Up until earlier this year, zombies were nothing more than a popular — if overused — thematic device in movies like 28 Days Later and such television shows as The Walking Dead. Then all these freakazoid drug addicts began turning into insane, flesh-biting cannibals after sniffing bath salts, which caused us to wonder if somehow the undead could actually stagger out of the fictional realm and into the real world. Needless to say, we plan to be ready with a shotgun in hand in case a herd of hungry brain-munchers comes crashing through our front door.In order to prep ourselves for this day of the dead, we've been attending meetings of the Phoenix chapter of the Zombie Research Society. At each and every confab, the members of this local spin-off of the tongue-and-cheek national organization aim to raise awareness of a potential zombie apocalypse. At past meetings, attendees have learned the most effective ways to fell the undead, including the use of both firearms and household objects. Organizers also have provided info on what Valley locations can be used for hideouts and some of the pseudo-science behind zombies. In addition to all the humorous material, legit desert-survival skills (like water purification) have been offered, so at least you won't go thirsty while on the run from some ravenous reanimated creature.