Help Boot loop and won't load recovery (unrooted phone, no ATK)

First off, I'm incredibly frustrated that Android can be this unstable. I've owned a Blackberry, Nokia (symbian), and an iPhone, but I have never had a problem with the OS that could not be resolved by merely rebooting it ONCE.

HTC Desire Z (Gingerbread)
Not rooted or jailbroken
No Android Task Killer
*I use ADWLauncherEX instead of the HTC Sense UI.

The crash boot began immediately after this happened:

My battery was nearly drained, and I had just stepped into the office. By the time the phone indicated it was shutting down, I managed to plug it to my laptop for charging (I forgot to bring my wall charger today), but it shut down anyway.

I borrowed a colleague's wall charger and when I turned it on, the crash and boot loop started.

I tried doing a system recovery (by holding down the power and optical navigator buttons at the same time and selecting RECOVERY), but the phone just got stuck on the phone icon with a red warning sign (triangle and exclamation symbol).

Is my phone hopeless at this point? Do I have to do a factory reset? I have no back up of my files that aren't in the micro SD. (By the way, is there a way to download my files from the internal memory at this point?)

P/S - I know it's stupid that I don't have a back-up of my internal memory. I use a Macbook and haven't had the time to figure out how to back it up into my computer (Android doesn't have a back-up software for Mac from what I recall). I also never learned how to back it up into my external micro SD. Some of the Android apps I found that allowed me to do that required rooting my phone???