Date a Geek: James Lamdin of analog/shift

Due to the controversial popularity of our How to Date a Geek Girl and How to Date a Geek Guy guides, we have introduced a special column featuring real life single geeks. This week, we have interviewed our colleague James Lamdin of analog/shift.


Tell us a bit about yourself (age, hometown, what you do for a living)?

I was born and raised in Vermont, and lived all over Northern New England before moving to Manhattan about 8 years ago. I quit my job in the luxury automotive industry a few years back to follow another passion, and started analog/shift, an online boutique with a curated selection of vintage timepieces. I also do some freelance writing, and contribute to a number of online and print publication pertaining to cars and watches. I’ll be 30 in March, but I’m going on 55. Its not the years, its the mileage.

What makes you a geek?

My first Doctor was Tom Baker, and I can recite Ghostbusters from start to finish, complete with sound effects and musical cues. I once waited 3 days in line for a a Star Wars movie premiere… although I am now ashamed to admit which one. I spend my days searching for, buying, brokering, tinkering with, studying, writing about, and selling wristwatches than have a median age of about 40 years old. Vintage watches are a niche within a niche, and considering mechanical wristwatches are an obsolete technology to begin with, this should just about sum things up on that front. I just really love cool old shit.

Android, iOS, or other?

iOS means Apple, right? That one.

Your favorite comic book hero and why?

Lamont Cranston – The Shadow.

As much as I am drawn to Bruce Wayne’s unbending morality, Tony Stark’s unparalleled ego, or Walter Kovac’s questionable sanity, the character of The Shadow plays on a different theme – one of a man who knows evil because he himself had once been consumed by it. His quest to rid the world (or at least, New York) of it runs parallel to his need to quash his own demons and redeem himself. It is perhaps one of the oldest stories ever told, but with better hats. The Shadow knows, indeed.

What gadget can’t you live without?

A vintage mechanical watch on my wrist – always. My preferred form of gadget is of the analog variety – no microprocessors or batteries, just miniature machines with a genuine connection to the history and heritage of fine horological craftsmanship.

What is the last book or ebook that you read?

The Monuments Men. In softcover. I prefer you cut down a tree to give me my books, not on some newfangled electronic device. If nothing else, I need to display them on my shelves like trophies when I’m done with them. And they smell better.

If you could meet anyone (living or dead) for lunch who would it be and why?

It would have to be my grandfather. When he passed, he unknowingly bequeathed to me an appreciation for fine things, which led to my obsession with vintage objects, and notably – timepieces, as I tried to study his life and his generation through his belongings. We were very close when he was alive, but he was closed off about many parts of his life, including his service during World War II. I’d give anything to have one more Maine lobster lunch with him and get him to open up to me about these things.

What do you look for in a girl or a guy. And does she/he need to be a geek too?

I think a general similarity in life outlook is a good thing, but common interests don’t matter so much as having a genuine desire in exploring what the other is into, as well as exploring new interests together. To that point, she doesn’t need to be a geek so long as she accepts my geekitude – or better yet, is willing to try and get into whatever it is I am geeking out about, and vice versa. Also, must be a lady in the street, freak in the bed, carnivorous, well-read, well-traveled, look equally good in designer dresses and hiking apparel, not have the number “3” anywhere in her social security number, and should preferably smell like lilacs.