April 22, 2008
I just posted a new recording of the last two movements of my Concerto for Soprano Sax & Wind Ensemble. This is just the last two movements — “Wood” and the “Finale” — as performed by Timothy Roberts and the US Navy Band, conducted by George Thompson, at the recent International Sax Symposium. The old recording was also with Tim Roberts and the Navy Band, but this performance was two months after the original recording, and the difference shows. As AEJ put it, Tim plays with a real sense of mastery that comes only after spending a long time with a piece. And he plays the finale faster — and more breathlessly — than anybody. It’s kind of crazy. I mean, he plays it faster than the MIDI. The guy is awesome. I can’t believe how fortunate I’ve been with the performances of this piece. The new recordings with Tim Roberts are the reference recordings on the Sax Concerto page.
As I mentioned in my last entry, I bought a Prius yesterday. It was kind of a spontaneous purchase, which may not be the best way to buy a car. We’ve wanted one for years, but back when we bought our first car, there was a wait for the Prius, and we had to buy a car fairly quickly for the move to LA. We decided on Sunday night, though, screw it, we’d go ahead and buy one soon. Like, the next morning.
We started by going to Toyota of Glendale. The salesman was pleasant enough, but when the manager came up to us to make the offer, he was an ass. We came prepared with all of the documentation about our trade-in — a 2005 Volkswagen Golf GLS with 24,000 miles on it — which two websites had valued at anywhere between $12,200 and $13,500. There was even a VW dealer selling one on Craigslist here in LA — same year, but fewer features, and with more miles — for $17,000. I knew we wouldn’t get $17000, or even the Edmunds trade-in estimate of $12,200, but I figured we’d be somewhere in that lower ballpark.
So the guy in Glendale offered us $8000 — without even looking at our car. When I told him that was a little offensive, he said he was offended that we would even suggest that it might be worth more. Oh dear. We offended him. Oh, and he also quoted us a price for the Prius that was more than list. And he didn’t have the model we wanted on the lot. So, we could take a $4000 loss on the trade-in, pay $500 over list for the Prius, and wait “at least two weeks” for them to get one in. When I told him that his price was higher than the sticker price — and I showed him the printout that I had with the correct price — he said that the prices are going up. I told him, “er, I printed this price today — from Toyota.com.” This clearly was not going well. The guy was rude and he was trying to scam us. So we left — pissed off. If you live in LA and you want to buy a Toyota, whatever you do, do not go to Toyota of Glendale. Buying a car should be fun and exciting — not a frustrating, insulting pain in the ass.
We decided to try one other dealership — Toyota of Hollywood. It’s the oldest Toyota dealership in America, and they have the biggest selection of Priuses (Prii?) in America. The experience there was completely different. Our salesman was Sal Santos, and he was helpful, nice, funny, and sincerely seemed to want us to be happy. Whereas the manager in Glendale determined the value of our car simply by reading a form filled out for him by his salesman, the used car manager of Toyota of Hollywood actually took our car for a test drive and closely checked it. He also offered us much more than we were offered in Glendale. Knowing there was still a difference between what we thought our Golf to be worth and what they were offering, Sal was able to lower the price of the Prius to meet us in the middle. Oh, and they had the exact car we wanted — a black Prius with package 6 and bisque leather interior — on the lot. In fact, they had at least 25 Priuses on the lot — even after selling 18 of them on Saturday.
Sal is great — as were the rest of the staff that helped us, from Morris (in the finance department — wow, who knew that could be so pleasant?!) to the manager, to Tom, who installed our alarm and Sirius. When we went to pick up the car after the installation, Tom asked us to bring the car back next week to be re-detailed, as some of the wax had been scratched off. (They’re going to provide us with a free rental car to use while they detail the car. How great is that?!)
The Prius is sweet. Even if it didn’t get 45 miles per gallon, it would still be awesome, just as a gadget. It’s like driving a robot. The stereo is nice, the GPS is slick, the seats are comfy, the trunk is big, the Sirius satellite radio integration is good, and it even came with a full tank of gas! (No small thing here in LA, where gas is $3.89 a gallon.) We love the Prius. It’ll make the drive for the move to Austin so much cheaper, it’ll practically pay for itself! Bloop!