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Creeping Black Death?

This morning, I noticed that my N. ventricosa has turned black/dark brown at the base of the stem. The growth point is still going strong and forming new pitchers, however. Is this the dreaded CPD people speak of? Should I do an emergency cutting?

Here's a picture of the plant-
The stem is just browning into the "bark" that most Nepenthes have. It's perfectly normal.
Agreed. Nepenthes canes grow dark and woody as they age. Its quite normal.
With rot, usually you will see the petioles turn black before the rest of the laminae. That's when you need to bust out the fiskars ASAP.
Looks healthy to me too. There may be a possible mealybug (white blob under the leaf) in the middle of the plant.
Phew, what a relief!
I was thinking that it was the beginnings of the woody stalk at first, but then I started psyching myself into thinking that there was something wrong with my plant after reading about Creeping Nepenthes Death. Sorry, as you can all probably tell, I'm very new to Nepenthes.

As far as the white blob goes, I'm pretty sure that's just the reflection from a droplet of water, seeing as I just misted it prior to the photo. I will give it a closer inspection when I am home though, just to be sure.
The white blob could also be a small chunk of perlite considering it looks as though you've got some in your soil as well. Not ruling out the chance of a mealybug, but often you don't just see one mealybug chillin by itself. Usually there's many more clustered around the base of the leaves.