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Questions about Vita-mix

I know many of you out there are diehard Vita-mix users.  (if not familiar
with it, Vita-mix is a "megablender", check www.vita-mix.com)  I'm
seriously considering getting one, but before I would plunk down that
significant chunk of dough, I'd like to hear your thoughts on a couple last
questions I have.  
1-  "Total juicing".  Does it actually taste good and smooth as is?
2- Cost.  I know it does lots of stuff, but its still REAL expensive.  I
can only seem to find it sold direct from the mfr. and after taxes,
shipping, etc. the deluxe model will cost like over 500 bucks.  Can it be
had for cheaper somewhere?
3-  I've experimented with making homemade soymilk using the time consuming
and messy method of blenderizing then straining through cheesecloth.  Has
anyone had experience vitamixing up soymilk?  (or would that be called
"total soymilk"?)
4- Recipe books.  Are the recipes they give you usable by a follower of
this list, preferably with minimal modifications or are they a bunch of
sugar/oil/flesh wastes?

I don't think appliance discussions are offtopic for this list, but if they
are, you can reply personally to me.  Thanks in advance for any help!