Deep down, I think Erin believes it as well. Nevertheless, it’s not a sure thing. I deeply respect her commitment to doing what she thinks is right, despite the indefinite outcome she’s just signed herself up for.

One day, I am confident that will reflect upon their upbringing and be thankful for having Mom at home.


Maybe I was wrong above — about identity being the choices you make.

Perhaps, instead, identity is the impact you have on others.

If that’s the case, Erin’s identity has never been more sure.

This past weekend, I participated in “Boot Camp for New Dads“. During the session, all the soon-to-be fathers in the room were asked to describe their fathers, and then describe how they’d like their children to describe them. It was abundantly obvious, after just a couple answers, the impact parents have on their children. Such an innocuous question — How would you describe your father? — led to a stunning variety of answers, and traversed the entire range of human emotion. It was clear that parents have an indescribable impact on their children’s lives.

While it’s yet to be seen whether or not we’ll be good parents, I hope that Erin’s brave decision — her leap of faith — is the first step in the right direction.

Featured: iPad Home Screen

My internet pal David Sparks, most recently mentioned just a few days ago, was nice enough to double up on the Casey love and have me discuss my iPad home screen on his site.

I had previously had my iPhone home screen featured there, back in February.